Azerbaijan National Academy of Science

                            İNSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICS
                           named after Nasimi


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18.2.2016 presents the interview with the Acting Director of the Institute of Linguistics Mohsun Nagisoylu

- Mr.Mohsun,how did you become interested in linguistics?

-When I was at high school, I was interested in mathematics. Then with the influence of my mother language teacher Mr Gudrat I inclined to philology and it was turning point in my life.

-And you tended to philology.

-I submitted my documents to the Baku State University Faculty of Philology .The first time I was not able to enter.The second year I got high point,but I was admitted to the Faculty of Oriental Studies.


-That year there were few students who admitted to the Faculty of Oriental Studies.Therefore who had got high point were transferred to there. Hidayet Orujov and Sabir Rustamkhanli were also transferred to this faculty,but they then handed in application and reverted to Philology Faculty.But I stayed at the Department of Persian language and literature of Oriental Studies Faculty.

-What influenced you to stay at Oriental Studies Faculty?

-Our Persian language teacher inspired me to learn a new language. In fact,being an Orientalist you are a linguist as well,and you also know Azerbaijani language in all its minute details

-You were firstly inclined to Maths then philology and then Oriental studies. But what was written at your diploma?

-It was written as following: Orientalist, philologist, a teacher of Persian and Azerbaijani language.I have taught the subject Azerbaijani language at Caucasus University, “Araz” courses, Baku Private Turkish High School.

-How were your university years?

-During the education years, I saw hard times, I was a worker and studied with difficulty. I spent cold frosty winter days with a jacket. I was a peasant child,my father was a collective farmer.

- How do you think you have been able to leave a trace in the face of these difficulties?

-I am a faithful man.Therefore I think this specialty is my destiny.In general,I am pleased with my life,I have lived a meaningful life.I think that I have left a trace in life with my books,papers, disciples and students. I was the first who took the doctor's degree in our district.

-Which advantages did the knowing Persian language give you?

-I worked for a long time in Afganistan as a translator of Persian language.I want also to add that I graduated the university for 8 years,but with honours diploma. So, at the fifth course suspending my education I went to Afganistan as a translator under the auspices of USSR Gas Industry.After coming back I continued my education.

-You have been in Afganistan at certain times. Even during wartime you also worked there as an interpreter.

-Yes, my last years in Afganistan concided with wartime. Overall,I have been there three times. During 1972-75 I worked under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil Industry as a translator when I was post-graduate student The last time I worked in Kabul during 1982-85. I was aspirant at that time and went there under the control of Moscow City Council.

-Knowing Persian language gave a hand to you as an interpreter.So how have you made use of this language as a linguist?

-There is a translation monument of sixteenth century called “Shuhadname”. The work is in Azerbaijani language,but it was translated into Persian for a long time ago. When I was at post-graduate study I compared the original of Shuhadname with the Persian translation. In addition I investigated the orthography, paleography peculiarities of translation.My doctoral defence was 16-17 th centuries Azerbaijan translation monuments.

-Do you have translations from Persian language as well?

-I have translated parables from Koran which are about the stories from Prophet Adam to the last prophet.

-While translating works into Azerbaijani we come across difficulties in finding equivalent words. What can you say about this?

-First of all, I must say that translation enriches the language. In general,in order to solve this problem some research should be done on word building.The classical translators did certain things in this direction,for example,instead of “zerger” they found “quyumchu”.

Is there any difference between classical and modern translation?

-Classical translation has some unique features and difficulties.For example,the translation of Nizami Ganjavi's works should be given to more experienced writer in order to convey the context in the level of Nizami.The poets Samad Vurgun and Rasul Rza translated “Leyli Mejnun” and “Khosrov Shirin” but not so sufficiently,as they didn,t know the Persian language.

-Have you read Nizami's works in Persian?

-Yes,of course.

-What do you think the cause of not conveying the meaning of Nizami's works in Azerbaijani precisely, are the problems you said previously?

-As I said,in order to translate excellently,you should comprehend completely.For example,Samad Vurgun feeling the spirit of “Eugene Onegin” translated it with great poetical grade into Azerbaijani for two years.At soviet times,Koran and Sufism were forbidden.Therefore translations at that time were not able to express Nizami's text exactly.

-There are philological translations of Nizami's works.Can it be considered successful?

-Yes,because philological translations can relatively give the essence of the text,as there are additional interpretations.

By the way,do you follow the literary process?

-Actually,it is problem for all of us due to the time.But I would like to read the recently published books.For a long time ago I read Dreiser's works “Jenny Gerhardt”, “An American Tragedy”, “The Genius” from world literature,and from Azerbaijan literature Ayyub Abbasov's “Zangazur”,Anar and Elchin's works as well.

-Have you been to the theatre recently?

-I have watched the performance “The story of Monsieur Jordan and Dervish Mastali shah” lately.It was very bad that the half of the hall was empty,there were few spectators.

-Mr.Mohsun let's speak a little about Institute of Linguistics.

-There is a goal in front of us-State Program on the use of Azerbaijani language in the context of globalization,in accordance with requirements of the times and the development of linguistics in the country. This is the obvious indication of our President Ilham Aliyev's care to our language. Our national leader Haydar Aliyev also gave several important decree.In order to carry out these assignments we work with all our strength.

-Which plans do you have about this work?

-I have some ideas-one of them is to arrange a dictionary of new words which have entered to our language for last 20-30 years,for example ATM, websites ,flash and other similar words.

-Etymological and historical dictionary of Azerbaijan language have been left out. What does the Institution of Linguistics plan on this?

-However some works have been done about these dictionaries,but not fundamentally.In the near future firstly we have to prepare etymological dictionary of Azerbaijan language.

-Institute of Linguistics has been stuck in the mind as a scandalous place.It has often been written in media.What do you think,it will be possible to create here a healthy environment?

-I am new here,but my first goal is to create a healthy atmosphere.Generally,I am gentle, affectionate kind of person by nature.So I approach to groupings and intrigues negatively.

-What do you plan specifically in order to prevent the groupings?

-It seems to me that,if there is transperancy ,democracy and justice ,there won't be any resentment,contention and rumors.

-Mr.Mohsun,how do you remember Tofig Hajiyev?

-Tofig Hajiyev was my opponent.He wrote 18 pages review for my scientifical defence.He was great scientist.When I was appointed to the place of Tofig Hajiyev,our relations were very good.We are going to celebrate his 80 years anniversary with great solemnity.



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Azerbaijan National Academy of Science İnstitute of Linguistics named after Nasimi. 2012-2017.