Learning Azerbaijani


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Section I: Just starting off
Part 1: About The Azerbaijani Language
Part 2: The Alphabet & Pronunciation
Part 3: Common Words & Phrases

Section II: Grammar (Vowel Harmony)
Part 1: Intro to Vowel Harmony
Part 2: Intro to Verb Conjugations (past form)
Part 3: Locative, Dative, Ablative Suffixes
Part 4: Ownership



Section I: Just starting off

Part 1: About The Azerbaijani Language
According to CIA fact book, There are about 18,000,000 Azeri-speakers in Iran and 8,300,000 in the Republic of Azerbaijan.There are also a significant number of Azeri speakers in Georgia, Iraq, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. It's apart of the Altaic family which contains about 348,000,000 speakers, and total of 66 languages langauges; Turkish, Japanese, Korean are some popular examples. You can read about The Azerbaijani Language on Wikipedia.

Part 2: The Alphabet & Pronunciation
Azeri has been written using the Arabic, Cryllic, and Latin alphabet. The Latin alphabet, having it's first official appreance in 1929, is the most popularly used today and is the official alphabet of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Each word is spelt the way it is formally pronounced. This website will features colloquail elements.

Note: You will need winamp to play the "listen" sounds

Vowels Pronunciations
Vowels in Azerbaijani are grouped in to two categories; Back Vowels and Front Vowels. Back vowels are pronounced by positioning the tongue slightly back in the mouth, and likewise with Front vowels, they are pronounced by positioning the tongue slightly forward. For easy-remebering we can call Back Vowels "A-undotted" and Front Vowels "E/Ə-dotted" The significance of this grouping is due to Vowel Harmony; something we'll get into later.

A-undotted Back Vowels:
 
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-A a - "car" "star""
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-I ı - "number" "luscious"
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-O o - "over"1
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-U u - "oops"1
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1Without the /w/ sound that follows

E/Ə-undotted Back Vowels:
   
-E e - "next" "text"
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-Ə ə - "apple" "grab"

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-İ i - "meet"
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*Ü Ü - the french "tu",
------ The German Ü
-----alt: sue

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*Ö ö - the french sœur,
------ the German Ö
-----alt: goo
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Constanants Pronunciations


-C c - "joke"
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-Ç ç - "channge"
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-S s - "sand"
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-Ş ş - "shake"
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-G g - get

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*Q q - similar to "got"
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*Ğ ğ - The Arabic ج
------ The Greek γ
-----alt: lengthen the previous vowel

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*X x - The Arabic خ
-----alt: hhair

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-J j - "garage "azure"
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The Full Alphabet


Letters Pronunciation
Word Examples
Azerbaijani English
A a ana 'mother' car
B b bəli 'yes' box
C c can 'soul' jet
Ç ç çay 'tea' chance
D d dağ 'montian' door
E e ev 'home' pet
Ə ə əl 'hand' apple
F f fərq'difference' for
G g gəl 'come' get
Ğ ğ sağ 'right' (direction)  
H h həftə 'week' hot
X x xeyr 'no'  
I ı qız 'girl got
İ i 'work' meet
J j janr 'gendre'
gendre
K k kağız 'paper' cat
Q q qan 'blood'
got
L l lazım 'necessary'
let
M m mərkəz 'centre' me
N n nar 'pomegranate' no
O o od 'fire' okay
Ö ö öpüş 'kiss'  
P p paxla 'bean' put
R r rəng 'colour' ring
S s su 'water' stop
Ş ş şəhər 'city' shirt
T t təmiz 'clean' to
U u buz 'ice' shoot
Ü ü ütü 'iron'  
V v vaxt 'time' vent
Y y yol 'road' young
Z z zəhmət 'labour' zoo

 

Further reads:
- Previous Azerbaijani Alphabets

- Other Turkic alphabets that use latin letters (IPA)

Part 3: Common Words & Phrases
Note:
- Adding the bracketed letters makes the phrase formal
- The letters in blue are not pronounced in colloquail
azerbaijani

Etiquette
Azerbaijani English
yes
bəli yes (formal)
yox no
xeyr no (formal)
lütfən please
zəhmət olmasa please (lit: if it wont be any trouble)
xahiş Edirəm please (lit: i am requesting)
salam hello
sabahın(ız) xeyir good morning
axşamın(ız) xeyir good afternoon
xoş gəlmisiniz welcome
nuş olsun bon appetit
necəsən? how are you?
necəsiniz? how are you? (formal)

sağ ol(un)

thank you
yaxşı okay / good
pis bad

yaxşıyam

I'm fine
pis deyiləm I'm not bad
sən necəsən? and how are you?
sən də yaxşısan? are you also good?
mən də yaxşıyam

