During the first century A.D., Armenia was a pendulum swinging between Rome and Parthia. When Vologeses I, an Arsacid, finally took the Parthian throne in 51 A.D., he took advantage of Armenian revolts against Roman rule to occupy Armenia and set his younger brother Trdat (Tiridates) on the throne. The Roman emperor Nero responded by sending Corbulo, his general, to retake Armenia. The venture succeeded, and, when Trdat fled to Persia, Nero installed Tigranes, a descendant of Herod the Great, as ruler of Armenia. Vologeses again attempted to take Armenia in 62 A.D.; he managed to drive back the Romans, but did not secure his hold on Armenia until 64 A.D., when an agreement was struck whereby Dsopk and Greater Armenia were to be ruled by members of the Arsacid line of Parthia, but would receive their crowns from Rome. In 66 B.C. Trdat received his crown in Rome and so began the Parthian Arsacid, or Arshakuni, rule of Armenia.
Under Arsacid rule, Armenia received a constant influx of noble families from the Parthian empire, particularly from Persia. Persian and Parthian became common languages in the upper echelons of society, and many Persian loanwords entered Armenian during this period. A feudal social structure was introduced, where high-ranking noble families were granted hereditary administrative positions and fiefdoms in return for military service. This created a hierarchy within the nobility, out of which a king would be chosen as chief of the nobles.
It was the Roman emperor Trajan who finally broke the treaty with Parthia by invading Armenia in 114 A.D. Trajan pushed farther and eventually took the Parthian capital Ctesiphon in 116 A.D., but with his death in 117 A.D. and the rise of Hadrian to the Roman throne, the compromise with the Parthians was restored and the Parthian Vagharsh I was placed in charge of Armenia. He ruled Armenia until 140 A.D. After a few intervening Roman and Persian rulers, the Parthian prince Vagharsh II assumed the throne of Armenia in 186 A.D. In 191 A.D. he assumed the Persian throne and named his son Khosrov I to the Armenian throne. Khosrov was subsequently captured by the Romans, who installed one of their own to take charge of Armenia. However the Armenians themselves revolted against their Roman overlords, and, in a new Rome-Parthia compromise, Khosrov's son, Trdat II (217 - 252 A.D.), was made king of Armenia.
The political situation in Parthia began to decline and a smallpox outbreak left the economy so weak that in 224 A.D. Ardeshir overthrew the Arsacids and began the new Sasanid dynasty. The Sasanids were determined to restore the old glory of Achaemenid Persia, making Zoroastrianism the state religion and claiming Armenia as part of the empire. To preserve the autonomy of Arshakuni rule in Armenia, Trdat II sought friendly relations with Rome. This was an unfortunate choice, because the Sasanid king Shapur I (240 - 270 A.D.) defeated the Romans and struck a peace with the emperor Philip, whereby Rome acquiesced to paying tribute and relinquishing control of Greater Armenia. In 252 A.D. Shapur invaded Armenia and, forcing Trdat to flee, installed his own son Hurmazd on the Armenian throne. When Shapur died in 270 A.D., Hurmazd took the Persian throne and his brother Narseh ruled Armenia in his stead. Under Diocletian, Rome tried to install Khosrov II as ruler of Armenia, and between 279 and 287 A.D. he was in possession of the western parts of Armenian territory. But the Sasanids stirred some nobles to revolt, killing Khosrov in the process. When Narseh left to take the Persian throne in 293 A.D., Khosrov's murderer was installed on the Armenian throne. Rome nevertheless defeated Narseh in 298 A.D., and Khosrov's son Trdat III regained control of Armenia with the support of Roman soldiers.
Christianity, as a marginalized religion, seems to have spread to Armenia as early as the first century A.D. Its presence in Armenia continued to grow over the following two centuries. But the Sasanid sanctioning of Zoroastrianism to the exclusion of all other religions threatened this situation. In the Roman provinces, however, the emperor Constantine's Edict of Milan, issued in 313 A.D., made tolerance for the Christian religion into law. Rome being Armenia's strongest ally, this edict and the desire to resist the Sasanid fervor for Zoroastrianism probably impelled Armenia to become the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion. This likely happened around 315 A.D. (though tradition usually places the event around 301 A.D.), roughly sixty-five years before the Roman empire adopted Christianity.
