Kurdish languages

Kurdish (Kurdî, کوردی; pronounced [ˈkuɾdiː]) is a continuum of Northwestern Iranian languages spoken by the Kurds in Western Asia. Kurdish forms three dialect groups known as Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji), Central Kurdish (Sorani), and Southern Kurdish (Palewani or Kirmashani). A separate group of non-Kurdish Northwestern Iranian languages, the Zaza–Gorani languages, are also spoken by several million Kurds.[9][10][11][12] Studies as of 2009 estimate between 8 and 20 million native Kurdish speakers in Turkey.[13] The majority of the Kurds speak Northern Kurdish ("Kurmanji").[14][15]

The literary output in Kurdish was mostly confined to poetry until the early 20th century, when more general literature began to be developed. Today, there are two principal written Kurdish dialects, namely Northern Kurdish in the northern parts of the geographical region of Kurdistan and Central Kurdish further east and south. Central Kurdish is, along with Arabic, one of the two official languages of Iraq and is in political documents simply referred to as "Kurdish".[16][17]

Kurdî, کوردی
Kurdish Language
Native toTurkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
RegionKurdistan, Anatolia, Khorasan
Native speakers
c. 20–30 million (2000–2010 est.)[1]
In use:
Hawar alphabet (Latin script; used mostly in Turkey and Syria)
Sorani alphabet
(Perso-Arabic script; used mostly in Iraq and Iran)
Not used:
Cyrillic alphabet (former Soviet Union)
Official status
Official language in
 Kurdistan Region[3]
Recognised minority
language in
 Azerbaijan (Statutory language of provincial identity in five districts, as abided by the constitution)[7]
Language codes
ISO 639-1ku
ISO 639-2kur
ISO 639-3kurinclusive code
Individual codes:
ckb – Central Kurdish
kmr – Northern Kurdish
sdh – Southern Kurdish
Linguasphere58-AAA-a (North Kurdish incl. Kurmanji & Kurmanjiki) + 58-AAA-b (Central Kurdish incl. Dimli/Zaza & Gurani) + 58-AAA-c (South Kurdish incl. Kurdi)
Idioma kurdo
Map of Kurdish-speaking areas of the Middle East
Kurdish languages map
Geographic distribution of Kurdish and other Iranian languages spoken by Kurds

Classification and origin

The Kurdish languages belong to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. They are generally classified as Northwestern Iranian languages, or by some scholars as intermediate between Northwestern and Southwestern Iranian.[18] Martin van Bruinessen notes that "Kurdish has a strong south-western Iranian element", whereas "Zaza and Gurani [...] do belong to the north-west Iranian group".[19]

Ludwig Paul concludes that Kurdish seems to be a Northwestern Iranian language in origin,[20] but acknowledges that it shares many traits with Southwestern Iranian languages like Persian, apparently due to longstanding and intense historical contacts.

Windfuhr identified Kurdish dialects as Parthian, albeit with a Median substratum. Windfuhr and Frye assume an eastern origin for Kurdish and consider it as related to eastern and central Iranian dialects.[21][22]

The present state of knowledge about Kurdish allows, at least roughly, drawing the approximate borders of the areas where the main ethnic core of the speakers of the contemporary Kurdish dialects was formed. The most argued hypothesis on the localisation of the ethnic territory of the Kurds remains D.N. Mackenzie's theory, proposed in the early 1960s (Mackenzie 1961). Developing the ideas of P. Tedesco (1921: 255) and regarding the common phonetic isoglosses shared by Kurdish, Persian, and Baluchi, Mackenzie concluded that the speakers of these three languages may once have been in closer contact.

