Armenian Language Corner

Don’t Mess With… “With”

How do you cut a melon? Whether in English or in Armenian, you cut it with a knife, of course.
Let’s clarify that “with” is a preposition in English, while its Armenian counterpart hետ (hed) is a postposition, which means that it is used at the end of the sentence.
In English, you employ “with” to indicate various things: being together or involved; belonging; use; feeling; agreement or understanding. However, in Armenian, you only employ hed to indicate being together or involved, and agreement or understanding:
1)      Being together: Ես հոն գացի ամուսինիս հետ (Yes hon katsee amooseenees hed) “I went there with my husband”
2)      Agreement: Ես համաձայն եմ ձեզի հետ (Yes hamatzayn em tsezi hed) “I agree with you”
In all other cases, Armenian declension rules apply. Let’s remember that Armenian nouns are declined; for instance, in the first sentence, we find amooseenees, formed by the combination of the genitive declension of the noun amooseen (ամուսին “husband”), amooseenee, and the possessive s (ս). Conversely, English does not have declension, and it uses the construction “with my husband” (preposition + possessive + noun) to say what Armenian expresses with a single word.
Therefore, in the other three cases, when we want to indicate belonging, use, or feeling in Armenian, we never use the postposition hed, but the instrumental declension ով (ov):
1)      Belonging: Կապոյտ աչքերով աղջիկ մը (Gabooyd achkerov aghcheeg muh “A girl with blue eyes”)
2)      Use: Սեխը դանակով կտրեցի (Sekhuh tanagov gudretsee “I cut the melon with a knife”)
3)      Feeling: Ջերմ համբոյրներով (Cherm hampooyrnerov “With warm kisses”)
Otherwise, if you said, for instance, « Սեխը դանակ ին հետ կտրեցի » ( Sekhuh tanagin hed   gudretsee ), this would be nothing but English disguised in an Armenian cloak, or, in other words, a bad translation from English.