The Present State and Prospects for Armeno-Kipchak Studies

Edward Tryjarski
Polish Academy of Sciences (ret.)

The Present State and Prospects for Armeno-Kipchak Studies

47th Meeting of the PIAC, Cambridge 2004

The report contains a few remarks about the present state and prospects of Armeno-Kipchak studies, a specialized branch of Turkology. The author treats the problem on three levels- historical, present and future. At first, he presents very shortly the character and the main subject of the study in question being a dialect used by a group of Armenian emigrants who were on several occasions driven away from their motherland. In exile, they were living in the neighbourhood of some Kipchak tribes, mainly on the Crimea, and aquired the knowledge of their Turkic speech having left aside their own. Afterwards they moved north-westwards and settled in several towns in Polish-Ukrainian territories. They used it during about two centuries (16th–17th cent.), and not only for speaking but also for writing with the help of Armenian letters, In this way, numerous manuscripts of this type have accumulated in collections of Europe and of Armenia. All of them present a precious source of information not only on the life of Armenians living in old Poland, but before all on the Kipchak language the better knowledge of which has nowadays become one of very important goals of Turkology.

Many precious works have been published on the subject so far but the author draws special attention to two books of importance newly published ‘at the instance of Olexandr Garkavets, the Ukrainian Turkologist. One is a big volume containing descriptions and transcribed texts of 109 Armeno-Kipchak manuscripts from Armenia, Austria, France, Holland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, the other (in collaboration with E. Khurshudian) is a complete edition of Armeno-Kipchak Psalter, based on two manuscripts from Cracow and Vienna. The author emphasizes the importance of both works and makes a few critical remarks which mainly concern the new system of transcription.

In conclusion the author formulates a few postulates and points out to some unfavourable circumstances which could in near future obstruct the advancement of the studies in question.