“The mind is like food, so to think is to eat…” Today is Hrachya Acharyan’s birthday
“I am proud to have had Acharyan as my student for years”
Antoine Meillet, French linguist.
Linguist, philologist, ASSR academic professor at the Armenian Academy of Sciences – Hrachya Acharyan is the author of about 200 works, which include almost all the aspects of Armenian Studies. The history of the Armenian language, as well as studies of Armenian dialects as a separate branch of science, took shape thanks to his work. Hrachya Acharyan graduated from the Gedronakan high school of Constantinople, studied in the Sorbonne University of Paris, then in the University of Strasbourg. From 1898 to 1923 he worked as a teacher at the Ejmiatsin Gevorkian seminary, then at schools of Shusha, Nor Bayazet, Nor Nakhijevan, Tehran and Tavriz. Since 193 he started to profess at Yerevan State University.
Acharyan started learning languages since childhood. He knew Greek, Hebrew, French, English, German, Italian, Persian as well as Latin, Sanskrit and other languages. He learnt the Laz language from an old Laz man, wrote the grammar of that language and presented his research to a French linguistic organization in 1897 and at the age of 21 became a member of that organization.
Acharyan wrote the “Complete grammar of the Armenian language in comparison to 562 languages” (1952-71): a multi-volume work which is a unique piece in the linguistic literature of the whole world. Any information regarding various languages of the world can be found in this book, especially about the development and changes of the grammatical structure of the Armenian language.
For almost 40 years Acharyan worked on an unprecedented dictionary called “Dictionary of Armenian Roots” (1926-35, 7 volumes. 2nd publication 1971-79, 4 volumes). Talking about the dictionary, French linguist Antoine Meillet said: “There is not such splendid, such perfect etymologic dictionary for any language like this one”.
Hrachya Acharyan is also the author of scientific classification of the Armenian dialects. The notable works regarding dialectology include “Classification of Armenian dialects” (1909), volumes of “Armenian dialectology”(1911) and “Armenian dialectal dictionary” (1913). The most notable work for Armenian Studies is the “Dictionary of Armenian First Names” (5 volumes, 1942-62), in which the first names mentioned in Armenian bibliographies of V-XX centuries are collected and studied. In the two-volumed “History of the Armenian language” (1940-51) he has discussed the origin and historic development of the Armenian language. Acharyan studied the biography and activities of Mesrop Mashtots and wrote the following works: “St. Mashtots. The origins of the Armenian alphabet and its study” (1920) and “The Armenian letters” (1928). He created the list of all old Armenian manuscripts kept in different places quite acutely, worked onn the Armenian literature and history as well. Hrachya Acharyan’s studies are a unique university of Armenian Studies.