The room ignited with laughter and energy as the first 90-second timer started. Five proposed prompts and 90 seconds left little time to overthink or be nervous as the Armenian language hour “speed dating” rounds began. The timer rang, and the inner circle of the room quickly shifted to the next partner with more laughs, as people navigated the rush of activity. “Use as much Armenian as you and your partner are comfortable with,” the Central Language Council tasked the room. Prompts were provided in Armenian, transliterated and in English. Topics ranged from lighthearted subjects with easily accessible vocabulary such as preferred Armenian breakfast dishes to more introspective prompts about ideas for program development in the community as an Armenian youth.
When the rush of rounds ended, a thoughtful quiet settled over the room before the group articulated how they were feeling in a word. Weird, connected, energized. Those who did not speak Armenian received a roaring applause as they shared their experience. The subsequent lecture portion framed not only the historical and current context of Armenian language in the eastern region, but our collective power to decide for ourselves what our decision will be based on our circumstances today. The Central Language Council shared actionable next steps and ideas for making a difference including texting in Armenian, volunteering at an Armenian school, creating content in Armenian, participating in Zruyts Mruyts (a weekly Armenian language corner) and Armenian book club.
A few minutes later, the entire group received a crash course in integrating the Armenian language into our events in a judgement-free, fun and creative way…blindfolded. Teams faced off in navigating an obstacle course in a row blindfolded, with one non-blindfolded team member guiding them through the course with Armenian instructions. What ensued was comedy, laughter and teamwork. It didn’t matter if you mixed up left and right, or if you used eastern or western, or if your grammar was off; you were having fun with your friends (new and old) in Armenian.
The Central Language Council would like to thank all the AYF members who brought their incredible spirit for the Armenian language to this year’s Senior Seminar, pushed through the discomfort and embraced our power to decide the future of Armenian language for ourselves as we create, communicate and share in our beautiful mother tongue.
If you have any questions or are interested in partnering with the Central Language Council, please email us at [email protected].