|32 million (2007)|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences|
azj – North Azerbaijani
azb – South Azerbaijani
slq – Salchuq
qxq – Qashqai
Location of Azerbaijani speakers in the Caucasus.
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Azerbaijani, Azeri, or Azeri Turkish (Azərbaycanca or Azərbaycan dili) is a language belonging to the Russian Caucasus, Eastern Turkey and small parts of Armenia (6 million speakers). Azerbaijani is a member of the Oghuz/Western branch of the Turkic languages and is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai, Turkmen and Crimean Tatar. Turkish and Azerbaijani closely resemble one another and are largely mutually intelligible, though it has been said that it is easier for a speaker of Azerbaijani to understand Turkish than the other way around.
- History and evolution 1
- Literature 2
- Lingua franca 3
- North Azerbaijani 4.1
- South Azerbaijani 4.2
- Consonants 5.1
- Vowels 5.2
- Alphabets 6
- Nomenclature 7
- Numbers 8.1
- See also 9
- Notes 10
- References 11
- External links 12
History and evolution
Today′s Azerbaijani languages evolved from the Eastern Oghuz branch of Western (Oghuz) Turkic which spread to the Caucasus, in Eastern Europe, and northern Iran, in Western Asia, during the medieval Turkic migrations, and has been heavily influenced by Persian. Arabic also influenced the language, but Arabic words were mainly transmitted through the intermediary of literary Persian.
Azerbaijani gradually supplanted the Iranian languages in what is now northern Iran, and a variety of Caucasian languages in the Caucasus, particularly Udi. By the beginning of the 16th century, it had become the dominant language of the region, and was a spoken language in the court of the Safavid Empire.
The historical development of Azerbaijani can be divided into two major periods: early (c. 16th to 18th century) and modern (18th century to present). Early Azerbaijani differs from its descendant in that it contained a much larger number of Persian, and Arabic loanwords, phrases and syntactic elements. Early writings in Azerbaijani also demonstrate linguistic interchangeability between Oghuz and Kypchak elements in many aspects (such as pronouns, case endings, participles, etc.). As Azerbaijani gradually moved from being merely a language of epic and lyric poetry to being also a language of journalism and scientific research, its literary version has become more or less unified and simplified with the loss of many archaic Turkic elements, stilted Iranisms and Ottomanisms, and other words, expressions, and rules that failed to gain popularity among Azerbaijani-speaking masses.
Between c. 1900 and 1930, there were several competing approaches to the unification of the national language in Azerbaijan popularized by the literati, such as Hasan bey Zardabi and Mammad agha Shahtakhtinski. Despite major differences, they all aimed primarily at making it easy for semi-literate masses to read and understand literature. They all criticized the overuse of Persian, Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and other foreign (mainly Russian) elements in both colloquial and literary language and called for a more simple and popular style.
The Russian conquest of the South Caucasus in the 19th century split the speech community across two states; the Soviet Union promoted development of the language, but set it back considerably with two successive script changes - from Perso-Arabic script to Latin and then to Cyrillic - while Iranian Azerbaijanis continued to use the Perso-Arabic script as they always had. Despite the wide use of Azerbaijani in Azerbaijan during the Soviet era, it became the official language of Azerbaijan only in 1956. After independence, Azerbaijan decided to switch to the Latin script.
Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in the fifteenth century based on the various Early Middle Ages dialects of Tabriz and Shirvan (these dialects were used by classical Azerbaijani writers Nasimi, Fuzuli, and Khatai). Modern literature in Azerbaijan is based on the Shirvani dialect mainly, while in Iran it is based on the Tabrizi one. The first newspaper in Azerbaijani, Əkinçi was published in 1875.
Azerbaijani served as a lingua franca throughout most parts of Transcaucasia (except the Black Sea coast), in Southern Dagestan, Eastern Turkey, and Iranian Azerbaijan from the 16th century to the early 20th century., alongside the cultural, administrative, court literature, and most importantly official language of all these regions, namely Persian. Per the 1829 Caucasus School Statute, Azerbaijani was to be taught in all district schools of Ganja, Shusha, Nukha (present-day Shaki), Shamakhy, Guba, Baku, Derbent, Erivan, Nakhchivan, Akhaltsikhe, and Lankaran. Beginning in 1834, it was introduced as a language of study in Kutaisi instead of Armenian. In 1853, Azerbaijani became a compulsory language for students of all backgrounds in all of the South Caucasus with the exception of the Tiflis Governorate.