He has tried to reconstruct the alleged Persian-Kurdish-Baluchi linguistic unity presumably in the central parts of Iran. According to Mackenzie's theory, the Persians (or Proto-Persians) occupied the province of Fars in the southwest (proceeding from the assumption that the Achaemenids spoke Persian), the Baluchis (Proto-Baluchis) inhabited the central areas of Western Iran, and the Kurds (Proto-Kurds), in the wording of G. Windfuhr (1975: 459), lived either in northwestern Luristan or in the province of Isfahan.[23]


Kurdish is divided into three groups, where dialects from different groups are not mutually intelligible without acquired bilingualism.[24][25]

In historical evolution terms, Kurmanji is less modified than Sorani and Pehlewani in both phonetic and morphological structure. The Sorani group has been influenced by among other things its closer cultural proximity to the other languages spoken by Kurds in the region including the Gorani language in parts of Iranian Kurdistan and Iraqi Kurdistan.[26][29] The Kermanshahi group has been influenced by among other things its closer cultural proximity to Persian.[28]

Philip G. Kreyenbroek, an expert writing in 1992, says:[26]

Since 1932 most Kurds have used the Roman script to write Kurmanji.... Sorani is normally written in an adapted form of the Arabic script.... Reasons for describing Kurmanji and Sorani as 'dialects' of one language are their common origin and the fact that this usage reflects the sense of ethnic identity and unity among the Kurds. From a linguistic or at least a grammatical point of view, however, Kurmanji and Sorani differ as much from each other as English and German, and it would seem appropriate to refer to them as languages. For example, Sorani has neither gender nor case-endings, whereas Kurmanji has both.... Differences in vocabulary and pronunciation are not as great as between German and English, but they are still considerable.

According to Encyclopaedia of Islam, although Kurdish is not a unified language, its many dialects are interrelated and at the same time distinguishable from other Western Iranian languages. The same source classifies different Kurdish dialects as two main groups, northern and central.[29] The reality is that the average Kurmanji speaker does not find it easy to communicate with the inhabitants of Sulaymaniyah or Halabja.[25]

Some linguistic scholars assert that the term "Kurdish" has been applied extrinsically in describing the language the Kurds speak, whereas ethnic Kurds have used the word term to simply describe their ethnic or national identity and refer to their language as Kurmanji, Sorani, Hewrami, Kermanshahi, Kalhori or whatever other dialect or language they speak. Some historians have noted that it is only recently that the Kurds who speak the Sorani dialect have begun referring to their language as Kurdî, in addition to their identity, which is translated to simply mean Kurdish.[30]

Mokriani dialect of Central Kurdish is widely spoken in Mokrian. Piranshahr and Mahabad are two principal cities of the Mokrian dialect area.[31]

Zazaki and Gorani

Zaza–Gorani languages, which are spoken by communities in the wider area who identify as ethnic Kurds, are not linguistically classified as Kurdish.[9][10][11][12] Zaza-Gorani is classified as adjunct to Kurdish, although authorities differ in the details. Windfuhr 2009 groups Kurdish with Zaza Gorani within a "Northwestern I" group, while Glottolog based on Encyclopædia Iranica prefers an areal grouping of "Central dialects" (or "Kermanic") within Northwest Iranic, with Kurdish but not Zaza-Gorani grouped with "Kermanic".[32]

Gorani is distinct from Northern and Central Kurdish, yet shares vocabulary with both of them and there are some grammatical similarities with Central Kurdish.[33] The Hawrami dialects of Gorani includes a variety that was an important literary language since the 14th century, but it was replaced by Central Kurdish in the 20th century.[34]

European scholars have maintained that Gorani is separate from Kurdish and that Kurdish is synonymous with the Northern Kurdish group, whereas ethnic Kurds maintain that Kurdish encompasses any of the unique languages or dialects spoken by Kurds that are not spoken by neighbouring ethnic groups.[35]

Gorani is classified as part of the Zaza–Gorani branch of Indo-Iranian languages.[36] The Zaza language, spoken in the northernmost parts of Kurdistan, differs both grammatically and in vocabulary and is generally not understandable by Gorani speakers but it is considered related to Gorani. Almost all Zaza-speaking communities,[37] as well as speakers of the closely related Shabaki dialect spoken in parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, identify themselves as ethnic Kurds.[9][38][39][40][41][42]

Geoffrey Haig and Ergin Öpengin in their recent study suggest grouping the Kurdish languages into Northern Kurdish, Central Kurdish, Southern Kurdish, Zaza, and Gorani, and avoid the subgrouping Zaza–Gorani.[43]

The notable professor Zare Yusupova, has carried out a lot of work and research into the Gorani dialect (as well as many other minority/ancient Kurdish dialects).[44]


