SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Languages of the Near & Middle East at SOAS: Armenian

Armenian belongs to the Indo-European family of languages as does Persian, with which it is in geographical contact and by which it has been greatly influenced throughout its history. Unlike Persian, Armenian is not an Indo-Iranian language but belongs to a branch of its own which nevertheless shares a number of structural characteristics with Greek. Long under foreign dominion by Greeks, Persians, Turks and Russians, Armenian managed to survive and to flourish, boasting a unique and distinctive literature dating back to around 400 AD. Modern Armenian can properly be divided into two dialects: Eastern, which is the language of the Republic of Armenia, and Western, the language of Armenians in diaspora. Whilst these dialects show a number of differences in vocabulary, phonology and grammar, they are written in the same alphabet, devised by Mesrop Mashtots at the end of the 5th century AD. The number of speakers of Armenian is in the order of nine million worldwide.

If you would like to learn Armenian, contact Dr Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev ( in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East.

Degree Programmes

Degree Course Options

  • Elementary Western Armenian
  • Elementary Western Armenian (Postgraduate)
  • Intermediate Western Armenian (Postgraduate)

Language Centre

  • Armenian Language Courses

Other Resources

  • Gulbenkian Scholarships in Armenian Studies

Please Note: Not all courses and programmes are available every year