Trdat is said to have been baptized by an ordained Christian named Gregory, whom he chanced upon in Caesarea before he reclaimed the throne of Armenia. When the organization of the Armenian Church was established under a feudal system, it was the family of this Gregory, later called the Illuminator, which inherited the position of catholicos, or supreme patriarch. Other nobles were typically given positions as bishops.
In 325 A.D., the emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicea, at which Gregory's son Aristakes represented Armenia. At the coucil there was debate over the position of Arius, who maintained that Christ was not of the same substance as God and therefore not divine, and of Bishops Alexander and Athanasius of Alexandria, who maintained that the substance of God and Christ was the same. The council rejected Arianism, but Constantine gave credence to the Arian views. The Armenian kings followed the models of the Byzantine rulers in espousing the Arian doctrine, putting them at odds with their own clergy. The issue was only put to rest in 381 A.D. when the emperor Theodosius accepted the ruling of the Council at Constantinople, in which the Athanasian stance was confirmed.
The History of the Life and Death of the Holy Teacher Mesrop, by Koriwn, is a quite brief biography of the spiritual leader and inventor of the Armenian alphabet. Mesrop lived from 361 to 440 A.D. Little is known of Koriwn, the biographer, or the date of the biography, but it surely was written after 440, and before 460, the year of the death of Koriwn. It is perhaps the earliest original writing in Classical Armenian. This reading is taken from Books V and VI.
Ew aynpés trtmakan hogovk' pashareal ew t'akardapateal ew ankeal i tsup's xorhrdots', et'é orpisi ardeôk' els irats'n gtanits'é :
Ew ibrew awurs bazums andén i nmin degerér, yaruts'eal aynuhetew hasanér arr surb Kat'ol'ikos Hayots' metsats', oroy anunn chanach'ér Sahak, zor patrastakan gtanér, nmin p'ut'oy hawaneal :
Ew miangamayn yôzharut'eamb gumareal handerdz al'ôt'iwk' metsovk' arr Astuats kanxéin, vasn amenayn ogwots' k'ristosaber p'rkut'eann hasaneloy. ew zayn arrnéin awurs bazums :
Apa elanér nots'a pargewakan yamenabarin Astutsoy zhol'ovel zashxarhahog xorhurdn eraneli miabanelots'n, ew girs nshanagroy Hayastan azgin hasanel. bazum harts' p'ordzi ew k'nnut'ean zandzins parapets'uts'eal, ew bazum ashxatut'eants' hambereal, azd arrnéin apa ew zkanxagoyn xndrelin iwreants' t'agaworin Hayots', oroy anun koch'ér Vrramshapuh :
Yaynzham patmér nots'a ark'ayn, vasn arrn urumn asorwoy episkoposi aznuakani` Daniél anun koch'ets'eloy, oroy yankarts uremn nshanagirs al'p'abetats' hayerén lezui :
Ew ibrew patmets'aw nots'a yark'ayé vasn greloyn i Daniélé, yôzharets'in zark'ay` p'oyt' arrnel vasn pitoyits'n aynots'ik :
Ew na arrak'ér zomn Vahrich anun hrovartakôk' arr ayr mi eréts', oroy anun Habél koch'éin. or ér merdzawor Daniéli asorwoy episkoposi :
Ew aynpés trtmakan hogovk' pashareal ew t'akardapateal ew ankeal i tsup's xorhrdots', et'é orpisi ardeôk' els irats'n gtanits'é : Ew ibrew awurs bazums andén i nmin degerér, yaruts'eal aynuhetew hasanér arr surb Kat'ol'ikos Hayots' metsats', oroy anunn chanach'ér Sahak, zor patrastakan gtanér, nmin p'ut'oy hawaneal : Ew miangamayn yôzharut'eamb gumareal handerdz al'ôt'iwk' metsovk' arr Astuats kanxéin, vasn amenayn ogwots' k'ristosaber p'rkut'eann hasaneloy. ew zayn arrnéin awurs bazums : Apa elanér nots'a pargewakan yamenabarin Astutsoy zhol'ovel zashxarhahog xorhurdn eraneli miabanelots'n, ew girs nshanagroy Hayastan azgin hasanel. bazum harts' p'ordzi ew k'nnut'ean zandzins parapets'uts'eal, ew bazum ashxatut'eants' hambereal, azd arrnéin apa ew zkanxagoyn xndrelin iwreants' t'agaworin Hayots', oroy anun koch'ér Vrramshapuh : Yaynzham patmér nots'a ark'ayn, vasn arrn urumn asorwoy episkoposi aznuakani` Daniél anun koch'ets'eloy, oroy yankarts uremn nshanagirs al'p'abetats' hayerén lezui : Ew ibrew patmets'aw nots'a yark'ayé vasn greloyn i Daniélé, yôzharets'in zark'ay` p'oyt' arrnel vasn pitoyits'n aynots'ik : Ew na arrak'ér zomn Vahrich anun hrovartakôk' arr ayr mi eréts', oroy anun Habél koch'éin. or ér merdzawor Daniéli asorwoy episkoposi :
