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Azerbaijani language

Azerbaijani language

Overview
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki (Azərbaycanca, Azərbaycan türkcəsi, Azərbaycan dili) is a language belonging to the Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

, primarily in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 and northwestern Iran
Azerbaijan (Iran)
Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan , also Iranian Azerbaijan, Persian Azarbaijan is a region in northwestern Iran. It is also historically known as Atropatene and Aturpatakan....

. Azerbaijani is member of the Oghuz
Oghuz languages
The Oghuz languages, a major branch of the Turkic language family, are spoken by more than 110 million people in an area spanning from the Balkans to China.-Linguistic features:...

 branch of the Turkic languages and is closely related to Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, Qashqai
Qashqai language
Qashqai is a Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars region of Iran. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gives a figure of one and a half million...

 and Turkmen
Turkmen language
Turkmen is the national language of Turkmenistan...

.

Today′s Azerbaijani languages evolved from the Eastern Oghuz branch of Western (Oghuz) Turkic which spread to Southwestern Asia during medieval Turkic migration
Turkic migration
The Turkic migration as defined in this article was the expansion of the Turkic peoples across most of Central Asia into Europe and the Middle East between the 6th and 11th centuries AD . Tribes less certainly identified as Turkic began their expansion centuries earlier as the predominant element...

s, and has been heavily influenced by Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

.
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Encyclopedia
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki (Azərbaycanca, Azərbaycan türkcəsi, Azərbaycan dili) is a language belonging to the Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

, primarily in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 and northwestern Iran
Azerbaijan (Iran)
Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan , also Iranian Azerbaijan, Persian Azarbaijan is a region in northwestern Iran. It is also historically known as Atropatene and Aturpatakan....

. Azerbaijani is member of the Oghuz
Oghuz languages
The Oghuz languages, a major branch of the Turkic language family, are spoken by more than 110 million people in an area spanning from the Balkans to China.-Linguistic features:...

 branch of the Turkic languages and is closely related to Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, Qashqai
Qashqai language
Qashqai is a Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars region of Iran. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gives a figure of one and a half million...

 and Turkmen
Turkmen language
Turkmen is the national language of Turkmenistan...

.

History and evolution


Today′s Azerbaijani languages evolved from the Eastern Oghuz branch of Western (Oghuz) Turkic which spread to Southwestern Asia during medieval Turkic migration
Turkic migration
The Turkic migration as defined in this article was the expansion of the Turkic peoples across most of Central Asia into Europe and the Middle East between the 6th and 11th centuries AD . Tribes less certainly identified as Turkic began their expansion centuries earlier as the predominant element...

s, and has been heavily influenced by Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

. Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 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 (most notably the Tat
Tat language
The Tat language or Tat/Tati Persian or Tati is a Southwestern Iranian language and a variety of Persian spoken by the Tats in Azerbaijan and Russia. According to the Ethnologue, it's spoken by 18,000 people in Azerbaijan, 8000 in Iran, and 2300 in Russia. Its written form is related to Middle...

, Azari
Ancient Azari language
Azari is the name used for the Iranian language composed of groups of dialects which were spoken in Azerbaijan at one time. Some linguists have also designated the southern Tati dialects of Azerbaijan like those spoken by the Tats around Khalkhal, Harzand and Keringan as a remnant of Azari...

, and Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 varieties), and a variety of Caucasian languages in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, particularly Udi
Udi language
The Udi language, spoken by the Udi people, is a member of the Lezgic branch of the Northeast Caucasian language family. It is believed an earlier form of it was the main language of Caucasian Albania, which stretched from south Dagestan to current day Azerbaijan.The language is spoken by about...

. By the end of the 17th century, it had become the dominant language of the region, and was a spoken language in the court of the Safavid Empire
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

. However, minorities in both Azerbaijan and Iran continue to speak the earlier Iranian languages
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 to this day, and Middle- and Modern Persian loanwords are numerous in the Azerbaijani language.

