Armenian Language Corner

Sometimes We Do Not Need to Invent Words

We all know that there are differences between colloquial and written language. Some things are more or less tolerable when speaking, but not when writing.

The problem with improper words, rather than their use in a conversation, is that their inaccurate usage may pass for accurate and become part of regular speech. We have already discussed the case of various words of Turkish/Arabic origin commonly used in conversation, which are “believed” to be Armenian. This time, we will discuss a parasite use of an Armenian suffix, -ութիւն (-ootioon).

This suffix is commonly used to make a noun out of an adjective, as in angakh (անկախ, “independent”) / angakhootioon (անկախութիւն, “independence”), or a new noun from another noun, as in kir (գիր, “letter”) / krootioon (գրութիւն, “writing”). But sometimes, people tend to overkill their knowledge, especially those who are fluent in the Armenian language. This is how we come across the use of ootioon to create useless and wrong nouns, because they actually mean the same as the original. For instance, we hear people saying:

  • Ես ջուրի պէտքութիւն ունիմ (Yes choori bedkootioon oonim, “I need water”)
  • Այդ խօսքերը նախանձութեան արդիւնք են (Ayt khoskere nakhantsootian artioonk en, “Those words are the result of envy”
  • Մենք հիւրութեան գացինք (Menk hioorootian katsink, “We went as guests”).

The abovementioned sentences would be perfectly right if the words bedk (պէտք “need”), nakhants (նախանձ “envy”), and hioor (հիւր “guest”) were used, instead of the words bedkootioon, nakhantsootioon, and hioorootioon, which simply do not exist in Armenian.

If you avoid the use of these and other artificial words finished in ootioon that have no right to exist (if you are in doubt, open a reliable dictionary), at least you will give one less reason to those who are fond to say that Armenian words are too long. We do not need to pile up by inventing words.