The Azerbaijani people will appreciate your effort to learn their language. It doesn’t matter if you are only a beginner and if your pronunciation is far from good – Azerbaijani people will appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to learn their language. You will get lots of support, help and smiles.
Your interest and knowledge show respect for the culture and people you’ve chosen to visit in your travels — and maybe you’ll even decide to settle down in Azerbaijan!
Azerbaijani is spoken primarily in Azerbaijan, the crossroads of Asia and Europe. As such, the Azerbaijani language opens doors to travelers not only to Azerbaijan, but also to northwestern Iran, where it is second most spoken language. It’s also spoken in Georgia, Russia and Turkey.
Why You Should Consider Learning Azerbaijani
As a Turkic language, Azerbaijani lays a solid foundation for learning other modern Turkic languages, like Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Uighur. Azerbaijani belongs to the Oghuz branch of Turkic languages, so by speaking the language you’ll already be well on your way toward understanding and reading Turkish, Tatar (Crimea) and Turkmen, the language of Turkmens living in Turkmenistan, northeastern Iran and northwestern Afghanistan.
Knowledge of Azerbaijani is an advantage when it comes to international business, and political affairs. There are currently over 30 million speakers of Azerbaijani.
Is Learning Azerbaijani Difficult?
While Turk languages can be among the more challenging languages to learn, they also have many characteristics that make them fun and interesting, and even some aspects that make them easy.
Let’s take a look at what makes Azerbaijani an easy language to learn.
Azerbaijani Spelling and Pronunciation are Straightforward — You Say What You See
Azerbaijani is written in the Latin alphabet and (unlike English) it is pronounced as it is written, which makes it a breeze to learn pronunciation! For example, there are no silent letters like the English “-e” at the end of words.
In 1992 the Azerbaijani government officially switched from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet. As such, the letters are familiar and words are very easy to read for English speakers. The modern Azerbaijani alphabet contains 32 letters – 9 vowels and 23 consonants. In addition to the Latin letters you’ll recognize from English, some vowels and consonants have a diacritic mark above or below:
- Ç / ç – çe, as ‘ch’ in child, China
- Ğ / ğ – ğe, similar to a ‘g’ sound but without touching your tongue to the top of your mouth
- Ş / ş – şe, as ‘sh' in she, ship
- *Ö / ö– ö, as ‘u' in turn, burn
Azerbaijani Grammar: There’s No Gender!
There is no gender in Azerbaijani, no “he”, “she” or “it”, but one word for all three: O. The der, die and das of German, or the le, la and les of French, are not found in Azerbaijani.