YEREVAN — In 2018, Hayk Hovakimyan founded Tumanyan.Online as a resource for Russian-speaking Armenians to learn their mother tongue. This mission reflected his own experience as an Armenian born in Yerevan but raised in Moscow. Living in the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia, Hovakimyan knew there were many others just like him, working to maintain their mother tongue while using another language in their day-to-day lives.
The Velvet Revolution inspired Hovakimyan and he decided the time was right to move back to Armenia and start his own project, aimed at preserving the Armenian language among diasporans. He began with Russian speakers, recruiting Aida Markosyan, author of the Armenian language textbook Krunk Hayastani, to design a unique teaching method that would suit the on-the-go lifestyle of those learning Armenian over the Internet.
Their partnership marked the start of Tumanyan.Online, an interactive online platform for learning Armenian as a foreign language. “Our goal is to provide and encourage successful and technologically new methods of learning the Armenian language, through which the learning process will become easier, and language learning will be accessible to maximum number of students worldwide,” explained Hovakimyan.
The success of Tumanyan.Online has now led to its expansion, with Armenian language classes being offered to English speakers. To help design the curriculum, Hovakimyan selected Mary Hakobyan, an Armenian language teacher and author of the Eastern Armenian textbook. Hakobyan is a Yerevan native having spent 14 years as an Armenian language teacher for diplomats, ambassadors, and Birthright Armenia volunteers.
Classes for English speakers have already begun, and can be accessed through the Tumanyan.Online website.