During his stay in Damascus, historian Ibn Wahshiyya came across two books on agriculture written in Kurdish, one on the culture of the vine and the palm tree, and the other on water and the means of finding it out in unknown ground. He translated both from Kurdish into Arabic in the early 9th century AD.[45]

Among the earliest Kurdish religious texts is the Yazidi Black Book, the sacred book of Yazidi faith. It is considered to have been authored sometime in the 13th century AD by Hassan bin Adi (b. 1195 AD), the great-grandnephew of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (d. 1162), the founder of the faith. It contains the Yazidi account of the creation of the world, the origin of man, the story of Adam and Eve and the major prohibitions of the faith.[46] From the 15th to 17th centuries, classical Kurdish poets and writers developed a literary language. The most notable classical Kurdish poets from this period were Ali Hariri, Ahmad Khani, Malaye Jaziri and Faqi Tayran.

The Italian priest Maurizio Garzoni published the first Kurdish grammar titled Grammatica e Vocabolario della Lingua Kurda in Rome in 1787 after eighteen years of missionary work among the Kurds of Amadiya.[47] This work is very important in Kurdish history as it is the first acknowledgment of the widespread use of a distinctive Kurdish language. Garzoni was given the title Father of Kurdology by later scholars.[48] The Kurdish language was banned in a large portion of Kurdistan for some time. After the 1980 Turkish coup d'état until 1991 the use of the Kurdish language was illegal in Turkey.[49]

Current status

Road sign double toponyms Amed DSC00179
Road signs near Diyarbakır showing the place names in Turkish and Kurdish

Today, Central Kurdish is an official language in Iraq. In Syria, on the other hand, publishing materials in Kurdish is forbidden,[50] though this prohibition is not enforced any more due to the civil war.[51]

Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish, prohibiting the language in education and broadcast media.[52][53] In March 2006, Turkey allowed private television channels to begin airing programming in Kurdish. However, the Turkish government said that they must avoid showing children's cartoons, or educational programs that teach Kurdish, and could broadcast only for 45 minutes a day or four hours a week.[54] The state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) started its 24-hour Kurdish television station on 1 January 2009 with the motto "we live under the same sky".[55] The Turkish Prime Minister sent a video message in Kurdish to the opening ceremony, which was attended by Minister of Culture and other state officials. The channel uses the X, W, and Q letters during broadcasting. However, most of these restrictions on private Kurdish television channels were relaxed in September 2009.[56]In 2010, Kurdish municipalities in the southeast began printing marriage certificates, water bills, construction and road signs, as well as emergency, social and cultural notices in Kurdish alongside Turkish. Also Imams began to deliver Friday sermons in Kurdish and Esnaf price tags in Kurdish. Many mayors were tried for issuing public documents in Kurdish language.[57] The Kurdish alphabet is not recognized in Turkey, and prior to 2013 the use of Kurdish names containing the letters X, W, and Q, which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet, was not allowed.[58][59] In 2012, Kurdish-language lessons became an elective subject in public schools. Previously, Kurdish education had only been possible in private institutions.[60]

In Iran, though it is used in some local media and newspapers, it is not used in public schools.[61][62] In 2005, 80 Iranian Kurds took part in an experiment and gained scholarships to study in Kurdish in Iraqi Kurdistan.[63]

In Kyrgyzstan, 96.4% of the Kurdish population speak Kurdish as their native language.[64] In Kazakhstan, the corresponding percentage is 88.7%.[65]

Indo-European linguistic comparison

Because Kurdish is an Indo-European language, there are many words that are cognates in Kurdish and other Indo-European languages such as Avestan, Persian, Sanskrit, German, English, Norwegian, Latin and Greek. (Source: Altiranisches Wörterbuch (1904) for the first two and last six.)

