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azeri

Last updated 2019-08-17 17:25:08

Vowel Harmony and Consonant Assimilation

All suffixes with vowel harmony or consonant assimilation will be written in capitals, ex. -lAr exhibits a/ə harmony.

There are two main attributes of vowels that are important for Azeri: front vs. back and rounded vs. unrounded. Endings require one or both of these distinctions to match, depending on the vowel in the suffix, which must match the final vowel in a word.

  rounded unrounded
front ü ö i e ə
back u o ı a

Vowel wise, there are two main distinctions in endings:

Thus qələm:penqələmlər:pens or kitab:bookkitablar:books.

Consnant assimilation happens in two capacities:

  1. As part of a suffix
  2. Depending on the final consonant of a word and the first consonant of a suffix

Part of a suffix

Some suffix's final consonant will change based on the front/back-ness of the vowel. Thus if it is a front vowel, the consonant will be k and if back, the consonant will be q. For example, with Biz sürücüyIQ:We are driversBiz sürücüyük, first the I turns to ü because the last vowel ü is front and rounded. Secondly, the Q turns to k because ü is a front vowel.

Based on final consonant

If a suffix which begins with a vowel is added to a word that ends in q or k, that final consonant changes to ğ and y, respectively. For example, uşaq-ın-dıruşağındır:is the child's.

Based on final consonant of a verbal root

If a verbal root ends in t and is followed by a suffix that begins with a vowel, the final consonant will change to d. Thus, gedirəm:I'm going (rather than getirəm). There are some exceptions to this, see EA, pg 86.

Nouns

Pronouns

Personal

Number NOM GEN LOC ACC DAT ABL
1s. mən mənim məndə məni mənə məndən
2s. sən sənin səndə səni sənə səndən
3s. o onun onda onu ona ondan
1p. biz bizim bizdə bizi bizə bizsən
2p. siz sizin sizdə sizi sizə sizsən
3p. onlar onların onlardə onları onlara onlardan

Demonstrative

  near far
SG bu bunlar
PL o onlar

Bu and o also function as adjectives, in which case, they do not distinguish between singular and plural form, like all adjectives. Thus, Bu kitablar maraqlıdır ⧸ These books are interesting. When used as a demonstrative pronoun, it is often fronted in the sentence and offset with a comma. For example, O, yaxşı kitabdır ⧸ That is a good book.EoA, 29

Cases

Case markings occur after suffixes, thus Leyla şəkil-lər-də-dir, Leyla is in the pictures.

nominative. The default case.
-(n)In
genitive. Takes n as the buffer consonant, rather than the more common y.
-(n)I or ∅
accusative. The accusative is only marked when it is a definite object (e.g. "the apple") or a person, otherwise it is unmarked and is understood from context.
-(y)A
dative. Indicates indirect object as well as movement towards a place.
-dA
locative. Indicates location of an object or action, as well as time phrases related to seasons.
-dAn
ablative. Indicates motion away from or out of an object or place. Additionally, can be used in comparative sentences and to mean "due to" or "because of". For example, Onlar parka yağışdan getmədilər ⧸ We didn't go to the park because of the rain.

Suffixes

Azeri is an exclusively suffixing language.

-A
to, towards, DAT.
-AndA
verbal suffix meaning "when X is happening". For example, Qış gələndə, soyuq olur ⧸ When winter comes, it becomes cold.
-cA
language of X. Note, cannot be used for countries that take -lI to form their adjective of nationality.
-çI
one who does X.
-lAr
plural, only used for animate things, plus some animals.
-lI
adjectival suffix meaning "possessing X" or "characterized by X". This is used to create adjectives of nationality or birthplace, ex. bakılı:one from Baku.
-lIQ
nominalizing suffix meaning "state of being X". Attached to adjectives, ex. çətin:difficultçətinlik:difficulty
-mI
question particle, not required, comes at the end of the sentence.
-sIz
adjectival suffix meaning "without X" or "lacking X".
  1. Siz haralısınız?
    Where are you from?
    using the nationality suffix -lI

Relative Suffix (-kI)

-kI can only be attached to nouns in LOC or GEN.EoA 105

To form relative clauses, add -kI to the last word in the clause. For example, Yazıçı kitabxanadakı kitabları yazdı ⧸ The author wrote the books which are in the library. Kitabxanada:in the library is the clause we want to relativize. Thus, adding -kı makes it "which are in the library" and putting it in front of the kitabları:books.ACC makes the relative phrase modify the word books. When attached to nouns in GEN, it functions much like the English phrasing "that which is".

