Azerbaijan International

Spring 2000 (8.1)


How did Azerbaijan transition from Arabic to Latin script in the 1920s? And how will it transition from Cyrillic to today's Latin script? Anar, one of Azerbaijan's foremost writers and the President of the Writers' Union, spurred us on to examine these two fascinating questions. He even provided us with a rare stenographic transcript of the 1926 Turkology Congress in Baku. Anar currently chairs the Parliament's Committee on the Usage of Language and Alphabet.

Medical Historian Farid Alakbarov has devoted much of his career to studying the ancient texts found at Baku's Institute of Manuscripts. As an expert in medieval Azeri, Farid "bent over backwards" to help us cover ancient and medieval Azeri scripts and to identify what primary sources are available at the Institute. He also pulled together valuable information on one of Azerbaijan's first alphabet reformers, Mirza Fatali Akhundov.

Hours and hours of work went into researching Azerbaijan's font problem. Rovzat Gasimov tirelessly helped us obtain as well as sort through the chaotic array of existing fonts in terms of their keyboard layouts and ASCII code assignments. He also helped us identify which government offices are using specific fonts. Rovzat is a student in the Master's degree program at the Institute of Foreign Languages in Baku.

To find out what Azerbaijanis in the early 20th century were saying about alphabet change, we turned to Madina Valiyeva, Director of the Department of Country Study and National Bibliography at the Akhundov Library in Baku. Thanks to her persistence and familiarity with card catalog resources, we were able to understand popular attitudes and concerns towards Early Latin in the 1920s and 1930s.
Mazahir Panahov has been a vital part of Azerbaijan International since its inception in 1993. He has a Ph.D. in Physics and currently heads the Physics Department at Baku State University. Mazahir is particularly interested in issues related to Azerbaijan's transition from Cyrillic to Latin scripts and the trend from the usage of the Russian language to Azeri. We couldn't have done this issue without him.

Azerbaijan International (8.1) Spring 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.

Back to Index AI 8.1 (Spring 2000)
AI Home
| Magazine Choice | Topics | Store | Contact us