08 January 2016, 16:48
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Eternal Alphabet: Ə (ət‘) - Ը (ըթ)

The numerical value of Ը is 8. In Christianity, this number implies renewal, revival, beginning of a new life. On the eighth day Noah and his family went out of the ark, on the eighth day circumcision was made, the Christ rose from the dead on the eighth day after he came to Jerusalem. In the alphabetic acrostic written by Mashtots, letter Ը stands for the word Ըստհուն (Wise), for “the Lord gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding” (Proverb 2:6).

Unlike the first seven letters, Ը does not have any letter equivalent either in Russian or even in the languages of the nations that used to be the neighbors of the Armenians in the ancient times – the Greeks and the Syrians. Since he did not find any analog of letter Ը in other alphabets, Mashtots assumed as the basis the Armenian letter Է [e] and lifted its middle brace. About fifteen centuries later, when the European linguists were devising a sign for the phoneme similar to Ը, they did just the same as Mashtots.

 

 

They used the pattern of the Latin e [e] and overturned it. In the result of this metamorphosis, the symbol ə was created and is still used in the international phonetic system. Pronunciation of Ը might be a matter of some difficulty for native speaker of a language, which does not have its letter equivalent. When transliterating the Armenian language by the Cyrillic or the Latin alphabet in the internet, the "at" sign – @ – is most often used for Ը. Unlike the exotic ə, @ is available on any keyboard. Besides, many Armenian users are of the opinion that there is remote likeness between @ and Ը.

 

 

 

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