Azerbaijani is sometimes classified as two languages, North and South Azerbaijani. While there is a fair degree of mutual intelligibility between them, there are also morphological and phonological differences. Four varieties have been accorded ISO 639-3 codes: North Azerbaijani, South Azerbaijani, Salchuq, and Qashqai. Glottolog, based on Johanson (2006) and Pakendorf (2007), classify North Azeri with Salchuq in one branch of the Oghuz languages, and South Azeri with Qashqa'i in another.
North Azerbaijani, or North Azeri, is the official language of Azerbaijan. It is also spoken in southern Dagestan, along the Caspian coast in the southern Caucasus Mountains, and scattered through Central Asia. There are some 7.3 million native speakers, and about 8 million L2 speakers.
The Shirvan dialect is the basis of Standard Azerbaijani. Since 1992 it has been officially written with a Latin/Roman script in Azerbaijan, but the older Cyrillic script was still widely used in the late 1990s.
South Azerbaijani, or South Azeri, is spoken in northwestern Iran and to a lesser extent in neighboring regions of Iraq and Turkey, with smaller communities in Afghanistan and Syria. In Iran, the Persian word for Azerbaijani is Torki, which literally means Turkish; in Azerbaijani it is usually pronounced as Türkü. In Iran, it is spoken in East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, Ardabil, Zanjan, and parts of Kurdistan, Hamadan, Markazi, Qazvin and Gilan. It is also spoken in some districts of Tehran city and across Tehran Province. Most sources report the percentage of South Azerbaijani speakers at around 16 percent of the Iranian population, or about 16.9 million people worldwide.
- /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/ are realised as [t͡s] and [d͡z] respectively in the areas around Tabriz and to the west, south and southwest of Tabriz (including Kirkuk in Iraq); in the Nakhchivan and Ayrum dialects, in Cəbrayil and some Caspian coastal dialects;
- In most dialects of Azerbaijani, /c/ is realized as [ç] when it is found in the coda position or is preceded by a voiceless consonant (as in çörək [t͡ʃøˈɾæç] - "bread"; səksən [sæçˈsæn] - "eighty").
- /k/ appears only in words borrowed from Russian or French (spelled, as with /c/, with a k).
- /w/ exists in the Kirkuk dialect as an allophone of /v/ in Arabic loanwords.
- In the Baku dialect, /ov/ may be realised as [oʊ], and /ev/ and /øv/ as [œy], e.g. /ɡovurˈmɑ/ → [ɡoʊrˈmɑ], /sevˈdɑ/ → [sœyˈdɑ], /dœvˈrɑn/ → [dœyˈrɑn]
- In the colloquial language, /x/ is usually pronounced as [χ]
The vowels are the same as in Turkish. Unlike Turkish, /e/ and /æ/ are spelled using different letters,
In Azerbaijan, North Azerbaijani now officially uses the Latin script, but the Cyrillic script is also in wide use, while in Iran, South Azerbaijani uses the Perso-Arabic script. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets for North Azerbaijani (although the Cyrillic alphabet has a different order):
Before 1929, Azerbaijani was written only in the Bush" becomes "Buş", and "Schröder" becomes "Şröder".
South Azerbaijani speakers in Iran have always continued to use the Arabic script, although the spelling and orthography is not yet standardized.
In 1992–1993, when ISO encodes its two varieties, North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani, as distinct languages. According to the Linguasphere Observatory, all Oghuz languages form part of a single "outer language" of which North and South Azerbaijani are "inner languages".
|Basic expressions||yes||hə /hæ/|
|goodbye||sağ ol /ˈsɑɣ ol/|
|sağ olun /ˈsɑɣ olun/ (formal)|
|good morning||sabahınız xeyir /sɑbɑhı(nız)z xejiɾ/|
|good afternoon||günortanız xeyir /ɟynoɾt(ɯn)ɯz xejiɾ/|
|good evening||axşamın xeyir /ɑxʃɑmɯn xejiɾ/|
|axşamınız xeyir /ɑxʃɑmɯ(nɯ)z xejiɾ/|
For numbers 11-19, the numbers literally mean "10 one, 10 two' and so on.
- Nationalencyklopedin Världens 100 största språk 2007 ("World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007").
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "North Azeri–Salchuq". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "South Azeri–Qashqa'i". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- "The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Azerbaijani, South". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Facts on File, Incorporated, 2009, p.79
- Sinor, Denis (1969). Inner Asia. History-Civilization-Languages. A syllabus. Bloomington. pp. 71–96.
