The Life

Alifuad Mahammad oglu Gurbanov, whose name would later appear in the record as “Afad”, was born into the family of a high-ranking military officer in the village of Cuci (later known as Qizil Shafaq) in the Kalinino District of Western Azerbaijan on January 10, 1929. That child from Cucikend later became a renowned scientist of a great nation called Azerbaijan, and eventually of the Turkic world.



There are brilliant men and women who leave an indelible footprint behind them and live on in memory. And it is these people who live longer than anyone in the world. After they have changed their worlds, such men and women live on in the memories of grateful generations. And sometimes they become the ideal of many, due to the noble deeds they have performed and the high values they held.

Afad Mahammad oglu Gurbanov was one such brilliant individual. Gurbanov was a renowned linguist and famous Turkologist. The guardian of the Azerbaijani language, a true and exemplary citizen, and a tireless public servant, he left an indelible mark that will never be forgotten.

For many years, Professor Gurbanov dedicated all his energy and ability to analyzing and promoting awareness of the Azerbaijani language, and to fostering a new generation of highly trained scientists and pedagogical professionals. A doctor of philological sciences, he was a State Prize laureate, a prolific scientist, and a member of the Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences. Professor Gurbanov was also a member of several Azerbaijani and international academies. He held full and honorary memberships in a number of scientific organizations dedicated to linguistics and onomastics around the world. If we take a panoramic view of his life, what we see is a gifted linguist, a selfless teacher, and a man of great wisdom in the true sense of the word. He followed a highly respected career, starting as a secondary school teacher and rising to become a member of the nation’s Academy of Sciences, and he lived a valued and meaningful life that could serve as an example to future generations.

With his passion and talent for science and his keen intellect, Professor Gurbanov was a fascinating composite of scientific thinking and the most natural human feelings. By nature, he was inherently sincere, natural, sympathetic, courageous, strict, and principled. Gurbanov was the recognized expert in his field of science, and stood head and shoulders among others. Gurbanov was always on the go, always seeking in the world of active thinking and scientific thought. He remained a leader in science and the scientific community until his death.

Afad Gurbanov was prolific in his work and produced a very rich body of works. He also established a school of philology and laid the foundations for a number of branches in the field of linguistics. His field of scientific pursuit was multi-varied, and the scope of his research was broad and comprehensive. There was no branch of Azerbaijani linguistics that the scientist did not delve into and make his mark. His numerous works stand out by their scientific nature and professionalism, and bear witness to the deep, precise scientific thinking of the author. He published as many as 500 scientific articles, and over 70 books, treatises and monographs on research in Azerbaijani linguistics and Turkic studies. Some of these works received various awards, and some were published outside of Azerbaijan, in Russia, Turkey and other countries. The books written by Gurbanov, such as «Onomatology of the Azerbaijani Language», «Modern Azerbaijani Literary Language», and his two-volume «General Linguistics» are some of the most masterful and valuable pearls in Azerbaijan’s and the world’s treasury on linguistics.

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 also played a great role in the implementation of alphabet reform in our country as the chairman of the Azerbaijani Alphabet Commission and the author of the new Latin script-alphabet. As a talented scientist and skilful organizer Afad Gurbanov devoted all his efforts and abilities to this important work which reflected the aspirations and wishes of the people – the transition of the Azerbaijani alphabet to the Latin script.

In addition to being a talented scientist and professional teacher, Gurbanov was also an active organizer and public servant. He demonstrated his superior organizational skills while working in various positions. His efforts while serving as a deputy of the Azerbaijani Parliament from 1990 to 1995 brought praise from both the people and the government.

To those who knew him, Afad Gurbanov will always be remembered as a truly wise, reserved, cultured and intelligent individual. He became a role model for future generations, and for all of us.

Afad Gurbanov’s efforts in developing the science of Azerbaijani linguistics, the many works he wrote, the scientific school of «Azerbaijani onomatology» for which he laid the foundation, the new Latin alphabet he produced, and the highly skilled scientific and pedagogical professionals he mentored are all a shining example of selfless public service, superior civic-mindedness, and devoted scientific activity. He holds one of the most honored places in the annals of Azerbaijani linguistics.