Appendix talk:Armenian Swadesh list

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48 louse[edit]

gives the translation 'flea', which is NOT a louse. 12:29, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Fixed the translation. ոջիլ (oǰil) is 'louse', լու (lu) is 'flea'.--Vahag 12:48, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Please use correct final version of Swadesh![edit]

Thanks to VP for creating a reliable list for Eastern Armenian as a native speaker and editionally citing the sources! It would have been even better usable if the final version of Swadesh's list with his clarifications of ambiguous entries would have been used, as I have set out in the article "Swadesh list". Thus, the following eight words are missing here: say, moon, round, full, knee, claw (talon = ճիրան ?, instead of fingernail), horn, breasts (female!). HJJHolm 07:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Switching to the final version of the Swadesh list will be too much work. But here are the Eastern Armenian equivalents of those 8 words:
--Vahag 13:55, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank you! However, "colloquial" does help in communication, not for a Swadesh list, where we need the first, "unmarked" = most general answer in a dictionary, in order to count the word decay. Simply, how would you title a new article for ...

  • Claw (at the paws of cats, are talons of birds different? cf. en.wikipedia, or "Kralle");
  • Horn (cf. en wiki, the anatomical organ at the head of animals, not the musical instrument);
  • breasts (female, again cf. en. wiki).

Another point: I am confused by the translations at, which seem to have nothing in common with wiktionary, and additionally give no hints wether they mean the verb or noun. HJJHolm 08:38, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Webster's translations are crap. Don't trust them. --Vahag 12:05, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

to drink[edit]

What about ըմպեմ (əmpem)? Which is the primary answer upon the question, "Do you prefer to drink wine, water, or juice?"

խմել (xmel) is the usual word. ըմպել (əmpel) is literary and sounds gay. --Vahag 12:08, 29 November 2011 (UTC)


Because there is in many languages (e.g., English, not in German) a difference between flesh and its use as a dish = meat, Swadesh corrected this later to "flesh", as opposed to "bone". What about Armenian?

There is no difference between "meat" and "flesh" in Armenian. Both are միս (mis). --Vahag 12:09, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

166 smoke[edit]

What about մուխ? We are seeking the "smoke" of a fire. HJJHolm 14:13, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

ծուխ (cux) is the usual word, not մուխ (mux). --Vahag 14:22, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

38 Person[edit]

Regrettably this again is not the concept established by Swadesh, who asks for "person" as human individual. E.g., "how many persons can we see on this family photo". The correct correspondence seems to be անձ (anj). HJJHolm 09:37, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

In "how many persons can we see on this family photo" I would use մարդ (mard), not անձ (anj). --Vahag 16:55, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
And this would include male and female, children and adults? What on earth is than anj? HJJHolm 07:11, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, մարդ (mard) would include male and female, children and adults. անձ (anj) is a more formal word for "person", e.g. ֆիզիկական անձ (fizikakan anj, natural person), իրավաբանական անձ (iravabanakan anj, legal person). If you know Russian, anj corresponds to лицо (lico). --Vahag 12:38, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
The translations in en.wiktionary fully correspond to my VERY thick Russian dictionary, and thus the primary meaning of лицо is 'face', used as a metaphor for person, as "souls" in poetic or clerical useage. HJJHolm 06:53, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I meant that anj corresponds to the metaphorical meaning of лицо (lico). --Vahag 12:18, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

168 ash[edit]

In different sources a word ačiun (աճիուն ?) is given for ash(es). How is the relation to moxir? HJJHolm 07:09, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

In Old Armenian աճիւն (ačiwn) meant both "human ashes" and "regular ashes". In modern Armenian աճյուն (ačyun) means only "human ashes, human remains"; մոխիր (moxir) is the usual word for regular ash. --Vahag 12:46, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank You. It remains, what moxir meant in Graban. If աճիւն was the primary, "unmarked" translation for 'ash(es)' in general, glottochronologists would count մոխիր in mod.Arm. as substitution for it. HJJHolm 06:10, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
մոխիր (moxir), աճիւն (ačiwn) and գազաղ (gazał) all meant 'ash(es)' in general in Grabar. I don't know which one you would call the "unmarked" translation. --Vahag 13:57, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

130 squeeze[edit]

The transcription must be /sɛʁˈmɛl/, not /sɛχˈmɛl/. The latter is a corrupt dialectal variant, though very common in speech. There's no phonetic rule in Armenian leading to devoicing of the voiced uvular fricative before a nasal. --Mahtrqerin (talk) 21:10, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

The forms /sɛχˈmɛl/ and /səχˈmɛl/ arose in the dialects under the influence of Turkish sıkmak. I don't know what the IPA column in Swadesh lists should show — the actual pronunciation used by people or the one prescribed by language authorities? --Vahag (talk) 01:03, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, Adjarian says it is apparently influenced by sıkmak.

