Basic Azerbaijani

This will not be your typical Azeri lesson. I am going to start off with some of the most common words I use on a daily basis. I tried my best to explain how to pronounce the words. I hope you find it interesting and helpful!

1. Salam (Sah-lahm): The standard greeting of Azeri.

2. Sağ ol (Sah-ole): The “ğ” is pronounced much like the French “r”. One of the most used words in the Azeri language, it has multiple meanings. It means ‘thank you’. To address a group or someone formally, you add a “un” (une) to the end of “ol”, so it becomes “sağ olun”. The word also can mean ‘goodbye’. Usually, especially on the phone, the word is repeated maybe 5-10 times to end a conversation.

3. Yaxsı yol (Yahk-shah yole): It is literally translated as “good road”. It can most accurately be translated as ‘safe travels’ and is often said when saying goodbye to someone.

4. Oldu (Ole-due): It is literally translated as the past tense of “to be”, but means ‘okay’ and is a standard reply when responding to someone’s request or comment.

5. Nətərsən? (Na-tar-san): This is a word most popular in the regions that simply means ‘How are you?’. If you replace the “sən” with a “siz”, it becomes more formal or can be used to address a group.

6. Nə var nə yox? (Na var na yoke): Literally translated as “what have what don’t have”, it is a slang term meaning ‘what’s up?’. I use this term a lot when addressing my students on the streets.

7. Gulaq asın (Goo-log ah-sin): I use this word a little too much! It is a command to a group to ‘Listen’. Very often I must scream this word once or twice during clubs when my students get a little too excited.

8. Dadlıdır (Dod-lu-dur): Although I do not always mean it when I say it, it means ‘it is tasty’. I spend a lot of time visiting families and often get invited to stay for dinner. People are quite proud when the American tells them their food is delicious!

9. Başa duşmuram (Bah-shah douche-mur-am): Literally translated as “not falling to head”, it means ‘I do not understand’. Needless to say, I use this a lot!

10. Ay can (I john): “Can” means ‘soul’, so ‘Ay can’ is an expression when something is particularly cute or when you truly value someone. Other volunteers and I have used it lately when I introduce them to the street dog I have adopted. Her name is Lady. She was always scared of me and never let me get close to her, but over the course of the last few months, she got used to me and now comes when I call her by her new name and oftentimes follows me to work and sits with me at the soccer field during baseball practice.