(آذربايجانجا ديلي /
Азәрбајҹан дили / Azərbaycan dili)
Azerbaijani is a member of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic
language family spoken by about 32.2 million people mainly in
Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia, Russia and Turkey, and also in Iraq,
Syria and Turkmenistan.
There are two main varieties of the language: North Azerbaijani
and South Azerbaijani, which are sometimes classified as separate
languages, although there is a fair degree of mutually intelligibility
North Azerbaijani is spoken in Azerbaijan, where is the
official language, and also southern Dagestan, in the southern Caucasus
Mountains and in parts of Central Asia. There are around 7.3 million
native speakers, and another 8 million second language speakers.
Azerbaijani at a glance
Native name: آذربايجانجا ديلي /
Азәрбајҹан дили / Azərbaycan dili [ɑzærbɑjdʒɑn dili]
Alternative names: Azeri, Azari, Azeri Turkish, Azerbaijani Turkish
Linguistic affliation: Turkic, Oghuz, Western Oghuz
Writing systems: Arabic script, Cyrillic alphabet, Latin alphabet
Status: official language in Azerbaijan, and in Dagestan in the Russian Federation
South Azerbaijani has about 16.9 million speakers mainly in the
northwest of Iran, where it is known as تورکی (Türki),
and also in parts of Iraq and Turkey, and in Afghanistan and Syria.
Azerbaijani is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai, Turkmen and
Crimean Tatar, and there is a degree of mutually intelligibility
between Azerbaijani and Turkish.
The Arabic script was introduced to the Azerbaijan region in the 7th
century and continued to be used to write Azerbaijani until the 1920s. Three
different versions of the Arabic script were used during this period: the
28-letter Arabic script, the 32-letter Perso-Arabic script and the 33-letter
Turkic Arabic script. None of these was ideal for writing Azerbaijani and various
reforms were proposed, particularly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In Iran the Azerbaijani language has always been written with a version of
the Arabic script and is know as Azeri Turk.
Arabic script for Azerbaijani
Latin alphabet for Azerbaijani (1922 version)
In 1922 the Latin alphabet, known as Yanalif (new alphabet), was
adopted to write Azerbaijani in Soviet northern Azerbaijan. This was essentially an
attempt by the Soviet authorities to reduce the influence of Islam in the
Turkic republics, all of which used the Arabic script before 1922.
Cyrillic alphabet for Azerbaijani (Азәрбајҹан әлифбасы)
In 1939 the Cyrillic alphabet was imposed by Stalin, who wanted to
discourage contact between the Turkic republics and Turkey, and worried
about the development of alliances which might undermine the authority
of the Soviet Union.
A simplified version of the Cyrillic alphabet was introduced in 1958.
Latin alphabet for Azerbaijani (1991 version)
On independence in 1991, Azerbaijan switched back to the Latin alphabet, though
a slightly different version to that of 1929-1939. This switch caused considerable
confusion and there was a chronic shortage of typewriters and computers fonts
which could be used to write the new alphabet. Fortunately the Latin alphabet
as used to write Turkish is very similar to the Azerbaijani one, so Turkish typewriters
were in great demand. The main difficulty with the new alphabet is the letter
which looks like a upside-down lower case 'e' and is known as a schwa as no
other language uses this letter. Some people write 'æ' instead
if the schwa is not available.
Latin alphabet for Azerbaijani (Azərbaycan əlifbası) - 1992 version
On 16th May 1992 the Latin alphabet for Azerbaijani was slightly revised -
the letter ä was replaced with ə and the order of letters was
changed as well.
دنك (برابر) و
اوس (عقل) و
Transliteration Bütün insanlar heysiyyət və
haqlar baxımından dənk
(bərabər) və ərkin (azad) doğularlar. Us (əql) və
uyat (vicdan) yiyəsidirlər və bir birlərinə qarşı
qardaşlıq ruhu ilə davranmalıdırlar.
1922 Latin alphabet
Butun insanlar ləƶaqət və huqyqlarьna
gөrə azad və bərabər doƣylyrlar.
Onarьn şüyralrь və vicdanlarь var və
bir-birlərinə munasibətdə qardaşlьq
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)