Kurdish Avestan Persian Sanskrit Greek English German Swedish Latin Lithuanian Russian PIE
ez "I" azəm adam [Old Persian] aham egō I ( < OE ) ich jag ego ja (related to OCS azŭ) *h₁eĝh₂om
lep "paw" palāme "palm" (OE lōf "fillet, band") to lob (OHG lappo "palm (of the hand)") (hand)love "palm (of the hand)" labor (hand)work lṓpa "paw, claw" lápa "paw" *tlāp-
jin "woman" ɣənā- "woman" zan janay- gynē queen (OHG quena) kvinna genus "birth, origin" (OPruss. genna) žená "wife" *gʷenh₂-
leystin (bileyzim) "to play (I play)" ley ley kardan(to jump with one foot) réjati ālma "jump" (OE lācan "to play") leich leka láigyti *(e)leig'- "to jump, to spring, to play"
mezin, gewre "great" maz-, mazant masan (middle Persian), gošn "numerous" mah(ī)-/mahānt- megas much ( < OE mićil, myćil) (OHG mihhil) mycket "much" magnus moshch "power" *meĝh₂- "big, great"
mêzer "headband/turban" Miθra "binding", "god name" *Miça "god name"(Old Persian) mitra "headband, turban", mitre "bishop's hat" mitre "belt, turban" mitra "cap" metat' "to sew, to tack" *mei- "to tie"
pez "sheep" pasu- "sheep, goat" boz "goat" paśu "animal" poemne "herd" fee ( < OE feoh "cattle") Vieh "cattle" får "sheep" "domestic animal" pecus "cattle" pekus "ox" pasti "to herd" *pek̂-u- "sheep"
çiya چيا),[66] kash[67] کاش) "mountain" kūh, chakād "peak/summit" kakúd-, kakúbh- "peak/summit" koryfē "top" kupfa[68][69] Gipfel "peak/summit" cacūmen kucha "pile" *kak-, *kakud- "top"
jîyar "alive" jiyan "to live" gaêm [gaya] zend[e] "alive", zî[stan] "to live", zaideh "child" jīv- zoi "life", "live" quick quick "bright" kvick "quick" vīvus "alive", vīvō "live", vīta "life" gývas žyzn' "life", žyvój "living, alive" *gʷih₃(u̯)-
[di] [a]zan[im] "I know" zan[în] "to know" zan- [mi]dān[am] "I know", dān[estan] "to know" jān- [gi]gnō[skō] know kennen kunna "to be able to", "to know" nō[scō], [co]gn[itus] žin[au]"I know" žin[oti] "to know" znat' "to know" *ĝneh₃-


The bulk of the vocabulary in Kurdish is of Iranian origin, especially of northwestern Iranian. A considerable number of loanwords come from Semitic, mainly Arabic, which entered through Islam and historical relations with Arab tribes. Yet, a smaller group of loanwords which are of Armenian, Caucasian, and Turkic origins are used in Kurdish, besides some European words. There are also Kurdish words with no clear etymology, some of which may be substratal remnants of ancient languages once spoken in the area, such as Hurrian.

Writing system

Kurdish Food - Alder Street - geograph.org.uk - 1717250
Kurdish restaurant sign in West Yorkshire, England written in Arabic script

The Kurdish language has been written using four different writing systems. In Iraq and Iran it is written using an Arabic script, composed by Sa'id Kaban Sedqi. More recently, it is sometimes written with a Latin alphabet in Iraq. In Turkey, Syria, and Armenia, it is now written using a Latin script. Kurdish was also written in the Arabic script in Turkey and Syria until 1932. There is a proposal for a unified international recognized Kurdish alphabet based on ISO-8859-1[70] called Yekgirtú. Kurdish in the former USSR is written with a Cyrillic alphabet. Kurdish has even been written in the Armenian alphabet in Soviet Armenia and in the Ottoman Empire (a translation of the Gospels in 1857[71] and of all New Testament in 1872).

See also


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External links

Anti-Kurdish sentiment

Anti-Kurdish sentiment, also known as anti-Kurdism or Kurdophobia, is the hostility, fear, intolerance or racism against the Kurdish people, Kurdish culture, or Kurdish languages. A person who holds such positions is sometimes referred to as a "Kurdophobe".

Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic

Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in three villages near Aqrah in Iraq. The native name of the language is Lishanid Janan, which means 'our language', and is similar to names used by other Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects (Lishan Didan, Lishanid Noshan).It is nearly extinct, with only about 20 elderly speakers today.

