Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2000 (8.3)
Page 12

Blair Pushes for Standardization

Betty Blair, Editor of Azerbaijan International, addressed Azerbaijan's Parliament on June 5, 2000, concerning issues related to computer standardization of the Azeri Latin alphabet. She was invited by Azerbaijan's Speaker of the Parliament, Murtuz Alaskarov, after the publication of the Spring Issue (AI 8.1) of the magazine, "Language and Alphabet in Transition".

In Parliament, Blair emphasized the necessity and urgency of standardizing computer fonts and character sets for Azeri Latin. Typically, documents that are typed on one computer in Azerbaijan end up looking like garble on other computers because they do not all share the same character assignments. Because of her persistence, the Parliamentary Committee for the Protection of the Azerbaijani Language led by Anar, head of the Writer's Union, has proposed that standardization be included in the bill under consideration by Parliament.

Blair also urged the exploration of the Internet as a medium for thousands of Azeri books and documents originally published in Cyrillic during the Soviet period that should be converted to the Latin script. As printing is exorbitantly expensive, she views net publication as the only means of preserving some of these valuable resources for future generations.

Already, Azerbaijan International under her persistence has established the Web site where articles can be accessed in the Azeri language, in both Latin (the official script of the Azerbaijan Republic) and Arabic (the script familiar to an estimated 25-30 million Azerbaijanis who live in Iran or who have grown up there).


Azerbaijan International (8.3) Autumn 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.

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