I'm also good

tanış olmağımıza çox şadam It's nice to meet you
çox şadam It's nice to meet you (shortened)
nə var, nə yox? what's up? (lit: what exists, what doesn't?)
nə xəbər? what's up? (lit: what's the news?)
kefiniz necədir? how's your wellbeing?
işlərin(iz) necədir? how is your job/work (going)?
halın(ız) necədir? how is your health?
o qədər də yaxşı deyil it's (actually) not that good
bağışlayın sənin adin nədir Sorry what's your name?
bağışlayın sizin adiniz nədir Sorry what's your name? (formal)
neçə yaşın(ız) var? How old are you?
mən başa düşmürəm I didn't understand
görüşərik See you later
görüşənədək See you later (alternative)
hələlik so long
xudahafiz bye
özünə yaxşı bax take care

 

Quick Reference
Azerbaijani English
mən I / me
sən you
o he / she / it / that
biz we
siz you (plural)
onlar they / those
bu this
bunlar these
burada here
orada there
harada where
kim who
what
nə vaxt(da) when
hansı which
necə how
niyə why
nə qədər how much
nə qədər uzaq how far
nə qədər yaxın how near
neçə dənə how many
bu nədir what is this
bu neçədir how much is this
oradadır(lar)
it is there / (they are there)
mən nə etməliyəm what must I do?
...mənim xoşuma gəlir I like...
...mənim xoşuma gəlmir I don't like...
...menim xoşuma gəlməlidir I should like...

Section II: Grammar 1

Part 1: Intro to Vowel Harmony
Azerbaijani uses something called Vowel Harmony. Which is basically a rule that puts constraints on what vowels may be found near each other. Vowels are grouped into Back Vowels and Front Vowels. When a suffix is added to the end of a word, the vowels used in that suffix must follow the preceding vowels "harmony"; meaning the last vowel of the word determines all the vowels used in the suffix. If the last letter is a Back Vowel, the vowels used in the suffixes must be Back Vowels. And likewise, If the last letter is a Front Vowel, the vowels used in the suffixes must be Front Vowels.

Most (if not all) non-imported Azerbaijani words themselves (excluding the suffix) use Vowel Harmony. Meaning both Back Vowels and Front Vowels will not be found in the same word . It has to either just Back Vowels or Front Vowels, unless of course it is an imported word. Here are the vowels grouped appropriately:

Back Vowels: A a, I ı, O o, U u
called Back Vowels because you position your tongue as far back as possible in the mouth without pronouncing a consonant
Front Vowels: Ə ə, İ i, E e, Ö ö, Ü ü

called Front Vowels because you position your tongue as far forward as possible in the mouth without pronouncing a consonant

Verb stems
In regards to verbs, the "to" we use in English (ex: to be, to go, to see) is expressed in Azerbaijani as a verb-stem added to the end of the root of a verb: -maq or -mək. Whether we use -maq or -mək depends on whether the last letter of the root of the verb is a Back Vowels or Front Vowels. If it is a Back Vowels we use -maq and Front Vowels if it is a -mək.

Examples of verb roots ending in Back Vowels (maq)
ol - be/become
olmaq
- to be/become
al - recieve/get
almaq - to recieve/get
oxu - read
oxumaq - to read
yaz - write
yazmaq - to write

Examples of verb roots ending in Front Vowels (mək)
et - do
etmək
- to do
gel - come
gelmək - to come
get - go
getmək - to go
ver - give
vermək - to give

Consonant Mutation and Buffer Letters
Azerbaijani uses something called Consonant Mutation and Buffer Letters.

Consonant Mutation refers to when consonants change in words due to their morphological and/or syntactic environment. We use it in Azerbaijani in particular cases when a suffix beginning with a vowel is added to a word that ends in either K, Q, or T. When this happens...

Buffer Letters are consonants used when you want to add a suffix that starts with a vowel to a word that ends in one. When this happens and it is a case of Ownership, we us S as the buffer letter, and if it's a case of being we use Y.

This is just a quick introduction, so don't worry about it now. During the lessons I will point out where the Consonant Mutation and Buffer Letters rules are used.

Part 2: Intro to Verb Conjugations (past form)
There are 8 Personal pronouns in Azerbaijani, but we'll be focusing only on the first 6 in this list:

Personal pronouns
mən - I
sən
- you
biz
- we
siz
- tou (plural)
o
- he, she, it
onlar
- they, those
bu
- this
bunlar
- these

The following is a list of the Subjects (pronouns) we use and their suffixes in their various forms.

past form
Subject suffix added to the end of the verb
mən
sən
biz
siz
o
Onlar
-dim, -dım, -dum, -düm
-din, -dın, -dun, -dün
-dik, -dık, -duk, -dük
-diniz, -dınız, -dunuz, -dünüz
-di, -dı, -du, -dü
-dilər, -dılar, -dular, -dülər

Here is a refrence for deciding which suffix to use for each verb:

