Armenian: personal name + definite article

Gavril

Senior Member
English, USA
<->
Hello,

In Armenian (or Western Armenian at least) you can add the definite article after a personal name: e.g.,

Ani > Anin

Is there a difference of tone between these two forms? (E.g., does one sound more formal than the other?)

Thanks
Gavril


(PS -- sorry for the lack of Armenian letters, but I'm using my smartphone to type this.)
 
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  • AniwaR

    Senior Member
    Armenian - Armenia
    The difference is not in tone but in grammatical usage. If you're still interested (I see your question was asked several months ago) I could explain it a bit more.
     

    AniwaR

    Senior Member
    Armenian - Armenia
    I am an Eastern Armenian speaker, so I am not sure about the Western Armenian, but I will check it later when I find some free time.


    So, in short and simply told, personal names almost always require a definite article when they logically stand for THE person or THE object they denominate. Actually there are very few cases I can think of when you don't need a definite article, such as:


    Իմ անունը Անի է: (Here Ani is just a name)

    but

    Ես Անին եմ: ("I am Ani"; logilally this means "I am that person who is named Ani")

    Անի անունով շատ մարդիկ կան: (= "There are many people named Ani." Here again, Ani is just a name)

    Or another example:

    Մեր դասարանում երկու Անի կա: (="In our class there are two Anis." = That is, two people named Ani) Մեկի ազգանունը Հարությունյան է, մյուսինը՝ Գրիգորյան: Հարությունյան Անին սիրում է մաթեմատիկա, իսկ Գրիգորյան Անին՝ գրականություն: (=One's surname is Harutyunyan, the other's is Grigoryan. Harutyunyan Ani likes maths, and Grigoryan Ani (likes) literature.)

    In theory all this probably depends on noun cases and grammatical relation of the words but it would take a whole textbook to explain it I think. :(
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I'm fairly sure that when I studied Western Armenian (some time ago now), the teacher would address people without a definite article: for example, Բարեւ, Յովհաննէս "Hi, Hovhannes!" rather than Բարեւ, Յովհաննէսը. Is this true of Eastern as well?

    Thanks again
     

    AniwaR

    Senior Member
    Armenian - Armenia
    Yes, it is true for Eastern Armenian too. For vocative case (կոչական) you don't need a definite article. However, when the name is the subject of the sentence, you always need to attach one. Example: Հովհաննեսը (or Յովհաննէսը in Western spelling) սովորում է անգլերեն:

    You're welcome.
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Hmm, since you say "subject", I wonder if this applies equally to all the other case forms.

    For example, is the definite article necessary in all the sentences below (or rather, in the Eastern equivalents of them)?


    Յովհաննէս(ը) տեսայ "I saw Hovhannes" (direct object)

    Ինքը Յովհաննէսի(ն) կը նմանի "He looks like Hovhannes" (dative)

    Յովհաննէսի(ն) ինքնաշարժն է "It is Hovhannes' car" (genitive)
     

    AniwaR

    Senior Member
    Armenian - Armenia
    1. Յովհաննէս(ը) տեսայ "I saw Hovhannes" (direct object)

    In eastern Armenian the accusative case for people (and often animals) is identical in its form with the dative case. But it is still logically accusative, not dative.

    Thus it is:

    Հովհաննեսին տեսա:
    Բժշկին տեսա: (I saw the doctor) (You could also say «Բժիշկ տեսա» which would mean "I saw a doctor")
    Արջին տեսա: (I saw the bear) (or «Արջ տեսա» = "I saw a bear"
    But: Մայրամուտը տեսա: (I saw the sunset)

    2. Ինքը Յովհաննէսի(ն) կը նմանի "He looks like Hovhannes" (dative)

    Correct.

    3.
    Յովհաննէսի(ն) ինքնաշարժն է "It is Hovhannes' car" (genitive)

    No, not for genitive. Հովհաննեսի is correct.

    p.s. Wow, what a cute word, «ինքնաշարժ». :D In Eastern Armenian it is «մեքենա»:
     

    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    In eastern Armenian the accusative case for people (and often animals) is identical in its form with the dative case.
    Interesting, in Western the accusative is the same as the nominative for all nouns (there are no exceptions that I can recall), but most or all pronouns have a special accusative form (զիս "me", զինք "him", etc.).

    This is off the original topic, but has Eastern replaced the accusative personal pronouns with dative forms, so that (for example) "You saw me" would be ինծի տեսար rather than զիս տեսար?
     

    AniwaR

    Senior Member
    Armenian - Armenia
    Pronouns are highly irregular in form. But yes, both the accusative and dative case for the pronoun «ես» is «ինձ»: Ինձ տեսար, ինձ տվեցիր: (In some dialects it sounds like ինծի btw.)

    nom ես
    acc ինձ
    gen իմ
    dat ինձ

    or Նա

    nom - նա
    acc - նրան
    gen - նրա
    dat - նրան

    There should be some online resources if you want to explore the subject more. :)
     
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