www.dorasakayan.com > press releases > YSU book launch (2007)
For further information contact:
Yerevan State University
Public Relations and Information Administration
1 Alec Manoukian, Yerevan
Tel.: (+374 10) 55 52 40
Fax: (+374 10) 55 46 41
Contact person: Karen Grigoryan
A premier book launch was held at the Yerevan State University (YSU) on November 28, 2007 for Dora Sakayan's textbook, EASTERN ARMENIAN FOR THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD: A CONTRASTIVE APPROACH. It was published by YSU press upon the recommendation of the Armenian Philology Faculty Senate of YSU. The book launch was organized by the YSU Rectorate. Filled to capacity, the YSU Senate Assembly Hall included YSU faculty members and representatives from many other universities and educational institutions of Armenia.
EASTERN ARMENIAN FOR THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD (566 pages) aims to teach Eastern Armenian, the official language of the Republic of Armenia. For the first time in Armenia, East Armenian is presented not as a mother tongue but as a foreign language. The book is designed for adult beginners, both of non-Armenian and Armenian descent. It incorporates vast linguistic material into one textbook consisting of two parts: the main body of the textbook and the appendix. In the main body, the linguistic material is methodically distributed among evenly structured 12 units. Each of the units maintains a contrastive approach: Similarities and differences between Armenian and English are continuously highlighted. The appendix is a book in its own right. It offers a list of phrases for everyday communication, grammatical tables, Armenian-English and English-Armenian glossaries, a bibliography and an index. The central section of the appendix includes a chapter containing excerpts from Armenian classical literature, both poetry and prose.
As an indispensable means of mastering pronunciation, the book is accompanied by a self-study CD, produced by the author and read by native speakers of East Armenian. Rector of YSU, Professor Dr. Aram Simonyan, chaired the launch. In his opening statements Rector Simonyan declared that this book was a cause for celebration and congratulated its author Dora Sakayan and all those present. "The national and political significance of this book is evident. Eastern Armenian is the only warrant for the survival of Armenian as a language of communication for Armenian people."
Dr. Sergey Galstyan, Professor of the Department of Armenian Language at YSU, who also wrote the foreword to the textbook, opened his speech with the following words: "For Armenologists in and outside Armenia, Dora Sakayan does not need introduction. This textbook is one of her many contributions to Armenology. She is also the author of the sister edition of this textbook, "Modern Western Armenian for the English-speaking World", which appeared in 2000 in Montreal, Canada, and was very well received around the world". Dr. Galstyan went on to say that, since Armenian outside Armenia could be considered an endangered language, Sakayan's twin textbooks contribute to the preservation of a language that is extremely important for Indo-European research. Countering the legitimate question as to why this book, which is so important to Armenia, was created in Canada and not in Armenia, Armenologist Davit Gyulzadyan, Associate Professor of the Yerevan Arts Academy, referred to Sakayan’s personality. She has an undisputed international reputation in applied linguistics, particularly in the teaching of foreign languages. She is the author of many German textbooks and guides, and chaired the department of Foreign languages at YSU for ten years. Sakayan’s recognized knowledge of both versions of Armenian makes her the authority in the field. Gyulzadyan then added: "In its present layout, the structure of this book is a template, a pattern that can be used to synthesize any other foreign language textbook drawing on newer insights in foreign language teaching methodology."
Professor Hratchik Mirzoyan, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology at YSU, Chief Editor of Banber Yerevani Hamalsarani (Herald of YSU), and also the first editor of the Armenian text, gave a spontaneously inspired speech. Given the user-friendly nature of the work, he said: "This textbook breathes, it vibrates, unlike many other books that are dead. It teaches you not only grammatical categories… it teaches you love, dedication, perseverance and many other noble things. This book can even teach some philosophers…”
In her emotional speech, Dora Sakayan thanked Rector Aram Simonyan for supporting the publication of the book from day one, ever since he first saw the manuscript. "When I left Armenia last year, I was enchanted because the Eastern version was not going to be a migrant: It would be published in our Motherland, under the auspices of YSU, where it belonged." Sakayan then acknowledged the feedback she had received in the final stages of this project from her Armenologist colleagues at YSU and expressed her gratitude to them.
She then shared the story of the birth of the book. She had undertaken the project at the onset of the Armenian courses that she had founded in Canada in 1981 at McGill University. For lack of reasonable Armenian textbooks on the market, she said, handouts had to be created from scratch. In time, these handouts piled up, became booklets that were asking to be bound into a book. This was the blueprint of “Modern Western Armenian for the English-speaking World." It was after the success of that book that Sakayan felt the irresistible impulse to start writing a textbook for East Armenian. She felt very confident about it, although she realized that it would be a much more challenging task. She then concluded: “After another seven-and-a-half years of hard and demanding work, here it is, the long-awaited multi-layered book! This is the book of my life. It reflects my pedagogical and scholarly experience of 55 years and my everlasting love for our magnificent language."
Lilit Aivazyan, the 13-year old pupil of the No 19 Aghbalyan School of Yerevan, concluded the book launch. She recited Sylva Kaputikian's famous poem "Words to my son", first in Armenian and then in Dora Sakayan's English translation.
The book launch was followed by a reception with wine and a buffet, generously offered by the Rectorate.