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There are various systems of
romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspec ...
of the
Armenian alphabet The Armenian alphabet ( hy, Հայոց գրեր, ' or , '; Eastern Armenian: ; Western Armenian: ) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a ...

Armenian alphabet
.


Transliteration systems


Hübschmann-Meillet (1913)

In linguistic literature on Classical Armenian, the commonly used
transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of h ...

transliteration
is that of Hübschmann-Meillet (1913). It uses a combining
dot above
dot above
mark U+0307 to express the aspirates, ''ṫ, cḣ, č̇, ṗ, k̇''. Some documents were published using a similar Latin '' dasia'' diacritic U+0314, a turned comma combining above the letter, which is easier to distinguish visually in ''t̔, ch̔, č̔, p̔, k̔''. However, the correct support of these combining diacritics has been poor for long in the past and was not very common on many usual applications and computer fonts or rendering systems, so some documents have been published using, as possible fallbacks, their spacing variants such as the modifier letter dot above ˙ U+02D9 written after the letter instead of above it, or the turned comma U+02BB written after the letter instead of above it — or sometimes the spacing Greek spiritus asper ῾ U+1FFE, or the spacing grave accent ˋ U+02CB even if it is too flat, or even the ASCII backquote ` U+0060, or the ASCII apostrophe-quote ' U+0027 when there was no confusion possible. But the preferred character today is the modifier letter left half-ring ʿ U+02BF, or the modifier letter U+02BB or U+02BD, which is the spacing variant of the ''dasia'' diacritic (it is also historically a correct adaptation to the Latin script of the Greek ''spiritus asper'', see
rough breathing In the polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, My ...
) with the advantage of having excellent support in many Latin fonts because it is also a simple reversed. Also, some ambiguities were not solved to work with modern vernacular Armenian, which has two dialects, both using two possible orthographies (besides, the modern orthography is used for Classical Armenian in modern publications).


BGN/PCGN (1981)

BGN/PCGN romanization BGN/PCGN romanization refers to the systems for romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including ...
(1981) uses a right single quotation mark to express aspirates, ''t’, ch’, ts’, p’, k’'', the opposite of the original
rough breathing In the polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, My ...
diacritic.
/ref> This romanization was taken up by ISO (1996) and is considered obsolete. This system is a loose transcription and is not reversible (without using dictionary lookup), notably for single Armenian letters romanized into digraphs ''(these non-reversible, or ambiguous romanizations are shown in a red cell in the table below)''. Some Armenian letters have several romanizations, depending on their context: * the Armenian vowel letter Ե/ե should be romanized as ''ye'' initially or after the vowel characters Ե/ե, Է/է, Ը/ը, Ի/ի, Ո/ո, ՈՒ/ու and Օ/օ; in all other cases it should be romanized as ''e''; * the Armenian vowel letter Ո/ո should be romanized as ''vo'' initially, except in the word եո where it should be romanized as ''ov''; in all other cases it should be romanized as ''o''; * the Armenian consonant letter Վ/վ should be romanized ''yev'' initially, in isolation or after the vowel characters Ե/ե, Է/է, Ը/ը, Ի/ի, Ո/ո, ՈՒ/ու and Օ/օ; in all other cases it should be romanized as ''ev''.


ISO 9985 (1996)

ISO 9985 (1996) is the international standard for transliteration of the modern Armenian alphabet. Like with the BGN/PCGN romanization, the right single quotation mark is used to denote most of the aspirates. This system is reversible because it avoids the use of digraphs and returns to the Hübschmann-Meillet (however some diacritics for vowels are also modified). The aspirate series is not treated consistently in ISO 9985: while ''p, t, c, k'' are romanized with an apostrophe-like mark, aspirated չ ''č'' is not, and instead its unaspirated counterpart ճ is transcribed ''č̣'' with an underdot appearing nowhere else in the system. Note that in this scheme, ''č'' (signifying չ) collides with the Hübschmann-Meillet transliteration (where it signifies ճ). This system is recommended for international bibliographic text interchange (it is also the base of simplified romanizations found to localize the Armenian toponomy of for transliterating human names), where it works very well with the common
ISO/IEC 8859-2 ISO/IEC 8859-2:1999, ''Information technology — 8-bit single-byte coded graphic character sets — Part 2: Latin alphabet No. 2'', is part of the ISO/IEC 8859 series of ASCII-based standard character encodings, first edition published in 1987. It ...
Latin encoding used in Central Europe.


ALA-LC (1997)

ALA-LC romanization ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a leg ...
(1997) is largely compatible with BGN/PCGN, but returns to expressing aspirates with a left single quotation mark (in fact the modifier letter left half-ring ʿ U+02BF, US-MARC hexadecimal code B0, that is also used to denote
ayin ''Ayin'' (also ''ayn'' or ''ain''; transliterated ) is the sixteenth letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that i ...

ayin
in Arabic, so some documents may contain either the preferred left half-ring, or sometimes the ASCII backquote ` U+0060). This standard changes the transliteration scheme used between Classical/Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian for the Armenian consonants represented by swapping the pairs ''b'' vs. ''p'', ''g'' vs. ''k'', ''d'' vs. ''t'', ''dz'' vs. ''ts'' and ''ch'' vs. ''j''. In all cases, and to make this romanization less ambiguous and reversible, * a soft sign (a prime, US-MARC hexadecimal code A7) is inserted between two separate letters that would otherwise be interpreted as a digraph ''(in red in the table below)''; no prime is present in the middle of romanized digraphs ''zh'', ''kh'', ''ts'', ''dz'', ''gh'' and ''ch'' representing a single Armenian letter; * with the Classical Armenian orthography only, the vowel represented by ''e'' will be represented by ''y'' instead, when it is at the initial position in a name and followed by another vowel; this difficulty has disappeared in modern Armenian with the reformed orthography that changed the original Armenian letter in such case; * with the Classical Armenian orthography only, the vowel represented by ''y'' will be represented by ''h'' instead, when it is at the initial position of a word or of a radical in a compound word; this difficulty has disappeared in modern Armenian with the reformed orthography that changed the original Armenian letter in such case.


