Armenian is an Indo-European language, with its own alphabet since the beginning of the fifth century. It went through four stages of evolution: Classical, Middle and the current standards, Modern Eastern (the state language in the Republic of Armenia) and Western Armenian (spoken in the Armenian Diaspora).
Modern Western Armenian (MWA) is taught at U of M on a regular basis. Classical, Middle and Eastern Armenian are taught as individual tutorials primarily for research purposes. Establishing a good command of MWA would enable the student to comprehend and complement the study of Classical, Middle and Modern Eastern Armenian and thereby to open the gates to the beautiful world of Armenian in the midst of neighboring traditions. The Armenian experience has been and still is an organic part of Near Eastern civilizations,
old and new.
MWA is taught regularly on a two-year cycle basis and a third year of study can be pursued in tutorials. We use our very own textbook, tailored to the needs of English-speaking students. In addition to language, NES offers a variety of courses in all periods of Armenian literature, culture, thought, Armenian Church history and the cultural, social and political realities of the Western Armenians in the past two millennia, from the rise of Cilicia through the Armenian Genocide, to our own days. These courses are taught in a comparative context, bringing to life the countless hues and colors, channels and bonds that inextricably link Armenia and her vibrant Near Eastern civilization with the neighboring traditions of Christianity and Islam, Zoroastrian and Muslim Iran, Rome and Byzantium, the
Arab Caliphate and the Crusaders, and the Ottoman and Russian empires in their modern and contemporary incarnations. Armenian studies congenially complement and are complemented by a wealth of other NES courses.