And thus he was caught and surrounded by vile spirits and fell into torrents of thoughts about what sort of escape he might find from those affairs. And when he had spent many days there upon this, he rose up and forthwith approached the holy Catholicos of greater Armenia, whose name was known as Sahak, whom he found willing, having acceded to this concern. And thus inclined, assembled together, they rose up with powerful prayers to God for obtaining Christ-borne salvation for all the souls; and they continued to do this for many days. Then it occurred to them, granted by benevolent God, to collect the patriotic counsel of the blessed monks and to obtain letters of the alphabet for the Armenian people; having devoted themselves to a great examination of experiment and investigation, and having endured great labors, they then made an announcement of their own searching to the king of the Armenians, whose name was called Vramshapuh. Then the king told them about a certain man called Daniel by name, an Assyrian bishop of noble origin, who had elsewhere devised letters of the alphabet for the Armenian language. And when this was related to them by the king about the writing from Daniel, they prompted the king to take care according to their needs. And by decree he sent someone, Vahrich by name, to an elderly man whose name they called Habel, who was an acquaintance of the Assyrian bishop Daniel.
There are two reciprocal pronouns, mimeans and irears, both meaning 'each other, one another'. mimeans is the more common pronoun. These are found only in the plural, and only in oblique cases. Their declensions are as follows.
Note the change ea > e in the accusative, locative, and instrumental forms.
Examples are ew hrazharets'ak' i mimeants' 'and we took leave of each other'; zi sirits'ék' zmimeans 'that you may love each other'; ein hakarrakk' irerats' 'they were opposites to each other'.
A collective suffix -k'ean, chiefly used with the numerals, is also used with the adjectives amen 'all' and bolor 'the entire' to form collective pronouns. These new pronouns, amenek'ean 'everyone, all the individuals' and bolorek'ean 'all together', have only plural forms.
|'everyone, all individuals'||'all together'|
|N Pl.||amenek'ean, amenek'in||bolorek'ean, bolorek'in|
|Ac||amenesean, amenesin||boloresean, boloresin|
|G||amenets'un, amenets'unts'||bolorets'un, bolorets'unts'|
|D||amenets'un, amenets'unts'||bolorets'un, bolorets'unts'|
|L||amenesean, amenesin||boloresean, boloresin|
|Ab||amenets'un, amenets'unts'||bolorets'un, bolorets'unts'|
The word iwrak'anch'iwr 'each individually' is used in a distributive sense both as an adjective and as a substantive. As a substantive it is usually followed by ok'. Examples are kalan ziwrak'anch'iwr ishxanut'iwn 'they held each one his own principality'; ew na iwrak'anch'iwr umek' i nots'ané dnér dzerrs 'and he placed hands on each one of them'.
The numbers mi 'one', erku 'two', erek' 'three', and ch'ork' 'four' are adjectives which are declined whether preceding or following the noun they modify. Of course mi occurs only in the singular and is sometimes used as the indefinite adjective 'a, an' when placed after the noun: ayr mi 'a man'. The numbers erku, erek, and ch'ork' occur only in the plural. Their declensions are as follows.
