The Armenian language is a crucial part of the Armenian culture. With its unique alphabet and exposed position among the Indo-European languages it reminds Armenian people of their great legacy from past times and their outstanding position in Caucasian and Western Asian history.
There are always some things that confuse you when getting in touch with new cultures, languages, people and so on. Now being for more than one month in Armenia, I have already learned some basic words and sentences in Armenian language. But I really need to tell you about the language issues that confuse me and make me laughing at the same time.
I started to learn Russian language four years ago. And I already was confused when I learned that the Russian “I” is “ja” (German: “ich”). Because the word “Ja” means in German language “yes”. But when a Russian speaker says “yes”, he will say “da”. And “da” in German just means “there”. And now learning Armenian language the confusion got even bigger.
Do you still remember what in Russian is “I”? Yes, “ja”. And what do Armenians now say to “I”? Of course: “yes”! Confused? If not, great! You should start learn Armenian immediately ;-) And I am sure you are curious to know what in Armenian is “yes”. It is: “ayo” or “ha”. I am not sure if “ayo” has any meaning in one of the other three languages. But “ha” in German is just an expression that could be interrogative or contemptuous (depending on context and pronunciation). Thus it is somehow funny listening people phoning and saying the whole time “ha”.
But such examples just show us that language is an arbitrary thing and there are just a few natural relations between our language and what really exists around us.
There are the same basic rules for learning Armenian as for all other languages. First: Go to Armenia and learn by speaking! If Armenia should not be among your next destinations, you can try to get acquainted with an Armenian and learn from him or her. You can not find any Armenian? (Actually not possible, because according to serious sources they live all over the world!) Then you should use the advantages of the World Wide Web...
The US Peace Corps Armenia sends many volunteers to Armenia. And the preparation for the two years lasting service includes also Armenian language classes. Here you can find working sheets corresponding to the below Youtube videos. In my eyes these exercises and videos are very well made and they make it really much easier to learn Armenian language.