Archive for the ‘dialects’ Category

Lezgi dialects. Why bother?

May 7, 2009

Elsewhere on this blog, I’ve been trying to deal with the Standard Literary Lezgi, the kind of normative language used in school instruction and in official publications (and also in books, newspapers etc.).  However, as with any other language, Standard Literary Lezgi is not the only form of Lezgi in existence and worthy of preservation.

All around the Lezgi speech area, people use different varieties of Lezgi in their daily life. Sometimes those varieties differ considerably from the Standard language, and sometimes their speakers are not well-acquainted with the Standard at all. This variety is a good thing, as each dialect may teach us a thing or two about the Lezgi language in general (eg. by preserving words or grammatical structures lost in standard Lezgi, or by evolving in interesting directions or…). It is, thus, quite enlightening to take a look at the dialects as well.

The problem is that as even resources for Standard Literary Lezgi can be quite hard to come by, there’s serious shortage of information regarding the dialects. In my opinion, it is especially the Lezgi dialects spoken in Azerbaijan that are underresearched. One of my goals for the future would be to make an attempt at addressing this situation. In other words I am willing (and going to) to publish on this blog or elsewhere all the information on Lezgi dialects that I can gather (a request directed at Lezgi speakers: please, help me if you can, by telling me about your native version of Lezgi).

I’ll start soon(ish) by giving a bit of our attention to Lezgi as spoken in Yargun (a Lezgi-speaking village in Northern Azerbaijan; the official name of the village is actually Xazry). I’ll be using the information kindly provided by Ayten Babaliyeva, a Lezgi linguist now studying and working in France (merci beaucoup!). Yargun Lezgi is both her native dialect and the subject of her thesis. All I do  is basically translating her work from French and putting extracts from it on the web.

Until next time, then.