‘Today’ by Lola Koundakjian – transliterated!

We’ve teamed up with Modern Poetry in Translation to challenge young poets to translate the poem ‘Today’ by the Armenian poet Lola Koundakjian into English! How? Foyle Young Poet Adham Smart has provided us with a bridge translation, and below he has transliterated the poem to help you get a feel for the sound of it. Find out more about the challenge here.

Below I’ve transliterated the poem so you can get a feeling for the sounds of Western Armenian. You can learn more about the alphabet here. This is a Western Armenian poem; in Eastern Armenian some of the letters have different values, and you can read more about that on the same page. Here are some notes to help you read the transliteration:

ay – as in tiger
ch – as in church, not as in shoe
dz – always pronounced together as in lads
e – as in vet
ë – as in the
g – always as in garden, never as in gem
gh – as in the French pronunciation of Paris
i – as in feet
kh – as in loch
ou – as in cool
r – always pronounced, never silent
ts – always pronounced together as in cats

Stress is almost always on the last syllable (unless the last vowel is ë, in which case it’s on the syllable before, e.g. aysOR, yerevagaYEL, kertëvadzNER, but shouKERë).


Aysor kordzës e tankaran yertal;
Parevel hon abrogh kouynerë,
louyserën ou shoukerë:
mornal antsyalë ou
yerevagayel abakan.

Aysor kordzës e kirk gartal;
verhishel aroryan, gyankë ou hasarag martë:
kërel kertëvadzner ou
ësdeghdzel nor kaghaparner.

Aysor kordzës e nergel;
chapel ou gisel toughti echerë
gadarel vërtsinin menabarë,
nakhkan chourin hed sirapanoutyounë.

Inknanëgar më:
            veratsagan badger më:
                       timag më:

Aysor kordzës e ësdeghdzel.


Read the original poem and the bridge translation here – and try your hand at translating this poem! The deadline for entries is midnight, 25 August 2019, and the first-prize translation will be published in Modern Poetry in Translation.

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