The following pages are the manual for the audiovisual course of the Armenian language "Hayeren Khosink", the first of its kind, that we are now happy and proud to present to the public. It is the result of intense research and of technical preparation that required more than four years. We hope that this audiovisual course will help all those who would like to learn Armenian or to improve their elementary knowledge of the language.
The project arose in the context of the summer intensive courses of Armenian language and culture that have been held each year at the University of Venice, since 1986, and were organized under the patronge of the Department of Eurasian Studies, to which the Chair of Armenian Studies belongs, and in close collaboration with the Interdepartamental Center of Language Training of the University. These courses have met with remarkable success registering 424 attendances of 341 enrolled participants. The realization of the audiovisual course that had to face enormous technical, financial and organizional difficulties, was made possible simply thanks to the ever present comprehension and support of the academic authorities of the University, to the help of some institutions, to the rich technical possibilities of the Language Training Center and last, but not least, to the devotion, and constant and harmonious work of a few "quasi-volunteers".
The course has been planned with special reference to the level of the false beginners, but it may be helpful also to those having an intermediate knowledge of the language. Mainly to spare time and expenses, we have omitted teaching the alphabet, also taking into consideration that it would not be difficult to learn it by other ways. As a further help to this purpose, we inserted an essential presentation of the alphabet at the beginning of this manual.
The course proposes the Western variant of modern Armenian, and pays careful attention to the typical instances of a living and evolving language as much as to the grammatical accuracy and expressive properties. Moreover, we adopted a methodology of making the didactic units more accessible by way of amusing, humorous and stimulating scenes, confiding that these will challenge a major interest and will be assimilated more easily.
The video course as well as this manual have two parts, the first one corresponding to the first videotape and the second part corresponding to the second and third videotapes.
This manual, which is indispensable for a correct and fruitful use of the video course, is divided into three parts: 1)dialogues; 2) grammar explanations; 3) glossary.
The dialogues in the manual follow exactly the order of the scenes of the video course and immediately precede the grammatical units. These latter also follow the order of the scenes and correspond with the dialogues of one or more scenes that they immediately follow. Glossary is put at the end of the manual and gives the meaning of each word or expression in three languages (English, French, Italian). Also the glossary is ordered according to the scenes and each word appears according to the sequence of its usage in the scenes. We recommend, however, using also a good dictionary.
The meaning of all grammatical terms in the manual is immediately given in brackets in three languages. The translations of the titles appear on the video film at the beginning of each unity.
Taking into account the purely didactic character of this course, the transcription of foreign names and lemmas is given following the Western Armenian phonetism preferentially, and wherein possible, for aspirated consonants (since these are pronounced in the same way in both the variants of modern Armenian, Western and Eastern).
The initiative of this course is due to the Padus-Araxes Association, founded in Venice in 1987, with the special purpose of promoting and diffusing knowledge of the Armenian language in the diaspora within the dynamics of a living dialogue with the surrounding cultures - in very close collaboration with the Chair of Armenian Studies and the Interdepartemental Center of language Training of the University of Venice. Its realization was also followed by the same triad with careful attention.
The names of the institutions and of the persons that in any way have contributed to achieve this arduous and multiform project appear in detail in the credits of the video film. To all of them let us here once again express our sincere gratitude. Furthermore in my functions as General Director of the project, as Chairman of Armenian Studies at the University of Venice, and as President of the Padus-Araxes Association, I am glad to take advantage of this occasion to openly express my deepest thanks to the academic authorities of the University of Venice once again, particularly to the Magnificent Rector 1983 through 1992, Prof. Giovanni Castellani, to the actual Magnificent Rector Prof. Paolo Costa, to the Directors, both former and present, of the Interdepartemental Center of Language Training, Prof.s Andrea Csillaghy and Guglielmo Cinque. Yet again a special thanks to Gerald Papasian, to Giuliano Virgiliani and Anahid Abrahamian, to whose careful devotion this course owes a lot.
May the crowning of these efforts with success today be the gage of further progress, a source of inspiration and a support for new plans and new achievements.
Venice, October 21st, 1992
This audiovisual course and its manual, published in 1993, are today presented to the public in digital version on CD-ROM, thanks to the generous efforts of Prof. Grigor Vahanyan, Chair of Computer Graphics, Art Management and Advertisement of Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts, and of his collaborators. I wish to express my deep gratitude for their achievement.
Yerevan, October 21st, 2000
Boghos Levon Zekiyan