ASCII-only input methods

On various Armenian websites, non-standard transliterators have appeared, which allows inputting modern Western or Eastern Armenian text using ASCII-only characters. It is not a proper transliterator but can be convenient for users that don't have Armenian keyboards. Despite these input methods being commonly used, they do not adhere to any approved international or Armenian standard, so they are not recommended for the romanization of Armenian. Note that the input methods recognize the Latin digraphs ''zh, dz, gh, tw, sh, vo, ch, rr'' for Classic or Eastern Armenian, and ''zh, dz, tz, gh, vo, ch, rr'' for Western Armenian, but offer no way to disambiguate words where the digraphs should not be recognized. Some Armenian letters are entered as Latin digraphs, and may also be followed by the input of an ASCII single quote (which acts as the only letter modifier recognized) but this quote does not always mean that the intended Armenian letter should be aspirated (this may be the reverse for the input ''ch'''), it is also used as a vowel modifier. Due to ambiguities, texts must be corrected by entering an intermediate dummy character before entering the second Latin letter or quote, then removing the dummy character, so that the automatic input converter keeps the Armenian letters distinct.


Transliteration tables

Some Armenian letters have very different phonetic sounds between Classical or Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian, so that the usage of Armenian letters is different between the two sub-branches of the language. This is made visible in the table below by coloring transliterations specific to Classical or Eastern Armenian on green background, and those for Western Armenian on blue background. Other letters are transliterated independently of the language branch. However, cells with red background contain transliterations that are context dependent (and may in some cases create ambiguities, only the ISO 9985 and Hübschmann-Meillet romanizations do not use any context-dependant ambiguous digraphs for transcribing simple Armenian letters that are not ligatures, but the former is inconsistent with its representation of aspirated consonants and incompatible with all other systems for a pair of letters). Note that in the table above, the last two columns refer to digraphs, not isolated letters (however, they are considered letters in the Reformed orthography). However the last column displays the ligature that is used in the Classical orthography only as an isolated symbol for the short Armenian word ''ew'' (meaning ''and'') and its derivations in a way similar to the ampersand (&) in the Latin script (in the Reformed orthography, it is also used at the middle and the end of words instead of եվ); the same transliteration to ''ew'' (classical Armenian) or ''ev'' (reformed orthography) will be used for the letters this ligature represents, when they are used as digraphs: it used to refer to the ''w'' consonant, now it refers to the ''v'' consonant. Armenian script also uses some other digraphs that are often written as optional ligatures, in lowercase only (five of them are encoded in Unicode only for full roundtrip compatibility with some legacy encodings); when present, these ligatures (which are purely typographic and carry no semantic distinction in normal Armenian texts) must be romanized by decomposing their component letters.


See also

*
Armenian language Armenian (Classical Armenian orthography, classical: , Armenian orthography reform, reformed: , , ) is an Indo-European languages, Indo-European language belonging to an independent branch of which it is the only member. It is the official language ...
**
Classical Armenian Classical Armenian (, in Eastern Armenian Eastern Armenian ( ''arevelahayeren'') is one of the two standardized forms of Modern Armenian, the other being Western Armenian. The two standards form a pluricentric language. Eastern Armenian ...
**
Western Armenian Western Armenian (Classical Armenian orthography, Classical spelling: , ) is one of the two standard language, standardized forms of Armenian language, Modern Armenian, the other being Eastern Armenian. It is based mainly on the Istanbul Armen ...
**
Eastern Armenian Eastern Armenian ( ''arevelahayeren'') is one of the two standard language, standardized forms of Modern Armenian, the other being Western Armenian. The two standards form a pluricentric language. Eastern Armenian is spoken in Armenia, Repub ...
*
Armenian alphabet The Armenian alphabet ( hy, Հայոց գրեր, ' or , '; Eastern Armenian: ; Western Armenian: ) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a ...

Armenian alphabet
**
Classical Armenian orthographyClassical Armenian orthography, traditional orthography or Mashtotsian orthography ( in classical orthography and in reformed orthography, ''Hayereni tasagan ughakrutyun''), is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing ...
**
Armenian orthography reformThe Armenian orthography reform occurred between 1922 and 1924 in Soviet Armenia The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic; russian: Армянская Советская Социалистическая Республика, translit=Armyanskaya Sov ...
*
List of ISO romanizations List of ISO standard The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organizatio ...


References

* Antoine Meillet and Heinrich Hübschmann, ''Altarmenisches Elementarbuch'', Heidelberg, 1913 (2nd edition, 1980).


External links


Armenian Transliteration Converter
Supports both Eastern and Western pronunciations of Armenian, includes a spell checker.
Transliteration of Armenian
by Thomas T. Pedersen, in KNAB (''Kohanimeandmebaas'', Place Names Database) of ''Eesti Keele Instituut'' (Institute of the Estonian Language). * A read
macro
for Visual Basic in Microsoft Word text editor, allowing to automatically replace the Armenian letters to Latin script, using the Versatile option above for the Eastern-Armenian language. {{ISO standards Armenian alphabet
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
ISO standards