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#1 vartahoor

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 01:35 AM

ORTHOGRAPHY, STATE & DIASPORA
A Political Analyst”s View on Unified Spelling Problem

By Haroutiun Khachatrian

Armenian orthography has existed in two variants for 80 years now, which has become another dividing factor between Armenia and its Diaspora. If we overcome this problem, we can say that we are a nation capable of acting in accord, otherwise, we can hardly do so. Indeed, the change in our orthography does not affect any external forces” interests. They won”t even notice what orthography we use in writing. This is only our problem and its solution (whichever variant we opt for) will certainly contribute to the unity of Armenians and vice versa.

So far, mainly professional linguists have discussed the issue, i.e. whether it was right or wrong to reject the classical orthography in 1922. I”ll try to analyze the problem as a public-political rather than a linguistic one, since the establishment of unified orthography in Armenia and in the Diaspora is a political issue that eventually will have to be solved by politicians.

And so: Armenia and a sizable part of the Diaspora, i.e. the Armenians living in the territory of the former USSR (the so-called “internal Diaspora”), use the new orthography, and the “external Diaspora” and also the Armenian Apostolic Church have remained loyal to the “classical” orthography. A “compromise” between the two systems is impossible and senseless, as it would mean creating a third orthography with additional problems. That is, we must make a decision: either we all adopt the classical spelling system, or we all use the new one (the notorious problem with the Armenian letter conveying the sound [u] - a digraph consisting of two elements - has nothing to do with it, and must be solved in any case). The argument of those who advocate the new orthography is naturally its easiness, and those supporting the return to the classical spelling system substantiate their opinion by the fact that by rejecting the classical orthography we severed ties with our classical culture.

Without concealing that I myself am an advocate of the new orthography, below I”ll try to give reasons why it is impossible to revert to the old spelling system not proceeding from my own preferences but basing on a sober analysis of the situation.

RETROSPECTIVE VIEW ON CULTURE

Paruyr Sevak used to say: in order to know Armenian perfectly, one must know four languages: Grabar (Old Armenian), Middle Armenian, Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian. It leads a non-professional to the obvious conclusion: Ashkharhabar (Modern Armenian) and Grabar (Old Armenian) are different languages (like, for example, Latin and Italian, the latter being a descendant of Latin) and consequently, it is not necessary that they should be written with the use of the same orthography. That classical orthography is more difficult and does not correspond to the current two Armenian languages is not new: it was not without reason that its reform became an agenda issue still at the beginning of the 20th century. The author of that reform (its initial variant) was not at all a Bolshevik evildoer who negated the past (often the reform of 1922 is branded as a “Bolshevik Conspiracy”). It was Manuk Abeghian, who is considered to be the greatest specialists in medieval Armenian literature until today.

So, in fact, the aspiration of the supporters of a return to classical orthography is that all Armenians will know Armenian as perfectly as possible, i.e., that they will know not only Ashkharhabar (Modern Armenian) but also Grabar (Old Armenian). It is a very welcome aspiration, but, unfortunately, it is an unfeasible luxury for us. Let those who advocate classical orthography tell Italians: you break ties with your glorious Roman past, and in the name of restoration, adopt the Latin orthography. Or try to convince Germans to restore the pre-Lutheran orthography, and the Russians to restore their old orthography, explaining to them that after the spelling reform in 1918 (also initiated by the Bolshevik government) they lost the spirit of their epics. Be sure that your suggestion will at least perplex them. Your interlocutors will explain that the currently applicable orthography does not at all prevent them from being aware of their old culture (indeed, I am not sure that I can understand Narekatsi worse than the one who writes Modern Armenian using the Old Armenian orthography). True, there are languages, such as English for example, that have not changed their spelling for centuries, but many did change. But going back to the pre-change spelling system after an effected change is perhaps unprecedented. Don”t we, Armenians, have any other domain to distinguish ourselves from others in the world?

PERILS OF LITERACY

Every spelling reform is painful for a literate man. The example of one German newspaper is notorious. The paper decided to study whether it was possible to waive the illogical rules of German spelling according to which upper case is used in writing all nouns. It started to publish one article every day with lower-case nouns. The experiment was put an end very soon to by the angered readership.

From this perspective, the 1922 spelling reform (even if we consider it to be a fatal error) was carried out in a very convenient time when the sweeping majority of Armenia”s population was illiterate. Due to that circumstance, there was no need to conduct a mass reeducation campaign: most people simply began to write and read using the modified orthography only. Today, the situation is different, and like in every country that has a high degree of literacy, an attempt to reform orthography in Armenia will meet with stiff public resistance. In case of change resistance is sure to emerge also in the “distant” Diaspora, but I dare predict that it will be on a smaller scale. The reason is evident: the Diaspora (I hate this to sound insulting) is less “literate” than Armenia when it comes to the mother tongue.

