Azerbaijan International

Summer 2004 (12.2)
Page 12

Readers' Forum
Mother Tongue

In your Winter 2003 issue (AI 11.4), you were asking: "What's on young people's minds?" One of the main things that concerns me is the use of our mother tongue - Azeri. The bitter reality about our native language always frustrates and hurts me. We can appreciate that the older generation had to speak Russian, which was the prestigious language during the Soviet period, but who is forcing our generation to speak that language nowadays? Why doesn't our nation learn to respect itself, its own values and traditions?

When expats come to our country, the first thing they see is that our people are speaking other languages. When I see expats coming to work and earning money in our country but trying to learn Russian instead of Azeri, I really get disappointed. But how can we blame them? We are the ones who should be trying to promote our language, our country, our traditions and values.

Russian is needed for our society. I'm not saying that we should completely ignore it. NO! The more languages a person knows, the broader and richer is his world. But I must admit pleasure in seeing that the day has finally arrived when people who speak only Russian are having difficulty finding jobs here. It means our society is being forced to focus more on our own language.

Everything links back to education. When we ask people why they still send their children to Russian-language schools, they say they are not satisfied with the level of education in Azeri schools. Whatever issue we touch upon always takes us back to the need for strong education.

Another thing: there is an immense need to develop our Azeri vocabulary and find, or in some cases, even create equivalents for words and ideas that are being created in other parts of the world-words that are used on a global scale. Our language professionals should seriously deal with this issue and approach international organizations for assistance because we all have a great interest in making sure that our translations and interpretations are of the highest standards, especially those dealing with the international community.

Zulfiyya Sharifli

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