Azerbaijani is a Turkic language spoken by about 31 million people mainly in Azerbaijani, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Syria and Russia. There are two main varieties of the language: North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani. North Azerbaijani is spoken in Azerbaijan by about six million people, in Armenia by about 160,000 people, in Georgia by about 285,000 people and by about 112,000 people in Russian Dagestan. South Azerbaijani has about 23.5 million speakers in Iran, 530,000 in Turkey, 300,000 in Iraq, 30,000 in Syria and by small groups in Afghanistan. The language is also known as Azeri, Azari, Azeri Turkish, or Azerbaijani Turkish.
The Arabic script was introduced to the Azerbaijan region in the 7th century and continued to be used to write Azerbaijani until the 1920s. Three different versions of the Arabic script were used during this period: the 28-letter Arabic script, the 32-letter Perso-Arabic script and the 33-letter Turkic Arabic script. None of these was ideal for writing Azerbaijani and various reforms were proposed, particularly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Through the 800 years of its development, the Azerbaijani literary languages had passed through two main periods. The old period covers the 13th up to 18th century, while that one referred to as a new one started since 18th century and continues up to present times.
In Iran the Azerbaijani language has always been written with a version of the Arabic script and is know as Azeri Turk. The Arabic script was used until the 20th century; the Cyrillic alphabet was introduced in 1939. In 1992 the Azerbaijani government switched from the Cyrillic to the Roman alphabet as its official orthography.
Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
Romanian language on websitesis less than 0.1% in terms of percentage.
Azerbaijani is also spoken by 20 million Azerbaijanis residing in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Several millions of Azerbaijanis reside in Russia, USA, Turkey and Western Europe. Regardless of their current country of residence, Azerbaijanis still can understand each other easily. There are over 31 million speakers of Azerbaijani at present.