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Gousan Sheram by Arpa

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#1 onjig



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Posted 17 May 2018 - 06:57 PM




Posted 04 February 2002 - 05:10 PM

Dear Sheram,
I'm sure it would be safe to assume that you adopted your pen name from
the famous Armenian troubadour Sheram Gousan formerly known as Ashough Sheram. Please read on.
Sheram the Armenian poet, composer, story teller and all around entertainer was born in Gyumri 1857 Grigor Talyan and died in Erevan in 1938. He is considered the founder of modern Armenian folk art of the troubadour. He was orphaned at the age of 10 and apprenticed as a carpenter, in a this may have been the beginning of his musical career as as a carpenter he learned the fine art of making musical instruments ( the saz in particular) and learned to play them. As a musician, scomposer/singer he traveled extensively including places like Baku, Tiflis, Istanbul and many other Armenian colonies. His songs are very popular and sung even today.

Why did I call him Gousan Sheram and not Ashough Sheram as he was known during his time. I have not been able to learn why he chose the Sheram pen name except that my guess would be that he considered himself a
composer, a weaver in a sense as the word "sheram" in Armenian refers to
the silk worm which in its own right is a composer of sorts.

The word "sheram", even if a part of our official lexicon for a long time seems to be an accidental error as the original form was meant to be "sheras". It seems that sometime along the way someone mistook the
letter "s" (it looks like the Latin "u") and interpreted it as the
letter "m" (it looks like the "u" with extended right arm). "sheras" is
from the Greek for "silk" "seres", "seolos" from the Latin "sericus" to
mean fabric.

As to "ashough" as in Ashough Sheram, Ashough Jivani and others. A
short time ago someone on this forum was highly scandalized and
frustrated that most Armenian words and names always point to
Persian/Pahlavi and other alien sources. So here is an item to warm
your heart. Since 1970 use of the word "ashough" has been discouraged and
instead the use of "gousan" has been encouraged. I didn't know this but
it seems about almost a 100 years ago there has been a hot debate about
the use of the word "ashough" and as a result Hrachya A. has decided to
look into the matter. Some of us have maintained that even though at
times the origin of words may point to other languages it is altogether
possible that they may have been first loaned out and eventually loaned
back in after a period of cultural darkness, so to speak. What Ajarian
has unearthed may be a confirmation of this postulate. Let us first
dismiss the word "ashough" as it is definitely of foreign origin. It is
a variation of the Arabic word "asheq" meaning "lover", applied to the
poet/singer it simply points to the fact that young lovers would grab
the saz/tar or similar instrument and serenade their sweethearts. Hence
the "ashough/lover" connection. It has been recommended that the word
"gousan" replace "ashough". Here is why. As mentioned above, for a long
time we had assumed that "gousan/gusan" was a Persian word from "kusan".
One reason for this confusion is that even now the Persians do use the
word to mean the same. Without going too much into technicalities, at
closer look at the spelling of the words in both Persian "kusan" and
Armenian "gousan" one would assume that we would also spell it like the
Persian, i.e. :"kusan" but we don't, we spell it as "gusan"(with the third
letter of Ayb Ben Gim). The reason the Persians spell it with the letter
K or Q is due to the inadequacy of the Arabic script. It was originally
meant to be spelled with the letter "kaf" with a diacritical modifying mark to sound as "gaf". There is no evidence to point that this was a native Persian word where there is ample evidence that they loaned it from the Armenian. However the original Armenian word was not merely "gusan" it
was a bit longer and as in many other cases it was shortened just as we
don't say "jart-ar-asan"(eloquent/orator), we say "jartasan". As to the sound of the o v ou it is again due to the inadequacy of the Persian script where the letter "wow/vav" may sound as o or ou depending on the context. 

Gusan or more correctly "gosan" is a native Armenian word somewhat
abbreviated from the original "govasan" that means composer/redacter of
"govasanq", that is how the early
vipasan/narrator/poet/singer/musician/troubadours were known which
means an odist, a composer of words of praise and endearment. 


Edited by onjig, 17 May 2018 - 06:59 PM.

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