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Dictionary of Juhuri, language of Mountain Jews, published in Azerbaijan - PHOTO

26 May 2010 [16:36] - TODAY.AZ
The first dictionary of the Juhuri, language of the Mountain Jews, has been published in Azerbaijan.
"The publication of this dictionary is another indication of how much attention is paid to preservation and development of languages of small nations in Azerbaijan. Mountain Jews are known to have lived mainly in Azerbaijan, Dagestan and the North Caucasus till the 1970s. Over the past 30-35 years, a significant community of Mountain Jews came to Israel, the United States and Germany. Currently, there is large Mountain-Jewish community in Moscow,” one of the  compilers of the dictionary Mikhail Agarunov said.

“There is a real threat of imminent extinction of this language, given large territorial dispersion and a very small number of native speakers of Juhuri,” he said.

“Back at the dawn of the last century, the famous Iranist Vsevolod F. Miller said that the language of Mountain Jews is highly interesting and indicates under what influences Mountain Jews were even before a settlement on the eastern Caucasus. After all, the dialect spoken by Mountain Jews could appear only amid ethnic Iranian, Semitic and Turkic elements. Azerbaijan was the right place for this,” he added.
“Work on the dictionary lasted for several decades. Since 1994, it was conducted almost continuously. The collection includes Juhuri-Russian dictionary (14,000 words and phrases) and Russian-Juhuri dictionary (more than 19,000 words). Dictionary of such a volume is published for the first time. In addition, the dictionary is written in alphabet used only by Mountain Jews from Azerbaijan who used this language for more than 70 years. Earlier dictionaries were published in the Latin alphabet, or in the so-called "Dagestani" in Cyrillic.”

“Now the Mountain Jews, immigrants from Azerbaijan, have their own vocabulary, which will enable future researchers to compile other dictionaries of the native language, as well as various phrasebooks,” he said.


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