13.07.2017 | 
This year, 316 Diaspora Armenians from 35 countries participate in “Diaspora Summer School”. The largest number of participants is involved in the “Armenian Language Accelerated Training” course. To find out the details we interviewed YSU lecturer, Candidate of Philology, course coordinator Mary Hovhannisyan.

- The program is organized for the 5th year, which proves that it is a successful one. After all, what does it give participants?

- Today, we have a serious problem in the Diaspora. They communicate in foreign languages living in foreign countries. Thus, we lose our national identity and one of the most important guarantees of identity is the language. The “Diaspora Summer School” Program, implemented by the joint efforts of the RA Ministry of Diaspora and Yerevan State University, is an important step towards preserving the national identity, which definitely fulfills all its goals. This is evidenced by the fact that at the end of the course participants get obvious skills in the Armenian language.

- From which countries are the participants of this year’s Armenian language training course and who are they?

- It should be noted that the number of participating countries is increasing year after year. Like in previous year, this year also more than one hundred participants are from Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Tuapse, Pyatigorsk, Tyumen, Volgograd, Saratov, Oryol, Kislovodsk, Rostov-on-Don, Lobnya and other cities are from Russia). We also have participants from Abkhazia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Georgia, Romania, USA and Germany.

- Is there any age feature? What age group is the most interested one?

- There are a large number of young people aged 20-30. The youngest is 12 years old and the oldest participant is 74. It is gratifying that people of different ages and professions have wish to learn the native language. Everyone has one goal: to learn Armenian or to become fluent in Armenian.

- How is the distribution of participants organized by group and course in general?

- The course is based on the following. The participants prior to the start of the program sign up for their level of knowledge of the Armenian language. According to the level of knowledge, appropriate groups are formed for the beginners (the pre-primary level), the medium level of teaching. This year, six groups of Russian speakers are divided into three levels, one group for English speakers and a Western Armenian group for Turkish speakers.

The main problem is related to incorrect registration of participants. Experience shows that a large number of participants incorrectly indicate their level of Armenian knowledge in the registration process. To this end, they are given a test before the training starts, after which they go to the group according to knowledge levels. It is, of course, a problem. Within the framework of the training we are constantly following the participants’ feedback, trying to overcome each problem, if any.

- The training lasts about a month, which is a rather short period of time to study the language, but if you take into account that most participants have a certain level of language, what is the final result of the course?

- Within the framework of the course, a clear objective and purpose is to teach the Armenian alphabet, to give appropriate knowledge to different levels of the language, to have a certain vocabulary, to communicate in daily life and to develop the ability to express thoughts in Armenian. Upon successful completion of the course, the participants are able to read in Armenian, having some grammatical knowledge and vocabulary, listening and understanding the Armenian word, making sentences and communicating on everyday topics.

- For a month, participants attend classes, perform tasks, and more. At the end of the course, the level of their knowledge will be checked.

- Let me note that the course is held by university lecturers. Theoretical and practical classes are combined with training. After the completion of the training, participants are given a certificate if they pass the test and do not have absences (more than three days).

Interview by Tsovinar Karapetyan

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