The numerals 5 through 10 remain uninflected in the N Ac L, and are usually only declined in the other cases when they follow the noun they qualify. Their declensions are as follows.
|G||hngits', hngats'||vets'its'||ewt'ants'||ut'its'||e'nnits', inunts'||tasants', tasin|
|D||hngits', hngats'||vets'its'||ewt'ants'||ut'its'||e'nnits', inunts'||tasants', tasin|
|Ab||hngits', hngats'||vets'its'||ewt'ants'||ut'its'||e'nnits', inunts'||tasants', tasin|
|I||hngiwk', kngawk'||vets'iwk'||ewt'ambk'||ut'iwk'||e'nniwk', inambk', innambk'||tasambk', tasamb|
All remaining numbers are typically not declined unless used as substantives, and if inflected, only in the G D Ab I. When declined, the numbers 11 through 16 follow the declension of hing, and 17 through 19 follow tasn -- that is, only tasn is inflected. The numbers 11 through 19 are listed below.
The tens, when declined, have have G D Ab Sg. -i, Pl. -its' and I Sg. -iw, Pl. -iwk'. After 20, the tens are formed by means of the suffix -sun. The tens are listed below.
The word hariwr 'one hundred' is the basis for the ensuing multiples of 100; 200, 300, ..., 900 are composites built from hariwr. When declined, these numbers have G D Ab Sg. -oy, Pl. -ots' and I Sg. -ov, Pl. -ovk'. The word hazar 'one thousand' follows the a-declension of invariable stem nouns, e.g. am, with G Sg. hazari and Pl. hazarats'. bewr 'ten thousand', also written biwr, follows the u-declension of invariable stem nouns, cf. tsov. Thus it has G Sg. biwroy, Pl. biwrots'. The hundreds and above are listed below,
When compound numbers are formed, the larger numbers are placed first and the last number joined after the conjunction ew, much as in English. For example,
When the cardinal number is inflected, the substantive which it modifies is inflected: z-eris awurs 'for three days'; i ch'orts' hol'mots' 'from the four winds'. When the cardinal number is uninflected, the substantive is often in the singular after the number: i veray tasn k'al'ak'i 'over ten cities'; but ewt'n kreshtakag'n 'to the seven angels'. When the cardinal number follows the substantive, the substantive is declined, the numeral may be or may not: arrak'elots'n erkotasants' 'of the twelve apostles' (both declined); luts's hing 'five yokes' (only substantive declined); ogis ewt'anasun ew hing 'seventy-five souls' (only substantive declined).
Note several numerals may slightly change form when in compounds. For example, erku 'two' gives erkotasan 'twelve' and erkeam (< erki + am) 'two-year period', erksayri 'double-edged'; erek' 'three' gives errapatik 'triple'; ch'ork' 'four' gives ch'orek'tasan 'fourteen', ch'orek'hariwr 'four hundred', ch'orek'kin 'quadruple'. Note also the element k'arr 'four' used in compounds, e.g. k'arrasun 'forty', k'araniwt' 'composed of the four elements'.
The ordinal arrajim 'first' is declined in the same manner as im 'my, mine':
The remaining ordinals are formed by means of the suffix -rord, for 2 through 4, or -erord, from 5 onward. This inflects as am, according to the a-declension of invariable stems. The first few ordinals are as follows.
The form arrajnord occurs as a substantive meaning 'leader'.
In forming ordinals from numbers containing ew, typically only the last numeral takes the ordinal suffix. This however is not a hard and fast rule, different authors even using different conventions for the same number:
Ordinals, when modifying nouns, obey the usual rules for adjectives discussed in the first lesson. Note however that at times a cardinal number is found where an ordinal might be expected.
Classical Armenian makes use of several suffixes to further shade the meaning of numerals.
The suffixes -k'ean and -k'in denote a collective use of numerals:
Sample declensions are as follows.
The suffix -eak, with genitive -eakats', is used to form abstract collectives, e.g. erreak 'trinity', tasneak 'decade', hariwreak 'the (entire) hundred'.
