Languages of Azerbaijan
Sign about the COVID-19 pandemic in Azerbaijani
MinorityLezgian, Talysh, Avar, Russian, Tat, Tsakhur, Khinalug, Turkish
ForeignEnglish, Russian, Turkish
SignedAzerbaijani Sign Language
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Azerbaijani is the sole official language of Azerbaijan and is spoken by the majority of its population. However, several minority languages also exist in the country, including Lezgian, Talysh, Avar, Russian, and Tat. Additionally, languages such as Tsakhur and Khinalug are spoken by a small percentage of the population.


Ethnicities of Azerbaijan in 2003

The primary and official language of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani,[1][2] a Turkic language closely related to and partially mutually intelligible with Modern Turkish.[3] Together with Turkish, Turkmen and Gagauz, Azerbaijani is a member of Oghuz branch of southwestern group Turkic language family.[4]


According to the 2009 census of the country, Azerbaijani is spoken as a native language by 92.5% of the population,[5] whereas Russian and English play significant roles as languages of education and communication. More than half of Azerbaijani speakers are monolingual.[4] Lezgian, Talysh, Avar, Georgian, Budukh,[6] Juhuri,[6] Khinalug,[6] Kryts,[6] Jek,[7] Rutul,[6] Tsakhur,[6] Tat,[6] and Udi[6] are all spoken by minorities. All these[8] (with the exception of Armenian, Lezgian, Talysh, Avar, and Georgian, which have a much larger number of speakers outside Azerbaijan, but nevertheless are steadily declining within Azerbaijan) above-mentioned languages are endangered languages which are threatened with extinction, as they are spoken by few (less than 10,000) or very few (less than 1,000) people and their usage is steadily declining with emigration and modernization.

According to 2019 research, English language proficiency in Azerbaijan was the lowest among surveyed European countries.[9]

An entire issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, edited by Jala Garibova, was devoted to the matter of languages and language choices in Azerbaijan, vol. 198 in 2009.[10]

Azerbaijan has not ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages to which it became a signatory in 1992, under the Popular Front. In 2001, the then President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev issued a statement whereby "the Republic of Azerbaijan is not in the power to guarantee the implementation of the Charter regulations until its territory occupied by the Republic of Armenia is liberated".[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Azerbaijan". Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan" (PDF). President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Official Website of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  3. ^ Sinor, Denis (1969). Inner Asia. History-Civilization-Languages. A syllabus. Bloomington. pp. 71–96. ISBN 0-87750-081-9.
  4. ^ a b Keith, Brown; Ogilvie, Sarah (2008). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World 1st Edition. Elsevier Science. p. 110. ISBN 9780080877754.
  5. ^ "UNdata | record view | Population by language, sex and urban/rural residence". 2015-12-24. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Published in: Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. Edited by Christopher Moseley. London & New York: Routledge, 2007. 211–280".
  7. ^ "Н. МАРР : "Яфетические языки", Большая сов. энциклопедия, 1-е изд., т. 65, Москва : Сов. Энц., 1931, стр. 841". Archived from the original on October 28, 2012.
  8. ^ "Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger". UNESCO.
  9. ^ "EF EPI 2019 – Europe". Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  10. ^ International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2009, Issue 198 (Jul 2009),
  11. ^ Azərbaycan Respublikasının Regional dillər və ya azlıqların dilləri haqqında Avropa Xartiyasına dair bəyanatı. 20 December 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2017.

Further reading