Betanure Jewish Neo-Aramaic

Betanure Jewish Neo-Aramaic, the local dialect of Betanure, is among the rarest and most seriously endangered varieties of Aramaic spoken at the present time. It is also one of the most conservative of the Jewish Neo-Aramaic languages, and among the Northeastern Aramaic languages.

Ergative–absolutive language

Ergative–absolutive languages, or ergative languages are languages that share a certain distinctive pattern relating to the subjects (technically, arguments) of verbs. Examples are Basque, Georgian, Mayan, Tibetan, a few Indo-European languages (such as the Kurdish languages and Hindi) and, to some degree, the Semitic modern Aramaic languages.

In an ergative language, the single argument ("subject") of an intransitive verb behaves like the object of a transitive verb, and differently from the agent of a transitive verb.That is in contrast to nominative–accusative languages, such as English and most other Indo-European languages, where the single argument of an intransitive verb ("She" in the sentence "She walks.") behaves grammatically like the agent of a transitive verb ("She" in the sentence "She finds it.") but differently from the object of a transitive verb ("him" in the sentence "She likes him."). In ergative–absolutive languages with grammatical case, the case used for the single argument of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb is the absolutive, and the case used for the agent of a transitive verb is the ergative. In nominative–accusative languages, the case for the single argument of an intransitive verb and the agent of a transitive verb is the nominative while the case for the direct object of a transitive verb is the accusative.

There is a variant group, the ergative-accusative languages (such as Dyirbal), which function ergatively with respect to nouns but are nominative-accusative with pronouns.Several scholars have hypothesized that Proto-Indo-European was an ergative language. However, this hypothesis is disputed.

Friedrich Carl Andreas

Friedrich Carl Andreas (14 April 1846 in Batavia – 3 October 1930 in Göttingen) was an orientalist of German, Malay and Armenian parentage (descendant of the Bagratuni or Bagratid royal family (Armenian: Բագրատունի). He was the husband of psychoanalyst Lou Andreas-Salomé.

He received his education in Iranian and other oriental studies at several German universities, obtaining his doctorate at Erlangen in 1868 with a thesis on the Pahlavi language. Following graduation, he continued his research of Pahlavi in Copenhagen. From 1875 he spent several years conducting field studies in Persia and India, during which time, he also worked as a postmaster.From 1883 to 1903 he gave private lessons in Turkish and Iranian in Berlin, and afterwards became a professor of Iranian philology at the University of Göttingen. Here, he was tasked with deciphering manuscript fragments that were collected by the German Turfan expeditions in western China.Not a prolific author of books, he preferred to share his knowledge with students and colleagues orally. His primary focus were the Iranian languages in their development from antiquity to the present; e.g. Afghan, Balochi, Ossetian and Kurdish languages. He was also thoroughly familiar with Sanskrit, Hindustani, Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Armenian and Turkish. In addition, he was considered an excellent decipherer of manuscripts and inscriptions.


Garshuni or Karshuni (Syriac alphabet: ܓܪܫܘܢܝ, Arabic alphabet: كرشوني) are Arabic writings using the Syriac alphabet. The word "Garshuni" was used by George Kiraz to coin the term "garshunography", denoting the writing of one language in the script of another.

Gorani language

Gorani (also Gurani) is a traditional literary language of Kurdish speakers in Zagros Mountains. Some researchers consider Gorani a dialect of Kurdish. However, since the beginning of 20th century some researchers have identified Gorani as a member of the Zaza-Gorani subgroup of the Northwestern Iranian languages.Hawrami (or Hewrami) is an alternate name of Gorani. It has similarities with other languages of the Zaza-Gorani subgroup of the Northwestern Iranian languages. Gorani is most similar to languages like Zazaki, Shabaki, Bajelani and Sarli.

Gorani or Hawrami is spoken in the southwestern corner of province of Kurdistan and northwestern corner of province of Kermanshah in Iran, and in parts of the Halabja region in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Hawraman mountains between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan.The oldest literary documents in these related languages, or dialects, are written in Gorani.

Many Gorani speakers belong to the religious grouping Yarsanism, with a large number of religious documents written in Gorani.

