In the Ottoman Empire, both Turks and Armenians shared common social and cultural domains, but are there any loanwords in either language from either side - i.e. Turkish loanwords in Armenian or Armenian loanwords in Turkish?

E.g. Dutch and Spanish people also have been sharing common social and cultural domain, but there are almost no loanwords from Spanish language in Dutch.

What is the sociolinguistic situation in modern Turkish and Armenian, bearing in mind the fact that both nations have this page in the book of human history?

Are there any loanwords now?

  • To the assumption in your question about the context: English, German, Persian, Russian, French, Arabic and so on have all been associated with empires famous for brutalities, nevertheless words from those languages are widely used in the neighbouring societies. Dec 20, 2016 at 19:07

6 Answers 6


The English Wiktionary is a pretty decent source for this kind of thing, at least to get you started.

There are all kinds of etymology categories of which these are relevant to your question:

(Bonus: Spanish terms derived from Dutch ... Dutch terms derived from Spanish)


You probably want to check out the book Armenian loanwords in Turkish by Robert Dankoff.

He lists azap 'torment', deri 'leather' and zekrek etc. as examples of Armenian words in Turkish.

  • عذاب "torment" is Arabic.
    – fdb
    Dec 21, 2016 at 1:17

Yes, there are a great many, especially in spoken language and in regional and archaic dialects. On average, there are more Turkish terms in spoken Armenian than Armenian in Turkish, and many many more that came from Persian into both Armenian and Turkish and many other languages, including English. Quite simply, Persian and Turkish were regional lingue franche in recent history.

The Armenian words in Oghuz Turkish are mostly for native plants and foods, especially in certain regions, and for technologies, for example in weaving, construction, architecture. There are also a few Armenian words that entered Turkic languages long ago via the Silk Road, (for example, the word for example), and words from other Turkic languages that entered Armenian from the North.

On the other hand, literary Armenian - since the year 405 CE - has essentially no Turkisms, beyond those for specific cultural concepts like English has (dolma, pasha) - keeping in mind that divan, sultan and so on are actually from Persian and Arabic. The exception would be a few words like տաւար (cattle). Interestingly, many Armenian family names have Turkic components too, especially those based on professions (basturmaci, saatci, demirci).

There are also words like zağar (hound) that are common to the region but of unknown origin. (Some of the ancient Anatolian words even made it into English, for example chestnut and cherry.)

As an aside, an Armenian was the father of the Turkish Language Association, which created modern literary Turkish and was responsible for cleansing it of many non-Turkic words, and an Armenian compiled the index of Turkish toponymic etymologies and a leading Turkish etymological dictionary.


How about the word Lahmacun? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahmacun As far as I can tell, the word most likely went from Arabic to Turkish to Armenian.

I first encountered this dish in Istanbul. Later I ordered some in an Armenian restaurant in the West, and the waiter was loath to admit that the word might be Turkish.

  • Why do you think that? It's from Semitic, Aramaic actually. The nexus of that dish is from the traditionally Assyrian (Aramaic-speaking) areas like Antep and Urfa, with which Armenian had direct contact for a few thousand years. Hence the waiter's very reasonable hesitation. Dec 19, 2016 at 17:25
  • @A.M.Bittlingmayer. Are you sure about this? laḥm with the meaning “meat” is Arabic, while Aramaic laḥmā is “bread”. This is an important lexical shibboleth.
    – fdb
    Dec 19, 2016 at 20:36
  • @fdb Good question. It does not change my point and I have no strong opinion about it (and do not know Aramaic). Same language family and they both influenced and borrowed from each other significantly (as we are speaking about Levantine dialect). Dec 19, 2016 at 20:59

One example is that the famous Armenian Duduk, is a pure turkish word.


Duduk is from Persian Tutak, so it is nowhere near a "pure Turkish word". Some people should research before commenting nonsense. Also Armenians say Tsiranapogh, which means "Apricot wood flute", while Tutak doesn't even mean flute. Second false information: There are not more Turkish words in Armenian, but rather more Armenian words in Turkish, why? Simple, most loanwords in Armenian that are attributed to Turkish, actually entered from Persian into Armenian, but because turkish itself to 90% consists of Iranian and Arabic words it is hard to distinguish.

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