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Azeri Studies Projects

Towards a reference grammar of Azerbaijanian 

Dr Elisabetta Ragagnin (Research Associate)

This project aims to produce a reference grammar of Azerbaijanian for both linguistics and turcologists alike. It will give a synchronic description of modern Azerbaijanian phonology, morphology and syntax. The descriptive chapters will focus on the sound system, derivational and inflectional morphology, the verbal categories aspect, mood and tense as well as simple vs. complex clause syntax. Special attention will also be paid to language contact phenomena and socio-linguistic aspects. Though focusing on the standard, i.e. Baku-based variety, this grammar will include a description of various distinctive features of other Azeri dialects.

 Besides, this project will deal with older stages of Azerbaijanian, often referred to as “Ajami Turkic” in Turcological studies. This term refers to the trans-regional written Turkic variety geographically placed between Ottoman and Chagatay, and actively spoken and used literally in the Caucasus and Iran until the end of the XVIII century. Ajami Turkic sources include, for example, the poetic works of Fużūlī and Shāh Ismāʿil, the epic Dede Qorqud and gospel translations. Grammatical and lexical data on Ajami Turkic is also provided by Europeans’ travel accounts such as those of Herbert, Kaempfer, della Valle and Du Mans. This project is directed by Dr. Elisabetta Ragagnin.

Kinalug Village small
Kinalug Village, Azerbaijan


Azeri in contact with languages of the region

Dr Elisabetta Ragagnin (Research Associate) and Professor Geoffrey Khan

The purpose of this project is to investigate the extent to which Azeri has had an impact on the Aramaic dialects spoken by various communities in the region. For many centuries Azeri-speaking Muslims have lived side by side with Aramaic-speaking communities and their close interaction is reflected in the influence of Azeri on the various Aramaic dialects. The lexicon of the Aramaic dialects contains a large number of Azeri loanwords. In some cases story-tellers switch between Aramaic and Azeri. Many features of also the phonology of the Aramaic dialects have developed through close contact with Azeri-speakers.