Azerbaijani language

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Azerbaijani
Azeri
Azərbaycan dili
Pronunciation [ɑzærbɑjdʒɑn dili]
Native to
Ethnicity Azerbaijani
Native speakers
32 million  (2007)[1]
Turkic
  • Oghuz
    • Western Oghuz
      • Azerbaijani
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
Language codes
ISO 639-1 az
ISO 639-2 aze
ISO 639-3 azeinclusive code
Individual codes:
azj – North Azerbaijani
azb – South Azerbaijani
slq – Salchuq
qxq – Qashqai
Glottolog None
azer1255  (North Azeri–Salchuq)[2]
sout2696  (South Azeri–Qashqa'i)[3]
Linguasphere part of 44-AAB-a
{{{mapalt}}}
Location of Azerbaijani speakers in the Caucasus.
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Azerbaijani, Azeri, or Azeri Turkish (Azərbaycanca or Azərbaycan dili) is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken primarily in the South Caucasus region by the Azerbaijani people. The language is indigenous to Northern Iran (14.4 to 23-27 million speakers),[4][5] Azerbaijan (9 million speakers),[6] Georgia, Russian Caucasus, Eastern Turkey and small parts of Armenia.[7] 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.[8][not in citation given]

History and evolution[edit]

Today′s Azerbaijani languages evolved from the Eastern Oghuz branch of Western (Oghuz) Turkic[9] which spread to the Caucasus, in Eastern Europe,[10][11] and northern Iran, in Western Asia, during the medieval Turkic migrations, and has been heavily influenced by Persian.[12] Arabic also influenced the language, but Arabic words were mainly transmitted through the intermediary of literary Persian.[13]

Garden of Pleasures by Fuzûlî in Azerbaijani. Early 19th century. There is Shaki khan's seal on it. Museum of History of Azerbaijan

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[14] - 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.[15] After independence, Azerbaijan decided to switch to the Latin script.

Literature[edit]

Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in the fifteenth century[16] 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.

In mid-19th century it was taught in the schools of Baku, Ganja, Shaki, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Since 1845, it has also been taught in the University of St. Petersburg in Russia.

Lingua franca[edit]

Azerbaijani served as a lingua franca throughout most parts of Transcaucasia (except the Black Sea coast), in Southern Dagestan,[17][18][19] Eastern Turkey, and Iranian Azerbaijan from the 16th century to the early 20th century.,[20][21] alongside the cultural, administrative, court literature, and most importantly official language of all these regions, namely Persian.[22] 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.[23]

Varieties[edit]

Azerbaijani is sometimes classified as two languages, North and South Azerbaijani. Although 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), classifies North Azeri with Salchuq in one branch of the Oghuz languages, and South Azeri with Qashqai in another.

North Azerbaijani[edit]

North Azerbaijani,[24] 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[clarification needed] 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.[25]

South Azerbaijani[edit]

South Azerbaijani,[26] 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,[5] 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 and across Tehran Province. Most sources report the percentage of South Azerbaijani speakers at around 16 percent of the Iranian population, or approximately 16.9 million people worldwide.[4]

Phonology[edit]

Consonants[edit]

Consonant phonemes of Standard Azerbaijani
Labial Dental/
Alveolar
Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m
Plosive p b t͡ʃ d͡ʒ c ɟ k ɡ
Fricative f v ʃ ʒ x ɣ h
Approximant l j
Tap ɾ
  1. /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;[27]
  2. 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").
  3. /k/ appears only in words borrowed from Russian or French (spelled, as with /c/, with a k).
  4. /w/ exists in the Kirkuk dialect as an allophone of /v/ in Arabic loanwords.
  5. In the Baku dialect, /ov/ may be realised as [oʊ], and /ev/ and /øv/ as [œy], e.g. /ɡovurˈmɑ/[ɡoʊrˈmɑ], /sevˈdɑ/[sœyˈdɑ], /dœvˈrɑn/[dœyˈrɑn][28]
  6. In the colloquial language, /x/ is usually pronounced as [χ]

Vowels[edit]

Monophthongs of Azeri[original research?]
Vowels
Front Back
Unr. Rnd. Unr. Rnd.
Close i y ɯ u
Mid e œ o
Open æ ɑ

Alphabets[edit]

Main article: Azerbaijani alphabet

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):

Aa Аа آ ا
Bb Бб ب
Cc Ҹҹ ج
Çç Чч چ
Dd Дд د
Ee Ее ئ
Əə Әә ا ه
Ff Фф ف
Gg Ҝҝ گ
Ğğ Ғғ غ
Hh Һһ ه ح
Xx Хх خ
Ыы ی
İi Ии ی
Jj Жж ژ
Kk Кк ک
Qq Гг ق
Ll Лл ل
Mm Мм م
Nn Нн ن
Oo Оо و
Öö Өө ؤ
Pp Пп پ
Rr Рр ر
Ss Сс س ص ث
Şş Шш ش
Tt Тт ت ط
Uu Уу و
Üü Үү و
Vv Вв و
Yy Јј ی
Zz Зз ز ذ ظ ض