The historical development of Azerbaijani can be divided into two major periods: early (ca. 16th to 18th century) and modern (18th century to present). Azerbaijani differs from its descendant in that it contained a much greater amount of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 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
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 and lyric poetry
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

 to being also a language of journalism
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 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 ca. 1900 and 1930, there were several competing approaches to the unification of the national language in Azerbaijan popularized by the literati. 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 European (mainly Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

) elements in both colloquial and literary language and called for a more simple and popular style.

The Russian conquest of the South Caucasus
South Caucasus
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Trans-Caucasus...

 in the 19th century split the speech community across two states; the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 promoted development of the language, but set it back considerably with two successive script changes - from Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

 to Latin
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 and then to Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 - while Iranian Azeris 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.

Literature


Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in 14th century based on the various dialect Early Middle Ages dialects of Tabriz
Tabriz
Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

 and Shirvan
Shirvan
Shirvan , also spelled as Shirwan, Shervan, Sherwan and Šervān, is a historical region in the eastern Caucasus, known by this name in both Islamic and modern times...

 (these dialects were used by classical Azerbaijani writers Nasimi, Fuzuli
Fuzûlî
Fużūlī was the pen name of the Azerbaijani or the Bayat branch of Oghuz Turkish and Ottoman poet, writer and thinker Muhammad bin Suleyman...

, 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
Akinchi
Akinchi , also transliterated as Ekinchi , was an Azeri-language newspaper, published in Baku between 1875 and 1877...

was published in 1875.

In mid-19th century it was taught in the schools of Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

, Ganja, Shaki, Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, and Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

. Since 1845, it has also been taught in the University of St. Petersburg in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

Notable folklore and literary works in Azerbaijani are the Book of Dada Gorgud
Book of Dede Korkut
The Book of Dede Korkut, also spelled as Dada Gorgud, Dede Qorqut or Korkut-ata , is the most famous epic stories of the Oghuz Turks The stories carry morals and values significant to the social lifestyle of the nomadic Turks and their pre-Islamic beliefs...

, Asli and Kerem, the Epic of Köroğlu
Epic of Köroglu
The Epic of Köroğlu is a heroic legend prominent in the oral traditions of the Turkic peoples. The legend typically describes a hero who seeks to avenge a wrong. It was often put to music and played at sporting events as an inspiration to the competing athletes.The legend first began to take shape...

, and others. Important poets and writers of Azerbaijani include
  • Imadaddin Nasimi
  • Muhammed Fuzuli
  • Khatai
  • Molla Panah Vagif
    Molla Panah Vagif
    Molla Panah Vagif was an 18th-century poet, the founder of the realism genre in the Azerbaijani poetry and also a prominent statesman and diplomat, vizier – the minister of foreign affairs in the Karabakh khanate.- Life :...

  • Khurshidbanu Natavan
  • Mirza Fatali Akhundov
    Mirza Fatali Akhundov
    Mirza Fatali Akhundov , former – Akhundzade , was a celebrated Azerbaijani author, playwright, philosopher, and founder of modern literary criticism, "who acquired fame primarily as the writer of European-inspired plays in the Azeri language"...

  • Jalil Mammadguluzadeh
    Jalil Mammadguluzadeh
    Jalil Huseyngulu oglu Mammadguluzadeh was an Azerbaijani satirist and writer.-Life:Mammadguluzadeh was born in Nakhchivan into an Iranian Azeri merchant family from Khoy...

  • Mirza Alakbar Sabir
    Mirza Alakbar Sabir
    Mirza Alakbar Sabir , born Alakbar Zeynalabdin oglu Tahirzadeh . Sabir was a public figure, philosopher, teacher and a poet-innovator. He set up an inspiring attitude to classical traditions, rejecting well-trodden ways in poetry...

  • Huseyn Javid
    Huseyn Javid
    Huseyn Javid , born Huseyn Abdulla oglu Rasizadeh , other spellings "," was a prominent Azerbaijani poet and playwright of the early 20th century...

  • Jafar Jabbarly
    Jafar Jabbarly
    Jafar Gafar oglu Jabbarly, often spelled Jabbarli was an Azerbaijani playwright, poet, director and screenwriter.-Literature and theatre:...