The suffixes -kin, -krkin, and -patik are used to form multiples of numerals: erek'kin 'threefold', hingkrkin 'five-fold', hariwrapatik 'hundred-fold'. Note erek'kin has G Sg. erek'ni or erek'noy, Pl. ereknats'. Such multiplicative forms may be found in verbs: erek'knem 'I repeat three times'.
The suffixes -its's and -(e)kin may be used as iteratives: erkits's 'twice', ewt'anasnekin 'seventy times'.
Distributive meaning is often conveyed through doubling of the numeral: mi mi 'one each'. The same effect, however, may also be gained by use of the collective forms: erkok'ean 'two each'.
Fractions are for the most part denoted by the ordinal, e.g. errord '(a) third'.
The question of quantity is specified through the use of the word k'an?i 'how much?, how many?': k'an?i nkanak unik' 'how many loaves have you?' The same word, k'ani, may be used in an exclamatory role: k'ani vardzkank' its'en i tan hawr imoy hats'alits'k' 'how many hired servants there are in my father's house sated with bread!'
There is a similar distinction made with the iterative adverb k'anits's. In an interrogative role it has the sense of 'how often?, how many times?': k'an?its's angam et'e mel'its'é indz el'bayr im, ew t'ol'its' nma 'how many times, if my brother sins against me, shall I forgive him?' When not used interrogatively, it may have the sense 'as often as': k'anits's angam et'e utits'ék' zhats's zays ew zbazhaks e'mpits'ék' 'as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup'.
Classical Armenian has one true participle. This is a past participle formed from the aorist stem by addition of the ending -eal. This is then declined according to the o-declension, e.g. N Ac Sg. asats'eal, G D Ab Sg. asats'eloy (from *-eal-oy), etc. For verbs whose presents are formed with simple -em or -im, the stem may lack the -ets' suffix of the aorist. When simple present stems are paired with root aorists, the participle is formed from the simple verbal root as expected. Examples are given below.
|grem 'I write'||grets'i||greal|
|bazmim 'I sit'||bazmets'ay||bazmeal|
|hayim 'I look'||hayets'ay||hayets'eal|
|koch'em 'I call'||koch'ets'i||koch'ets'eal, koch'eal|
|hanem 'I draw'||hani||haneal|
|nstim 'I sit down'||nstay||nsteal|
|t'ol'um 'I let'||t'ol'i||t'ol'eal|
Root aorists in -eay, built from original i-stems as in p'axeay 'I fled' < *p'axi-ay and sarteay 'I startled' < *sarti-ay, do not form participles from this stem. The participle is instead formed from the corresponding causative base: p'ax-uts'-eal 'having fled', from p'axuts'anem 'I put to flight, chase', supplies the participle for p'axch'im 'I flee'. Aorist stems in -u- are not defective in this manner, simply adding -eal to the stem: tu-eal 'given' from etu, aorist of tam 'I give'; erdu-eal 'having sworn' from erduay, aorist of erdnum 'I swear'.
The Classical Armenian participle is a past participle and makes no distinction between active or passive voice. For example asats'eal 'having spoken' or 'having been said'; merreal 'dead'; bereal 'having carried' or 'having been carried'. The participle may be inflected to function as an attributive or predicate adjective, e.g. ztueal hramans katarér 'he fulfilled the commands that had been given'. It may also be used as a substantive: asats'ealk' margaréin 'the sayings of the prophet, the prophet's words'; e'nkalay zgreals k'o 'I received your letter'.
The participle may also be used in periphrastic verbal constructions to denote completed actions. The tense of such constructions follows that of the auxiliary verb, present tense of the auxiliary yielding a perfect construction, imperfect auxiliary yielding a pluperfect. A future perfect is found with the subjunctive of em 'I am'. Some statements may omit the auxiliary altogether. In these constructions, the form of the participle remains unaltered, even in the plural. Examples are hramayeal é yAstuatsoy zi... 'it is commanded by God that...'; t'o'\eal lits'in mel'k' k'o 'may your sins be forgiven'; zhamanak im ch'ew é haseal 'my time has not yet come'; ... ur dpirk'n ew tserk' zhol'oveal ein '... where the scribes and elders had gathered'.
