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Wort- und Formenvielfalt

Festschrift für Christoph Koch zum 80. Geburtstag. Unter Mitarbeit von Daniel Petit


Edited By Anna Jouravel and Audrey Mathys

Die Festschrift ehrt Christoph Koch, Professor für Vergleichende und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft an der Freien Universität Berlin. Zu seinem 80. Geburtstag vereint der Band wissenschaftliche und persönliche Beiträge von Kollegen, Schülern und Freunden. Sie umfassen verschiedene Bereiche der historischen und modernen Sprachwissenschaften wie der Indogermanistik, der Byzantinistik, der Slavistik oder Baltistik, greifen kunsthistorische und editionsphilologische Fragestellungen auf und spiegeln somit das breite Spektrum der Interessens- und Forschungsgebiete des Jubilars wider.

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Does a two-dimensional system fit into a one-dimensional system? Considering the Armenian alphabet

Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst


This article describes how the Armenian alphabet combined the Syriac/Aramaic and Greek alphabets to build an alphabet for Classical Armenian. It shows how the system of six affricates was built into this in a two-dimensional way.


Of course, alphabets are as a rule one-dimensional, fundamentally opaque systems. This is the case also for the Armenian script, because the alphabet was borrowed and not made for Armenian.1 However, even that has a beginning and an end. The beginning is a, the end is ō or t. That means that one set of the alphabet is a – ō, the other set is a – t. In modern dictionaries the Armenian alphabet is determined as ա բ գ դ ե զ է ը թ ժ ի լ խ ծ կ հ ձ ղ ճ մ յ ն շ ո չ պ ջ ռ ս վ տ ր ց ւ փ ք օ ֆ, however, with one letter more than օ and even then we are told that was not the original end of the alphabet, rather it ended on the previous letter ք. So, we have three sequences: a – ō; a – t and a – kʿ. This third sequence a – kʿ was the first, at the time in the beginning of the fifth century when the alphabet was ‘designed’ for Armenian, i.e. it had the inherited letters and in addition all the new ones required for Armenian. The sequence means: a – kʿ ‘aleph to Ch(rist)’ and was therefore a Christian alphabet. We are told that Maštocʿ saw this alphabet given by god. But Koriwn also tells us that the Greek Rufinus was employed to make the new alphabet fit. What this means is hard to say. Either he was responsible for...

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