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Title: Urartian-Armenian (Vocabulary and Historical-Comparative Grammar) Author: Sargis Ayvasyan Language: Armenian , 2008 , by Yerevan State Univ Press, 400 p. ISBN 978-5-8084-0989-7


The comparison of Urartian and Classical Armenian languages shows, that the large portion of the currently acceptable and comprehensible portion of Urartian lexicon has its parallel in Armenian. In addition, the majority of common words (roots) are native Armenian, have Indo-European origin. Many of these words represented in their oldest sense and/or form. Moreover, not only roots, but also most word formational suffixes are common with Armenian. They are also mainly native and have Indo-European origin. On the other hand, greater part of word formational suffixes, that form the oldest layer of the Armenian, has its parallel in the Urartian. It is important, that some differences, observed in the all material, have strictly regular character and are consonant with Preclassical Armenian language picture reconstructed by the comparative grammar or the other methods. In case we take into consideration the above mentioned natural changes in Armenian and possible dialect difference, the calculation shows, that 65% of roots and 85-90% of word formational suffixes of comprehensible Urartian lexicon are common with Armenian. That is, these two languages, particularly in the frames of known monotype texts, are consisted of common roots and word formational affixes.

These commonalities are notable not only in the quantitative, but also in qualitative sense, because they refer to such usually unchangeable and not loaned elements of every language as pronouns, verbs, conjunctions and subsidiary words (Urartian numerals are indicated in the form of ideograms which make it impossible to compare them with Armenian). As an example, could be mentioned the main verbal stems, demonstrative and other pronouns, pronominal adverbs, almost all conjunctions, particles, etc. The diffe- rences are more notable in the case of inclinational suffixes (case, verbal endings). But in these cases commonalities are also substantial, especially in the reliably defined grammatical forms. Moreover, it is referred not only to the general typical similarities of the case and verbal morphology, but to the concrete morphemes as well, for example, nominative, genitive and dative markers, past perfect forms of indicative mood (in particular, intransitive verbs) and verbs of imperative mood, and so on (there is not reliable evi- dence for Urartian present tense forms of the verbs). More tangible differences are stipulated by the ergative structure of Urartian in contrast Armenian (in this sense Urartian is similar to Hurrian) and, as a result, of some differences in the case and verbal morphology.

Despite these differences, not only particular words and phrases, but the whole sentences in Urartian and even entire inscriptions are read in understandable Armenian and comprehended with no difficulties and without special clarifications.

At the same time, if we speak about the existence of common Indo-European language which has existed 5-6 thousand years before us, then 2,5-2,8 thousand year old Armenian should be distinguished from contemporary Armenian and ought to be located roughly in the middle of modern Armenian and Indo- European common language, certainly with its Indo-European component. It is noticeable, that in the common part of Urartian and Armenian languages prevail just Indo-European elements. Thus, summarizing all above mentioned facts, we come to the some core conclusions:

a) Armenian element by its volume and quality is the base of Urartian and could not be the result of the borrowing and interactions. At the same time, it is not clear the position between Urartian and

Classical Armenian. Most likely, the differences between them are conditioned not only by the temporal factor (Urartian cuneiform texts are 1000-1300 years older than Classical Armenian early texts), but also by the areal reason. In favor of this speak facts on historical-geographical formation and extension of Urartian Kingdom, according to which, at the beginning the territory of Urartu has been located at south-eastern part of Major Hayk. It is possible, that it has coincided with the Armenian Korchayk region. In this aspect, it is important the historical data which mentioned complexity and crooked character of the dialect of this region. b) There is some stratum of Hurrian (especially, of old Hurrian) both in Urartian lexicon and some grammatical elements, which none the less concede to Armenian. Most of these commonalities, many of which have Indo-European origin, are present in Armenian. Taking into consideration all these facts, it is less likely that Urartian and Hurrian are cognate languages, although it is not excluded. It is more plausible, that Hurrian-Urartian commonalities are result of interactions and remote cognate link of these two languages. It is not excluded, that, to some extent, they have areal nature. For clarification of this question it would be useful to do comprehensive research of Hurrian-Armenian linguistic commonalities which are not, as mentioned, few and not limited only with word roots.