- "The Turkic Languages" Osman Fikri Sertkaya, in "Turks - A Journey of a Thousand Years", London, 2005.
- Wright, Sue; Kelly, Helen (11/12/1998). Ethnicity in Eastern Europe: Questions of Migration, Language Rights and Education. Multilingual Matters Ltd. p. 49.
- Bratt Paulston, Christina; Peckham, Donald (October 1, 1998). Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Multilingual Matters Ltd. pp. 98–115.
- L. Johanson, "AZERBAIJAN ix. Iranian Elements in Azeri Turkish" in Encyclopædia Iranica .
- John R. Perry, "Lexical Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic" in Éva Ágnes Csató, Eva Agnes Csato, Bo Isaksson, Carina Jahani, "Linguistic convergence and areal diffusion: case studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic", Routledge, 2005. Pg 97: "It is generally understood that the bulk of the Arabic vocabulary in the central, continguous Iranic, Turkic and Indic languages was originally borrowed into literary Persian between the ninth and thirteenth centuries CE ..."
- "Alphabet Changes in Azerbaijan in the 20th Century".
- Language Commission Suggested to Be Established in National Assembly. Day.az. 25 January 2011.
- Mark R.V. Southern. Contagious couplings: transmission of expressives in Yiddish echo phrases.
- Pieter Muysken, "Introduction: Conceptual and methodological issues in areal linguistics", in Pieter Muysken, From Linguistic Areas to Areal Linguistics, 2008 ISBN 90-272-3100-1, p. 30-31 
- Viacheslav A. Chirikba, "The problem of the Caucasian Sprachbund" in Muysken, p. 74
- Lenore A. Grenoble, Language Policy in the Soviet Union, 2003 ISBN 1-4020-1298-5,p. 131 
- Nasledie Chingiskhana by Nikolai Trubetzkoy. Agraf, 1999; p. 478
- J. N. Postgate. Languages of Iraq. British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 2007; ISBN 0-903472-21-X; p. 164
- Homa Katouzian, "Iranian history and politics", Published by Routledge, 2003. pg 128: "Indeed, since the formation of the Ghaznavids state in the tenth century until the fall of Qajars at the beginning of the twentieth century, most parts of the Iranian cultural regions were ruled by Turkic-speaking dynasties most of the time. At the same time, the official language was Persian, the court literature was in Persian, and most of the chancellors, ministers, and mandarins were Persian speakers of the highest learning and ability"
- Date of the Official Instruction of Oriental Languages in Russia by N.I.Veselovsky. 1880.
- "Azerbaijani, North - A language of Azerbaijan" Ethnologue, accessed 8 December 2008
- Schönig (1998), pg. 248.
- "Azerbaijani, South - A language of Iran" Ethnologue, accessed 8 December 2008
- Persian Studies in North America by Mohammad Ali Jazayeri
- Shiraliyev, Mammadagha. The Baku Dialect. Azerbaijan SSR Academy of Sciences Publ.: Baku, 1957; p. 41
- A blog on Azerbaijani language resources and translations
- (Russian) A blog about the Azerbaijani language and lessons
- azeri.org, Azerbaijani literature and English translations.
- Online bidirectional Azerbaijani-English Dictionary
- Learn Azerbaijani at learn101.org.
- Pre-Islamic roots
- Azerbaijan-Turkish language in Iran by Ahmad Kasravi.
- Azerbaijan tongue with Japanese translation at the Wayback Machine (archived October 14, 2007) including sound file.
- Azerbaijan-Turkish and Turkish-Azerbaijan dictionary
- Azerbaijani<>Turkish dictionary (Pamukkale University)
- Azerbaijan Language with Audio
- Azerbaijani thematic vocabulary
- AzConvert, an open source Azerbaijani transliteration program.
Azerbaijani Alphabet and Language in Transition, the entire issue of Azerbaijan International, Spring 2000 (8.1) at azer.com.
- Chart: Four Alphabet Changes in Azerbaijan in the 20th century
- Chart: Changes in the Four Azerbaijan Alphabet Sequence in the 20th century
- Baku’s Institute of Manuscripts: Early Alphabets in Azerbaijan
- Learn the easiest Turkic dialect: Azerbaijani lessons with video and grammar notes in English, phrasebooks in Spanish, Italian and Hungarian.