The modern pedagogical approach requires a different type of teaching for the foreign language, based on the oral language, on communication.
Psycho-physiological research has shown that in mastering a language, one goes through four stages in unchanging order, following a progression linked to the physiology of the human brain: first understand, then speak, then read and finally write. Therefore, knowing a language means being able to speak it before reading and writing it. And speaking means dialoguing, that is to say, to understand his interlocutor and answer him. Understanding the message by the brain follows hearing and seeing it, and research has shown that it is best when sound and image are combined.
These results were integrated in the « WESTERN ARMENIAN HANDBOOK FOR NON-ARMENIAN SPEAKERS » of Dr. Hilda Kalfayan-Panossian (*) using the Audio-visual Structure-global Method which is the effective and fast means for the learning of a foreign language. On two CD.s are registered images of scenes from everyday life and corresponding dialogues on CD. The words used and the grammatical structures are carefully chosen according to their frequency and usefulness constituting the basic vocabulary (of 1000 grammatical words) and presented after an established grammatical progression.
The «Handbook» is a teaching set consisting of :
1- The Book of Tales, meant to teach the oral language,
2- The Book of Drills, with a specific lexicon,
3- The Book of Reading - Writing,
4.- Two CD.s.
5.- The labels for manipulations, corresponding to each other element (word, prefix, suffix, declination, conjugation)
There are several phases in the application: one of the most important is that of the structural exercises where one leaves the text and one asks the pupils to introduce modifications by the substitution technique, by changing the constituent elements of each sentence. This linguistic gymnastics gives the possibility to the pupil to speak as he pleases, according to the need of the moment, by establishing a communication. Learning of the written language follows oral learning.
The « WESTERN ARMENIAN HANDBOOK FOR NON-ARMENIAN SPEAKERS » is meant for: -Adults working alone (without a teacher), who will proceed in the manner explained in the Book of Tales for oral expression and in the Book of Reading-Writing for written expression. In case of collective teaching, 50 hours are required for one to speak and to read or to write using 1000 grammatical words. Until now more than 3000 non-Armenian speakers learned Armenian. This method was used in Paris, in Marseille, in Aleppo, in Canada, and USA.
Considering this success, The MACHTOTZ ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEFENSE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARMENIAN LANGUAGE has decided to publish on the net an open interactive version of the «Handbook»: anyone anywhere will have free access at any time in order to learn the Armenian language.
Special thanks to Colette PAPION for her friendly contribution to the english version.
(*) L’auteur : Dr. Hilda KALFAYAN-PANOSSIAN
Docteur en Psychopédagogie –Université de Paris Sorbonne.
Licence et Maîtrise en Arménologie –INALCO-Paris.
Diplomée de l’Institut des Professeurs de Français à l’Etranger- Sorbonne.