REQUEST for registration of variant subtag 'grabar'

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Sep 8 19:03:05 CEST 2006

[Poster's note:  I received this from JFC Morfin; the final paragraph
shows that it is intended for this list.  I have made very minor
corrections to the English prose parts.  It has been suggested that
Classical Armenian is sufficiently distinct from modern varieties to
warrant a separate 639-2 code element; I leave proposing that up to other
interested parties.  I am posting this proposal as a public service.]

1. Name of requester: JFC Morfin
2. E-mail address of requester: jefsey at
3. Record Requested:

    Type: variant
    Subtag: grabar
    Description: Classical written Armenian
    Prefix: hy
    Comments: Used for all Armenian writing, 5th-18th centuries

4. Intended meaning of the subtag:
         Specifies the written form of Classical Armenian,
         used for all purposes from the 5th century (the
         Armenian Bible) until the 18th century, and since
         then as the liturgical language of the Armenian
         Orthodox Church.

5. Reference to published description
   of the language (book or article):

	Dictionary of Grabar (Classical Armenian)
	by Ruben Ghazarian
	Language: Grabar
	Published by: Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, Lebanon, 2004
	Format: Hardcover, 1330 pages
	Dimensions (in inches): 8.75 x 5.5

6. Any other relevant information:

St. Mesrop Mashtots in 405 invented the Armenian alphabet. Classical
Armenian (Grabar) dates from the 5th - 12th centuries, and is still
employed as the scholarly and liturgical language, medieval Armenian
(12th - 17th centuries). Classical, medieval and modern Armenian use
the same alphabet, which originally had 36 letters but now has 39. There
are two main spoken dialects, Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian.

The Catholicos Sahak the Great and St. Mesrop, encouraged by King
Vramshapuh formed a school of translators who were sent to Edessa to
procure and translate Syrian and Greek copies of the scriptures and
other important works. Much of the literary activity of the 5th century,
the golden age (oskedar) of Armenian literature, was devoted to such
translations and original works. The formation of national bibliography
records is being dated to these times.

Since the 5th century thousands of manuscripts and printed materials have
been created all over the world by Armenian writers. The Matenadaran
is one of the oldest and richest book-depositories in the world. Its
collection of about 17,000 manuscripts includes almost all the areas of
ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences - history, geography,
grammar, philosophy, law, medicine, mathematics-cosmography, theory of
calendar, alchemy-chemistry, translations, literature, chronology art
history, miniature, music and theatre, as well as manuscripts in Arabic,
Persian, Greek, Syrian, Latin, Ethiopian, Indian, Japanese and others.

The Armenian Church fostered literature, and the principal early works
are religious or hagiographical, most of them translations. The first
major Armenian literary work is a 5th-century translation of the Bible;
its language became the standard of classical Armenian. Early Mesopotamian
influence resulted in Syriac translations (Aphraates and St. Ephraem
Syrus). Armenia then turned to the West for literary inspiration,
producing translations of many religious works (Athanasius, Basil the
Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, and John Chrysostom). Among
secular works are renderings of Aristotle and of the romance of
Alexander. The original writings of the Golden Age are confined to saints'
lives and histories. The 5th-century history of Moses of Khorni contains
practically all that is known of pre-Christian Armenia, its folklore and
epics. Later historians include Thomas Ardzruni (10th century), Matthew
of Edessa, who described the Crusades, and Stephanos Orbelian, who wrote
of the Mongol hordes (13th century). A tradition of nationalistic epic
poetry, influenced by Muslim forms, emerged; the best-known example is
David of Sassoun. The principal figure of the 12th century is Catholicos
Narses IV, a prelate and poet notable for his literary style.,39021313,12108812s,00.htm
ensemble d'outils (polices, pilote pour modifierle clavier, etc...)
pour naviguer, communiquer et écrire le grabar (arménien classique).
A set of tools (font, keyboard driver, etc.) to browse the Internet,
communicate and write Grabar (Classical Armenian) online since: 2004/04/18
20:00:00 , downloaded 922 times by 2006/09/07

Note: This registration is to be reviewed by the Language Subtags and
Extensions Reviewer, Moderator of the ietf-languages at mailing
list according to the RFC draft-ietf-ltru-registry-14.txt.

John Cowan   <cowan at>
    "Any legal document draws most of its meaning from context.  A telegram
    that says 'SELL HUNDRED THOUSAND SHARES IBM SHORT' (only 190 bits in
    5-bit Baudot code plus appropriate headers) is as good a legal document
    as any, even sans digital signature." --me

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list