A round-table discussion on current issues of teaching Old Armenian at universities
30.03.2021
A round-table discussion on current issues of teaching Old Armenian at universities

The ASPU Scientific Laboratory of Linguistic Research organized an online round-table discussion. The meeting-discussion was attended by specialists from the Armenian State Pedagogical University, the Gevorkian Theological Seminary of Etchmiadzin, the Yerevan, Shirak and Goris State Universities, as well as professionals from the USA and Netherlands.

There were a number of questions among the topics of discussion during the round-table discussion, which referred to teaching Old Armenian language at universities and its issues, the use of text-books for teaching Old Armenian, the proportion of theoretical and practical material in text-books, the role of practice exercises in the scope of understanding the Old Armenian language in the original, the issues of forming of Old Armenian linguistic - thinking,  modern requirements of text-books, the need of creating new Old Armenian language text-books, etc.

The Head of the Scientific Laboratory of Linguistic Research, Professor Lalik Khachatryan highlighted that knowledge of Old Armenian language is not just the learning of the grammar system of Armenian language, but also the key to its practice and a tool of cultural knowledge. And thus, we come across a question in the process of teaching – how to reach the desired result, so that the students are able to use their knowledge in life.

The Professor of the Leiden University of the Netherlands Hrach Martirosyan highlighted in the process of teaching Old Armenian not only the simultaneous but also the temporary observation research and considered it important to use grammar diagrams in the process of delivering linguistic facts. Besides, Hrach Martirosyan outlined the importance of making connections with foreign Centers for Armenian Sciences for co-operation initiatives.       

Next, Candidate of Philology Lilit Khachatryan (Los-Angeles, USA) spoke about the difficulties of teaching Old Armenian language in the Diaspora, particularly in different levels of classrooms. As a specialist, who graduated in Armenia, she expressed dissatisfaction with the existing text-books in regards with the circumstance, where the current text-books do not provide corresponding maps to geographically locate the territories mentioned in original writings, specifically when those locations have the names of various territories of the historical Hayq region, while the students of the Diaspora (and not only them) are certainly more than in need to have more information thereon.

The Associate Professors of the Artsakh State University Ofelia Margaryana and Shogher Minasyan suggested teaching the grammar in the methodological way of simple to complex phrase-sentence transformations, as well as to form such auxiliary manuals, which would provide the keys to exercises at the end, thus, the students will be able to make their own self-assessment.

Further, the ASPU Associate Professors Susanna Grigoryan and Naira Paronyan, who also teach at the Gevorkian Seminary of Etchmiadzin find the effective key to teaching Old Armenian in opposite translation of original texts from Modern Armenian into Old Armenian. In the process of teaching it is necessary to shift from Modern Armenian language-thinking into Old Armenian language so that the final result become forming sentences in Old Armenian, making analysis of the structural plan of sentences, which may identify the essence of their context, and correspondingly the linguistic thinking of the Old Armenian language.

In their turn, the Professor from the Shirak State University Sergo Hayrapetyan and Associate Professor Armenuhi Avagyan considered it important to reach the formation of the linguistic-thinking in Old Armenian in the process of teaching it, and the solution they offered for this was to make a comparison of structures of sentences in Old Armenian and Modern Armenian. And for that, it is necessary to compile such manuals, where the linguistic realities of both Modern and Old Armenian languages will be parallelly presented. 

The Associate Professor of the Goris State University Svetlana Manchurian considered it as an urgency to create electronic text-books, which would be available for any student and serve as a unique self -tutorials

At the end of the round-table discussion it was decided to create a professional committee for project development with the involvement of L. Khachatryan, Hr. Martirosyan and S. Hayrapetyan, which will be discussing specialists’ opinions, taking into account their proposals and observations and based on that, forming a new teaching programme for Old Armenian language to submit it for discussion at the following meeting in a round-table format at the end of June.

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