Armenian Jerusalem
 

The uniquely mellifluous and lilting kaghakatsi accent continues to intrigue

scholars around the world eager to rescue it from oblivion.

               A   few   years   ago,   a   US   professor,   Bert   Vaux,   undertook   the   onerous   task   of   persuading some   of   the   denizens   of   the   Armenian   Quarter   of   the   Old   City   of   Jerusalem   to   allow   him   to record their speech. He collected quite some nuggets along the way.                Now   a   professor   from   Salzburg   university   in Austria,   has   pitched   in   for   another   go,   using   a different and, what she asserts would be, a more professional approach.                Dr.   Jasmine   Dum-Tragut   introduced   herself   as   a   self-employed   scholar   at   the   Linguistic Department   of   the   university   of   Salzburg,   and   as   an   armenologists   specialized   in   Modern Armenian.                She   also   heads   the   head   of   the   department   for   Armenian   Studies   at   the   Mayr-Melnhof- Institute for the Christian East.                She   was   encouraged   to   contact   the   kaghakatsi Armenian   Family Tree   project   by   a   staunch friend of ours, professor Michael Stone, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.      "I have been working in Armenian studies for more than 20 years now," she says.                Last   November,   she   had   a   short-term   visiting   professorship   at   the   Hebrew   University,   and it   was   there,   where   my   friend   and   colleague   "Michael   Stone   convinced   me   to   work   on   the highly endangered kaghakatsi dialect."                Jasmine   concentrates   on   the   languages   of   endangered   minorities.   Over   the   past   four years,   she   has   been   working   on   a   concise   linguistic   description   of   Modern   Eastern   Armenian as   written   and   spoken   in   the   Motherland,   with   the   support   of   the Austrian   Science   Fund,   and the result, almost 700 pages, will be published this year by Benjamins, Amsterdam.      "I am really very interested and eager to work on this [kaghakatsi] dialect," she says.                She   will   be   using   the   tapes   previously   recorded   by   Theo   van   Lint,   but   most   probably   will have to do some more recording and conduct specific interviews.                She   will   be   staying   in   Jerusalem   at   least   for   a   month   which   would   give   her   the opportunity   to   do   some   teaching   on   armenological   subjects   again   at   the   Hebrew   University.                
Kaghakatsi christening
This project has been supported by the Gulbenkian philanthropic Foundation, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and members of the worldwide Armenian community. Reproductions of the genealogical documents [domar’s] are courtesy Photo Garo, Jerusalem. Copyright © 2007 Arthur Hagopian
This project has been supported by the Gulbenkian philanthropic Foundation, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and members of the worldwide Armenian community. Reproductions of the genealogical documents [domar’s] are courtesy Photo Garo, Jerusalem. Copyright © 2007 Arthur Hagopian
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