Azeri, or Azerbaijani, is a Turkic language spoken by the Azerbaijani people both in Azerbaijan and Dagestan, Russia. There are two major varieties, the Northern Azerbaijan, spoken in Azerbaijan, and Southern Azerbaijani, spoken in Iran.
In Azerbaijan, speakers refer to themselves as Türki (Turkish). In fact, the Azeri language is closely related to Turkish and Turkmen, and they are mutually intelligible to some degree.
One of the distinct features of Azeri is the concept of vowel harmony. Whenever a grammatical suffix is added to a word, the vowel in the suffix must conform to the vowel category in the last syllable of the word. Syllables with hard vowels must be followed by suffixes with hard vowels and syllables with soft vowels must be followed by suffixes with soft vowels. This pattern gives Azerbaijani a distinctive sound.
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