--- In cybalist@..., markodegard@... wrote:
> Armenian is the least well served of the IE stocks. Part of this is
> the result of political and geographic realities. Most of the
> literature is either in Armenian or Russian, which means it is
> largely inaccessable.
> When you read the articles in the EIEC or Britannica, you note what
> the authors don't say, and how they say they don't say it.
> The official story is that there are two groups of Armenian,
> and Eastern, both descended from Classical Armenian, which emerged
> AD 500. Classical Armenian is Biblical Armenian, 'Church Armenian',
> and uses the Armenian alphabet. EA is spoken in Armenia proper,
> WA is the remnant of Armenian spoken in territories now controlled
> Turkey and Syria. WA is what is mainly heard in immigrant
> in the United States. Not too much else is said, beyond the
> stories about St. Mesrop.
> The reality seems to be considerably more complicated. There's an
> article in the Spring/Summer 2000 JIES by Harold C. Fleming:
> "Glottalization in Eastern Armenian". He covers a number of topics,
> the main one not being germane to my own posting here. He discusses
> the various problems with Armenian and without saying so in so
> many words, comes to the conclusion that a major clearing-of-the-
> is necessary.
> Essentially, the Armenians have carefully avoided bringing
> to their internal linguistic differences in order to maintain
> unity. Armenian is not just one language with a bunch of dialects.
> It's a language family, with distinct living languages, some of
> patently cannot be descended from Classical Armenian. Fleming's
> is the Armenians most likely went right over the Caucasus into
> as shepherds, crossing thru the world's 2nd most intense area of
> glottalization. When the Urartian state collapsed (the details are
> very obscure) the Armenian-speakers seem to have taken over,
> peacefully, leading to language-replacement. Fleming mentions
> Cavalli-Sforza stuff regarding the Armenians:
> --start quote--
> the Dargwa (of Dagestan), East Caucasic speakers, are closest of
> followed by Kabardians from (North) West Caucasic. Old neighboring
> peoples like Azeris (Turkic 'Iranians') and Syrians (Semites) are
> closest, in that order." [pp 194-5]
> --end quote--
> There seems to be a little conspiracy among all Armenians to
> they all speak the same language. They regard themselves as a
> people. The Classical Armenian language, their bible, and the
> Church are the great vessels of their nationalism. The situation is
> if the French, Spanish and Italians regarded themselves as a single
> ethnic group and averred they all speak Latin.
> As for coming over the Caucasus, why not. We know Indic-speakers
> there too. If you take the idea they were high-mountain shepherds,
> whole process would have been peaceful, and of mutual economic
> to those lower down in the valleys. Armenian has certainly joined
> Caucasian sprachbund, and is also the most radically 'strated stock
> the living IE family. It seems also to have been there for a long
> time. Fleming hints we need to look back into the 2nd millenium BCE
> for their arrival in the Caucasus, more or less part-and-parcel
> the expansion of the Indo-Iranians (and who knows else).
> Thoughts? Comments? Have I made any howlers?