  • Samad Vurghun
  • Mikayil Mushfig
    Mikayil Mushfig
    Mikayil Mushfig , born Mikayil Ismayilzadeh was an Azerbaijani poet of the 1930s. During the Stalinist purges in the USSR, Mikayil Mushfig was arrested and executed by the Soviet authorities at the age of 30.-Life and poetry:Mikayil Mushfig was born in the city of Baku of Baku Governorate in 1908...

  • Mammed Said Ordubadi
    Mammed Said Ordubadi
    Mammad Said Ordubadi was Azerbaijani writer, poet, playwright and journalist.He was initially educated at religious school, medrese, and later studied at Mahammad Sidgi's secular school "Əxtər"...

  • Mohammad Hossein Shahriar
    Mohammad Hossein Shahriar
    Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Behjat-Tabrizi ‎ , chiefly known by his pen name as Shahriar , was a legendary Iranian poet of Azeri origin, wrote in Persian languages and Azerbaijani language....


Lingua franca


Azerbaijani served as a lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

throughout most parts of Transcaucasia (except the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast), in Southern Dagestan
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

, Eastern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, and Iranian Azerbaijan from the 16th century to the early 20th century.

Varieties and dialects


Azeri, also known as “Azerbaijani”, is divided into two varieties: Northern Azerbaijani and Southern Azerbaijani, and a large number of dialects. Turkic Khalaj
Khalaj language
Khalaj is a Turkic language spoken in Iran.It is a member of the Azerbaijani subgroup of the Oghuz languages.There were approximately 42,000 speakers of this language as of 2000...

, Qashqa'i
Qashqai language
Qashqai is a Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars region of Iran. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gives a figure of one and a half million...

, and Salchuq
Salchuq language
Salchuq is a Turkic language spoken in Iran. It is probably a dialect of Azerbaijani although ISO 639-3 and Ethnologue list it as a separate language....

 are considered by some to be separate languages in the Azerbaijani language group.
Despite their relatively large number, dialects of Azeri do not differ substantially. Speakers of various dialects normally do not have problems understanding each other. However, minor problems may occur between Azeri-speakers from the Caucasus and Iran, as some of the words used by the latter that are of Persian or Arabic origin may be unknown to the former. For example, the word firqə ("political party") used by Iranian Azeris may not be understood in Azerbaijan, where the word partiya is used to describe the same object. Such phenomenon is explained by the fact that both words have been in wide use since after the split of the two speech communities in 1828.

The following list reflects only one of several perspectives on the dialectology of Azeri. Some dialects may be varieties of others.
  • Ardabil dialect (Ardabil
    Ardabil
    Ardabil is a historical city in north-western Iran. The name Ardabil probably comes from the Zoroastrian name of "Artavil" which means a holy place. Ardabil is the center of Ardabil Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 412,669, in 102,818 families...

     and western Gilan, Iran)
  • Ayrum dialect (northwestern Azerbaijan; northeastern Armenia)
  • Baku dialect (eastern Azerbaijan)
  • Borchali dialect (southern Georgia; northern Armenia)
  • Derbent dialect (southern Russia)
  • Gabala (Gutgashen) dialect (northern Azerbaijan)
  • Ganja dialect (western Azerbaijan)
  • Gazakh dialect (northwestern Azerbaijan)
  • Guba dialect (northeastern Azerbaijan)
  • Hamadan dialect (Hamadan
    Hamadan
    -Culture:Hamadan is home to many poets and cultural celebrities. The city is also said to be among the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities.Handicrafts: Hamadan has always been well known for handicrafts like leather, ceramic, and beautiful carpets....

    , Iran)
  • Karabakh dialect (central Azerbaijan)
  • Karadagh dialect (East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, Iran)
  • Kars dialect (eastern Turkey and northwestern Armenia)
  • Lankaran dialect (southeast Azerbaijan)
  • Maragheh dialect (East Azerbaijan, Iran)
  • Mughan (Salyan) dialect (central Azerbaijan)
  • Nakhichevan dialect (southwestern Azerbaijan)
  • Ordubad dialect (southwestern Azerbaijan; southern Armenia)
  • Shaki (Nukha) dialect (northern Azerbaijan)
  • Shirvan (Shamakhy) dialect (eastern Azerbaijan)
  • Tabriz dialect (East Azerbaijan, Iran)
  • Yerevan dialect (central Armenia)
  • Zagatala-Gakh dialect (northern Azerbaijan)
  • Zanjan dialect (Zanjan
    Zanjan Province
    Zanjan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. Located in the North West of Iran, its capital is Zanjan city. Zanjan province with an area of 36,400 km² has a mostly rural, population of 964,601 . The province lies 330 km northwest of Tehran, connected to it via a freeway.Zanjan...

