Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2000 (8.3)
Page 10

Reader's Forum
Sociolinguistics of Azeri

The "Sociolinguistically Speaking" section of Azerbaijan International is a good step in the right direction. It is the beginning of a long road that all of us (Azerbaijanis) have to take. I admire those pioneering efforts of Jala Garibova and Betty Blair for having initiated these steps. Well done!

However, the articles in the sociolinguistic section have been written for the non-Azerbaijani. That is, most of these articles are interesting for those who want to learn Azeri (like Western employees who go and work in Baku).

But there is a greater and more important aspect of sociolinguistics as it relates to the Azerbaijani language; that is, in making Azerbaijanis themselves aware of their language and language practices. Further, any good sociolinguistic work should surpass the mere descriptive dimension by taking into account the explanatory dimension, for example, studying the linguistic choices in light of the socio-historical and socio-cultural background of the people of that language.The range of topics covered in such a broad category as sociolinguistics could be broadened to cover the following issues. Let me mention a few:

(1) A comparison of code-switching strategies among Azerbaijanis from the Republic and those in Iran (why, when, how and to what extent?), (2) Borrowing from other languages such as Russian, Farsi, Arabic, Turkish, (3) Standardization of Azeri, (4) Lexicography in Azeri, (5) Reflection of Azerbaijani world perspective in their language use, (6) The issue of orthography: linguistic or political choice, (7) Mother tongue maintenance among Azeri immigrants, (8) Reflection of Azerbaijani culture and people in the media of other cultures. These suggestions are just the "tip of the iceberg"; others can extend it much further.

 An Azerbaijani from Iran living in London
Name withheld by request


Azerbaijan International (8.3) Autumn 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.

Back to Reader's Forum
Back to Index AI 8.3 (Autumn 2000)
AI Home
| Magazine Choice | Topics | Store | Contact us