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The Azerbaijani Language in Azerbaijan After the Political Independence: The Governmental Support of Mother Tongue and Multilingualism

Mis à jour : 3 Avr 2020


International Journal of Language and Linguistics

 Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2020, Page: 24-33

Jamala Ismayil Mammadova, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

This article is about ongoing language policy and language planning in the Republic of Azerbaijan after the political independence from the ex-Soviet Union in 1991. The intensive policy of Russification through education, especially during the Soviet period created a sizeable Russian-speaking segment in society. With regard to Russian, Azerbaijani displays typical signs of survival of a metropolitan language in a post-colonial context. It puts a certain pressure on the role of Azerbaijani, the language of the majority. It is a matter of significant public interest and subject of ongoing discussions in society. Despite the independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian language enjoys its high prestige in the country. There exists an ongoing debate among scholars about the growth of the Russian language in Azerbaijan. The aim of this article is an analysis of government bodies responsible for the government to carry out the implementation of the Azerbaijani language- the officially sole state language in Azerbaijan after the political independence from the ex-Soviet Union. For this reason, the article covers responsible bodies for the implementation of the Azerbaijani language in post-Soviet Azerbaijan and the re-establishment of Azerbaijani in society. With this regard, the post-independence period is interpreted and analyzed. Together with the analysis of this period, some possible changes are put forward that may improve the implementation of the Azerbaijani language. The existing gap in the country is a need for analysis of the following questions: What has been done in the development of the Azerbaijani language after the political independence from the ex-Soviet Union? How does government support and advocate the importance of learning in the Azerbaijani language? And to what extent does this support work in society? The study attempts to examine the role of top policy in the “language building” which took place from 1991, as well as the changes in legislation brought about by independence. This research will contribute to the study of language-building in post-Soviet space. It will shed light on how Azerbaijani society, which has been considered the first independent country from the former USSR managed to guard and improve the inherited multilingualism and mother tongue policy. It will further explore the new phase of transition that started after independence. Also, it will discuss the existing gap between policy-makers and academia which makes the formulation of new policies and strategies incomplete.
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