Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

Irrelevant Observations

with one comment

I’ve just returned from a long-weekend trip that had me stopping in Baku, heading up to the beautiful mountains of Zaqatala, and then back to Baku for a few days.  Among the awesomeness of my trip, I just wanted to note the a things I noticed during my time in Baku.  It seems like every time I go to that oil-pumped city, I discover something particularly irrelevant, insignificant, or anachronistic.

First, the insignificant.  Due to the Azeri language’s propensity towards suffixes, we can sometimes be met with some odd word formulations.  On this trip to Baku, I was met by a sign near the Peace Corps office advertising the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.  In Azerbaijani, the word for foundation is fond (sounds like ‘phoned’).  Putting Heydar’s name in front of it requires that you stick a u on the back.  And this is how we come up with the Heydər Əliyev Fondu.  I can only imagine that Heydar loved fondu.  And any fondu made to Heydar’s liking would have had to be made of the signature Azerbaijani salty white cheese.

Second, the irrelevant and anachronistic.  It turns out that throughout Baku, you can find tons of signs advertising Esperanto.  Next time I go, I’ll try to grab a picture.  In the metro subway stations, advertisements for Esperanto abound.  I’m curious how this works into Azerbaijan’s plans for developing over the next few decades.  Perhaps they, like L.L. Zamenhof before them, are actively in pursuit of unity, peace, and harmony.  I haven’t looked too closely at the signs, just close enough to see them say “Learn Esperanto!” This is one of those things that makes Azerbaijan such a curious place.  Maybe after I get my Azeri down, I’ll look up one of those Esperanto teachers.  Then again, maybe that will only reinforce Azeris’ ideas that I’m a spy, since Stalin declared, “Esperanto is the language of spies.”


Written by Aaron

July 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Congratulations on your quest to learn the Azeri language.

    Would you believe that will take LESS time to learn Esperanto and then Azeri, than just learning Azeri?

    Give a try to Esperanto, while you keep studying Azeri. It will take less than 20 hours to complete the basic course … and then you will be ready to use the language. A little practice will give you some fluency.

    Esperanto speakers in Azerbaijan will help you to learn their language. If you visit again, make sure to contact Esperanto speakers before getting there, so they will be ready to help you when you get there.

    Best wishes,



    July 2, 2010 at 3:43 am

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