YEREVAN — On July 29, the RA Ministry of Diaspora and the Hrachya Atcharyan Language Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (NAS RA) launched the conference on “Issues of Convergence between Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian” at the sessions hall of the NAS RA. The conference will continue on July 30.
RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan gave opening remarks in which she greeted the participants and particularly said the following: “I am certain that this conference devoted to the two ramifications of the Armenian language will contribute to the common use, development, preservation, regulation of and scientific research on our language, the preservation of its purity, the implementation of initiatives devoted to the teaching of Armenian and will help set forth and implement objectives.
The losses that our language suffered are some of the severe damages caused by the Armenian Genocide, and we have a lot of work to do in order to recover those losses.
Dozens of Western Armenian dialects were lost, literary Western Armenian was no longer spoken in the historic homeland and didn’t develop and is now on the verge of extinction in all parts of the world. We need to help preserve it since the existence of Western Armenian serves as a way of preserving the Armenian identity in the Armenian Diaspora. The mother language is truly the “home” of all Armenians across the globe.
It is our duty to preserve the purity of Western Armenian and provide for the development of both ramifications of the Armenian language as the major factor for the maintenance of national unity and the development of statehood.”
The first session was moderated by Syrian-Armenian linguist, pedagogue, author of textbooks and lecturer of Yerevan State University Hagop Cholakian, who delivered a speech on “Issues of Convergence between the Two Ramifications of Literary Armenian In the Light of Relevant Experience at Armenian Schools Abroad”. In his speech, Cholakian presented the problems with the teaching of Western Armenian at Armenian schools of the Diaspora and explained why there is a need to develop certain methods and a certain concept paper for the effective teaching of Armenian for Armenian children living and receiving an education in multicultural and multilingual environments.
Scientific worker of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Hrach Mardirosian delivered a speech entitled “Thoughts on Issues of Modern Armenian”. In his speech, Mardirosian touched upon the issue of whether the grammatical and orthographical differences between the two ramifications of Armenian play an essential role in terms of national unity or not. Mardirosian brought up the example of the film “Resurrection” and presented the needless loan words and neologisms.
Lecturer at Yerevan State Linguistic University Susanna Abazyan delivered a speech on the parallels between Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian in verbal speech.
Teacher at Ohannesian School in Sharja (UAE) Heghnar Kazanjian also touched upon the convergence between Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian and shared her experience in teaching.
Head of the State Language Inspectorate of the RA Ministry of Education and Science Sergo Yeritsyan shared his views on the issues that were being discussed.
The second session of the conference was moderated by Director of the Hrachya Atcharyan Language Institute of the NAS RA Victor Katvalyan and Professor of the University of Sorbonne and author of Western Armenian language textbooks Hilda Panosian-Galfaian.
Head of the Department of General and Comparative Linguistics of the Language Institute of the NAS RA Vazgen Hambardzumyan touched upon the unification of the terminologies in literary Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian.
Hagop Balian, editor-in-chief of Bagin, which is the official newspaper of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, presented certain steps that could contribute to the convergence between the two ramifications of the Armenian language and presented his proposals.
President of “Mesropyan Ukht” Union for Language Preservation Nshan Vorperian (USA) talked about the problems in regard to the relationship between the ramifications of literary Eastern Armenian and literary Western Armenian and suggested creating a pan-Armenian committee on terminologies, as well as discuss and sum up the issues related to unification of orthography of Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian.
Editor-in-chief of “Hayern Aysor” (Armenians Today) electronic newspaper of the RA Ministry of Diaspora Nayiri Meguerdichian shared her vision of the convergence between Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian and talked about the paths to solve the issue. Meguerdichian talked in detail about the changes that Western Armenian has undergone in different Armenian communities of the Diaspora in terms of phonetics, grammar and thinking in the language due to the influence of foreign languages, as well as the deformations and foreignisms. She also talked about the problems that Diaspora Armenian presses publishing in Western Armenian face in terms of language, as well as how Western Armenian is taught and represented in Armenia. Meguerdichian suggested creating in Armenia schools that provide teaching in Western Armenian and create in the Armenian Diaspora a structure equivalent to the language inspectorate that will try to set norms for the language of presses, as well as work on regulating the use of Western Armenian in various communities and identifying the differences.
Lecturer at Yerevan State University and Professor Levon Yezekyan and lecturer at the Armenian State Pedagogical University in Yerevan and Associate Professor David Gyurjinyan delivered speeches on the orthographies of both ramifications of the Armenian language.
Editor of Paris’s Nor Harach newspaper Jirair Cholakian delivered a speech entitled “Armenian in the Light of the Splendor of French” in which he touched upon the existence of Armenian in countries where people speak different languages.
Among other speakers were Head of the “Diaspora” Scientific and Educational Center at the Armenian State Pedagogical University Suren Danielyan, Professor of the University of Sorbonne Hilda Panosian-Galfaian, PhD student of the Chair of Diaspora Studies at Yerevan State University Rima Hambardzumyan, Head of the Chair of Armenian Language at Yerevan State Medical University Henrieta Sukiasyan and lecturer at Mesrop Mashtots University of Artsakh Lusine Margaryan.