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Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

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  • Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

    An interesting article. Some highlights:

    Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography
    By Khatchatur I. Pilikian, London UK, 16 April 2013

    Once upon a time when I received an invitation card from the Armenian Embassy here in London, the card had the surname of the Ambassador, as well as my own surname written with the so called Eastern Armenian Orthography -- the suffix ian disfigured as yan – the spelling norm in the Republic of Armenia. In my thankful response to His Excellency, the Ambassador, I gently questioned the discrepancy. I had no response. Perhaps it meant NO COMMENT? And, of course, the norm continues unabated (with the exception of the late Ambassador’s own writing of her surname as Kazinian…)

    ...

    With all the relevant and good data included in the recent video programme, titled Haroutyoun =Resurrection. See Resurrection on YouTube. There too abounds, ad nauseam, political bashings of the entire Second Republic of Armenia. While refuting, and rightly so, the so named ‘Abeghian Orthography’, it continues to distort the programme’s own positive data of pointing out the extraordinary courage of prominent linguists and writers of the day rejecting the blatantly controversial ‘new orthography’. The video thus emulates, and paradoxically so, the worst of the derailed 'bolshevism' which had become a monopoly of deranged absolutism in the Soviet Armenian Republic of the period. Lo and behold, the same is practiced now in the free-marketeering 3rd Republic of Armenia by the rabid monopolists of zealot 'anti-bolshevism.’

    ...

    Astonishing as it sounds, it’s worth highlighting that in mid 19th century the Ottoman Caliphate had even entertained the idea to officially adopt the Armenian Alphabet for the Turkish language, A whimsical joke? Apparently not so. The eminent linguist, Hrachia Ajcharian, who had insisted for and succeeded in publishing his magnum oeuvres in the Classical Orthography, had this to say about some Ottoman Pashas’ fleeting wish:

    Many Turks learned the Armenian Alphabet and were reading Manzoume and Mejmouwai [Turkish newspapers printed in Armenian letters].

    ...

    Last September, 2012, I wrote an abstract of my own observations, research and experience as a performer of songs and poetry, titled, Phonemic Syntax of Armenian Language in Araratian and Western Variants. The crucial dual points of my concluding suggestion were,

    Return to the Western, or better, Classical Armenian Orthography that has kept the time honoured and 'acid proven' classical system initiated by Mesrop Mashtots (hence its continuous usage in the literary Armenian – Grabar), with all the relevant and valid additions and practical changes in time, throughout sixteen centuries.
    While keeping both Prominent Dialects of the language, it is best to return to the Araratian Pronunciation in speech and reading, anchored on the triple consonantal system closely linked with the Classical Orthography, diminished alas in the Western Armenian pronunctiation, or speech sounds, with strange negligence to its glorious Orthographic heritage…

    Read the rest here: http://keghart.com/Pilikian-Syntaxes

  • #2
    Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

    No thank you. There is a good reason why soviet armenia changed the western style. Western armenian is much harder to learn and use thus is less practical. Language is a tool and there is nothing wrong with making better tools. I am annoyed that my son cannot be taught eastern armenian where we live but then again that is what parents are for. A more efficient language leads to higher literacy rate thus better education for society.
    Hayastan or Bust.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

      Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
      No thank you. There is a good reason why soviet armenia changed the western style. Western armenian is much harder to learn and use thus is less practical. Language is a tool and there is nothing wrong with making better tools. I am annoyed that my son cannot be taught eastern armenian where we live but then again that is what parents are for. A more efficient language leads to higher literacy rate thus better education for society.
      You obviously have a poor understanding of the subject if you refer to the traditional orthography as "Western." The traditional orthography (what you call Western style) was in use in Armenia until the 1920s and as the author of this article points out, the reformers had great reservations about the reform. There is no "Western/Eastern" style -- Iranian Armenians speak Eastern Armenian but use the traditional spelling.

      Any individual in Armenia who does research on pre-Soviet Armenian history will have to learn the traditional orthography (which is called Mashtotsian or Mesropian for a reason).

