Field study: The Sociolinguistic Situation of Lezgis, Udis, Georgians (Ingiloys) and Talyshs in Azerbaijan - with a Particular Focus on Education
Azerbaijan is a muticultural and multilingual country, with a great number of national minorities. The largest ethnolinguistic minority groups are Lezgis, Russians and Talyshs. Among other significant minority groups are Avars, Turks-Meskhetians, Tatars, Ukrainians, Georgians (Ingiloys), Kurds, Jews and Udis.
This paper presents the results of a socio-linguistic field study conducted from March to May 2007 among four minority communities in Azerbaijan, namely the Lezgis, the Udis, the Georgians (Ingiloys) and the Talyshs. The goals of the study were to investigate current practices in the teaching of minority languages and minority histories at school, as well as attitudes of teachers and parents towards instruction in the state language, respectively in minority languages.
The first part of the paper analyses the development of interethnic relations in Azerbaijan and state policy towards minorities after 1991 independence. Chapters 3 to 5 present the findings of the research regarding language use and attitudes, modalities of minority language education and history teaching and the situation of minority media. The paper concludes with a short overview of the international and local organizations active in minority issues in Azerbaijan.