I mean the following. All citizens of Armenia, including non-Armenians, study the language, while in Diasporan communities the study of the language is optional (unfortunately, only a minority chooses it). In Armenia schools are really Armenian, that is, they teach all subjects in Armenian - from history up to chemistry, while in the Diaspora children attending Armenian schools use their mother tongue only in studying the language proper, history and related subjects.

In Armenia, written Armenian is an active language. The citizens of Armenia write in Armenian most of their daily correspondence, beginning from business contracts, bank receipts and court suits and ending with letters and kids” scrawl on walls. Most of Diasporan Armenians, even if they can write and read in Armenian, at best do so out of their business activities, simply, to say so, for their pleasure. There is one more problem, a change in the usual mode of spelling would create more difficulty for those who write, rather for those who read (for example, residents of Armenia can well read the texts written with the use of old orthography). And, as residents of Armenia not only read, but also write in Armenian more often than their Diasporan compatriots.

In short, Armenian in Armenia is a state language, in the Diaspora - it is not.

It obviously follows from what was mentioned above that to carry out a spelling reform in Armenia is a much more difficult thing to do than in the Diaspora. It would be so even if the new orthography was more difficult than the classical one, but as it is, in fact, vice versa, the complication gets tripled.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

Even if we agree that the 1922 spelling reform was a fatal error, then to make an opposite step in Armenia today would be an awfully difficult, not to say impracticable thing to do.

The change in the spelling of the state language in Armenia must be carried out at once, at the state level, from top to bottom: more than one orthography cannot be applied in a country. It means that all citizens of the republic, in particular, all officials (from the president and judges to the lowest-ranked policeman) must admit that they are illiterate and begin studying an orthography alien to them. No one can predict from what moment it will be possible to consider that the country is already prepared for passing on to a new orthography.

Meanwhile, in the “distant” Diaspora the reform can be made gradually, implanting the new orthography in the course of years. The application of two orthographies at a time is quite acceptable there. By the way, this phenomenon already exists - many of those who left Armenia recently use the new orthography, and there are even newspapers using the new orthography there.

PSYCHOLOGICAL HANDICAPS

There will emerge no less serious psychological obstacles to the re-establishment of classical orthography in Armenia. A considerable part of Diasporan Armenians, at least those whose active language is English or French, find it quite natural that there is no unequivocal interconnection between the way a word is written and pronounced. For example, a native speaker of English is used to spelling out a word unknown to his interlocutor (in a letter-to-letter way) after dropping it in a conversation. Meanwhile, an Armenian taught to write using the new orthography has no need for any “spelling”, the orthography he knows makes it possible to decide the way the new word is to be written in 99 cases out of 100. For this reason, the following scenario can be predicted. When Armenia”s Armenian hears the name of the French city of Marseilles (Marsel in Armenian), he puts it down without thinking, as he knows a clear rule: the sound [e] in an inner position is always written with the corresponding letter “e” (“yech”, the 5th letter of the alphabet). The advocates of classical orthography will tell him: so that you maintain ties with your forefathers” high culture, from now on you must remember that the sound [e] in this word must be written with the use of “e”, the 7th letter of the Armenian alphabet. Armenia”s Armenian will naturally protest: “For which of my sins do I have to cudgel my brains? What has the city of Marseilles to do with Mesrop Mashtots?”

POLITICAL PROBLEMS

Let”s consider the most formidable challenge - the political one. An orthographic reform in Armenia can only be carried out according to a decision made by its leadership - the President and Parliament, and, unconditionally, only through a referendum. Obviously, new difficulties besides those considered above will arise, and they will immediately become a subject of active political speculations. For example, it is not difficult to foresee the following. As we already mentioned, along with other traps, the reform is a very expensive pleasure to afford: first, teachers are to be retrained, then the entire population of the country is to be taught anew; new literature is to be printed in huge volumes; road signs, paper money, seals, passports and other things bearing inscriptions are to be replaced by new ones. What will be the source of financing this tremendous project if Armenia cannot even afford to pay its officials decently? They say that some philanthropists from the Diaspora have volunteered to allocate funds to this effect. But as soon as someone just mentions it, no doubt, there will begin a real storm in Armenia: “Don”t we have anything else to spend money on? People do not have enough to eat and do not have proper clothes to wear, people are abandoning the country and you”re wasting huge money only to complicate our orthography.” Only a leader inclined to political suicide will take the initiative.

