Armenian Language Corner

Come and Feel

The Armenian verb գալ (kal “to come”) is a word as dynamic as its English counterpart. One of the main dictionaries of the Armenian language, Eduard Aghayan’s Explanatory Dictionary of Modern Armenian (Արդի հայերէնի բացատրական բառարան, Yerevan, 1976), offers 33 entries for this word.

You have, of course, a gallery of compound words derived from kal, of which we are going to give two examples:

պարագայ (baraka “circumstance, case”), composed by պար (bar “around”) and գայ (ka, from kal), with the connective ա (a).

ապագայ (abaka “future”), which means “what comes after” (ապա/aba “after, later” and ka).

Moreover, because kal is an irregular verb, you have several words unrelated to the concept of “coming,” but nevertheless derived from kal, more exactly from the root of its imperative form, եկուր (yegoor) (singular) and եկէք (yegek) (plural).  Here is an incomplete list:

եկամուտ (yegamood): “income.” As you may notice, both Armenian and English words have been composed in a similar way. English in-come means “what is coming in” and Armenian yeg-a-mood indicates something that “comes” (yeg) and “enters” (mood, the root of the verb մտնել/mudnel).

զեկոյց (zegooyts): “communication, report.” Here we find the prefix z again, but because it is followed by a vowel, we pronounce as it is: z-eg-ooyts (ooyts is a suffix, as in the word զրոյց/zurooyts “chat”).

իրազեկ (irazeg): “informed.”

The meaning of another verb, զգալ (uzkal “to feel”), seems unrelated at first sight. What relation can you find between “to come” and “to feel”? It comes out that you can find it.

The verb uzkal is derived from kal, with help from the quite common Classical Armenian prefix զ (z).
Thus, kal > uz-kal (it is pronounced with a schwa, because it is followed by a consonant). Don’t you feel what comes to you? Yes, you do. Words have mysterious connections.