Focuses of Afad Gurbanov’s Scientific Work

Modern Azerbaijani linguistics did not achieve its current level of development all at once. It was a complex and difficult road. Azerbaijani professionals working in literature and culture have made unparalleled contributions in this field. Before a cadre of professional linguists had been trained, linguistic research was performed by skilled Azerbaijani artists, poets, translators, playwrights, literary critics, historians, publicists and pedagogs, as well as teachers. Linguistics is generally considered to have started emerging as a science in the 19th century, and took shape in the 20th century. When we discuss the 19th century and early 20th century, the particular names we would drop are the likes of A. Bakikhanov, M. Kazimbey, M.F. Akhundzade, M.S. Vazeh, S. Velibeyov, G. Garabeyov, G.R. Mirzezade, M. Mahmudbeyov, F.B. Kocherli, A. Shaiq, J. Memmedgulizade, to name a few. When speaking about the famous and respected figures in modern Azerbaijani linguistics, we have to point to examples where the science up until our time can (or should) be divided into several generations. For example, when we look at the contributions that Prof. Bakir Jobanzade made to establishing and shaping Azerbaijani linguistics, we could point to individuals such as Academician M.S. Shiraliyev, a corresponding member of the Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences; Prof. E. Demirchizade, Prof. M. Huseynzade, Kh. S. Khojayev, A. Taghizade,I. Hasanov, D. Guliyev or T. Bagirov who rose out of the 1930’s and 40's.

Among the ranks of Azerbaijani linguists after the generation represented by M. Shiraliyev, E.M. Demirchizade, I. Afendiyev, M.H. Huseynzade and A. Orujov, we would state names such as S. Jafrov, A. Valiyev, A. Mahmudov, A. Abdullayev, N. Memmedov, Z. Taghizade and others from the 1940’s and 50’s (of course, we would not be able to complete this division totally, and undoubtedly everyone could support the need to do this work). When discussing linguists in the years later than the 1960’s, we have to keep in mind that a number of talented and productive linguists were at work during this period. Here, what we want to touch upon is certain areas in the scientific work and contributions of Afad Mahammad oglu Gurbanov, who was an academic of national and international academies that began operating during these years, a member of the Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences, and an honorary member of the Turkish Language Society.


World-renowned Azerbaijani linguist Afad Gurbanov’s scientific body of work covered an extremely wide and comprehensive scope of topics. It was rich, valuable and involved many branches. He began his scientific studies and research at an early age. Gurbanov entered the world of science in the 1950’s. As early as 1951, he was engaged in continuous studies, produced rich facts concerning critical problems in linguistics, and had been able to conduct interesting scientific research.


During the initial years of his work, Gurbanov focused mainly on two scientific areas -- the fields of theoretical philology and pedagogical methodology. He pondered the most important issues of education, arrived at specific conclusions, and put his thoughts into scientific articles.


Gurbanov’s works began to be published in 1956. During this year, he published a number of articles in Baku and Tbilisi. In his article titled “Azerbaijani Personal Names and their Characteristics”, he sought to scientifically explain the different and interesting forms of anthroponyms used by Azerbaijanis living in Georgia, and was able to accomplish this superbly. This article was Gurbanov’s first step in the field of onomastics, which he later greatly expanded and raised to the level of a school of science.


Professor Gurbanov published as many as 500 scientific and methodological articles, as well as more than 70 large books, monographs, treatises, and lesson materials on his many linguistic research projects. Some of these works were published abroad, in Russia, Turkey and other countries. Gurbanov’s work was highly acclaimed and he was named Scientist of the Year in 1981.


Gurbanov is one of very few Azerbaijani linguistic scientists to have received national awards for his works. He received the State Award for his monograph “Onomatology of the Azerbaijani Language.”


Afad Gurbanov had a profound mastery of the Azerbaijani literary language and he handled the standards of this language with a diamond-cutter’s precision in all his writings and speeches. His works have concrete thought, cast-iron logic, and a true and correct foundation. Gurbanov had a highly-developed ability to present complex scientific problems to the reader in easy, plain, understandable scientific language. Not every scientist displayed the capacity for writing scientific works in this kind of style.


Afad Gurbanov was a scientist who multi-faceted scientific work encompassed a variety of linguistic fields. His work can be grouped into the following areas:


1. Issues in general linguistics

2. Problems in modern Azerbaijani literary language;

3. Problems in Azerbaijani linguistics;

4. Onomatology of the Azerbaijani language;

6. Turkic linguistics;

7. The language of poetic works;

8. Pedagogy and methodology in higher education;

9. Artifacts of ancient Turkish writing;

10. Issues in alphabet;

11. Training linguistic professionals.


Gurbanov’s studies also resolved certain tenets in the principles for teaching and increasing awareness of the phonetic system of language. These were published and reached readership in the general public.