    , Iran)

North Azeri variety



North Azeri is the official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. It is spoken in:
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, and southern Dagestan
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

, along the Caspian
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 coast in the southern Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 Mountains. Also spoken in Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 (Asia), Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

.

South Azeri variety



South Azeri is spoken in Iran. Iranian Azeris often call it Türki. Specifically it is spoken in East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, Ardabil
Ardabil Province
Ardabil Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the north west of the country, bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan and the provinces of East Azerbaijan, Zanjan, and Gilan. Its centre is the city of Ardabil...

, Zanjan
Zanjan Province
Zanjan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. Located in the North West of Iran, its capital is Zanjan city. Zanjan province with an area of 36,400 km² has a mostly rural, population of 964,601 . The province lies 330 km northwest of Tehran, connected to it via a freeway.Zanjan...

, and parts of Kurdistan
Kurdistan Province
Kurdistan Province or Kordestan Province or Kurdestan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran, not to be confused with the greater geographical area of Iranian Kurdistan. The province of Kurdistan is 28,817 km² in area which encompasses just one-fourth of the Kurdish inhabited areas of Iran or...

, Hamadan
Hamadan Province
Hamedan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. Its center is Hamedan city. The province of Hamedan covers an area of 19,546 km². In the year 1996, Hamedan province had a population of approximately 1.7 million people....

, Qazvin
Qazvin Province
The Qazvin Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the north-west of the country, and its center is the city of Qazvin. The province was created in 1993 out of part of Tehran Province and includes 20 cities: Qazvin, Takestan, Abyek, Buin-Zahra, Eqhbalieh, Mohammadieh, Alvand,...

 and Gilan
Gilan Province
Gilan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies along the Caspian Sea, just west of the province of Mazandaran, east of the province of Ardabil, north of the provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin....

 . It is also spoken in some districts of Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 city and across Tehran Province
Tehran Province
Tehran Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It covers on area of 18,909 square kilometers and is located to the north of the central plateau of Iran....

. Furthermore, some Azeri-speaking groups live in Fars Province and other parts of Iran. Most of the sources have reported the percentage of Azerbaijani-Turkic-speakers at around 19-20 percent of the Iranian population. South Azeri is also spoken in parts of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, and Asian Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.

Consonants

caption | Consonant phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

s of Standard Azerbaijani
Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

Dental/
Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Post-
alveolar
Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

m
Plosive
Stop consonant
In phonetics, a plosive, also known as an occlusive or an oral stop, is a stop consonant in which the vocal tract is blocked so that all airflow ceases. The occlusion may be done with the tongue , lips , and &...

p b t͡ʃ d͡ʒ c ɟ k ɡ
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

f v ʃ ʒ ç x ɣ h
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

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
    Tabriz
    Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

     (including Kirkuk
    Kirkuk
    Kirkuk is a city in Iraq and the capital of Kirkuk Governorate.It is located in the Iraqi governorate of Kirkuk, north of the capital, Baghdad...

     in Iraq); in the Nakhchivan and Ayrum dialects, in Jabrayil
    Jabrayil
    Jabrayil is a rayon of Azerbaijan. The region was occupied in 1993 and has been controlled by the breakway Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, as part of its Hadrut Province, since the Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to the last 1989 Soviet census, there were 49,156 people in the rayon. According to...

     and some Caspian coastal dialects;
  2. In the most dialects of Azerbaijani, /c/ is realized as ç when it is found in the coda
    Syllable coda
    In phonology, a syllable coda comprises the consonant sounds of a syllable that follow the nucleus, which is usually a vowel. The combination of a nucleus and a coda is called a rime. Some syllables consist only of a nucleus with no coda...