Let”s not forget another aspect of our reality - emigration still looms large in the country as Armenians continue to abandon their homeland. They leave, of course, in search of livelihood. But for many of those leaving Armenia it has become something like itching, they concoct all imaginable and unimaginable excuses to convince their neighbors and themselves that Armenia “is the wrong place to live in”. I have no doubts that the probable change in orthography will give a fresh and drastic impetus to such sentiments. They”ll say: “Armenia is the only country that makes the lives of its citizens miserable by means of complicating orthography. It”s not a country to live in.” And we will no longer be able to object to this. It will, indeed, be the only such country in the world.

WE MUST RESPECT THE STATE

Hereby I could put a full stop to my arguments, but I find it necessary to add another remark, probably the most arguable one.

I mentioned above that during the Bolshevist rule it was not only Armenian that underwent an orthographic change. Four years before the reform of Armenian orthography, in 1918, the Bolshevist government also carried out a reform of Russian orthography, simplifying the way of writing many words, abolishing a number of archaisms and even excluding some letters from the alphabet.

Similarly, the reform in the Russian spelling system sparked off a vigorous protest among the Russian Diaspora. However, hardly a decade had passed that the Russian Diaspora put up with the new orthography, and the Russian Church followed suit. The Russian Diaspora, which, for sure, was no less opposed to the Bolsheviks than the Armenian Diaspora, did not consider itself to be entitled to oppose the decision of the then Russian State. Alas, the Armenian Diaspora was less respectful of the contemporary Armenian State. The most painful is that the Armenian Church acted the same way. And here is the result - we still have no Holy Bible orthographically meant for an Armenian living in Armenia. Even the latest Eastern Armenian translation was printed with the use of classical orthography alien to the residents of Armenia as if for maintaining the existing gap between the Church and the public at large. The foreign sectarians, whose fast spread in Armenia is a matter of widespread concern, take care not to make this elementary mistake in their preaching strategy: it does not occur to them to bring literature written in classical orthography to Armenia. By the way, I retract my statement made at the beginning of the article: there is at least one external force interested in our orthography”s remaining divided, namely, the sectarians.

From a political analyst”s point of view, it is obviously the Diaspora and the Church rather that the Armenian Government that committed a fatal error for the simple reason that arguing with the state over this issue is improper. It is possible to dispute a pending change, but if the state has taken some step, it means that it is always right ever since.

So, I urge my compatriots from the distant Diaspora and our Church fathers to start writing Old Armenian applying the orthography that has been used in the Armenian State by four generations of people, for as long as 80 years now. It will be both a way to pay tribute to the Armenian State and a contribution that can hardly be estimated in monetary terms. Simply, we must admit one thing: it is the Republic of Armenia that is, first of all, the center of Armenians.


Haroutiun Khachatrian is an economy and political analyst in Yerevan, Armenia. He publishes articles in Armenian newspapers and on the www.eurasianet.org site. He is the Editor-in-chief of the Noyan Tapan Highlights weekly.

#2 Arpa

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:30 AM

See page 2 here;
http://hyeforum.com/...pic=10100&st=20

And look here;
http://hyeforum.com/...hlite=haroutiun



#3 Sassun

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 07:17 AM

QUOTE
Simply, we must admit one thing: it is the Republic of Armenia that is, first of all, the center of Armenians.

If the RoA is the center of Armenians, then how come it refuses to view us as equally Armenian as its citizens?

And moreover, what does respecting the orthography of the state have to do with the state's attempts to eliminate our rich linguistic heritage, vocabulary, and expressions?

The Statists must realize that the Soviet/Russian manipulation of OUR language has got nothing to do with original Armenian orthography. So allow me to say here what many have wanted to say but been afraid of saying for fear of being branded unpatriotic: it is the STATE that has been driven by its elitist views towards Diasporan Armenians (whom the author oddly brands as "sectarian") in its attempt to destroy Western Armenian cultural and linguistic heritage, spelling, and pronunciation.

The anomaly is the Eastern Armenian spelling, not the Western Armenian one! And Haroutioun Khatchadrian is the elitist not the other way around!

What a joke!!!!!!

Edited by Sassun, 21 June 2007 - 07:18 AM.


#4 Gor-Gor

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 04:07 PM

A disgusting article, filled with biased assumptions, flawed arguments, and fallacies.

If this is the best argument that can be offered in favor of Soviet orthography, I have less to worry about than I thought.

Edited by Gor-Gor, 21 June 2007 - 04:08 PM.


#5 Armenak

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 04:14 PM

This is how the Yerevantsis were writing less than a century ago:





Isn't it beautiful? smile.gif

Hey Mr. Khachatrian, why don't you respect Tumanian and Nalbandian rather than the Soviets? Or were they not respecting the state either? If Khachatur Abovian came out of hiding and were to read some modern literature from the center of all Armenians I wonder what he would think.

