ISSN 1829-4618

BIAINIAN (URARTIAN)-ARMENIAN (The issue of linguistic identity)

By: Ayvazyan S. R., Researcher in Linguistics

The first inscriptions of the Ararat (Urartu) Kingdom were written in Assyrian; later, following Išpuuine I, mostly only in Biainian (Urartian). Unfortunately, there are very few bilingual inscriptions. In fact, to date, only two of them , which are in a damaged condition and one other, so-called quasi-bilingual inscription, partly in Assyrian and partly in Biainian, are known to us. Texts written in Biainian have reached us through the Biainian (Vannic) cuneiform inscriptions (hereafter: Biainian inscriptions) , which date to the second half of the 9th-7th centuries BC.
Researching linguistic data we come to the following core conclusions: 1) In its volume and linguistic value, the Armenian constituent represents the base of Biainian and it cannot be the result of borrowings and interactions. 2) At the same time, the position between Biainian and Classical Armenian is not clear. Most likely, the differences between them are conditioned not only by the temporal factor (Biainian cuneiform texts are 1000-1300 years older than early CArm. texts), but also by the dialect factor. 3) A certain stratum of Hurrian exists both in the Biainian lexicon and some grammatical elements which, nevertheless, concedes both quantitatively and qualitatively to the Armenian language. Most of these commonalities, many of which have IE origin, are also present in Armenian. Taking all these facts into considera¬tion, although it cannot be ruled out, it is less likely that Biainian (Urartian) and Hurrian are cognate. It is more plausible, that commonalities between Hurrian and Biainian are the result of interactions and the distant relationship of these two languages. It is also not excluded that, to some extent, they have an areal nature. A compre¬hen¬sive research of Hurrian-Armenian linguistic commonalities are not few and not limited only to word roots, would be useful for the clarification of this issue.

pdf (0.24 MB)