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THE LEXICOGRAPHICAL HERITAGE OF THE MKHITARIST CONGREGATION WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF ARMENIAN STUDIES

 

LALIK KHACHATRYAN

 

 

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Mkhitarist Congregation became a cradle of Armenian Studies where various monumental works of different characters sprang up, such as lexicographical, grammatical, bibliographical, religious, historical, and philological works. The masterpiece of the dictionaries is considered to be the work of three Mkhitarist monks – Gabriel Avedikian, Khachatur Surmelian,and Mkrtich Avgerian. TheNew Dictionary of the Arme­nian Language, published in two large volumes at the San Lazzaro printing house in Venice in 1836-37 is also known as theNew Haykazian Dictionary (NHD).

All sorts of dictionaries published in Armenian (Hrachia Acha­rian, Ste­pa­nos Malkhasian, Eduard Aghayan, Lalik Khachatryan, Ruben Ghaza­ryan, Lav­ren­ti Hovhannisyan) can without question be considered to have descended from the renowned NHD, whether in terms of choice of word stock, the struc­ture of entries, semantic explanations, manifestations of polysemy, idi­omatic versions, translations from foreign languages, etymologies of root mor­phemes, manifestations in dialects, the metalanguage of the dictionary, etc.

We fully confirm that G. Avedikian’s, K. Surmelian’s, and M. Avgerian’s richly-endowed work is a monument of not only Armenian lexicography, but also Armenian book printing in general. Finally, the following description suita­ble for Homer’s work, is also applicable in this case: it is a literary monument which is defined by being both unreachable and unexcelled.

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