Edited by Armenak, 21 June 2007 - 04:18 PM.


#6 Arpa

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 05:18 PM

QUOTE(Gor-Gor @ Jun 21 2007, 10:07 PM) View Post
A disgusting article, filled with biased assumptions, flawed arguments, and fallacies.

If this is the best argument that can be offered in favor of Soviet orthography, I have less to worry about than I thought.

Yes, dear Gor Gor.
My sentiments exactly.
If that Khachatrian( whatever happened to Khach-a-tour-ian?) had the slightest idea that 6 million of a total 8 million Armenians live outside of the Yerevan Province?? And speak that "funny" Armenian language, and write in that "funny" orthography"...??

Edited by Arpa, 22 June 2007 - 05:09 AM.


#7 Gor-Gor

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:47 PM



#8 Sassun

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:58 PM

Gor-Gor,
In that currency pic you just posted, how would they write Հանրապետութիւն now ? Հանրապետություն ?

#9 Armenak

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:59 PM

QUOTE(Sassun @ Jun 21 2007, 07:58 PM) View Post
Gor-Gor,
Հանրապետություն ?

Yep.

Edited by Armenak, 21 June 2007 - 08:59 PM.


#10 Armenak

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 09:04 PM



#11 vartahoor

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE(Arpa @ Jun 21 2007, 04:18 PM) View Post
Yes, dear Gor Gor.
My sentiments exactly.
If that Khachatrian( whatever happened to Khach-a-tour-ian?) had the slightest idea that 6 million of a total 8 million Armenians live outside of the Yerevan Province?? And speak that "funny" Armenian language, and write in that "funny" orthography"...??

In EA the grammatical rule states that Խաչատոր, Աարգիս, Դավիթ and a host of other names when accepting the "ian = յան" suffix become խաչատրյան, Սարգսյան, Դաւթյան, և այլն: I hope this explanation will once and for all clarify the issue.
vartahoor

#12 vartahoor

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 11:10 PM

QUOTE(Arpa @ Jun 21 2007, 04:18 PM) View Post
Yes, dear Gor Gor.
My sentiments exactly.
If that Khachatrian( whatever happened to Khach-a-tour-ian?) had the slightest idea that 6 million of a total 8 million Armenians live outside of the Yerevan Province?? And speak that "funny" Armenian language, and write in that "funny" orthography"...??

Arpa
I am surprised at your childish statement regarding the use of "funny". You were the one who 8 years ago personally and during a phonc conversation told me that it does not matter which orthography will become the acceptaable standard, that you will abide by it. Now you have chaagened your opinion. I wonder why? Is it a grudge that you are still holding against me? In the diaspora that you have the classical orthography how many individuals can honestly say that they master the armenian language and have read most of our literary works and can speak and write fluently in any variant of our language.
Talk is cheap and people can dish out a lot of yezan trik (your words).
vartahoor

#13 hagopn

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 04:27 AM

Dear friends, I'm going to respond to this in pieces.

QUOTE
“Paruyr Sevak used to say: in order to know Armenian perfectly, one must know four languages: Grabar (Old Armenian), Middle Armenian, Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian. It leads a non-professional to the obvious conclusion:

This is not a good argument platform precisely because Sevak speaks as specialist, a philogist and lexicographer. This quote by Sevak could be used to render the exact opposite argument: The one that states that we are creating too many schisms within the language. Let us at least leave the classical to be legible and word roots as recognizable components of a common language root. In fact, this is something that Sevak has referred to in his prose.
QUOTE
Ashkharhabar (Modern Armenian) and Grabar (Old Armenian) are different languages (like, for example, Latin and Italian, the latter being a descendant of Latin) and consequently, it is not necessary that they should be written with the use of the same orthography.

This is a biased conclusion. Greek and Armenian are the closest in linguistic parallels as far as development, and the Greeks chose to maintain their classic orthography. Greek and Armenian have long and continuous traditions of literary (and canonical/liturgical/classical) existence, longer than the post-Dante vernacular of Italian, longer than Elizabeth’s (not Alfred’s) English, longer than any European linguistic line.
QUOTE
That classical orthography is more difficult and does not correspond to the current two Armenian languages is not new: it was not without reason that its reform became an agenda issue still at the beginning of the 20th century. The author of that reform (its initial variant) was not at all a Bolshevik evildoer who negated the past (often the reform of 1922 is branded as a “Bolshevik Conspiracy”). It was Manuk Abeghian, who is considered to be the greatest specialists in medieval Armenian literature until today.”

