BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Some Days ago, I read Hagop Gulludjian’s article “Atabdatzman Yev Eendegrman Oogheenerov” (Ադապտացման Եւ Ինտեգրման Ուղիներով) in Armenian. I marveled at how well this tongue-in-cheek piece presented one aspect of the problems challenging our continued use of the Armenian language, and I felt compelled to translate it. I asked for and received the author’s permission. Of course, any errors in translation are naught but my own.
Given its nature, following the train of thought will likely be difficult in the English version, and impossible if a reader is not fairly well versed in Armenian. The way it is structured, any time the original used a foreign, usually Latin-based but borrowed via Russian, word, I represent that in Armenian words, transliterated. To convey the additional frustration felt by Western Armenians when reading this type of vile text (or hearing such speech) emanating from our homeland, I have used Western Armenian (my native dialect) pronunciation as the convention to render Armenian and foreign-borrowed words in Latin letters. In addition, I have retained, untranslated, the worst, most egregious, and far too common transgressors – nouns carrying the Russian “tzia” (and its tzial, tzoom, etc. Armenianized forms) ending which corresponds to “tion” in English (and French, whence they were usually borrowed). I also opted for one inconsistency in this system- referring to Saint Mesrob as Sangd (again, Russian borrowed) Mesrob, since it comes out so deliciously, hilariously, absurd.
It may end up that many will understand little of what follows, but everyone should perceive the ridiculous state of affairs suffusing everyday communications emanating from Yerevan. If you can’t stomach any more after the first few paragraphs, please skip to the end for a few closing comments.
On the Paths of Adabdatzoom and Meroom*
I came across a very tragan website recently in the Armenian nooks of the internet. “Diaspora Research Division” (diasporastudies.am) (it doesn’t say of which hasdadootiun or assotzeeyatzia) seems to have been very cordzoonia in recent years. Its first project is titled “Paths to Solving the Problems of Atabdatzoom and Meroom of Repatriating Syrian Armenians”.
Under the title “Language Undefined” appears, which caused me great consternation since the language used is a very beautiful Armenian, despite being adabdatzvadz and mervadz with our clopaleezatzial world’s eeshkhogh language. It was amazing that the title refrained from using clean Armenian to say “paths to solving the broplemneruh”. The dictionary quickly helped me understand what “problem” meant.
It seems dzrakreen aim is to constitute a golegtzia to develop “portsaragan research” based “merveloo tzever” for “Armenian caghtaganner to be accepted in their azcayeen homeland”.
Among the dzrakeers, notable are “Meegratzian and the Armenian Diaspora” (in Armenian- Spiurkuh), “Dzrakeer for the Study of the Azcacragan-Ungerayeen Study of Moscow’s and Krasnodar’s Armenians”, and other khnteerneroo nationally beneficial studies. Here too I found the retreat of proper Armenian frustrating since “economic” was used instead of “dndesakan”; instead of “dzrakeer” – plan; instead of “garooytz” – structure; instead of “khorhrtagan” – consultant; instead of “baymanacrayeen” – contractual; and numerous others examples of dated and dradeetzional yezrapanootian.
I hertsaynetzee Sangd Mesrob who was resting peacefully in Oshagan to learn how I too could adabdatzveel and merveel with this clean cordzadzootiun of Armenian. (Note that adabdatzveel is the transitive gravoragan of adabdatznel, while adabdveel is gravoragan antzoghagan of adabdel, and I’m not certain which of these is more adabdagan.)
Sangd Mesrob set aside the English translation of Nareg he was reading and answered, “My son, tartsvadzkayeen meroomuh is a khnteer of dbavorootiunner. The world is a darraloodzaran where it is necessary to portsargel the eksbantzia of language through parepokhoomneroo cordzuntatzner. It seems there is a rising hagoom in our press, reading which even I gain some havelial vocabulary. The heemnagan teematrootiun that our Armenian reporters are demonstrating against linguistic amlootiun is wonderful.
Addressing the gaykayeen nertnoghner who are enriching the language, Sangd Mesrob deemed their hagaragortneruh eeratzional people who hold an anjeesht position and have big yeser. In the final analysis, these are people who have a nonsensical pararan, whose yentagayaganootiunuh, yentatragan teglaratzianeruh and caytagghayeen outbursts strive to deprive Armenian of jgoonootian opportunities. “In opposing for the sake of contrarianism, they convert their anti-evolootzion unteemootiun into a sharoonagvogh taderagan haydakeer.”
“These people’s zhoghovrtacrcrootiunuh has reached its cacatnaged,” noted the great sangd, adding, however, that their role is “loosantzayeen, and their attempts to establish a cordznagan hamarzhekootiun between their pathetic endeavors and real Armenian’s ooghghootiun are condemned to becoming tiutzaznercagan scale apsdragtzianer. Hancsdanalov a little on the tombstone in Oshagan, sangdliest Mesrob continued, almost angrily. “These so-called Armenian mdavoranneruh have no desire to goordinatznel khmpaynoren with independent Armenia’s tghtageetzneruh,” and, he exclaimed, “Der eem, they are unthanrabess opposed to even teemahartaragan linguistic garnishments. They feel themselves ardonacrvadz to send badkamner about dratitzional tzeveroo gonservatzman. They even accuse our guys of vaghemee-style looting.”
Finishing his almost menakhosagan badkam, Mesrob heaved a deep sigh. “The only way to solve these khnteerner is to make a brezendatzia to the khorhrtaran. Now, I’m going to read some more of Nareg’s panasdeghdzootiun, since later, on the hamatzantz there’s the patzoom of “Hsganeroo Echkuh.” You see, now we have the lavacooyn selegtzia to watch and read in Armenian, which will finally improve the dbavorootiun about our language.
* The terms belonging to “Modern Armenian” along with whole sentences were taken from blognews.am’s publications during the month of May. The remainder came from Yerevan State University’s English-Armenian dictionary (author- N. R. Paratian) published in 2011, a few other websites, and a couple, perforce, through inspiration.
No doubt you found reading this “translation” (or any portion of it) a bit disorienting or dizzying. That’s the way I and many others feel when we try to read, listen, and just generally communicate with those of our compatriots who, more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the USSR, persist in conversing using extraordinarily Russian-laced Armenian.
Foreign language influences are not new, not to Armenian nor any other language. Borrowing has been going on for centuries and millennia. But when this process of enrichment becomes overbearing, overwhelming, and downright destructive of the host language, especially in the homeland and not the Diaspora where we are far more susceptible to such influences, it’s time to holler “STOP” – and very loudly at that.
Let’s, all of us, whether we speak the language or not, do our best to encourage the use of Armenian words when they exist or can easily be generated.