     position or is preceded by a voiceless consonant (as in çörək [tʃøˈɾæç] - "bread"; səksən [sæçˈsæn] - "eighty").
  3. /k/ appears only in words borrowed from Russian
    Russian language
    Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

     or French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

     (spelled, as with /c/, with a k).
  4. /w/ exists in the Kirkuk dialect as an allophone
    Allophone
    In phonology, an allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme. For example, and are allophones for the phoneme in the English language...

     of /v/ in Arabic
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

     loanword
    Loanword
    A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

    s.
  5. In the Baku dialect, /ov/ may be realised as [oʷ], and /ev/ and /øv/ as [øw], e.g. /ɡovurˈmɑ/ → [ɡowurˈmɑ], /sevˈdɑ/ → [søwˈdɑ], /døvˈrɑn/ → [døwˈrɑn]
  6. In the colloquial language, /x/ is usually pronounced as /χ/

Alphabets



In Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, North Azeri now officially uses the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

, but the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 is also in wide use, while in Iran, South Azeri uses the Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets for North Azeri (although the Cyrillic alphabet has a different order):
Aa Аа آ ا
Əə Әә ا ه
Bb Бб ب
Cc Ҹҹ ج
Çç Чч چ
Dd Дд د
Ee Ее ئ
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
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

. In 1929–1938 a Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 was in use for North Azeri (although it was different from the one used now), from 1938 to 1991 the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 was used, and in 1991 the current Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 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 Azeri speakers in Iran have always continued to use the Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

, although the spelling and orthography is not yet standardized.

Nomenclature


In 1992–1993, when Azerbaijan Popular Front Party
Azerbaijan Popular Front Party
The Azerbaijani Popular Front Party is the main opposition political party in Azerbaijan, founded in 1992 by Abulfaz Elchibey. After Elchibey's death in 2000, the party split into two factions, the reform wing led by Ali Kerimli and the classical wing led by Mirmahmud Miralioglu.During 5 November...

 was in power in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, the official language of Azerbaijan was renamed by the parliament to Türk dili ("Turkic"). 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 Azeri magazine published in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, uses the term Türki ("Turkish" in English or "Torki" in Persian) to refer to the Azeri language. South Azeri speakers in Iran often refer to the language as Türki, distinguishing it from İstambuli Türki ("Anatolian Turkish"), the official language of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. Some people also consider Azeri to be a dialect of a greater Turkish language and call it Azərbaycan Türkcəsi ("Azerbaijan Turkish"), and scholars such as Vladimir Minorsky used this definition in their works. ISO
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

 encodes its two varieties, North Azeri and South Azeri, as distinct languages. According to the Linguasphere Observatory
Linguasphere Observatory
The Linguasphere Observatory is a transnational linguistic research network...

, all Oghuz languages
Oghuz languages
The Oghuz languages, a major branch of the Turkic language family, are spoken by more than 110 million people in an area spanning from the Balkans to China.-Linguistic features:...

 form part of a single "outer language" of which North and South Azeri are "inner languages".

Vocabulary

Category English Azerbaijani
Basic expressions yes bəli
no xeyr/yox
hello salam
goodbye sağol
sağolun (formal)
good morning sabahınız xeyir
good afternoon günortanız xeyir
good evening axşamın xeyir
axşamınız xeyir
Colours black qara
blue göy
cyan mavi
brown qəhvəyi
grey boz
green yaşıl
orange narincı
pink çəhrayı
purple bənövşəyi
red qırmızı
white
yellow sarı

Numbers

Number Word
0 sıfır
1 bir
2 iki
3 üç
4 dörd
5 beş
6 altı
7 yeddi
8 səkkiz
9 doqquz
10 on


For numbers 11-19, the numbers literally mean 'ten one, ten two' and so on.
Number Word
20 iyirmi
30 otuz
40 qırx
50 əlli

See also

  • Azerbaijani people
    Azerbaijani people
    The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

  • Historical linguistics
    Historical linguistics
    Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

  • Language families and languages

External links