Notes From Hairenik
February 17, 2010
When you're working day in and day out for nine hours a day, only to return straight home to your wife and demanding, co-dependent Armenian chihuahua puppy, your life isn’t afforded the time to go out and about on adventures, especially in the winter when the snow and ice on the roads in the regions can make traveling perilous. Writing blog entries about life in Armenia is not always feasible.

So I don't always have something relevant to write on Notes From Hairenik. I never wanted to document my daily activities here because I think writing about getting up for work and what I had to put up with in the office and home are dull topics. No one is going to care.

Even on the weekends I can't always manage to leave Yerevan because errands and family commitments restrain me from exploring on a whim. So blogging as often as I would like to is not always possible.

Right now I am focusing on more personal projects-- I have taken a renewed, dedicated interest in my personal writing and am aiming to get a story or two published in literary journals this year, assuming that whatever I submit is accepted by a publication's editorial staff. There’s no telling whether any of it will be considered worth printing by any publisher, nevertheless I am resolute in my quest to emerge in the world of literature.

I spend my free time with family and friends so I rarely even go out at night to the theater or concerts, unfortunately. But Yerevan seems to be constantly transforming which is obvious whenever I walk around the city. New apartment buildings are still going up despite the reported lull in the construction sector. Even new banks are opening despite a shrunken gross domestic product, an inexplicable paradox. The regions, however, still have billions of dollars in infrastructural and industrial development potential. This is nothing new to report, and things aren't about to change anytime soon simply because the vision and commitment are not there.

In any case, I was just chatting with co-workers about the transformation of languages, and how Russian words that have been essentially borrowed from the French have made their short journey into Armenian lexicon. I was conveying the fact that "street Armenian" is fast becoming literal Armenian, demised by the way I hear people talk using a sort of illiterate, “criminal” tone in public and now even on television. They can speak pure Armenian if they really wanted to, but they’re too accustomed to speaking using jargon and words taken from Russian, Turkish, and Farsi. Now that the language is clearly transforming, with the media being partially responsible, the literal Armenian of today is in serious jeopardy of disappearing in 20 or 30 years time when the older generations who know better are no longer around to keep the language pure and alive. The response was essentially that people are too concerned with materialism and communications than to worry about the decimation of vocabulary and proper grammar, and that the only solution to preserving the Armenian language is for each of us to keep ourselves in check, to maintain discipline. After he said this he reverted to intermingling Russian words in conversation because it's natural for him as well as hundreds of thousands of other Armenians living in Armenia and spread out around the world who took this bad habit with them when they left in the years since independence. Perhaps Armenians born and raised countries like France, Argentina and America are no better. Back home we tend to mix both Armenian and English when talking with each other—it’s a normal thing for us. I guess the question is where do we draw the line? As far as I know there has never been any kind of consortium held to address this global problem of the language’s future and how to keep it alive, unadulterated. It’s a huge challenge that probably won’t ever be tackled. Mild animosity between Western and Eastern Armenian speakers has been in effect for decades, so breaking the barrier of who’s right and wrong is challenge in and of itself. You have two distinct, unrelated forms of the fundamental verb “to be” to contend with for starters. I think a global evaluation of the language is definitely in order. It’s time to save the language, especially here on Armenian soil. No one should allow the Armenian spoken on the streets to be embraced in official, written form.

These are the philosophical thoughts of the day. I hope my next blog entry will be a bit more exciting.


Anonymous Diana said...
Indeed the Armenian language is in jeopardy. But if we forget about jargon, there's a thing which I can't understand. Some of Armenians who perfectly know their native language , prefer to speak Russian. I don't mind speaking any other languages but if we don't preserve our language on the native soil , where else can we?

P.S. I liked Your post very much!