AYF Internship: The Non-Armenian Speaker’s Guide to Armenia

AYF Internship: The Non-Armenian Speaker’s Guide to Armenia

By U. Arev Dinkjian

In comparison to the other AYF interns, my Armenian is extremely limited. But during my two-month stay in the motherland, I’ve come to learn that it’s more than possible to get by with only a few words and phrases. They are as follows:

  • Barev—It simply means “hello.” No matter who you see or where you go, Armenians are eager to greet you and to make you feel welcome. Be sure to smile.
  • Kani eh?—“How much is it?” You’re going to want to buy a lot of things…trust me.
  • Genats—“Cheers!” Whether you’re at a fancy dinner, a birthday party, or just getting a sip from the water fountain, every drink in Armenia is an excuse to make a toast. There is always a reason to celebrate in Armenia, so cheers to that.
  • Ha—“Yes.” Ha, I want more food. Ha, I am American. Ha, I love it here.
  • Che—“No.” Che, I’m not married. Che, I don’t want to marry your son, but thank you for offering.
  • Café Glasse—Okay, so maybe this one isn’t native to Armenia, but there is nothing more delicious than chilled instant coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You’re going to love it, so the least you can do is order it by name.
  • Shad—“Very/a lot.” Nothing about Armenia is bland. Everything from the colors of the landscapes to the spices infused into the food is incredibly vibrant and powerful. Everything is just…well, shad! Shad beautiful, shad delicious, shad hot, shad fun, shad sad to leave.
  • Merci—Although this too is not an Armenian word, it’s used much more frequently than the formal “shnoragaloutyoun.” In Armenia, there is so much to be thankful for—food, friends, food, experiences, life. So be sure to say your thanks.
  • Sedesoutyoun—It’s less of a goodbye and more of an “I’ll see you.” Sedesoutyoun, Armenia.

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