A Linguist specialized in comparatvie studies, PhD, Leiden University. In 1991 Martirosyan graduated from the Faculty of Philology of the Vanadzor Pedagogi­cal University (Armenia). In 2008 he re­ceived a PhD from Leiden University. A reviewed and enhanced version of his dissertation was later on published in the form of “Etymological Dictionary of the Armenian Inherited Lexicon” (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2010). Martirosyan’s acade-mic interests cover the history of the Ar­menian language beginning from its In­do-European sources to the dialects and the modern language. Martirosyan is the author of a number of articles, as well as online publications on the history of the Armenian language, dialects, etymolog­ical issues, etc. He has presented papers at international conferences, conduct­ed courses, lectures and workshops in Leiden, Michigan, Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne, Pavia, Moscow, Armenia, etc.


The Armenian lexicon comprises three major layers:
1) Native Armenian words, that is: words of Indo-European heritage (5th-4th millen­nia BC) or words composed on Armenian grounds;
2) late Indo-European and Mediterranean/ European substrate: (3rd-2nd millennia BC);
3) loan-words from neighbouring languag­es, such as Caucasian, Anatolian, Hurrian, Urartian, Semitic and especially Iranian: (2nd-1st millennia BC to present).
The first two layers belong to prehistoric times, whereas the third belongs to the most recent period and is partially eluci­dated by historical records. This paper aims to etymologize three Armenian words for musical instruments that belong to various layers of the Armenian lexicon.
Samples to be discussed:

  1. knt-nt-ocʻ, knt-knt-ocʻ, ktnt-ocʻ ‘plec­trum’ (Philo, Gregory of Nyssa, Anania, Vardan Arewelcʻi, etc.), in Modern Ar­menian: kntntocʻ ‘a violin bow’ (HAB 2: 611a). I propose to reconstruct an old onomatopoeic root *gud-/*gund- ‘to knock, grumble; to play a musical instrument (with a plectrum)’.
  2. ǰnar, a-stem ‘lyre, cithara’ (Movsēs Xorenacʻi, Severian of Gabala, etc.). I propose to treat Arm. ǰnar, a– stem ‘lyre’ and Hattic zinar- as a Mediter­ranean-Pontic cultural loan from a theoretical *ghindhara- (> *ghinnara-), which might be interpreted as a prenasalized form of another desig­nation of ‘lyre’, namely Gr. κιθάρα, ρη, Hom. κίθαρις f. ‘lyre’.
  3. sruil ‘a musical instrument’ (attested in Ephrem Asori). I propose to inter­pret this word as composed of the Iranian word for ‘horn’ (cf. Av. sruuā- , acc.du. *sruu̯ai ‘horn, nail’, according to some scholars: sruuī, an athemat­ic dual; ManMPers. srūy [srwy] ‘horn’) and the suffix -il (for which cf., e.g., Arm. tawił ‘harp’).