Suffixes Use these suffixes when the last letter of the root of the verb is a...
(mən) -dim,
(sən) -din,
(biz) -dik,
(siz) -diniz,
(o) -di,
(onlar) -dilər
Ə ə, E e or İ i
(mən) -dım,
(sən) -dın,
(biz) -dık,
(siz) -dınız,
(o) -dı,
(onlar) -dılar
A a or I ı
(mən) -dum,
(sən) -dun,
(biz) -duk,
(siz) -dunuz,
(o) -du,
(onlar) -dular
O o or U u
(mən) -düm,
(sən) -dün,
(biz) -dük,
(siz) -dünüz,
(o) -dü,
(onlar) -dülər
Ö ö or Ü ü

Examples of a verbs root ending in E e or İ i :

etmək - to do (past form)
Subject Verb Root + Suffix Meaning
Mən
Sən
Biz
Siz
O
Onlar
etdim
etdin
etdik
etdiniz
etdi
etdilər
I did
You did
We did
You did
She did
They did

gelmək - to come (past form)
Subject Verb Root + Suffix Meaning
Mən
Sən
Biz
Siz
O
Onlar
gəldim
gəldin
gəldik
geldiniz
geldi
gəldilər
I came
You came
We came
You came
She came
They came

Example of a verb root ending in A a or I ı :

danışmaq- to talk (past form)
Subject Verb Root + Suffix Meaning
Mən
Sən
Biz
Siz
O
Onlar
danışm
danışn
danışk
danışnız
danış
danışlar
I talked
You talked
We talked
You talked
She talked
They talked

Example of a verb root ending in O o or U u :

olmaq- to be (past form)
Subject Verb Root + Suffix Meaning
Mən
Sən
Biz
Siz
O
Onlar
oldum
oldun
olduk
oldunuz
oldu
oldular
I became
You became
We became
You became
She became
They became

Example of a verb root ending in Ö ö or Ü ü :

düşünmək - to think (past form)
Subject Verb Root + Suffix Meaning
Mən
Sən
Biz
Siz
O
Onlar
düşünm
düşünn
düşünk
düşünnüz
düşün
düşünlər
I thought
You thought
We thought
You thought
She thought
They thought

Part 3: Locative, Dative, Ablative Suffixes

Locative: -da, -də
Used to indicate a location (at, on, in)
Dative: -a, -ə
Used to indicate a movement towards (to, towards)
Ablative: -dan, -dən
Used to indicate a movement away (from, by, via)

In understanding that a word ending in a Back Vowel must use a suffix with a Back Vowel, We can already start to practising making sentences:

Ev (House)
Evdə - at home
Evdən - from home
Evə - to home

Otaq (room)
Otaqda - at (the) room
Otaqdan
- from (the) room
Otağa*
- to (the) room

*Consanant Mutation: Notice how Q will turn into a Ğ when a suffix starting with a vowel is added to it.

Pişik (cat)
pişikdə - at (the) cat
pişikdən
- from (the) cat
pişiyə*
- to (the) cat

*Consanant Mutation: Notice how K will turn into a Y when a suffix starting with a vowel is added to it.

Part 4: Ownership
Here are the suffixes we use for ownership:

my: -im, -ım, -um, -üm
your, her his, its:
-in, -ın, -un, -ün
your, (plural): -iniz, -ınız, -unuz, -ünüz
Their: -lərin, -ların
Used to indicate ownership (my, ours, theirs, doctor's)

Examples:
ev - home
evim - my home

nənə - grandmother
nənəm* - my grandmother

ağız - mouth
ağızım - my mouth

ana - mother
anam* - my mother

qorxu - fear
gorxum* - my fear

göz - eye
gözüm - my eye

*Notice how when it comes to ownership, if the noun ends in a vowel and the suffix does as well, the first letter in sufix is ommited

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The below is not complete!!!!!

Accusative: -i, -ı, -u, -ü
Used to indicate a direct object (the)

Verb stems: mək, maq
Added to the end of verb roots to put them in there "to be" form

Is*: -dir, -dır, -dur, -dür
Was: idi
Too, Aswell: da, də (written as a seperate word)

 

Other Vocabulary
dir/dır/dur/dür - is
deyil
- isn't
amma
- but
gözəl
- beautiful
böyük - big
kitab - book
parta - desk

Verbs
olmaq - to be
vermək
- to give
demək - to say
itirmək - to lose (something)
itmək - to get lost (to lose one's self)

Vocabulary:
ki
-
mənim ki... - the one that is mine...
dedim ki... - I said that...
Orada ki... - the one that is there...
Burada ki... - the one that is here...
Burada ki ev mənimdir - the house that is here is mine

Examples:
(Mənim) otağım gözəldir - My room is beautiful
(Mənim) evim böyükd
ür - My home is big
Mənim də evim böyükdür - My home is also big
Partada ki kitabı mənə verin - give me the book that is on the desk.
Onların kitabları itirdim amma mühüm deyil - I lost their books but it isn't important

 

 
(C) 2007 by Farzin
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