A majority of the population of the ethnically homogeneous nation of Armenia speak Armenian as the first language. It is also the nation’s official language. Russian, introduced during the Russian rule in Armenia, is also widely spoken across the country. English is gaining popularity as a foreign language in Armenia. Yazidi, Assyrian, Greek, and Russian are spoken by the respective minority communities of the country.
The Most Popular And Official Language Of Armenia
Armenian is the most popular language of Armenia. According to the Constitution of Armenia, Armenian is also the official language of Armenia. The language is used as a medium of instruction in schools across the country. It is also widely used by the government and media of the country.
Foreign Languages Spoken In Armenia
In the early 19th century, the Russian Empire annexed Armenia and since then, the popularity of the Russian language grew in the country. In the early 20th century, only about 3 to 4% of the Armenian population could speak this language. However, the Communist rule of the Soviet Union further enforced the use of Russian in government, administration, and education which soon increased the percentage of Russian speakers in Armenia manyfold. The language attained the statute of a second mother tongue of the country during this time.
After Armenia became independent in 1991, Russian started to lose its importance and status in the country quite steadily. It began to be treated as a foreign language and instead, the use of Armenian in every sphere of life, education, government, and media was promoted. Currently, Russian is still widely spoken in the country. According to a report, nearly 70% of the Armenian population have basic knowledge of Russian. As per the 2011 Census, 0.8% of Armenians speak Russian as the first language but 52.7% speak it as a second language. Russian language newspapers and television channels are also popular in the nation.
About 40% of the population of Armenia have basic knowledge of English. However, only 4% have advanced knowledge of the language compared to 24% of the population having an advanced knowledge of Russian. The use of English became popular since the independence of Armenia in 1991. Education in English was promoted and well accepted by the Armenian population. According to a poll, 50% of Armenians support the teaching of English in public secondary schools. As of 2011, only 3.6% of the Armenian population speak English as a second language. However, the figure is expected to rise in the future.
Other Foreign Languages Spoken In Armenia
- French as second language (10,106 speakers including 10,056 ethnic Armenians)
- German as second language (6,342 speakers including 6,210 ethnic Armenians)
- Persian as second language (4,396 speakers including 4,352 ethnic Armenians)
- Other foreign languages as second language (29,430 speakers including 25,899 ethnic Armenians)
Minority Languages Of Armenia
As per the 2011 census, Yezidi Kurdish is spoken as the first language by 33,509 citizens of Armenia. Among them, 32,688 identified as ethnic Kurds while the rest were non-Kurds including 777 ethnic Armenians.
Russian is not only spoken as a foreign second language in Armenia but also serves as the mother tongue of the minority Russian community residing in the country. As of 2011, 10,472 ethnic Russians in Armenia speak Russian as the first language. 13,012 non-Russians in Armenia also speak the language as a first language of which 11,859 people are ethnic Armenians.
As of 2011, 733 people in Armenia speak Ukrainian as their first language. This includes 606 ethnic Ukrainians and 127 non-Ukrainians (including 106 ethnic Armenians)
Greek is also one of minority languages spoken in Armenia. There are very few speakers of Greek in Armenia. Also, many of the members of the small Greek community in the country speak Russian as their first language. However, a small percentage of the older generation are known to speak Pontic Greek.
According to the 2011 census reports, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is spoken by 2,402 people as a first language including 2,265 ethnic Assyrians and 125 ethnic Armenians.