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WESTERN ARMENIAN IN THE 21st CENTURY: Challenges and New Approaches

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Edited by Barlow Der Mugrdechian and Bedross Der Matossian

Modern Western Armenian is considered an endangered language by UNESCO. Today Western Armenian is essentially a Diaspora language which was dramatically impacted by the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The post-Genocide period has posed a great challenge to the continued vitality of this important language. For the past few years, scholars have discussed how to best teach Western Armenian and to transmit the language to future generations. This volume brings together experts in the field of Western Armenian who focus on theoretical questions as well as practical suggestions in dealing with outdated pedagogical approaches. The volume presents the latest research in the field of language acquisition, which benefits from theoretical and practical approaches in the field of teaching minority languages in a diasporic situation. This collection of essays is a striking response to the crisis of contemporary Western Armenian. It offers articles from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives, written by experts who have both theoretical and instructional experience and articulate views ranging from the importance of creating linguistic communities to the use of creative writing in language classrooms. Even the most visionary article also offers some strikingly innovative yet practical suggestion. The broader public of the Armenian diaspora and in particular its language teachers, school trustees and administrators, as well as writers, can and must learn from it. Khachig Tölölyan, Wesleyan University Western Armenian's future is one of the most frequently debated topics in contemporary discussions of the Armenian diaspora. Reaching beyond the sensationalism that often frames the discourse of language vitality, this compelling collection of essays opens up new approaches to Western Armenian instruction, training, and transmission. The result is a fabulous volume that will become an integral resource for educators, researchers, and language activists. Talar Chahinian, UC Irvine.