This above paragraph and entire article fails to mention that Abeghyan’s reform proposals were mostly rejected. His “single sound per single character” concept was thrown out, and it is a fact that the current orthography is in fact a compromise. this compromise was very political in nature as well, despite the dismissal by the author of this article, precisely because the Church and all Diasporans were not included in the debate.

I have textbooks and monographs in the original Abeghyanakan proposed orthography, and it is incredibly illegible for a habitual Armenian reader. Ajarian and Malkhasyants were among those who pushed for a compromise. Malkhasyants in fact regretted his decision to support a reform of this sort altogether, and his “Explanatory Dictionary” was written in the classical (even if revised classical, nevertheless classical in its adherence to grammatical rules, preservation of word constructions and roots and so on).

I was going to put this comment at the end of my reponses, but I cannot resist the temptation. Gurgen Sargsyan has been exquisitvely biased in his approach as well specifically by discounting the importance of the Mkhitarists in the development of Armenian linguistics and their tremendous input. The utter disrespect and contemptuous attitude towards such an incredibly important Armenian institution was shocking the first time I saw you, Varahour, and your friends on television, throwing out all efforts not corresponding to the "State."

The last time we had this disucssion, we had in face to face, on the phone, by email, by forum, and you agreed that there is no reason to discount the validity of the arguments, but that it is important to have a State insitution be the leading party in the development. If you recall, we also came to the agreement that we would support a fair debate, non-politicized, that would include a greater number of Armenians from both sides of the fence. The current attitude held by the Abeghyanakans - which is, as mentioned above, a misnomer to begin with - is bound to cause more frustration. The most ancient of the language institutions, the Church, is taken out of the loop, shich is astouding as well.

In any case, "Arpa" և "Vartahour" - the oldest of old հեթանոս pals smile.gif , I propose we keep, for old time's sake, a friendly attitude toward each other.

Կեգգե՜ք-------------»!! biggrin.gif



#14 hagopn

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 05:00 AM

QUOTE
So, in fact, the aspiration of the supporters of a return to classical orthography is that all Armenians will know Armenian as perfectly as possible, i.e., that they will know not only Ashkharhabar (Modern Armenian) but also Grabar (Old Armenian).

Europeans are regretting the absence of classical education. We are still not mature enough to know the difference. The Capitalized Irony is that the author mentioned above, Paryuyr Sevak, was proposing the instruction of classical Armenian at least at some level due to an apparent problem of comprehending the classical language among new students of philology. Armenia is not overflowing with such students these days.
QUOTE
It is a very welcome aspiration, but, unfortunately, it is an unfeasible luxury for us.

There is no explanation as to what “luxury” means except in the examples below, those of (in relative terms) newly developing vernacular languages whose canonical language (and by extension the sole midieval language of literacy) was a foreign language. Greek, however, had the “luxury” that Armenian had, the “luxury” of a sacred language that came from the same culture and that continued to be the literary language up to the early 20th century.
QUOTE
Let those who advocate classical orthography tell Italians: you break ties with your glorious Roman past, and in the name of restoration, adopt the Latin orthography. Or try to convince Germans to restore the pre-Lutheran orthography, and the Russians to restore their old orthography, explaining to them that after the spelling reform in 1918 (also initiated by the Bolshevik government) they lost the spirit of their epics.

Such sarcasm is the main cause for disagreement and the growing impasse. Perhaps the author can be sure to tell the Greeks they are being irrational in maintaining their classical orthography, and be sure to tell all Greeks that we know they are illiterates who have no possible chance of becoming literate because some reformers didn’t decide to turn their language upside down.
Be sure to tell the Italians how fortunate they are to have lost their classical heritage and that they should stop giving instruction of the Latin language in schools in order to enrich their understanding of Italian, as the matter of fact. How fortunate they must feel to have had 50 mutually unintelligible vernacular dialects prior to Mussolini’s imposed language and literacy reforms. Dante’s “reform” apparently had not caught on and made anyone literate until Mussolini’s coercive measures in the mid 20th century! We will deal with the “literacy” argument in the next part.
I am not familiar with the Russian reforms, but the Russian language has a short history in relative terms to that of Armenian and Greek. The Greeks and Armenians are indeed blessed with closer contacts with their classical literature and language history without much special philological instruction. There is no doubt that the reason to create the “literacy argument” stems from Bolshevik propaganda, which had its beginnings at the time of Abeghyan, a reformist in the socialist mold in his own right.
QUOTE
Be sure that your suggestion will at least perplex them. Your interlocutors will explain that the currently applicable orthography does not at all prevent them from being aware of their old culture (indeed, I am not sure that I can understand Narekatsi worse than the one who writes Modern Armenian using the Old Armenian orthography). True, there are languages, such as English for example, that have not changed their spelling for centuries, but many did change. But going back to the pre-change spelling system after an effected change is perhaps unprecedented. Don”t we, Armenians, have any other domain to distinguish ourselves from others in the world?

