Heydar Aliyev About Azerbaijani Language
Nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev's birthday is celebrated on 10 May every year
Speech by Azerbaijan’s National Leader Heydar Aliyev at the Meeting with Education Professionals in Baku
The people of Azerbaijan have a rich literary heritage. Therefore, it is a very important matter for us to instill a tradition of learning this heritage in young people irrespective of their work. These efforts should particularly focus on this process.
At the same time, it is our priority to teach Azerbaijani in schools. As you know, 10-20 years ago we tried to equip all children with a good command of their mother tongue, which is the literary and national language, making Azerbaijani a medium of instruction. Much work has been done in that regard. I would like to take this opportunity to say that Azerbaijani linguists and researchers engaged in linguistics have made significant contributions. By courtesy of our Intellectuals, literary critics, poets, writers, and especially linguists and language specialists, the Azerbaijani language today is rich, fluent and attractive. We can proudly say that Azerbaijani is rich in vocabulary, allowing us to express ideas in all terms.
However, this requires each person, who begin primary schooling, be able to master the richness of our language and its great opportunities in order to speak it fluently and make things clear.
Why do I need to dwell at length on this issue? Despite our achievements, unfortunately we still face many shortcomings in this area. There are so many people that are not good at speaking their mother tongue.
If some people in the past could get away with one language for some reason – as for them, speaking one language alone was considered very lucky - it is unacceptable now. Undoubtedly each citizen of Azerbaijan should speak many languages, in addition to their mother tongue. This is particularly important now. If Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union, where the official language was Russian, and both Russian and Azerbaijani were used in our republic, we, as an independent state, have now established contacts in all areas, including in the field of education with the world, in particular Western and Eastern countries. Therefore, it is important to teach foreign languages in secondary schools.
I was shocked when I in the past met lower educated young people from different countries who could speak three or four languages. At the same time, I wondered why our secondary schools could not provide such education. However, there were certain reasons for that: we had had a different system then.
We have moved into an independent State. Therefore, foreign language instruction in secondary schools is very important, especially most widely used languages. It is important that our school-leavers speak two and more foreign languages. However, speaking the mother tongue must be a priority for every Azerbaijani. And once again, we can be proud of our language, as it is rich, including our literature and culture. This is all related to our mother tongue - Azerbaijani. It is necessary to focus on this issue in secondary schools.