spoken by nearly 6 million people in Armenia
, and France
), and the United States
, constituting a branch
of the Indo-European family
Invaders from the north introduced Armenian into Transcaucasia, probably in the latter part of the 2nd millennium BC. The invaders occupied the eastern region of Anatolia near the shores of Lake Van, which is now in Turkey. By the 7th century BC, the language replaced the native languages there.
The Armenian language began to be written down in the early 5th century AD and an alphabet of 36 characters was invented. The same alphabet is still used by Armenians throughout the world, with the addition of two letters.
Two varieties of the Armenian language now prevail. East Armenian is now the official language of Armenia and is based on the dialect spoken around Mount Ararat and the Armenian city of Yerevan. West Armenian has its foundation in the dialect spoken around Istanbul. The differences between these two written forms of Modern Armenian are slight and do not constitute any barrier to mutual intelligibility.