Kurdish language

From Academic Kids

Kurdish (Kurd)
Spoken in: Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Armenia, Lebanon
Total speakers: 30-40 million (disputed)
Ranking: 29 (disputed)
Genetic classification: Indo-European
Official status
Official language of: Iraq
Regulated by:
Language codes
ISO 639-1
ISO 639-2
See also: LanguageList of languages

Geographic distribution

The Kurdish languages or Kurdish dialects are spoken in the region loosely called Kurdistan including Kurdish populations in parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Classification and related languages

The Kurdish languages belong to the northwestern group of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family; a close relative is Persian, which is in the southwestern group.

The Kurdish languages form a dialect continuum, with comprehensibility diminishing as the distance from one's native dialect increases. The principal Kurdish languages are:

The Dimili (Zaza) language is also thought to be a Kurdic language by some, although many linguists dispute this.

The Kurdish languages have their own historical development, continuity, grammatical system and rich living vocabularies. The claim that the Kurdish languages have as their direct ancestor the language of the Iranian Medes seem not to be supported by the linguistic data.

Kurmanji Sorani Persian German English
Mezin/Gir Gewre Bozorg Gro Great
Bilind Berz Bolend Hoch High
Mas Mas Mahi Fisch Fish
Roj/Hetav Xor/Roj Xorshid Sonne Sun
Av Aw Ab Wasser Water
Bahar Bahar Bahar Frhling Spring
Tari Tari Tari Dunkel Dark
Dev Dem Dahan Mund Mouth
Shev Shew Shab Abend Night
Mez Mez Mez Tisch Table
Zer Altun Zar Gold Gold
Ziman Ziman Zaban Sprache Language

Dialects and regional variants

Kurdish dialects can be divided into three primary groups:

  1. the Northern Kurdish dialects group also called Kurmanji and Badnan,
  2. Central Kurdish dialects group also called Sorani (see also basic linguistic differences between these two major branches) and
  3. the Southern Kurdish dialects group also called Pahlavani or "Pahlawanik" group in some sources. The two other major branches of Kurdish language are, Diml group also called "Zaza" and Auramani group also called Gorani (Gran) in some sources. These are further divided into scores of dialects and sub-dialects.

The detailed classification of Kurdish dialects is problematic. There is no widely-accepted appellative system for the various Kurdish dialects;not only in Western scholarly opinion, but even among the Kurds themselves. This often prompts arguments if these four different dialects are a language on their own or not.
All of the native designators for local language and dialects are based on the way the spoken language of one group sounds to the unaccustomed ears of the other. For instance, Dimila and their vernacular, Dimili, are called Zaza by the Badnan speakers, with reference to the preponderance of Z sounds in their language (Nikitin 1926). Meanwhile, the Dimila call the Badnan dialect and its speakers Xerewere. The Gorans refer to the Soran as Kurkure and Wawa. The Soran speakers in turn call the Gorans and their vernacular, Goran or Mec Mec, and refer to the tongue and the speakers of Badnan as Ji Babu.

A proposed system for the classification of the dialects is as follows:

  • North Kurdish (Kurmanji)
    • In Iran, tribes of Herki, Milan, Shekak, Jelali, Heydari in Northern regions and western Azarbaijan province
    • In Iran, Kurds in Khorasan.
    • In Turkey, almost all the Kurds who live in Erzurum, Dogubayazid, Hakkari, Shamdinan, Behdinan, Abdin, Mardin and Diyarbakir.
    • all Kurds who live in former Soviet Union.
    • In Iraq, most of the tribes who live in Akra, Emadiyeh, Zakho and Sanjar, Mosul.
    • In Syria, all Kurds.
  • Central Kurdish (Sorani)
    • In Iraq: Most of the Kurds who live in Sulemanya, Kirkuk, Erbil, Ruwanduz.
    • In Iran: From south of Urmia lake to west of Kirmashan and is divided into Mukri dialect of Mahabad and dialect of Sanandaj.
  • South Kurdish (Pehlewan)
    • Kirmashai Kurdi dialect
    • Gorani Kurdi dialect
      • Old Gorani - Kurdish dialect of Ahl-e Haqq(Yaristan, Kakey)
      • Macho Macho religious dialect
      • Old Gahvarei dialect
      • Old Korejoei dialect
      • Old Bivenji dialect
      • Old Kinduleh dialect
      • Bajalan dialect spoken in Iraq opposite Sar-pul-e zohab
    • Sanjabi dialect
    • Kalhur dialect
    • Laki dialect
    • Kolyaei dialect
    • Sahne and Harsin dialect
  • Zaza/Dimili/Kurdish dialect in Dersim of Turkey.
  • Hawrami dialects

In some Kurdish sources the Persid language of Luri, a south west Iranian language has been classed as a subgroup of Kurdic languages. However, most linguists agree that Luri is from the same branch as Persian and belongs to the Persid (Persian-based) languages.

Writing system

Today, Kurds use three different non-standard writing systems. Kurdish in Iran and Iraq is written using the Arabic alphabet. In Turkey and Syria, it is written using the Latin alphabet (Kurdish alphabet). Kurds in the former USSR use a modified Cyrillic alphabet. There are also attempts for a unified international recognised Kurdish alphabet based on ISO-8859-1. Please see *KAL: The Kurdish Academy of Language (http://www.KurdishAcademy.org)

Kurdish phonology

Template:IPA notice According to the Kurdish Academy of Language, Kurdish has the following phonemes:

Bilabial Labiodental Dental or Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stops p b t d k g q 1
Fricatives f v s z ʃ ʒ x 2 h
Affricates ʧ ʤ
Nasals m n ɴ
Laterals l
Velarized laterals
Flaps ɾ
Trills r
Approximants w3 j

Note 1: : While it is not attested by the academy, some alphabet have a letter for the glottal stop Note 2: : Similarly, some sources cites a phoneme (voiced velar fricative). Note 3: : [w] is a labio-velar approximant

Indo-European linguistic comparison

Central Kurdish (Sorani) Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji) Dimili (Zazaki) Avesta Persian German English
Gewre Mezin/Gir Gird Maza Bozorg Gro Great
Berz/bilind Berz /Bilind Berz Bereza Bolend Hoch High
Mas Mas Mase Masıya Mahi Fisch Fish
Xor/Roj Roj/xor Roj Hor Xorshid Sonne Sun
Mse Mexşi Meges Fliege Fly

See also

Kurdish Wikipedia (http://ku.wikipedia.org)

External links and references


de:Kurdische Sprache eo:Kurda lingvo fa:زبانهای کردی تبار fr:Kurde ku:Ziman kurd it:Lingua curda nl:Koerdisch ja:クルド語 tr:Krte sv:Kurdiska


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