Cambridge University Professor conducts research on Salmast dialect

Asbarez – In collaboration with Salmast Heritage Association (SHA), Cambridge Professor of Linguistics, Bert Vaux, conducted a week-long research project on the dialect of Salmast, also believed to be the language of Historic Armenia.

The SHA identified nine Salmasttsi speakers of the dialect, arranged for appropriate space and technological support for interviews, and recorded individual and group sessions. The research subjects were from Haftvan, Mahlam, Sarna, Payajuke, and Akhtkhan. Dr. Vaux studied phonetic as well as written vocabulary words and sentences, and recorded the variations between regional definitions and pronunciations. The totality of the information they shared was qualified as “priceless,” as native speakers of the dialect are aging and not easily accessible. Most importantly, the week-long field work on the Salmast dialect showed that many of the words and definitions brought to light by the nine Salmasttsi interviewees are not found in Muradyan’s dictionary, the foremost authority on Armenian dialects.

Linguistics Professor Vaux received his PhD from Harvard where he taught for nine years. He is an internationally recognized expert in his field, is fluent in several languages including Armenian, and has published several textbooks and numerous papers on such topics as Historical Linguistics, Phonology, Dialectology and related subjects. He enjoys working with native speakers to document endangered languages, especially dialects of Armenian, Abkhaz, and English.

Dr. Vaux’ partial list of publications includes: The Phonology of Armenian; The Armenian Dialect of New Julfa, Isfahan; Eastern Armenian, A Textbook; A Textbook of Western Armenian; Hamshetsma: The Language of the Armenians of Hamshen; The Armenian Dialect of Khodorjur; Vowel Harmony in the Armenian Dialect of Marash; Syllabification in Armenian, Universal Grammar and the Lexicon; Armenian Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics and more.

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