www.dorasakayan.com > press releases > book launch (2012)
Book Launch of Western Armenian for the English-speaking World, A Contrastive Approach
On October 18, 2012, the textbook Western Armenian for the English-speaking World, A Contrastive Ap- proach (Արեւմտահայերէնը անգլիա -խօս աշխարհի համար` զուգադրա- կան մօտեցմամբ), authored by Armenologist Dora Sakayan, was launched in the Session Hall of the Academic Council of Yerevan State University (YSU). The book is a revised and expanded edition of Modern Western Armenian for the English-speaking World. A Contrastive Approach, published by Sakayan in 2000, in Montreal, Canada.
In his opening speech, YSU Rector, IAS Head, Prof. Doctor Aram Simonyan, stressed that this was not an ordinary book launch, for this long-awaited book is of great importance for the Armenian Diaspora, particularly its English-speaking community.
Holding up Sakayan’s twin books, Wes¬tern Armenian for the English-speaking World (2012) and Eastern Armenian for the English-speaking World (2007) for the audience, Rector Simonyan declared that they were designed to fulfill a critical gap in Armenology.
He then announced that a new edition of the Eastern Armenian book is planned, this time, for Russian-speaking students. Rector Simonyan congratulated Professor Dora Sakayan for laying down the foundation for the preservation of the Armenian language in the world.
“I strongly believe that the Armenian language is divine and unique. Our language is, and will be, eternal, as long as our Statehood exists,” said Simonyan.
Professor Sakayan opened her speech by giving a brief history of the making of the books. She related how, drawing on the newest insights in foreign language teaching methodology, she created a cohesive structure designed to facilitate communicative competence of Armenian. The positive reception since 2000 by users of the first edition encouraged her to publish a further, perfected edition of the Eastern Armenian version in 2007, followed by a completely new Western Armenian version, in 2012. She then added that, unlike Eastern Armenian, which is a vital language and flourishes under the auspices of the State of the Republic of Armenia, Western Armenian has in the last decade become listed as an endangered language in UNESCO’s Atlas of World Languages. She expressed her hope that her latest book would contribute to the preservation of Western Armenian in the Diaspora.
“Through these two books, for the first time in Armenology, the two branches of the Armenian language, Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian, are juxtaposed at all linguistic levels, based on the same linguistic model. This could be the basis par excellance for future contrastive studies of these two branches, ” said Sakayan.
Sakayan then thanked Aram Simonyan, as well as the head of YSU Publishing House Pertch Stepanyan, for their support.
Speaking in turn, Professor Levon Yezekyan, Chairman of the Armenian Language Department of the Faculty of Armenian Philology, acknowledged Dora Sakayan’s vital promotion of the Armenian language in all parts of the world.
Dora Sakayan has been known to YSU since the 1960s as Chairman of the Foreign Languages Department and a prominent specialist in Germanic studies. In 1975, she left for Canada where, in the same year, she was appointed Professor of German Studies at McGill University. Sakayan has recently been awarded a YSU Honorary Doctorate Degree.
In Canada, along with prolific contributions in the field of German studies, Dora Sakayan promoted Armenology by founding Armenian language courses at McGill University, writing Armenological monographs and articles, making translations from and to Armenian, and organizing international Armenological forums. Not least, she created the series, “Armenian Studies for the English-speaking World.”
Dora Sakayan has also been a major contributor to literature on the history of the Armenian Genocide. Presently, she is working on a translation project with one of her former students, Evelina Makaryan, to translate eyewitness accounts and books on the Armenian Genocide, which she has unearthed from libraries of German-speaking countries, from German into Armenian. Every year since 2006, one of these translations is published by Yerevan University Press.