Armenian is spoken by some 96% of the population. Armenian belongs to an independent branch of the Indo-European linguistic family. It is a highly inflective language, with a complicated system of declensions. It is agglutinative, rich in consonants, and has no grammatical gender. The vocabulary includes many Persian loan words. There are two main dialects: East Armenian, the official language of Armenia, and West, or Turkish, Armenian. The alphabet, patterned after Persian and Greek letters, has 38 characters. Armenian literature dates from the early 5th century AD . Russian is spoken by 2% of the population; other various languages are spoken by the remaining 2%.