Dzhamilia Magerramova

MA Education TEFL dissertation prize winner 2016

Dzhamilia Magerramova

Family Language Policy in post-Soviet Azerbaijan: Parental language ideologies and maintenance of non-societal Russian in Baku

I am very pleased and honoured to receive the MA Education TEFL Dissertation Prize from the School of Education. Thank you so much for all who nominated me and supported my nomination. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor for her ongoing motivation, support and invaluable feedback from the beginning of my course. I am also indebted to my incredible mother for her love, support and, of course her financial assistance throughout this academic year. This incredible woman helped me to realise my dreams and achieve my goals. No matter how thorny this academic path might be for prospective MA TEFL students, I encourage them to be persistent and never give up on their hopes, believing in dreams and miracles. They do happen to those who visualize their dreams, believing with all their hearts and minds that only they themselves can bring their dreams to life.  This is how I realised my successful MA graduation dream: Per Ardua Ad Alta – Through difficulty to heights!


This qualitative case study concerns the Family Language Policy (FLP) of four Azerbaijani families from Baku. Recruiting eight ethic Azerbaijani parents born during the Soviet era when Russian was an official language, I explore these parents’ language ideologies and practices with respect to their Azerbaijani-Russian bilingual children’s linguistic development. Adopting FLP as a theoretical framework (Spolsky, 2012), this study attempts to explore how parental language ideologies underpin familial language policies and actual language practices within home domains. From this perspective, this study sets out to investigate how bilingualism is perceived and valued in four family case studies and how parents link the Azerbaijani and Russian languages to certain linguistic markets. Qualitative research design adopting semi-structured interviews and ethnographic audio-recordings as the main data collection tools were utilised to address the overall purpose of this study. The findings suggest that four families have a strong desire to pass Russian on to their children. This is largely derived from parents’ personal linguistic background from the 80s and 90s, when Russian was and still is as a native-like for the majority of parents. The results also indicate that the parents’ FLPs are strongly influenced by socio-political and economic issues. In order to implement FLPs into practice and teaching the Russian language for their offspring’s bilingual development, linguistic strategies such as explicit and implicit feedback, request for translation and move-on strategies were employed during parent-child dyads.