Postpositions

başqa (ABL)
except for.
gil
the home of, "chez". Takes additional case and suffixes.
kimi
like.
haqqında
about.
ilə
with (both comitative and instrumental). Occasionally, when preceded by a word ending in a consonant, it will become the suffix -lA. This is most often used with people. For objects or "who", the LOC suffic -dA is used.
üçün
for, for the purpose of. Expresses intent when used with an infinitive.
  1. Mən Con gilə gedirəm.
    I am going to John's house.
  2. Sən ay kimisən.
    You are like the moon.
  3. Leyla bacısı ilə evə getdi.
    Leyla went home with her sister.
  4. Yeni filmə baxmaq üçün Eldar kinoya getdi.
    Eldar went to the film for the purpose of seeing the new film.
  5. O yazıçı Azərbaycan haqqında yazır.
    That author writes about Azerbaijan.

GEN/POSS Postpositions

Many postpositions are marked with GEN/POSS. That is, the object related to the postposition is in GEN and postposition is marked with POSS.

alt
under.
ara
between.
arxa
behind.
bayır
outside.
inside.
orta
in the middle of.
ön
in front of.
qabaq
in front of.
qarşı
across from.
üst
on.
yan
next to, on the side of.
  1. Pişik maşının üstündədir.
    The cat is on (top of) the car.

Verbs

Verbs appear at the end of clauses.

All verbs, with the exception of imək below is conjugated as follows.

  1. Remove the -mAQ infinitive ending
  2. Add the tense suffix
  3. Add the personal suffix

For example, for the verb bilmək:to know:

  1. bilmək → bil
  2. bilIr → bilir
  3. bilirAm → bilirəm

Tenses

Present (PRS) -(y)Ir

Personal suffixes are very similar to "to be", differing only in 3rd person, where -dIr is not used.

  SG PL
1 -Am -IQ
2 -sAn -s(In)Iz
3 -(lAr)

The 2PL form is most often -sIz is spoken Azeri.

Past (PST) -dI

  SG PL
1 -m -Q
2 -n -(nI)z
3 -(lAr)

Imperative (IMP) -∅

Simply remove -mAQ. The only suffixes are for 2PL or negative:

Future

Azeri differentiates between two types of future tenses: defnitive and indefinite. The definite future tense "indicates that the action in question definitely will (or will not) occur."EoA 88 Whereas the indefinite future tense is more ambiguous as to the likeliness of occurance.

Definitive Future (DEFFUT) -AcAQ

Since the tense marker ends in Q, there will be consonant assimilation. See the Vowel Harmony and Consonant Assimilation section above.

An example of the consonant assimilation can be seen in "I will go" and "I will read": gət-gədəcək-gədəcəyəm, oxu-oxuyacaq-oxuyacağam.

  SG PL
1 -Am -IQ
2 -sAn -s(In)Iz
3 -(dIr) -(lAr)

In 1SG, the suffix is often reduced to -Ac in casual speech.

Indefinite Future (INDEFFUT) -Ar

Since the suffix contains r, the negative is -m (like PRS). However, in negative for 2nd and 3rd person, the suffix becomes -Az. Thus, görməzsən:you will not see. Note that the stress does not change either. 🤷‍♀️

This form of the future has a sense of probability or possibility, but you're not totally sure it's going to happen. "The indefinite future tense can also express a regular or habitual activity. This meaning, however, is mostly reserved for proverbs and folk sayings."EoA 92

It is often used to form polite questions or ask permission. When asking permission, the verb used is olmaq:to happen and the second verb is left in the infinitive. Otherwise, the verb is simply left in the INDEFFUT tense.