There is a noteworthy construction involving what is termed the genitive subject. The participle may be used in an impersonal construction, whereby the -eal from remains in the singular with a singular copula, and takes an accusative object. The subject, however, is placed in the genitive. For example, ekel'ets'in zor shineal ér metsin Grigori 'the church which Gregory the great had built'; ew zays o?ch' é e'nt'erts'eal dzer 'and have you not read this?'; arkeal ér nots'a urrkans i tsov 'they had thrown (their) nets into the lake'. Such expression seems to have arisen as a sort of possessive construct, with a phrase like nora (Gen.) é gortseal 'his is (the thing) done' > 'he has done' in parallel to nora (Gen.) é handerdz 'his is clothing' > 'he has clothing'.
The -eal participle may be used in conjunction with another finite verb where English might have two separate finite verbs, e.g. matuts'eal borot mi erkir paganér mna 'a leper approached and worshipped him'. The genitive subject is sometimes found in these constructions, even though it expresses the subject of both the participle and finite verb: t'ol'eal Yisusi zzhol'ovurdsn ekn i tun 'Jesus left the crowds and went to the house'; ew nots'a arreal zartsat'n ararin orpés usann 'and they took the money and did as they had been told'. The -eal participle may also be used alone as a main verb in historical narrative: zaysu zhamanakaw miabaneal Alank'... metsaw amboxiw taratseal e'nd ashxarhs mer 'about this time the Alans united... and in a great host spread over our land'.
There is only one infinitive in Classical Armenian, formed from the present stem by addition of the suffix -l. The infinitive functions as a substantive and declines according to the o-declension. It does not distinguish active and passive. The -l ending is preceded by the characteristic vowel of a verb's conjugation, except that both e- and i-conjugation verbs form the infinitive with e. For example:
|e||sirem||sirel, G sireloy|
|i||sirim||sirel, G sireloy|
|a||lam||lal, G laloy|
|u||hel'um||hel'ul, G hel'loy < *hel'u-loy|
|o||(gom)||(gol, G goloy)|
In post-classical times a mediopassive form in -il developed to distinguish verbs of the i-conjugation.
The infinitive is regularly used as a complement after certain verbs, such as kamim 'I wish to', unim 'I have to', tam 'I have (someone) do (something)', sksim 'I begin to', erknch'im 'I am afraid to', t'ol'um 'I allow to'. Certain expressions are also common with the infinitive, e.g. law é 'it is good to', arzhan é 'it is right to'. The infinitive may be used with verbs of motion to indicate purpose: gayr yaytnel zawetisn 'he came (in order) to reveal the news'. Result may be indicated by use of minch'ew with the infinitive: minch'ew zarmanal amenets'un 'so that everyone was amazed'. Used as a substantive, the infinitive may be found in any case: mis utel (N) och' en mel'k' 'eating meat is not a sin'; yarraj k'an zlineln (A) ashxarhi 'before the world came into being'; vasn imoy tanjeloy (G) i k'én 'because I am being tortured by you'; akn unein jrots'n yuzeloy (D) 'they were waiting for the movement of the waters'; i barrnal (L) térut'eann dzArtawanay, i spananel (L) zna Artashri 'when rule was taken from Artavan and when Artashir killed him'; gtak' zsa zi argeloyr i taloy (Ab) harks kayser 'we found him preventing the giving of tribute to Caesar'; zayd bans aselov (I) ew zmez t'shnamanes 'by saying these words you also insult us'.
The instrumental case of the infinitive is widely used, sometimes occuring where a participle might otherwise occur: awrinadré t'agaworn zink'n ew ztun iwr, skizbn arrnelov (I) i glxoyn iwrmé ew i t'agé 'the king set in order his own person and his house, beginning with himself and the crown'. The infinitive may be used in the instrumenal in an absolute sense; the logical subject in these contructions is expressed by a genitive: ekn Nersés i mej nots'a ew arar xal'al'ut'iwn, lselov nma t'agaworin ew naxararats'n 'Nerses came into their midst and made peace, the king and nobles obeying him'.