1. English has changed its spellings many times over the centuries, but, interestingly and ironically enough, the English language has been the most faithful among all the former Roman Imperial subjects to have maintained their Latin lexicon and its orthography.
2. Narekatsi in its original orthpgraphy and classical idiom is very hard to read for the mid-level literate person trained in the new orthpgraphy. It is much easier for students who have been partly classically trained (which was part of secondary education for Diaspora students) and have been habitually using the classical orthpgraphy. Lack of knowledge of the classical Armenian has caused many problems that even a "non-specialist" like myself has noticed, but it is not surprsing that this has not been subject to "official research and debate." The irrational levels of anti-clericalism (among socialist hotheads and their later Bolshevik idealist counterparts) is ultimately at the root of all this nonsense.
3. What “domain of distinguishing ourselves” is he talking about, other than as an attempt at making cheeky and useless comment?


#15 hagopn

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 05:46 AM

As a short interlude until my graveyard shift is done with:

ITALIAN is a language I learned as a child, but English is a language I learned in early adolescent years. Latin I learned in high (secondary) school and college. Italian did not help me with Latin at all, but English helped a great deal. Grammatically, Classical Armenian saved my life in Latin courses!

The moral of the story? «Ինչքան լեզու գիտես, այքան ալ մարդ ես», an old saying I first heard early on from my late father. We Armenians hear that phrase often. It's a cultural thing for us, to be multilingual. This in turn makes the wildly irratinal form of argumentation against learning our own Classical language in schools in Armenia rather hypocritical. We are willing to promote English, Russian, and anything else as a "second language," then why are we arguing agaisnt Գրաբառ?

Let's compare the treatment of Latin roots and terms in the English language and compare that to the accepted Italian state vernacular (which was an anti-clerical move as well during the Renaissance, the final blow that came with Mussolini's equally anti-clerical Fascism).

Check here for the etymologies: http://www.etymonlin...searchmode=none

the Latin term abdicare, English abdicate, Italian [abdicare as one would expect. So far so good (and no orthographic changes noticeable except in the English grammatical inflection).... but...

That brings me to expect. Latin exspecto, (reformed) English expect, Italian aspettare (which has taken on the meaning of "to wait"), but the root "ex" and "spectare" are now lost to Italian. English has "reformed" the s that lets you know there is something to spectate (to "look for") in there. Already the reform has broken ties with the past and the construction of the word. It gets worse.

In English to "explain" is broken into its Latin roots of "ex" + "planus" (planare) to "bring it out in the plain/open). its meaning is directly from Latin, and the word roots are kept intact. As a result, an Englishman can learn Latin without having to relearn much. However, the Italian is "spiegare." Go figure. Yes, the original Latin word, phonetically, is in there hidden somewhere, but the alteration is simply and plainly the result of a totally illterate society. Oh, sure, I love the Italian language, the language of my most cherished years when my surrogate grandmother was this wonderful Italian neighbor we had, Cosetta was her name, God bless her soul. Yet, I wouldn't want to see Armenians suffer the same fate s that Italian peninsula and the Latin language.

Is that what the Abeghyanakans are proposing Armenians as a whole were at the turn of the century? That's ridiculous.

OK, the argument is that Italians were no longer using the x consonant in their daily speech. Many Armenians who were forcibly made Turkish speakers in the Ottoman Vampire (Arpa, don't tell me you have already used this---!>> you always do that:)) were not able to pronounce the ց, ծ, ձ, խ, and many other sounds. Some of the elders who were brought up as Turkish speakers still cannot. Does that mean we need to throw those letters and sounds out? If this 'change in language" argument is the strongest so-called argument, then we might as well, eh? Needless to say, I disagree with the reform in its present state.

OK, I will continue with the debate later.

Edited by hagopn, 23 June 2007 - 05:57 AM.


#16 Arpa

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:50 AM

QUOTE(hagopn @ Jun 23 2007, 11:46 AM) View Post
===
The moral of the story? «Ինչքան լեզու գիտես, այքան ալ մարդ ես», an old saying I first heard early on from my late father. We Armenians hear that phrase often. It's a cultural thing for us, to be multilingual. This in turn makes the wildly irratinal form of argumentation against learning our own Classical language in schools in Armenia rather hypocritical. We are willing to promote English, Russian, and anything else as a "second language," then why are we arguing agaisnt Գրաբառ?

