Don’t take it personally
It’s not your fault that the Armenian language is awash with words that were borrowed from Persian in the course of several centuries and eventually became permanent fixtures of Armenian — to the point that most of us today can’t tell the difference between an Armenian word and an Armenified Persian word.
And it’s not your fault that innumerable Turkish, Arabic, French, English, and, particularly, Russian words have entered the Armenian language in the past 150 years or so, due to foreign occupation, commerce, and cultural interaction.
What would be your fault is if you’ve grown so complacent, so indifferent, or feel so powerless in these matters that you do nothing, and simply go along, in view of the tide of Armenified Russian and English words which suffuse our language today, impacting every single sphere of discourse in Armenian life.
Indeed, it boggles the mind that millions of our people, our cultural and political organizations, and the governments of Armenia and Artsakh themselves, now use hundreds of Russian and English words in written and verbal Armenian and that they do so when we have perfectly good, perfectly precise Armenian words to convey the meanings of those borrowed words, and, moreover, we’re perfectly capable of coining new Armenian words in case we lack Armenian equivalents of technical and other words.
How should we explain this phenomenon? An inferiority complex vis-à-vis dominant cultures? Intellectual laziness? A fatal lack of faith in and respect for our own language? The answer is, probably, all of the above.
Armenian culture defines who we are and what we stand for. And the Armenian language is the crown jewel of our culture. So why on Earth would we allow our language to be so weakened, so adulterated by the barrage of borrowed words, as to lose its character, and ultimately become generic and indistinct?
The title of this book is certainly not meant as an insult. What it is intended to be is a wake-up call, a dose of shock therapy, to make us realize just how dangerously bastardized our language has become. It’s my profound love of Armenian culture and the Armenian language that prompts me to lash out whenever I see them hurt by a self-inflicted wound.
There are one hundred and one entries in this book. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We need to open our eyes to this reality.