Only one of the dipthongoinds that has undergone y diachronic and achronic examination in the current article – ւո (ṷo), has so far been distinguished in Armenian Studies as a diphthong (a diachronic aspect). The others – ւա (ṷa), ւե (ṷe), ւէ (ṷē), ւի (ṷi), յա (i̭ a), յե (i̭ e), յի (i̭ i), յո (i̭ o), have been identified and investigated as diphthongs for the first time.

Considering the linguistic ambiance where each diphthong expresses itself, i.e. the word or the morpheme within which the given diphthong functions, as well as the native or borrowed nature of the given unit and its simple or compound structure, an attempt has been made to reveal the prototype of the given diphthong and the approximate time of its formation.

Further examination reveals that seven of the diphthongs ւա (ṷa), ւե (ṷe), ւո (ṷo), յա (i̭ a), յե (i̭ e), յի (i̭ i), յո (i̭ o) have their IE prototypes, i.e. derive from the IE base-language, hence, are native Armenian structures.

However, their prototypes are not diphthongs as expected. Rather, they are combinations of vowels, sonorants and consonants whose regular phonetic changes have resulted in the formation of diphthongs in Armenian.

Two other diphthongs – ւէ (ṷē)-ն and ւի (ṷi) have developed under the strong influence of Iranian borrowings since they are encountered only among Iranian borrowings and are the result of phonetic changes typical of shifts from Iranian languages into Armenian. The diphthongs deriving from the IE base-language, most probably, were developed in the stage of Proto Armenian, when Armenian started to develop as a separate and independent language following the break-away from the IE language. The diphthongs encountered among Iranian borrowings could develop not earlier than in the middle of the first millennium BC, since, according to historical records, mass and direct interaction of the Armenian ethnic people with the ancient Iranian peoples started at that time.


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