If I hear that cliché one more time I will scream.
One of may favorites cliches is. “Այրած սրտի ք*ք մխիթարանք”.

Look what Varduhi and others said some time ago here;
http://hyeforum.com/...443&hl=armenian
QUOTE
Dec 11 2002, 03:39 AM
ARPA
what ever get a life and leave Armenians alone since your not Armenian. If you were I don’t think you would look at your own people the way you do and describe. I feel sorry for you.
“How many Turks speak Armenian? Why did we learn their language and not visa versa?”
Let me tell you why no otar learned our language because they did not have ability to learn our language, in another word (himar en exel dra hamar el chen karoxatsel sovoren mer lezun) that’s WHY, and just FYI more languages you know more chance of survival you have in this world. Don’t you think its good to know more then one language? some people wish and dream that they could speak more then just one language, I don’t know why you took all that points and looked in a negative ways

It is as if the reason we know all those languages was an academic choice. As if we consciously and deliberately enrolled in college courses to learn those languages for sheer pleasure, academic pursuit or as professional career as a means of gainful employment.
Yes, Varduhi, we know all those languages because we are smart and those others don’t know Armenian is because they are dumb.
Let’s see who those dumb idiots are.
Pesians don’t know Armenian, but they ruled over half the world, including Armenia for centuries. The Romans don’t know Armenian, yet they ruled over most of the known world, including Armenia for centuries. Russians don’t know Armenian. When is the last time Armenians ruled over half the world in an empire including Armenia? The English don’t know Armenian, yet they still rule over half the world. Shall we also mention those other people who ruled over half the world for centuries, and who virtually annihilated us, who, even though were uninvited guests at our lands, yet did not learn one word of Armenian while we totally abandoned ours and learned their‘s?
Let’s see who those dumb people are who don’t know Armenian, and who those smart people who know all their languages.
The funny part is that many of us know those languages but don’t know ours!!!

As a side. In that etymological site you furnished, it said that Moses’ name is based on “mes” to mean water(child/whatever). I have seen somewhere that “mes” is a variation of “Msr/Masr/Misr/Egypt”.
QUOTE
Moses; masc. proper name, name of Hebrew prophet and lawgiver, from L., from Gk. Mouses, from Heb. Mosheh, of unknown origin.
"Most scholars see in it the Hebraization of Egyptian mes, mesu 'child, son,' which is often used in theophorous names. According to this derivation the words of Pharaoh's daughter in Ex. 2:10, 'For out of the water I drew him' are not the explanation of the Hebrew name Mosheh, but express the idea that the Egyptian name given by Pharaoh's daughter resembles in sound, and therefore, reminds us of, the Hebrew verb mashah 'he drew out,' which is suggestive of the words spoken by Pharaoh's daughter." [Dr. Ernest Klein, "A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language"]

Edited by Arpa, 23 June 2007 - 08:51 AM.


#17 vartahoor

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 01:31 PM

QUOTE(vartahoor @ Jun 22 2007, 10:10 PM) View Post
Arpa
I am surprised at your childish statement regarding the use of "funny". You were the one who 8 years ago personally and during a phonc conversation told me that it does not matter which orthography will become the acceptaable standard, that you will abide by it. Now you have chaagened your opinion. I wonder why? Is it a grudge that you are still holding against me? In the diaspora that you have the classical orthography how many individuals can honestly say that they master the armenian language and have read most of our literary works and can speak and write fluently in any variant of our language.
Talk is cheap and people can dish out a lot of yezan trik (your words).
vartahoor

TEACHING AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS
Many years ago when a certain individual could think logically and express his opinions vividly wrote:.
Too bad! That we had to interrupt similar thread on hayastan. Just as we were delving into the real Armenian psyche, just as me, Vahe, Rouben, Hratch et al were seriously dissecting what makes us tick, our self image v how others view us, Ara with his fartings and Gayzag with his senile oblivion spoiled it all for us. I do not regret. I tried. As Hratch put it so aptly this morning, it seems the adage "Can't teach an old dog new tricks" is so true, specially when it comes to "old Armenian dogs". Let us create a new adage; "Anything can be repaired except a damaged Armenian psyche". Or as my son's; "If it ain't broke, break it!", a takeoff on the old; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!".
I wonder who is the old dog now?
vartahoor

#18 hagopn

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 01:46 PM

Come on, friends--- smile.gif , you men are responsible for the sponsorship of academics, but you are also responsible in being examples. I'll avoid direct involvement in your heated conditions. I thought such vendettas didn't linger on for decades, but perhaps I was wrong!

Edited by hagopn, 23 June 2007 - 01:47 PM.


