Although the Armenian language is complex and can be difficult to learn, students at Fresno State are very eager to read, write, and speak the language. The course is taught every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday by Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian. He promptly enters the class each morning with a friendly greeting of Parev [Hello], and from that point on, the students are allowed to communicate only in Armenian. This learning style allows the class to learn to speak Armenian through engaging with their fellow classmates.
Armenian 1A is an elementary course in Armenian, which involves learning some grammar, basic greetings, and most importantly, the alphabet. A Course in Modern Western Armenian by Dr. Tom Samuelian is the textbook. This text aids the students in understanding the Armenian alphabet, learning both upper and lower cases of each letter. The Armenian alphabet was created by St. Mesrop Mashtots in 405 A.D. and has 38 letters, each with a specific sound and pronunciation.
Hazel, Armineh, Patrick, Jessica, Kyle, Stephanie, Jaime, Levon, James, Zaven, Heidi, Agavni, and Alene are all students enrolled in this course. More than half of them are planning on minoring in Armenian Studies.
Levon Minassian is a freshman at Fresno State, majoring in Political Science. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, listening to music, and playing soccer. He already knows how to speak the language, however he wants to learn how to read and write the language also. Levon greatly enjoys the learning environment Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian provides in the classroom. When asked what he has learned in the course, Levon responded, “The language has a rich history and it has gone through many changes.”
Patrick Porché is currently a junior and is majoring in Music Composition. Patrick is most interested in writing music and singing during his time away from school. When asked what attracted him to the Armenian language course, Patrick said, “I knew nothing about it. I thought of it as a challenge.” Patrick approached the class as a great opportunity to learn a new language. Although he admitted the class was difficult, Patrick is still planning to minor in Armenian Studies.
Alene Istanboulian, a freshman, is majoring in Marketing. She says, “I wanted to take Armenian so I could refresh my Armenian skills and to make my grandparents happy!” Alene greatly enjoys seeing her fellow classmates, while learning Armenian, and also deeply appreciates Prof. Der Mugrdechian and his teaching methods.
Jaime Cardenas, a junior, is also minoring in Armenian Studies. The Psychology major enjoys hiking, reading, and relaxing, during his free time. Jaime enjoys tracking his progress in learning the language, and especially enjoys knowing how he is increasing his abilities communicating in Armenian. Because he has many Armenian friends, he was automatically drawn into the culture. When asked to comment about things he has learned in class, he said, “I have learned about the major distinctions between the Eastern and Western dialects.”
The Armenian 1A course is filled with a diverse group of people with one common goal; to learn the Armenian language. The next course these students will take is Armenian 1B, which is the second semester to the introductory course in Armenian. Armenian courses at Fresno State are deeply cherished and appreciated very much by the students.