Azerbaijani - Azərbaycanca, آذربایجان دیلی Language
The Azeri or Azeri language, also called Azerbaijani or Azerbaijani Turkish (Azəricə, Azərbaycan dili, Azərbaycanca, Azərbaycan türkcəsi) is a language belonging to the Turkic languages and is spoken by the Azerbaijanis. It is the official language of Azerbaijan, and is also spoken by a large number of people in neighboring Iranian Azerbaijan, and smaller minorities in Georgia and the Far East of Turkey. The language is spoken by an estimated 23 to 30 million people.
Within the Turkish languages, Azerbaijani together with Turkish, Gagauz and Turkmen belong to the Oguzian languages: on linguistic grounds this closely related group of languages is sometimes also considered as one language.
It is a Turkic language, from the Oghuz branch, sharing similarity with Turkish, Kashgai or Turkmen and influenced by Persian, Arabic and, to a lesser extent, Russian. It presents several dialects spoken in several neighboring countries such as Iran, Russia (in the Dagestan), Georgia, Iraq and Turkey.
Azeri is spoken today by more than 91.6% of the population of Azerbaijan. It is also spoken in Iran (in Iranian Azerbaijan and South Azerbaijan, which is now divided into several provinces such as East Azerbaijan, the West Azerbaijan, the province of Ardabil, the province of Zanjan and great part of the provinces of Hamadan and Qazvin), Georgia, Turkey and Russia.
The Azeri belongs to the family of Altaic languages, the Turkish group and the oghouz subgroup like Turkish and Turkmen, Crimean Tatar, Gagauz.
In France, notably at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris, Azeri has been taught since March 1999. Aygün Eyyubova was the first teacher.
During the initial period of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the language was called türk dili ('Turkish language'), but since 1994 the name azərbaycan dili ('Azeri language') is used. In many parts of Iran, the Azeri is called turki or torki ('Turkish'), so the Turkish in Turkey is called the "Istanbul Turk". The ISO code calls it "Azeri".
Azeri is a language that observes the rule of vowel harmony.
The Azeri language has 9 vowels and 24 consonants, although these numbers vary from one dialect to another. Vowels can be described as: hard and wet, labial and non-labial, closed and open, sublingual, lingual and mid-lingual. The vowels are divided into three groups - ordinary, long and short depending on their duration.
Azeri is an agglutinative language and frequently uses affixes, especially suffixes. A word can have many affixes and they can also be used to create new words. The relationships between words are created using the suffixes added at the end of the words. It is thus possible to create a verb from a noun, or a noun from a verbal base (see the section Formation of words). Most affixes indicate the grammatical function of the word. There are no articles or genres.
There have been texts in Azerbaijani since the fourteenth century. The language has been written with the Arabic alphabet for centuries. From 1922 to 1939 the Latin alphabet was used in Azerbaijan (then part of the Soviet Union), and from 1939 to 1991 the Cyrillic. Since 1991 the Latin alphabet has been used again in a variant of the New Turkish Alphabet, which underwent a minor change in 1992. The very frequent letter ä was replaced by a:: the Azerbaijani alphabet is one of the few languages with the letter ə. Unlike the Turkish, Azerbaijani also uses the letters q and x:
Aa, Bb, Cc, Cç, Dd, Ee, Əə, Ff, Gg, Ğğ, Hh, Xx, Iı, İi, Jj, Kk, Qq, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Öö, Pp, Rr, Ss, Şş, Tt, Uu, Üü, Vv, Yy, Zz
In Iran people have continued to use the Arabic alphabet.
Modern standard Azerbaijani in the Republic of Azerbaijan has been influenced by Russian and is based on the dialect of the Azerbaijani capital Baku. The modern standard Azerbaijani in Iran is similar to the older stages of Azerbaijani and is based on the dialect of the Iranian-Azerbaijani capital Tabriz.
History and evolution
The medieval author Ibn al-Nadim, in his work Al-Fihrist, mentions that in the areas of ancient Persia, including the territory of the current Republic of Azerbaijan, a different language was spoken. Thus, he cites the Iranian root languages: fahlavi (pahlavi), dari, juzi, farsi (or Persian) and Seryani.
The dari, which emerged in the east of Iran, would be the language used in the royal courts. The Parsee would be the language of the Zoroastrian religion.
Etymological studies suggest that the current dialects spoken in the regions of Baku, Jaljal and Semnán emerged from a common language.
It is believed that the Turkish form currently presented by the Azeri replaced the pahlavi during the arrival of the Turkish peoples.
Number of speakers per country
|Iran||17 807 040|
|Azerbaijan||8 150 000|
Azerbaijani is more strongly influenced by Persian and Russian than Turkish. Since the 1930s, Turkish has had to deal with a successful language reform movement that wanted to rid Turkish people of Persian words. No such reform has taken place in Azerbaijani. The Persian influence is understandably greatest in the variants spoken in Iran.
Azeri classical literature emerged in the eleventh century, based on the dialects of Tabriz and Shirván. Azerbaijan's modern literature is based on the Shervani dialect, while in Iran it is based on Tabrizí. During the pre-Soviet period, Azeri was used as a lingua franca in many parts of Transcaucasia, South Dagestan, Eastern Anatolia and Iranian Azerbaijan.
In 1875 the first newspaper in Azeri, Əkinçi (akinchi), was published.
In the mid- nineteenth century it was taught in the schools of Baku, Ganyá, Saki, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Since 1845 it can be studied at the University of St. Petersburg (Russia).
Until 1929, only the Arabic alphabet was used. Between 1929 and 1938 the Latin alphabet was used although in a different way from the one used today. From that year until 1991 the Cyrillic alphabet was used. Since that year and until today there has been a slow transition period to the Latin alphabet, except in Russia where the Cyrillic alphabet is still used. Azeri speakers in Iran continue to use the Arabic alphabet.
If it is written in the Latin alphabet, foreign words are translated into their own pronunciation. For example: "Bush" is written Buş and "Schröder", Şröder.
Today in Azerbaijan, the Azeri alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, with the addition of additional letters, including schwa (ə). The Azeri was switched to the Latin alphabet in the early 1990s, we first attributed the letter "ä" to this sound, before realizing that it was by far the letter most used in this language and that too much time was wasted to write. This soon led to a recovery of the "ə". Iranian Azeri uses the Arabic alphabet.
As for the history of the Azeri alphabet, according to the Institute of manuscripts of Azerbaijan, with the conquest of the Arab Caliphate in vii century, the Arabic alphabet is implanted in Azerbaijan remains the main means for writing up in 1929. From 1929 (already from 1923 the Latin alphabet was used in parallel with the Arabic alphabet) until 1939, the Latin alphabet replaces the Arabic alphabet. From 1939, the Cyrillic alphabet replaced the Latin alphabet by becoming the official alphabet of the Soviet Azerbaijan. With the independence of Azerbaijan, the Latin alphabet becomes the official alphabet of the country. Since 1991, the Azeri alphabet contains 32 letters for 33 sounds, 23 consonants and 9 vowels.
Compared to the Latin alphabet used for Turkish, which contains six additional letters (Ç, Ğ, İ, Ö, Ş and Ü) which are themselves absent from the 26-letter "basic" Latin alphabet, Azeri uses an extra letter: Ə. Like Turkish, Azeri does not use the letter W. On the other hand, Azeri uses Q and X, unused by Turkish.