Armenian Language Corner

Don’t Sleep Back, Sleep Again!

When you return, you are going back to the place you had been before. However, you are also going again to that same place. Nevertheless, you clearly make a difference between “going back” and “going again,” don’t you? If you forgot something at home, you will say, “I’ll go back home,” but not “I’ll go home again.”

Some speakers tend to make that confusion between “back” and “again” when they speak in Armenian. They use the same word for both cases: yed (ետ).

For instance, in the situation that you forgot something, you will say: Yed doon bidi yertam (Ետ տուն պիտի երթամ, “I’ll go back home”). Why? The reason is that you are making a movement of return, as indicated by the word yed “back” (the root of the word yedev / ետեւ “behind, back”).

When someone wakes you up with a phone call on a Sunday morning, perhaps you will try to go back to sleep. If this is what you want to say, the right thing would be: Yed bidi yertam knanalu (Ետ պիտի երթամ քնանալու “I’ll go back to sleep”). However, it is wrong to say Yed bidi knanam (Ետ պիտի քնանամ). The reason is that it translates “I’ll sleep back.” When you want to say “I’ll sleep again,” the right thing to say is: Noren bidi knanam (Նորէն պիտի քնանամ). The words noren and its synonym tartsyal (դարձեալ) mean “again.”