There are two verbal adjectives often termed 'participles' by grammarians. These are derived by means of the suffixes -lots' and -li. These are added to the same present stem from which the infinitive is derived, that is, to the present tense stem without the personal endings. Neither form makes a distinction between active and passive. The verbal adjective in -lots' is generally used as a predicate and does not occur in oblique cases. Often termed the future participle or participium necessitatis, the -lots' form often connotes futurity or necessity: sirelots' e 'he should love, he should be loved'; or galots'n e 'that which is to come, that which shall come'. The verbal adjective in -li, termed the participle of possibility, is used as a true adjective and may be found in any case. Its declension follows that of tel'i. Examples are sireli 'lovable, beloved', zarmanali 'admirable' from zarmanam 'I marvel', e'nt'errnli 'readable' < *-nu-li from e'nt'errnum 'I read'.
Consult also the section on Word Formation in Lesson 5 for other nominalized verbal derivatives.
There is one intensive suffix, -a-goyn, which may be added to adjectives to produce forms with comparative or superlative sense: imastnagoyn 'very wise' from imastun 'wise'; vol'agoyn 'sooner, very soon' from vol' 'soon'; baregoyn (< *bari-a-goyn) 'very good' from beri 'good'. Otherwise, there are no separate suffixes which serve to derive comparative or superlative forms from adjectives. There are, however, some common collocations used to indicate direct or indirect comparison.
The comparative degree may be indicated by constructions involving the adverbs aweli 'more', arrawel 'more', ews 'yet, still, even'. For example, ew ews ch'ar patarrumn lini 'and the split became even worse'; or siré zhayr kam zmayr arrawel k'an zis 'whoever loves his father or mother more than me'. The last example illustrates the use of k'an in the role 'than'. If the object of comparison is expressed through a noun, pronoun, or adjective, z- is prefixed to this elements as in the preceding example. The adverbs aweli or arrawel need not be present for k'an to fulfill this comparative role: ts'ankali é na k'an zoski 'it is more desirable than gold'. Note that the adjective need not take any special form: p'ok'r é zamenayn sermanis 'it is smaller than all seeds'. k'an may stand alone, without the prefix z-, as in the following: law é koyr ach'awk' k'an koyr mtawk' 'it is better to be blind with the eyes than blind with the mind'. k'an may mark the comparative of adverbs as well as adjectives: k'an amenays urek' arrawel yEp'esos pashtein zArtemis 'they (i.e. people) worshipped Artemis more in Ephesus than anywhere else'.
The superlative degree is often denoted through constructions involving amenayn 'all, every' or amenek'ean 'all individuals' (cf. the section on Collective Pronouns above). An example was given in the preceding paragraph which straddles the comparative and superlative: p'ok'r é zamenayn sermanis 'it is smaller than all seeds', giving the sense 'it is the smallest of all seeds'. Another example is or p'ok'rikn é dzamenesean i dzez 'whoever is the smallest among you all'. The notion of 'all', however, need not be expressed explicitly: gel'ets'ikd i kanays 'O you most beautiful among women!'
There are also special adjectival formations which elicit the sense of the superlative. The form amen-a- may be prefixed to an adjective: amenabari 'very good'; amenasurb 'most holy'. Reduplication, or iteration, is another common means of intensifying the force of an adjective. A linking vowel -a- often intercedes: bardzrabardz or bardzraberdz 'very high' from bardzr 'high'; mets mets or metsamets 'greatest' from mets 'big'. Some such collocations may be used as substantives: metsametsk' 'magnates, most important nobles'. Iteration may also intenstify adverbs: arag arag 'very fast'. See also the section on Word Formation in Lesson 5 for further details on iteration.
Comparison may also be made though employment of constuctions spanning entire clauses. Some of the more common among such constructions are listed below for reference.
Correlative Comparison: The separate clauses are generally correlated by orpés (zi)... aynpés 'just as... , so...', though the latter conjunction is often omitted. Examples are: orpés p'ap'agi el'jeru yal'bers jurts', aynpés p'ap'agi andzn im arr k'ez 'just as the deer yearns for the waters' springs, so my soul yearns for you'; orpés zi och' e'ntrets'in zAstuats unel i gitut'ean, natneats' znosa Astuats i mits anargut'ean 'as I did not care to hold God in esteem, so he betrayed them to a careless mind'; arar te'r, orpés asats'n Movsée 'the master did as Moses had said'.