As might be expected, negating olmaq:to happen with an infinitive indicates that the action is impossible.

  SG PL
1 -Am -IQ
2 -sAn -s(In)Iz
3 -(lAr)
  1. Onların evinə getmək olar?
    May I go to their house?
    Asking permission with olmaq
  2. Siz mənə qələm verərsiniz?
    Can you give me a pen?
    Polite question
  3. O kitabı almaq olmaz.
    It's impossible buy that book.
    Impossibility

Past Progressive (PSTPRG) -IrdI

When emphasizing the on-going nature of past actions.

  SG PL
1 -m -Q
2 -n -nIz
3 -(lAr)

Present Perfect (PFT) -mIş/-Ib

The ş is often dropped in the 2nd person in both spoken and written Azeri.EoA 112

For completed actions that are relevent to the present, e.g. "I have seen it". -Ib is a more colloquial form of the same ending.

  SG PL
1 -Am -IQ
2 -sAn -s(In)Iz
3 -(lAr)

Past Perfect (PSTPFT) -mIşdI

For completed actions which finished in the past and happened before a second, more recent, contextual action.

  SG PL
1 -m -Q
2 -n -nIz
3 -(lAr)

Conditional (COND) -sA

  SG PL
1 -m -Q
2 -n -z
3 -(lAr)

imək (to be)

The only irregular verb in Azeri. Exists only as a suffix and is attached to the final word of a sentence in PRS. For example, Mən professoram ⧸ I am a professor. imək is only used in PRS or PST. olmaq, a regular verb, is used in all other tenses.

As with all suffixes in Azeri, if a suffix is attached to a word ending in a vowel, a "buffer consonant"EoA p21 y is added. Thus, sürücü:driverMən sürücüyəm:I am a driver.

The 'to be' suffix is not stressed.

Present (PRS)

  SG PL
1 -Am -IQ
2 -sAn -s(In)Iz
3 -dIr -dIrlAr

In colloquial Azeri, the pronunciation varies somewhat. In particular, 2PL is pronounced as -sIz, 3SG as -dI, and 3PL as -dIlAr.EA, 17

3rd Person PluralEoA p24

The 3PL ending changes based on the subject in question:

Past (PST)

In the past, "to be" functions as a standalone verb, following the regular past tense with a root of i-.

  SG PL
1 idim idik
2 idin idiniz
3 idi idi(lər)

Serial Verbs

In most cases, the subsequent verbs in a series of verbs (ex. to see in "I want to go to the movie") are placed before the declined verb. Thus, Mən kinoya gətmək istəyirəm ⧸ I want to go to the movies.

Two verbs, sevmək:to love and xoşlamaq:to like, however, require the subsequent verbs, still in the infinitive, to be marked as if a direct object. That is, keep -mAQ and add -I. For example, Mən oxumağı sevirəm ⧸ I like reading. Note that because the infinitive ends in k or q and will be followed by a vowel, consonant assimilation will occur.

Must -mAlI

-mAlI is suffixed to the verbal root and indicates that the action must be done. The person markers are the same as in PRS.

  1. Getməliyəm
    I must go

Question Words

Question words are found at the end of the sentence, before the verb.

haçan
when.
hansı
which one.
hara
where.
harada
where at (where.LOC). Colloquially pronouced "harda".
haraya
where to (where.DAT). Only used formally.
kim
who.
necə
how, in what manner.
ney
why.
what. Note it is nəyi in ACC and nəyə in DAT.
nə üçün
why. Literally "what for".
nə vaxt
when.
nöşün
why. Baku dialect.
saat neçədə
what time.
  1. Maşın haradadır?
    Where is the car?
    lit. "at where"EA p44

Sentence Structures

Contrast (isə & bəs)

When contrasting two clauses (similar to English's but), isə is used. İsə "is the frozen conditional form of the auxiliary verb i- (to be)".EA, 15 For example, Mən müəlliməm, sən isə tələbəsən ⧸ I am a teacher, but you are a student. It occurs after the subject in the second clause. Contrast, if you will, with bəs, which contrasts between speakers, often after a question, such as in the common bəs sən?:and you?.

