Wednesday, July 20, 2011

John D. Murphy's "Azerbaijani Newspaper Reader"

An excellent resource for advanced students is John D. Murphy's Azerbaijani Newspaper Reader (Kensington, Dunwoody Press).  This book contains 25 selections from Azerbaijani newspapers from the early 1990s along with a brief overview of Azeri grammar.  Each selection is translated at the end of the book and also includes helpful grammar notes for difficult constructions and translations of idiomatic expressions.

The first edition (1993) uses the Azeri Cyrillic alphabet while the subsequent edition (1997) uses the Latin alphabet.  I managed to get a photocopy of the 1993 edition and found it very helpful to get accustomed to the Cyrillic alphabet.  Not only is a knowledge of Cyrillic crucial for all Soviet-era historical research, many older and even many younger Azeris feel more comfortable reading and writing in this alphabet.

However, I found that transliterating the Cyrillic text into Latin sped up my translations.  I am posting the transliterated texts here for other students who may have access to the Cyrillic edition but who are not interested in learning the Cyrillic alphabet.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for doing this. Although able to read Cyrillic, I find the Latin script much easier going, and so much appreciate your transcription work.

    I have a copy of the original reader in Cyrillic, and after working my way through it years ago, found a couple of errors in the translation. I wrote to Dunwoody Press and asked them to forward my letter to Murphy, which they did. He wrote me back a very friendly letter, thanking me for my suggestions, and talking about other language projects he was working on for Dunwoody Press. Not too long after that, I saw an obituary for him in the Washington Post. He was evidently a remarkable linguist, with a command of a broad range of languages. (I wished at the time I'd been able to meet him. I think I kept a copy of the obituary, and if I can find it, I may copy it here for anyone who might be interested, and to keep his memory alive as an enthusiast of Azerbaijani.)