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

        You are right i am no linguist but here is a example of how messed up presoviet armenian was - take the name Gagik which is a real armenian name (i believe we had a king by that name) this name is western armenian sounds like kakik which sounds like well um crap. In eastern/yerevantsi armenian it is pronounced as Gagik which is very different then kakik. I do like many of the words in the western armenian but the pronounsiation and spelling is much more complicated then the Hayastantsi version.
        Hayastan or Bust.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

          Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
          You are right i am no linguist but here is a example of how messed up presoviet armenian was - take the name Gagik which is a real armenian name (i believe we had a king by that name) this name is western armenian sounds like kakik which sounds like well um crap. In eastern/yerevantsi armenian it is pronounced as Gagik which is very different then kakik. I do like many of the words in the western armenian but the pronounsiation and spelling is much more complicated then the Hayastantsi version.
          Did you read the article, Haykakan? You've missed the point. Pilikian makes it pretty clear that it is the Western that has undergone a sound shift and that he prefers the Eastern/Classical pronunciations. But spelling and pronunciation are not the same thing. Before the Soviet reforms, Tumanian and Abovian wrote in the traditional orthography but that did not mean they were writing in Western Armenian. That's absurd.

          So, Գագիկ would be pronounced Gagik in EA and Kakig in WA. This name is still spelled the same way in reformed Armenian orthography, so let's try another one:

          Յովհաննէս (traditional) and Հովհաննես (reformed): both pronounced the same way.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

            Yeah, this is all just about the writing system, not the way people talk. I don't really have a clear side on this debate. Forget the Eastern Armenian orthography debate, to me, Western Armenian might enjoy a makeover, to eliminate the 2 t's, 2p's and 2, k's, thus rendering it easier for new learners, but of course this makes the vocabulary less traceable from its historical pronunciation for anyone who cares about that.
            I was taught how to think.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

              The reason i like the eastern better is that there very few spelling//pronounciation issues. You spell the word the way it sounds. Our alphabet has a lot of lettersand that allows with a letter representing almost every sound. Hovannes is a good example like spell it with the H which the name sound like when pronounced like why would you bother spelling it with a Y - those kinds of things never made sense to me.
              Hayastan or Bust.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

                Those nonsensical spellings reflect earlier pronunciations of the word. For instance, why do we spell knight with a k and a gh? Because surely enough, in Chaucer's English, it was pronounced: "k-nikh-t, with the kh being analogous to the kh in Khachig.

                The debate in Armenian regarding keeping or dispensing of these orthographic fossils that no one pronounces anymore, is about whether we want to maintain a link to past pronunciation, or to simplify learning for the future. If you look at the Chinese, they don't seem to care that their characters don't even reflect the pronunciation. They get thousands of them beaten into their heads while they're children, and are later proud of it.
                I was taught how to think.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Of Phoneme-Morpheme Syntaxes & Armenian Orthography

                  Originally posted by jgk3 View Post
                  Those nonsensical spellings reflect earlier pronunciations of the word. For instance, why do we spell knight with a k and a gh? Because surely enough, in Chaucer's English, it was pronounced: "k-nikh-t, with the kh being analogous to the kh in Khachig.

                  The debate in Armenian regarding keeping or dispensing of these orthographic fossils that no one pronounces anymore, is about whether we want to maintain a link to past pronunciation, or to simplify learning for the future. If you look at the Chinese, they don't seem to care that their characters don't even reflect the pronunciation. They get thousands of them beaten into their heads while they're children, and are later proud of it.
                  I am sure there are idiots who are proud of the fact that they are idiots but this does not make it right. I know we Armenians are a stubborn people but we can't just stay stuck in the past. If we continue to stay stuck in the past we will never have a future. We should do what is right for us and our childeren and making them learn a language based on stuff that no longer makes any sense is inefficient at best and abuse at worst. Our language(eastern armenian) is far richer then the english language and much more practical since we have a letter for every sound thus we do not need the sh, ch..combos. Maybe a lot more of us would be using Armenians if we were taught the eastern version as children.
                  Hayastan or Bust.

                  Comment

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