Of course, the one prescribed by language authorities can only be taken as the literary pronunciation, as it is the only form taught at school and used by newsreaders. The corrupt ones - /sɛχˈmɛl/ and /səχˈmɛl/ - have no rights to be mentioned here anyway. To compare, let's take, for instance, the standard literary բեղ /bɛʁ/, գուլպա /gul'pɑ/ and գցել /gə'tsʰɛl/, which are by many speakers of the Yerevan vernacular uttered as /bɛχ/, /gʲul'ba/ and /kʰə'tsʰɛl/ respectively. Now, can we expect these dialectal forms to be considered as SMEA? Of course, not, as can't the Turkish influenced corrupt ones. --Mahtrqerin (talk) 10:57, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

By the way, what about changing /spɑˈnɛl/ to /əspɑˈnɛl/ and /spiˈtɑk/ to /əspiˈtɑk/? Neither Classical Armenian nor the SMEA allow any consonant clusters utterance-initially. Once again, the corrupt forms without the prothetic vowel are featured by the vernacular and many, especially eastern, dialects, but they aren't literary. Compare, for example, the Yerevan dialect monosyllabic /kʰsɑn/ and /kʰʃɛɾ/ with the bisyllabic literary /kʰə'sɑn/ and /gi'ʃɛɾ/.

--Mahtrqerin (talk) 11:28, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Witktionary is descriptive, not prescriptive. We describe the language in all its forms, including dialectal and colloquial variants (“corrupt”, in your terminology). We have աղբ (ałb), then we have non-literary զիբիլ (zibil). Yes, the entries for բեղ, գուլպա and գցել should mention also colloquial/dialectal forms, the way սեղմել now does. Of course, the register should be appropriately tagged.
My question was which pronunciation should we include in the Swadesh lists? Glottochronology has certain principles on which it chooses the forms to compare. I am not very familiar with those principles. Honestly, I don't really care about this Swadesh page. No one looks at it and I think glottochronology is bogus.
As for սպանել (spanel) and սպիտակ (spitak) — no one in Armenia pronounces them with an /ə-/. This is not a formal/informal register thing. That rule is simply obsolete. Read Dum-Tragut. --Vahag (talk) 15:36, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Why is the prothesis obsolete? Nothing of the kind! It has just been ignored for a long time because the Yerevan vernacular doesn't simply use it and school teachers are not always well-instructed. And why no-one in Armenia pronounce them with the prothesis? I do as many others, especially those whose mother tongue is a Western Armenian dialect. I was taught this rule at school.

So, how about adding this /ə-/? Do you mind if I do it? Especially if nobody looks at this page. Or are there any weighty cons? Dum-Tragut says it's been neglected and is therefore unusual. Rare doesn't mean wrong. Well, must we always refer to this author when speaking about Armenian grammar? The book has lots of errors, by the way.--Mahtrqerin (talk) 18:22, 24 August 2012 (UTC) --Mahtrqerin (talk) 21:02, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

You can do with the Swadesh page whatever you want. As for the entries themselves, if you want to add /ə-/, mark it as “rare” or “prescribed”. I live in Armenia 25 years and I haven't met anyone who says /əspɑˈnɛl/, /əspiˈtɑk/. BTW, we have different pronunciation sections for Eastern and Western Armenian; see e.g. բարև. --Vahag (talk) 18:38, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
All right, thanks.

Now concerning the prothesis on Yerevantsi's lips. Of course, almost nobody uses it. Why? Because everyone uses the Ararat dialect's phonology, which lacks this /ə-/.--Mahtrqerin (talk) 21:02, 24 August 2012 (UTC)


Beside 1. բոլոր dictionaries (as well as Starostin and Ringe) give 2. ամեն. What would be the first translation for "all (of a number)"? Additionally, the Etymology in wiktionary, has a question mark in Hach Martirosyan (2009), if I remember it correctly. HJJHolm (talk) 11:14, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

The first translation of "all" in Modern Armenian would be բոլոր (bolor). ամեն (amen) would be the first translation of "each". Maybe in Old Armenian ամէն (amēn) is the first translation of "all", I don't know. Martirosyan has no question mark. --Vahag (talk) 15:55, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Partly outdated literature[edit]

I note that sometimes only outdated literature is used. In other cases there are good analyses including the Martirosyan. 15:48, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Wiktionary is a work in progress. When I was writing the etymologies, Martirosyan's book was not published yet and I did not have access to other new materials. Now I do. The etymologies are gradually being updated. --Vahag (talk) 16:56, 2 June 2015 (UTC)