Azerbaijani is a Turkic language spoken primarily in Azerbaijan and Iran, with smaller communities in Turkey, Russia, Georgia, and other neighboring countries. It is the official language of Azerbaijan, and is also recognized as a minority language in several other countries. Azerbaijani is a member of the Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family, which also includes Turkish and Turkmen.
The earliest known written records in the Azerbaijani language date back to the 14th century, when it was written in the Arabic script. Over time, the language has been written in a variety of scripts, including the Latin, Cyrillic, and modified Arabic scripts. In 1929, the Soviet authorities in Azerbaijan adopted the Latin script, but it was later replaced with the Cyrillic script in the 1930s. In 1991, after Azerbaijan gained its independence, the Latin script was reintroduced.
Azerbaijani, also known as Azeri, is a Turkic language spoken primarily in Azerbaijan, as well as in other countries such as Iran, Turkey, and Russia. It has a rich history, with its roots going back to ancient times. In this blog post, we will explore the history of the Azerbaijani language in detail.
Origins of the Azerbaijani Language:
The Azerbaijani language belongs to the Turkic language family, which includes other languages such as Turkish, Kazakh, and Uzbek. The Turkic language family is part of the larger Altaic language family, which also includes Mongolian and Tungusic languages. The exact origins of the Azerbaijani language are not known, but it is believed to have developed from the Oghuz language spoken by the Oghuz Turks who migrated to Azerbaijan from Central Asia in the 11th century.
Development of the Azerbaijani Language:
The development of the Azerbaijani language can be divided into three main periods: Old Azerbaijani, Middle Azerbaijani, and Modern Azerbaijani.
Old Azerbaijani (9th-15th century)
The earliest written records of the Azerbaijani language date back to the 9th century, when the language was written in Arabic script. During this period, the Azerbaijani language was heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian, and many loanwords from these languages were incorporated into Azerbaijani. Old Azerbaijani was primarily spoken in the region of Azerbaijan, but it also spread to other parts of the Turkic world.
Middle Azerbaijani (15th-18th century)
During the Middle Azerbaijani period, the language underwent significant changes. It was during this time that the language was written in the Perso-Arabic script, and it was heavily influenced by Persian. The Middle Azerbaijani period saw the emergence of Azerbaijani literature, and many important works were written during this time.
Modern Azerbaijani (18th century-Present)
The Modern Azerbaijani period began in the 18th century with the emergence of the Azerbaijani alphabet. This alphabet was based on the Latin script and was later changed to the Cyrillic script in the 1930s, and then back to the Latin script in the 1990s. During the Modern Azerbaijani period, the language was influenced by Russian, and many loanwords from Russian were incorporated into Azerbaijani. Today, Azerbaijani is the official language of Azerbaijan, and it is also spoken in Iran, Turkey, and other countries.
Dialects of Azerbaijani:
There are several dialects of Azerbaijani, including the North Azerbaijani dialect, which is spoken in Azerbaijan and Dagestan; the South Azerbaijani dialect, which is spoken in Iran; and the Iraqi Azerbaijani dialect, which is spoken in Iraq. Each of these dialects has its own unique features and characteristics.
North Azerbaijani dialect:
The North Azerbaijani dialect is the standard dialect of Azerbaijani and is the most widely spoken dialect in Azerbaijan. It is also spoken in the Russian republic of Dagestan. The North Azerbaijani dialect is known for its vowel harmony, which means that the vowels in a word must be either all front vowels or all back vowels.
South Azerbaijani dialect:
The South Azerbaijani dialect is spoken in Iran and has many similarities to the Old Azerbaijani language. It is also heavily influenced by Persian, and many Persian loanwords are incorporated into the dialect. The South Azerbaijani dialect is known for its use of the sound "v" instead of "b."
Phonology and Orthography
Azerbaijani has a relatively simple phonology, with 9 vowel and 24 consonant sounds. Like many other Turkic languages, it has vowel harmony, meaning that the vowels in a word must belong to the same group of front or back vowels. Azerbaijani is written in the Latin script, with some modifications to represent sounds that are not found in other European languages.
Azerbaijani has a complex grammar, with a rich system of inflectional suffixes to indicate tense, aspect, mood, and other grammatical features. Azerbaijani has six cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, locative, and ablative), which are marked by suffixes. The verb system is also complex, with four tenses (present, past, future, and conditional), three moods (indicative, subjunctive, and imperative), and two aspects (perfective and imperfective).
Azerbaijani vocabulary has been heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic, due to the historical and cultural connections between Azerbaijan and Iran. Many words related to religion, literature, and science are borrowed from these languages. However, there are also many words that are unique to Azerbaijani, reflecting its distinct cultural identity.
Azerbaijani has several dialects, which are divided into two main groups: North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani. The North Azerbaijani dialects are spoken in Azerbaijan and northern Iran, while the South Azerbaijani dialects are spoken in southern Iran. There are also many regional variations within these dialects, reflecting the diverse cultural and linguistic landscape of Azerbaijan.
Status and Use
Azerbaijani is the official language of Azerbaijan, and is also recognized as a minority language in several other countries, including Georgia, Russia, and Iran. It is also widely spoken by Azerbaijani communities in Turkey and other parts of the world. In addition to its use in everyday communication, Azerbaijani is also used in literature, media, and education.
Status of Azerbaijani Language in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani is the official language of Azerbaijan and is the mother tongue of over 90% of the country's population. Azerbaijani is the language of instruction in all schools, and all official documents, including laws and regulations, are published in Azerbaijani. The language is also used extensively in the media, including television, radio, and newspapers. There are several universities in Azerbaijan that offer programs in Azerbaijani language and literature.
Status of Azerbaijani Language in Iran
Azerbaijani is one of the official languages of Iran, spoken by the Azerbaijani people who live in the northwestern part of the country. The language is taught in schools and used in the media, including newspapers, television, and radio. However, in recent years, there has been a growing concern among Azerbaijani speakers in Iran about the lack of recognition and promotion of their language, which has led to protests and demonstrations.
Status of Azerbaijani Language in Turkey
Azerbaijani is also spoken in Turkey, particularly in the eastern regions of the country. However, it is not an official language in Turkey, and Turkish is the only official language of the country. Despite this, there are several organizations in Turkey that promote the Azerbaijani language and culture, and there are several Azerbaijani-language publications in the country.
Use of Azerbaijani Language in Business and Trade
Azerbaijani is an important language for business and trade, particularly in the oil and gas industry. Azerbaijan is a major producer of oil and gas, and many international companies operate in the country. Knowing Azerbaijani can be an advantage for those who work in the energy sector. In addition, Azerbaijan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which includes several countries where Azerbaijani is spoken, such as Russia and Kazakhstan. Being able to speak Azerbaijani can be an advantage in conducting business with these countries.
Significance of Azerbaijani Language in the Modern World
Azerbaijani language plays an important role in the cultural and linguistic diversity of the world. It is a rich and vibrant language with a long history, and it is spoken by millions of people in different countries. Azerbaijani has contributed to the world's literature, art, and music, and it continues to do so today. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Azerbaijani culture, particularly in the West. Many universities now offer courses in Azerbaijani language and culture, and there are several cultural centers around the world dedicated to promoting Azerbaijani culture.
Azerbaijani is a rich and complex language with a long history and a diverse cultural heritage. Its grammar and vocabulary reflect its unique identity, while its phonology and orthography make it accessible to speakers of other Turkic languages. As Azerbaijan continues to grow and develop, the role of Azerbaijani as a unifying force for its people is likely to become even more important.