Before 1929, Azerbaijani was written only in the Perso-Arabic script. In 1929–1938 a Latin alphabet was in use for North Azerbaijani (although it was different from the one used now), from 1938 to 1991 the Cyrillic script was used, and in 1991 the current Latin alphabet was introduced, although the transition to it has been rather slow. If written in the Latin alphabet, all foreign words are transliterated, for example, "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.[citation needed]

Nomenclature[edit]

In 1992–1993, when Azerbaijan Popular Front Party was in power in Azerbaijan, the official language of Azerbaijan was renamed by the parliament as Türk dili ("Turkish"). However, since 1994 the Soviet-era name of the language, Azərbaycan dili ("Azerbaijani"), has been re-established and reflected in the Constitution. Varlıq, the most important literary Azerbaijani magazine published in Iran, uses the term Türki ("Turkish" in English or "Torki" in Persian) to refer to the Azerbaijani language. South Azerbaijani speakers in Iran often refer to the language as Türki, distinguishing it from İstambuli Türki ("Anatolian Turkish"), the official language of Turkey. Some people also consider Azerbaijani to be a dialect of a greater Turkish language and call it Azərbaycan Türkcəsi ("Azerbaijani Turkish"), and scholars such as Vladimir Minorsky used this definition in their works. 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".

Vocabulary[edit]

Category English Azerbaijani
Basic expressions yes hə /hæ/
no yox /jox/
hello salam /sɑlɑm/
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/
Colours black qara /gɑɾɑ/
blue göy /ɟœj/
cyan mavi /mɑːvi/
brown qəhvəyi/qonur
grey boz /boz/
green yaşıl /jaʃɯl/
orange narıncı /nɑɾɯnd͡ʒɯ/
pink çəhrayı
purple bənövşəyi
red qırmızı /gɯɾmɯzɯ/
white ağ /ɑɣ/
yellow sarı /sɑɾɯ/

Numbers[edit]

Number Word
0 sıfır /ˈsɯfɯɾ/
1 bir /biɾ/
2 iki /ici/
3 üç /yt͡ʃ/
4 dörd /dœɾd/
5 beş /beʃ/
6 altı /ɑltɯ/
7 yeddi /jetti/
8 səkkiz /sæcciz/
9 doqquz /dokkuz/
10 on /on/

For numbers 11-19, the numbers literally mean "10 one, 10 two' and so on.

Number Word
20 iyirmi /ijiɾmi/
30 otuz /otuz/
40 qırx /gɯɾx/
50 əlli /ælli/

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin Världens 100 största språk 2007 ("World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007").
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "North Azeri–Salchuq". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "South Azeri–Qashqa'i". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ a b "The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  5. ^ a b "Azerbaijani, South". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  6. ^ Ethnologue
  7. ^ Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Facts on File, Incorporated, 2009, p.79
  8. ^ Sinor, Denis (1969). Inner Asia. History-Civilization-Languages. A syllabus. Bloomington. pp. 71–96. ISBN 0-87750-081-9. 
  9. ^ "The Turkic Languages" Osman Fikri Sertkaya, in "Turks - A Journey of a Thousand Years", London, 2005.
  10. ^ Wright, Sue; Kelly, Helen (11/12/1998). Ethnicity in Eastern Europe: Questions of Migration, Language Rights and Education. Multilingual Matters Ltd. p. 49. ISBN 9781853592430.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ Bratt Paulston, Christina; Peckham, Donald (October 1, 1998). Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Multilingual Matters Ltd. pp. 98–115. ISBN 978-1853594168. 
  12. ^ L. Johanson, "AZERBAIJAN ix. Iranian Elements in Azeri Turkish" in Encyclopædia Iranica [1].
  13. ^ 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 ..."
  14. ^ "Alphabet Changes in Azerbaijan in the 20th Century". Azerbaijan International. Spring 2000. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  15. ^ Language Commission Suggested to Be Established in National Assembly. Day.az. 25 January 2011.
  16. ^ Mark R.V. Southern. Contagious couplings: transmission of expressives in Yiddish echo phrases.
  17. ^ 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 [2]
  18. ^ Viacheslav A. Chirikba, "The problem of the Caucasian Sprachbund" in Muysken, p. 74
  19. ^ Lenore A. Grenoble, Language Policy in the Soviet Union, 2003 ISBN 1-4020-1298-5,p. 131 [3]
  20. ^ Nasledie Chingiskhana by Nikolai Trubetzkoy. Agraf, 1999; p. 478
  21. ^ J. N. Postgate. Languages of Iraq. British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 2007; ISBN 0-903472-21-X; p. 164
  22. ^ 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"
  23. ^ Date of the Official Instruction of Oriental Languages in Russia by N.I.Veselovsky. 1880.
  24. ^ "Azerbaijani, North - A language of Azerbaijan" Ethnologue, accessed 8 December 2008
  25. ^ Schönig (1998), pg. 248.
  26. ^ "Azerbaijani, South - A language of Iran" Ethnologue, accessed 8 December 2008
  27. ^ Persian Studies in North America by Mohammad Ali Jazayeri
  28. ^ Shiraliyev, Mammadagha. The Baku Dialect. Azerbaijan SSR Academy of Sciences Publ.: Baku, 1957; p. 41

External links[edit]