Someone may approach you anywhere in the world and ask: «Կրնա՞մ սուրճ մը ունենալ» (Gurnam soorj muh oonenal?). Even if you do not recognize his or her accent, be sure that the person is bringing the English flavor to her Armenian speech: a literal translation of “May I have a coffee?”
Two words may have the same meaning in both Armenian and English. It does not mean that you can apply a given Armenian word (or vice versa) for all the meanings of the same word in English.
Oonenal is such a case. If Martin Luther King Jr. had spoken his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Armenian, he would have started: «Երազ մը ունիմ» (Yeraz me oonim). The reason is that in both languages you can have a dream, a pen, a house, or a child when you own them.
When you intend to get something which is not yours, you ask: “May I have a pencil?” This is true, but only for the English language. You cannot be own (e.g. oonenal) something that it is not yours. Since you need to get it first, the proper way to ask for a pencil in Armenian would be: “Կրնա՞մ մատիտ մը առնել» (Gurnam madid muh arnel?). The word arnel (“to take”) here means “to get.”
In the same way, you do not “have” coffee with someone: in Armenian, you “get” (arnel) it. The following example is from Antranig Dzarugian’s memoir, Ethereal Aleppo (Երազային Հալէպ), a source very fitting in these days of disarray for Syrian Armenians:
«Ամառուան արձակուրդն է, դպրոցները փակ։ Անակնկալօրէն Միհրան էֆէնտին մեր տունը կու գայ, Նոր Գիւղ, սուրճ մը առնելու» (Amarvan artzagoortn eh, tbrotsnereh pag. Anagngaloren Mihran efendeen mer doonuh goo kah, Nor Kugh, soorj me arneloo)։
“It is the summer vacation, the schools are closed. All of a sudden, Mihran Efendi comes to our home, in Nor Kugh, to have a coffee.”
If Mihran Efendi had gone to “have something to eat,” of course Dzarugian would not have said «կերակուր ունենալու» (geragoor oonenaloo), but, simply, «կերակուր ուտելու» (geragoor oodeloo). Because, when you are “having your meal”, you say: «Ես կերակուր կ՚ուտեմ» (Yes geragoor g’oodem), but never ever… «Ես կերակուր կ՚ունենամ» (Yes geragoor g’oonenam).
Sometimes, you just need to think differently.