There is... (var)

The verb var is placed at the end of the sentence, to indicate "there is/are...". To express the past tense (e.g. there were), var is paired idi:was.

  1. Universitetdə çoxlu tələbə var.
    There are many students at the university.
  2. İki kitab stolda var idi.
    There were two books on the table.

Expressing Need (lazım)

Need or necessity is expressed with the adjective lazım. The one needing something is in DAT and the thing needed is in NOM. Since it is an adjective, the verb for the sentence is "to be".

  1. Leylaya maşın lazımdır.
    Leyla needs a car.
    lit. A car is necessary to Leyla.

Expressing Ability (-A bilmək)

Expressing the ability to do something is done with a special form of the verb. It is formed by removing the infinitive ending and -(y)A. This special form is paired with bilmək:to know. For example, Mən görə bilirəm ⧸ I am able to see.

Relative Conjunction (ki)

Similar to English's conjunction "that", ki conjoins two sentences. It is required and is always followed by a comma. For example, Mən sənə dedim ki, onlar evdə deyil ⧸ I told you that they are not home.

Comparison

There are a few ways to compare things in Azeri.

daha

Indicates the comparative degree of an adjective, thus, daha böyük:bigger.

ən

Indicates the superlative degree of an adjective, thus, ən böyük:the biggest.

Ablative case

The ablative case is marked on the one that would follow "than" in English. For example, Sevil Leyladan böyükdür ⧸ Sevil is bigger than Leyla.

Possession

The possessive suffix (③ or ④) occurs before any case ending. In the 3rd person, when this occurs, a buffer consonant n is always added.

Possession can be expressed in multiple ways.

LOC + var
The possessor takes LOC and the verb is var. This type of possession emphasizes the possessor.EoA, p47
GEN + to be
The possessor takes GEN and the verb is to be. The possessed object precedes the possessor.
GEN + POSS
The possessor takes GEN and the possessed item takes the POSS case. This is the most common form of indicating possession.EoA, p78

The ③ form has these POSS suffixes:

  SG pl
1 -(I)m -(I)mIz
2 -(I)n -(I)nIz
3 -(s)I -(s)I

Since the only the 3rd person endings are ambiguous, a pronoun is only required for 3SG and 3PL. Otherwise, the GEN pronoun can be dropped.

For chained possession, ex. my friend's cat's encyclopedia, each object possessed must get a POSS suffix and each object possessing must get the GEN suffix. This means that some objects will have multiple suffixes. For example, Universitet-in böyük kitabxana-sı-n-ın təzə kitablar-ı ⧸ The university's big libray's new books. How does this work?

  1. First we have "university's big library", which is universitet-in böyük kitabxana-sı.
  2. Then we have the "library's new books", which would be kitabxana-nın təzə kitablar-ı.
  3. We put it all together, going left to right, meaning that before the library possesses anything, it is also possessed, so the GEN suffix attaches to the POSS suffix as seen above. Voila!
POSS + var
Similar to ①, this emphasizes the object possessed.EoA, 79
POSS
Just POSS is used in compound nouns, such as "radiator hat". The first part of the compound noun is unmarked and the second part is marked with POSS, e.g. konsert bileti:concert ticket. This becomes the noun itself, so case markings will append to the POSS marked noun (buffered with -n- if 3SG POSS), ex. məktəb kitablarında:in the school books.
  1. Məndə çoxlu kitab var.
    I have a lot of books.
    Type ① possession
  2. Bu kitab Leylanındır.
    This book is Leyla's.
    Type ② possession
  3. O sənin kitabındır.
    That is your book.
    Type ③ possession
  4. Pulunuz varmı?
    Do you have any money?
    Type ④ possession
  5. Onların evində kim var?
    Who is at their house?

