Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics



First Advisor

Laurel Stvan


From incorporation into the Russian Empire in 1828, through the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in 1991 governmental language policies and other socio/political forces influenced the Turkic population of the Republic of Azerbaijan to speak Russian. Even with changes since independence Russian use - including various kinds of code-switching and code-mixing - continues. This dissertation studies the language situation in Azerbaijan through a detailed analysis of naturally occurring conversational data. Approaches include corpus analysis of the transcribed data to show relative amounts of Azerbaijani and Russian, linguistic description of the types of code-switching and code-mixing, quantitative analysis of variation between subjects, and sequential analysis of a few subjects to demonstrate ways in which code-switching/mixing can be used to construct social identities in contemporary Azerbaijan.Subjects' use of Russian content words varied from 11.2% to 97.2%. While some conversational turns contained only Russian, code-switching/mixing within turns and clauses was common, with nominal insertion and peripheral alternation of adverbial elements occurring most frequently. Congruent lexicalization (Muysken 2000) also occurs in stative clauses with the data showing evidence for a zero copula in Azerbaijani as well as Russian. Russian and code-switching/mixing can be used to construct a range of social identities. The case studies in this dissertation show subjects avoiding Russian use to conform to social norms in some family domains and professional contexts, using substantial Russian and Russian code-mixing in private domains when appropriate for the situation and interlocutor, as well as using Russian to contest traditional gender roles and portray themselves as `modern' and free of stereotypes.The results of this analysis do not contradict recent theoretical and descriptive work on code-switching/mixing (Muysken 2000, Myers-Scotton 2002) but confirm their propositions with a new language pair. They also open the door to further research into language behavior in the former Soviet space by providing a data oriented description of language behavior and linguistic identity construction in Azerbaijan. While governmental language policy and planning firmly support the development and use of Azerbaijani, Russian use persists in some sectors of society.


Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Linguistics Commons