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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...

آذربايجانجا ديلي
Azərbaycan dili / Азәрбајҹан дили

Azerbaijani (Azeri)

The very place at which the bulk of the Azeri people is divided: The Bridge of Separation (Ayrılıq körpüsü) on the Azerbaijan-Iran border. More Azeris live in Iran than in Azerbaijan. [Photograph: Azeri, Wikimedia Commons]

Language information: The majority of Azerbaijani (or Azeri) speakers lives in an area that comprises the modern independent country of Azerbaijan and a part of northwestern Iran. A good deal more speakers live on the Iranian side of the border. Azerbaijani nationalists consider the entire area “Azerbaijan,” whose capital they regard as being Tabriz, a city situated in Iran. (The capital of the country of Azerbaijan is Baku [Azerbaijani Bakı].)
      Azerbaijani is the official state language of the independent country of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet state. In Iran it enjoys official status as a regional language. Minorities of Azerbaijani speakers live in surrounding countries, namely Armenia, Georgia, Iraq, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Syria, and Russia. Some Azerbaijani-speaking communities can also be found in other former Soviet states as well as in Europe and the Americas. In Russia it has offcial status in the Republic of Dagestan. Also, in Iraq it does has official status as a regional language, albeit mislabeled as “Turkmen.”
      Since full independence of the country of Azerbaijan (a former Soviet state), the Azerbaijani language there is a part of everyone’s school curriculum. This means that ethnic and linguistic minorities (for instance, Russians, Ukrainian and Jews, let alone traditional minorities of the country) must learn it, something that before the demise of the Soviet Union was not the case. This is not the case on the Iranian side of the border, where Farsi (Persian) always takes precedence and politicians only use snippets of Azerbaijani to woo northwestern crowds.
      The native region of this Turkic language lies at a crossroads of the following language families: Altaic (Turkic: Azerbajani, Khalaj, Kumyk, Nogai, Turkish, Turkmen), Indo-European (Armenian, Iranian [Farsi, Kurdish, Talysh, Tat, Zazaki], Karachi-Domari, Russian), Kartvelian (Georgian, Mingrelian, Laz), Northeast Caucasian (Aghul, Avar, Chechen, Dargwa, Lak, Lezgian, Rutul, Tabasaran, Tsakhur), Northwest Caucasian (Adyghe), and Afro-Asiatic (Semitic: Arabic, Aramaic).

Drawing from the Iranian-Arabic-Turkic maqam, the mugham (muğam) is a highly cherished part of traditional Azerbaijani culture. [Photograph: Baku87, Wikimedia Commons]
      Although it is undoubtedly a Turkic language, Azerbaijani shows many signs of strong contacts with non-Turkic language varieties, especially with Iranian varieties. Azerbaijani of the State of Azerbaijan and of other former Soviet states is influenced by Russian, aside from having earlier Iranian influences. This adds to a north-south division of dialects that is perceived as roughly running along the Azerbaijan-Iranian border, with speakers in Turkey also using Southern Azerbaijani. This division is further exacerbated by the use of the Roman script (formerly the Cyrillic script) in the north and the use of the Perso-Arabic script in the south.
      The Western Iranian languages have undergone considerable West Turkic (Oghuz) influences, most, if not all, of them having eminated from Azerbaijani. Most of the inhabitants of what are now Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran formerly spoke Azari, an Iranian language from which some believe the now severely endangered Tat language descended.
      Azerbaijani is fairly closely related to Afshar, Gagauz, Khorasani Turkic, Turkish, Turkmen, with which it shares the Western (Oghuz) branch of Turkic. (To a lesser degree it is related to the Salar language of China which descended from the Western branch also.)
      Azerbaijani is the medium of an old and rich literary and musical culture in which mainly Turkic, Iranian and Arabic elements intermingle.

Genealogy: Altaic > Turkic > Southwestern (Oghuz) > Azerbaijani

    Click to open: [Translation] Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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