Negation

Note that Azeri exhibits double negation, thus heç nə görmürəm:I see nothing.

There are three different ways of negating a sentence.

To Be sentences (deyil)

When something is not something, the word deyil is used. In spoken Azeri, it is often pronounced [dö:l].EA, 20 The personal suffix is affixed to deyil.

There is... (yoxdur)

var from existential sentences is replaced with yoxdur in the negative. In the past tense, it is yox idi.

Regular Verbs (-mA)

The suffix -mA (or -m if r is in the following tense suffix, such as in the present tense) is inserted between the verbal root and the tense suffix. Thus, Mən bilirəm:I knowMən bilmirəm:I don't know.

  1. Mən həkim deyiləm.
    I am not a doctor.
    Notice that the 'to be' ending is attached to deyil
  2. Universitetdə çoxlu tələbə yoxdur.
    There aren't many students at the university.
  3. Fəridə dünən məktəbdə deyil idi.
    Fəridə wasn't at school yesterday.
  4. Kitabxanada tələbələr yox idi.
    There were no students in the library.

Numbers

Cardinal Numbers

When a number is used, the following noun does not need to be in the plural.

0 - sıfır
1 - bir
2 - iki
3 - üç
4 - dörd
5 - beş
6 - altı
7 - yeddi
8 - səkkiz
9 - doqquz
10 - on

Numbers 11-19 are formed as on + {number 1-9}. Additional higher order numbers are formed the same way, with special words for 10s, 100, 1000, and 1000000.

20 - iyirmi
30 - otuz
40 - qırx
50 - əlli
60 - altmış
70 - yetmiş
80 - səksən or həştad
90 - doxsan
100 - yüz
1000 - min
1000000 - milyon

Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal number are formed with the suffix -(I)ncI. For numbers above 10, such as 15, only the final number takes the suffix. Thus, on beşinci:15th. The abbreviation is the last two letters of the suffix: 15-ci or 4-cü.

1st - birinci
2nd - ikinci
3rd - üçüncü
4th - dördüncü
5th - beşinci
6th - altıncı
7th - yeddinci
8th - səkkizinci
9th - doqquzuncu
10th - onuncu

Time

Time Vocabulary

There are two sets for names of the week. In formal Azeri, there are specific names:

Monday - bazar ertəsi
Tuesday - çərşənbə axşamı
Wednesday - çərşənbə
Thursday - cümə axşamı
Friday - cümə
Saturday - şənbə
Sunday - bazar

In colloquial Azeri, though, starting with Monday, they are simply spoken as birinci gün:1st day, etc. If something takes place on a day, the phrase is treated as a compound noun (see ⑤).

Months are listed below.

January - yanvar
February - fevral
March - mart
April - aprel
May - may
June - iyun
July - iyul
August - avqust
September - sentyabr
October - oktyaber
November - noyabr
December - dekabr

Time Expressions

The year in which something occurs is expressed as an ordinal number. The month in which something occurs is expressed with LOC. If it is a month + year combo, then GEN/POSS is used, which the year marked in GEN and the month marked in POSS, as well as LOC. Similarly, if it is a month + day combo, the month is marked with GEN, the day (in cardinal form) with POSS and LOC.

Similar to Georgian, the first hour of the day is 12. Thus, all time expressions are one off from English. That is, 12:30 would be "1's thirty", or birin yarısı. Other minutes use either işləyib:past or qalıb:til. These are paired with the hour in DAT. No additional verb is needed, as işleyib and qalıb are verbal forms. For example, Birə beş dəqiqə işleyib ⧸ It is 12:05.

  1. Mən Bakıya 2003-cü ildə getdim.
    I went to Baku in 2003.
    lit. the 2003rd year.
  2. Doqquza iyirmi beş dəqiqə qalıb.
    It is 8:35.

Bibliography