#19 MosJan

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 02:53 PM

What has happened in the other forum let it stay in the other forum smile.gif
lets have a fresh start apricot.gif

#20 hagopn

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:38 AM

Part III of the response to propaganda.

QUOTE
PERILS OF LITERACY

Every spelling reform is painful for a literate man. The example of one German newspaper is notorious. The paper decided to study whether it was possible to waive the illogical rules of German spelling according to which upper case is used in writing all nouns. It started to publish one article every day with lower-case nouns. The experiment was put an end very soon to by the angered readership.


This reminds one of bolshevik cynicism directed at the "bourgois." Blaming the literate man is a Bolshevik pattern of thought. Perhaps one day such conditioning will be gone.

However, the most important factoid is that Abehgyan's orthography was rejected by the literate men such as Ajarian precisely becuase they made the wise decision to make the reform at least slightly legible to the existing literate cadre. The "illiteracy" argument is a lie and a farce.

QUOTE
From this perspective, the 1922 spelling reform (even if we consider it to be a fatal error) was carried out in a very convenient time when the sweeping majority of Armenia”s population was illiterate. Due to that circumstance, there was no need to conduct a mass reeducation campaign: most people simply began to write and read using the modified orthography only. Today, the situation is different, and like in every country that has a high degree of literacy, an attempt to reform orthography in Armenia will meet with stiff public resistance. In case of change resistance is sure to emerge also in the “distant” Diaspora, but I dare predict that it will be on a smaller scale. The reason is evident: the Diaspora (I hate this to sound insulting) is less “literate” than Armenia when it comes to the mother tongue.


Therefore, the solution by Abeghyan was to make EVERYONE illiterate "for the sake of progress." How irrational an argument. the main component that contributed to literacy was a stable state and government. Instead, we have the one dimensional misargument of 1) blaming the literate elite and 2) the orthography for illiteracy. Turkey has a standard, no brainer and idiot proof, orthography developed by an Armenian, but the Turkish citizenry is still largely illiterate. Therefore, the syllogism above is invalid.

QUOTE
I mean the following. All citizens of Armenia, including non-Armenians, study the language, while in Diasporan communities the study of the language is optional (unfortunately, only a minority chooses it). In Armenia schools are really Armenian, that is, they teach all subjects in Armenian - from history up to chemistry, while in the Diaspora children attending Armenian schools use their mother tongue only in studying the language proper, history and related subjects.


This was not the case in Lebanon, Syrian, Ethiopia, Greece, Egypt until the 1950s. In Lebanon, Egypt, and Ethiopia (among those that I know) the language of study was principally Armenian on all subjects until the 1970s, and I am a product of that system. The Syrian government started forcing the Arabic language on "hard subjects" in the early 1980s, and this has had an effect, but not to the level adverstised.

I know for a fact that we have, especially those generations, equal or better mastery of the Armenian language and tend to use less foreign terms in all levels of conversation. Vartahour knows that perfectly well, and this is why we are having problems understanding the dissemination of such utterly mendacious propaganda by perfectly sane men. As the matter of fact, Vartahour, it irritates me to no end that most Armenians from Armenia do not know Armenians terms for most common items. Aniv is "bagrishka" and argelak is "tormuz" and so on. I have met numerous individuals who still think that Bagrishka is an Armenian term! This, you know perfectly well.

QUOTE
In Armenia, written Armenian is an active language. The citizens of Armenia write in Armenian most of their daily correspondence, beginning from business contracts, bank receipts and court suits and ending with letters and kids” scrawl on walls. Most of Diasporan Armenians, even if they can write and read in Armenian, at best do so out of their business activities, simply, to say so, for their pleasure. There is one more problem, a change in the usual mode of spelling would create more difficulty for those who write, rather for those who read (for example, residents of Armenia can well read the texts written with the use of old orthography). And, as residents of Armenia not only read, but also write in Armenian more often than their Diasporan compatriots.


Aha, the "active language of literates" says that Aniv is "Bagrishka" and believes that "bagrishka" is Armenian! Such bias.

QUOTE
In short, Armenian in Armenia is a state language, in the Diaspora - it is not.


In short, this above "aurhor" is either a fool and an agent provocatuer or is completely bolshevik in his unthinking.

QUOTE
It obviously follows from what was mentioned above that to carry out a spelling reform in Armenia is a much more difficult thing to do than in the Diaspora. It would be so even if the new orthography was more difficult than the classical one, but as it is, in fact, vice versa, the complication gets tripled.


Nonsense. There is nothing "obvious" about mendacity and propaganda except mendacity and propaganda.

Edited by hagopn, 01 July 2007 - 12:42 AM.





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