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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Resources for the study of the Azerbaijani language

Introduction

Azerbaijan - a nation with a majority-Turkic and majority-Muslim population - was briefly independent from 1918 to 1920; it regained its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Despite a 1994 cease-fire, Azerbaijan has yet to resolve its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region that Moscow recognized as part of Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s after Armenia and Azerbaijan disputed the status of the territory. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, ethnic Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven surrounding provinces in the territory of Azerbaijan. Corruption in the country is ubiquitous, and the government, which eliminated presidential term limits in a 2009 referendum, has been accused of authoritarianism. Although the poverty rate has been reduced in recent years due to revenue from oil production, the promise of widespread wealth resulting from the continued development of Azerbaijan's energy sector remains largely unfulfilled.

 

Nationality: noun: Azerbaijani(s)

adjective: Azerbaijani

Ethnic groups:

Azeri 90.6%, Dagestani 2.2%, Russian 1.8%, Armenian 1.5%, other 3.9% (1999 census)

note: almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region

Languages:

Azerbaijani (Azeri) (official) 90.3%, Lezgi 2.2%, Russian 1.8%, Armenian 1.5%, other 3.3%, unspecified 1% (1999 census)

Religions:

Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)

note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower

Population:

8,372,373 (July 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

Location:

Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range

Area:

total: 86,600 sq km

country comparison to the world: 113

land: 82,629 sq km

water: 3,971 sq km

note: includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region; the region's autonomy was abolished by Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet on 26 November 1991

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Maine

Land boundaries:

total: 2,013 km

border countries: Armenia (with Azerbaijan-proper) 566 km, Armenia (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 221 km, Georgia 322 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-proper) 432 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 179 km, Russia 284 km, Turkey 9 km

Coastline:

0 km (landlocked); note - Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (713 km)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)

Climate:

dry, semiarid steppe

Terrain:

large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland) (much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m

highest point: Bazarduzu Dagi 4,485 m

 

The Flag

The CIA World Factbook states:

On the flag of Azerbaijan, the "three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), red, and green; a crescent and eight-pointed star in white are centered in the red band; the blue band recalls Azerbaijan's Turkic heritage, red stands for modernization and progress, and green refers to Islam; the crescent moon is an Islamic symbol, while the eight-pointed star represents the eight Turkic peoples of the world."

Geography of Azerbaijan

photo source: World Travel Guide: Azerbaijan

Location:

Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range

Geographic coordinates:

40 30 N, 47 30 E

Area:

total: 86,600 sq km

country comparison to the world: 113

land: 82,629 sq km

water: 3,971 sq km

note: includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region; the region's autonomy was abolished by Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet on 26 November 1991

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Maine

Land boundaries:

total: 2,013 km

border countries: Armenia (with Azerbaijan-proper) 566 km, Armenia (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 221 km, Georgia 322 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-proper) 432 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 179 km, Russia 284 km, Turkey 9 km

Coastline:

0 km (landlocked); note - Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (713 km)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)

Climate:

dry, semiarid steppe

Terrain:

large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland) (much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m

highest point: Bazarduzu Dagi 4,485 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, bauxite

Land use:

arable land: 20.62%

permanent crops: 2.61%

other: 76.77% (2005)

Irrigated land:

14,300 sq km (2008)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 17.25 cu km/yr (5%/28%/68%)

per capita: 2,051 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

droughts

Environment - current issues:

local scientists consider the Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, soil, and water pollution; soil pollution results from oil spills, from the use of DDT pesticide, and from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

source: CIA - The World Factbook

Intensive Language Programs

The American Association for Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) website has a page that describes intensive programs in Slavic and East European languages as well as in the languages of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. The listings include those programs offered in U.S. (and some Canadian) colleges and universities as well as in programs abroad. This is a free service provided by AATSEEL to such programs.

Each language has its own page, and programs are divided into the following categories: Summer Programs in the U.S., Summer Programs Abroad, and Semester/Year Programs Abroad. Information is added to this page as it is received, so check frequently for updates.

The website has a table which allows you to click on the language you are interested in, and it directs you to links to the program/school websites teaching the language.

Subject Guide

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Slavic Reference Service
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