Vardan Z. Petrosyan
Key Words ռ Pre-Armenian, liquid sonorant, Velar sound, fricative sound, sub-phoneme.
The ղ(ł) and լ(l) sonorants of Old Armenian were the main speech variations of the pre-Armenian sonorant phoneme <*l> and were in a sub-phoneme relation with each other. In the 5th century, at the initial stage of Classical Armenian, ղ(ł)-լ(l) contrast appearse specially at theending position of the word. It had a function of semantic distinction (phonological). However, innative Armenian it was excluded for ղ(ł) toappear at the beginning of aword. This means that here, in this position, they were in an additional relation of distribution (sub-phonological). Most apparently, the phonemicization of ղ(ł) as a velar sound is ther esult of divergent developments.