Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

When Words Become Tired, Ctd.

with 4 comments

If there wasn’t enough to read about this topic, I’ve gone and found some more info for us.  Movie-ing Maniac recommended I look beyond the people around me for the words I want to express in Azeri.  How could I possibly do that?  I’m surrounded by a group of people who are not really avid readers of anything and, despite their very high literacy rate, it does not seem to contribute to a general literacy about literature, worldly issues, and beyond.

So I went on a brief search and unearthed a publication I was sure existed, but was not sure I could get my hands on.  I’m still not confident I can get my hands on it.  It’s an Azeri Thesaurus!  This could be a significant development.  The book was compiled by Şaiq Cabiroğlu, over the course of many years and many translations:

Finally, I decided to settle on the Azerbaijan classic language as the criteria for the thesaurus; in other words, I would use the form of the language that we had learned at school and in which our classic literature had been written. I’m convinced it was the right decision. It seems also that the timing was extremely apropos for our society!

In my first post on the subject, I referred to the Russian language becoming prevalent and the loss of words in Azeri.  In that particular context, I was speaking specifically to it’s effect on idioms in the language, but the larger effect is most certainly that many Azeri words have fallen out of use.  My own example would be the word for umbrella in Azeri.  Everyone uses sontiq, a Russian-origin word.  The Azeri word is çətir, but when I use that, nobody knows what I am saying. Şaiq explains this so:

Since Russian was the prestigious language during the Soviet period, we have lost many of our common, everyday words. I once tested this hypothesis by asking many of my acquaintances: “What’s the word for ‘shoelace’ in Azeri?” No one could give me the right answer because the Russian word “shnurok” is so widely used.

So now it looks like I need to go find Şaiq and his brilliant thesaurus.  I’ll let you know how that goes.


Written by Aaron

June 10, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Hi Aaron,
    Glad you discovered Shaig’s Jabiroghlu and his Thesaurus.
    Shaig is a literature lover and a word lover. And to my knowledge, his is the only Thesaurus about Azeri language.

    We featured Shaig and his Thesaurus in an article in Azerbaijan International magazine – “Azeri Thesaurus: Strengthening Language Usage.”
    Autumn 2005 (13.3).


    Contact Shaig directly at

    He has excellent English. But I’m sure he would be delighted if you tried your Azeri out on him.

    Best to you in your endeavors,
    Betty Blair, Editor / Azerbaijan International

    Betty Blair

    June 15, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  2. Thank you Betty for letting me know about this lovely blog.

    Dear Aaron,
    I can only add that your copy of the Thesaurus is waiting for you. Please let me know any time you’re in Baku.
    We can discuss many issues of the Azerbaijani language. Meanwhile, here’s a simple test for you: please find Azerbaijani equivalents for the words: ‘disappointment’ and ‘honesty’.



    Shaig Sagfarov

    June 16, 2010 at 8:18 am

  3. Sorry for the typo.
    My last name in the previous post was mistakenly put as SAGFAROV.
    Shaig Safarov

    Shaig Safarov

    June 16, 2010 at 8:21 am

  4. […] to take up Şaiq on his invitation.  It was very much worth it.  If you followed this series of posts, you’ll know that we’re having a little difficulty with the seemingly limited Azeri […]

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