Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Russian or Azeri...

15 countries united in one, the Soviet Union. Each country having one official language (and probably hundreds of dialects) but having another language that united them all. The Russian language. I always thought that great. Look how many children manage to speak some foreign language in Czech rep. - hardly any; and many times it is also the case of even grown ups. And in the Soviet Union so many people knew two languages already from the cradle (as it seems) :o).

In Baku it is easy for me to talk in Russian with everyone; I am always told ... oups, just wrote it in Russian ... "all Bakinci (Baku inhabitants) speak Russian". And that is really convenient. Many people speak Russian even outside of the capital. But of course after the split this ability is slowly dissapearing. Young people learn English (and have same results as the Czech ones - meaning cannot really speak at all) and they cannot speak Russian any longer. What a SHAME! You all know how important languages are and the Soviet Union (no matter if people liked the country or not) managed to have bilingual nation from their baby age.

And the situation now is the following. People mainly speak Azeri among themselves. But some speak Russian; those are the people that were studying in Russian language. Other Azeris usually respect it and speak Russian with them. Funny situation is when you have three people speaking together among which one is Russian educated - their conversation would be in two languages, the two would address each other in Azeri and the third one would comment in Russian. And all understand each other.

And of course, Russian is written in Azbuka (Russian alphabet) unlike nowadays Azeri. During Soviet times Azeri would be written in cyrilic as well and in 90s it was changed for latin letters (as it was before the Soviet Union). The country thus faced a serious problem to translate documentaion, books, signs in the streets, etc. into the latin Azeri. The change of the written language had though another result as well - some percentage of Azeri population simply does not read Azeri any longer. That usually accounts for older people that were used to cyrilic and do not handle the new strange letters.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you have been fully trained in Russian now, and speak like a native Russian person :) I know you spoke really well before, so I hope this was a good chance for you to become an expert.
Good luck with the language,

2:49 AM, September 08, 2005  
Blogger Mart'a said...

Ahoj Miso, you are quite flattering me about my Russian knowledge... but I am trying :o).
Thank you.

6:23 AM, September 08, 2005  

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