Increasing Comparison: This heading here denotes statements of the form 'better that A should B, than that C should D', where the A-B clause as a whole is compared to the C-D clause. In such statements, k'an t'e fills the role of the English 'than that...'. Examples are law ér nma, t'e vém erkanak'ar kaxér zparanots'é nora..., k'an t'e gayt'agl'ets'uts'ané zmi ok'... 'it would be better if a millstone were placed round his neck than that he should offend someone'; mez law lits'i merranel k'an t'e e'st awréns ants'anits'em 'it would be better for us to die than that we transgress the laws.' When the 'that that...' clause is placed first, k'an may be found without t'e. In this situation, k'an has the sense of 'rather than that...': k'an znosa arkanér i gehen, zna... e'ndé?r och' arkanér... 'rather than that he throw them into Hell... why did he not throw...?'
Correlative Increasing Comparison: Under this heading fall constructions like the English 'the more... the merrier'. Such constructions in Classical Armenian are signalled by orch'ap'... aynch'ap' or orch'ap'... ews. For example, orch'ap' na patuirér nots'a, nok'a ews arrawel k'arozein 'the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed.'
Unreal Comparison: These are introduced by the conjunctions orpés zi, ibrew zi t'e, orpés t'e, ibrew t'e 'as if'; ibr och' et'e, ibrew och' et'e 'not as if'. The verbal mood in such clauses is variable, though the subjunctive is typical following orpés zi, orpés t'e, ibrew zi and the indicative is typical following the negative ibr och' et'e. The indicative is also found in clauses which are not negated, e.g. orpés t'e ég ok' inch' ér hiwl'n 'as if the matter were something female.' Other examples are orpés zi ayr mi arkanits'é sermanis dzerkir 'as if a man casts seed upon the earth'; ararin iwreants' dzerragorts ibrew zi t'e anerewoyt'n Astuats stut'eanb inch' pashtits'i 'they did their work as if the invisible God would be honored by falsehoods'; ibr och' et'e anawrén inch' ei Astutsoy, ayl... 'not as if I was lawless before God, rather...'.
Common words related to the expression of time are listed below:
Temporal expressions may be broken down into statements about the time at which (point) an event occurs, the time from which (origin), the time during which (expanse), and the time up to which (terminus). Each such expression is typically handled through a preposition with a corresponding nominal case. The most common are listed below.
Contemporaneous Action: Clauses denoting action simultaneous with the main clause are set off by the conjunction minch'. This may be reinforced by derr, written minch' derr or minch'derr, or by ew, written as minch'ew. Thus one finds minch'der ants'anér, etes ayr mi 'while he was passing he saw a man'. The particle derr may stand alone: ibrew bazmets'an ew derr utein 'when they had sat down and while they were still eating'.
The particles minch' and minch'ew may be used to express 'until': minch'ew gam es, mit dir e'nt'erts'uatsots' 'until I come, attend to the readings'. For the use of minch'ew to express result, see the section above on the infinitive.
Constructions with k'an are often used, such as ts'-or-k'an 'as long as'. For example, ts'ork'an units'in zp'esayn 'as long as they have the groom'.
Antecedent Action: Expression of actions preceding that of the main clause may employ minch' ch'ew, also written together as minch'ch'ew. Examples are minch' ch'ew bnaw ér inch' 'before anything at all existed'; minch'ch'ew hawu xawseal its'é, erits's urasts'es zis 'before the cock crows you will deny me thrice'.
The conjunction yarraj k'an may express 'before'. The infinitive is often employed instead of a finite verb. For example, yarraj k'an zlineln Abrahamu em es 'before Abraham came into being, I am'.
The conjunction ibrew may be used with the aorist indicative to express 'when' or 'after': ibrew tesin zna, erkir pagin nma 'when they saw him, they worshipped him'.
Future Action: The conjunctions ibrew and y-or-zham express 'when' or 'as' in a future sense: ibrew mtanits'ék' i k'al'ak'n, patahests'é dzez ayr mi 'when you enter the city, a man will meet you'; minch'ew ts'awrn ts'ayn dzorzham arbits' zna nor 'until that day when I shall drink it afresh'.