Gorani was once an important literary language in the parts of Western Iran but has since been replaced by Sorani. In the 19th century, Gorani as a language was slowly replaced by Sorani in several cities, both in Iran and Iraq. Today, Sorani is the primary language spoken in cities including Kirkuk, Meriwan, and Halabja, which are still considered part of the greater Goran region.

Kurds and Gorani speakers themselves tend to consider Gorani as a dialect of Kurdish group of languages, which diverged off from Kurmanji speakers, Badhini and Sorani alike, at around 100 BCE. The differences between the Zaza–Gorani languages and the Kurdish languages are too many, and are therefore far too great by any standard linguistic criteria to warrant classification as dialects of the same languages.

Hulaulá language

Hulaulá (Hebrew: יהודיותא‎) is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in Iranian Kurdistan and small parts in the easternmost parts of Iraqi Kurdistan. Most speakers now live in Israel. The name Hulaulá simply means 'Jewish'.

Speakers sometimes call their language Lishana Noshan or Lishana Akhni, both of which mean 'our language'. To distinguish it from other dialects of Jewish Neo-Aramaic, Hulaulá is sometimes called Galiglu ('mine-yours'), demonstrating different use of prepositions and pronominal suffixes. Scholarly sources tend simply to call it Persian Kurdistani Jewish Neo-Aramaic.

Hulaulá is written in the Hebrew alphabet. Spelling tends to be highly phonetic, and elided letters are not written.


The Iraqi people (Arabic: العراقيون ʿIrāqiyyūn, Kurdish: گه‌لی عیراق Îraqîyan, Classical Syriac: ܥܡܐ ܥܝܪܩܝܐ‎ ʿIrāqāyā, Turkish: Iraklılar) are the citizens of the modern country of Iraq.Arabs have had a large presence in Mesopotamia since the Sasanian Empire (224–637). Arabic was spoken by the majority in the Kingdom of Araba in the first and second centuries, and by Arabs in al-Hirah from the third century. Arabs were common in Mesopotamia at the time of the Seleucid Empire (3rd century BC). The first Arab kingdom outside Arabia was established in Iraq's Al-Hirah in the third century. Arabic was a minority language in northern Iraq in the eighth century BC, from the eighth century following the Muslim conquest of Persia, it became the dominant language of Iraqi Muslims because Arabic was the language of the Quran and of the Abbasid Caliphate.Kurds who are Iraqi citizens, live mostly in the Zagros Mountains of northeast Iraq to the east of the upper Tigris. Arabic and Kurdish are Iraq's national languages.


Kurdish languages, Northwestern Iranian languages spoken by the Kurds.

Kurdi may also refer to:

Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy whose image made global headlines after he drowned in the Mediterranean Sea

Kurdish (disambiguation)


Kurdification is a cultural change in which non-ethnic Kurds or/and non-ethnic Kurdish area or/and non-Kurdish languages becomes Kurdish. This can happen both naturally (as seen in Turkish Kurdistan) and deliberately (as seen in Iraq after the invasion of Iraq).The notion of kurdification is different from country to country. In Turkish Kurdistan, many ethnic Armenians, Bulgarians, Circassians, Chechens, Georgians, Ingushs, and Ossetians have become kurdified, as a result of fleeing to the region and having subsequently interacted with ethnic Kurds. In Iraqi Kurdistan, currently the minorities like Turkmens, Assyrians, Yazidis and Shabaks underwent a process of Kurdification in the disputed territories of northern Iraq when Kurdish forces administrated the area until 2017.


Kurdish may refer to:

Kurds or Kurdish people

Kurdish languages

Kurdish alphabets

Kurdistan, the land of the Kurdish people which includes:

Iraqi Kurdistan

Iranian Kurdistan

Turkish Kurdistan

Syrian Kurdistan

Kurdish alphabets

The Kurdish languages are written in either of two alphabets: a Latin alphabet introduced by Jeladet Ali Bedirkhan (Celadet Alî Bedirxan) in 1932 (Bedirxan alphabet, or Hawar after the Hawar magazine), and a Persian alphabet-based Sorani alphabet, named for the historical Soran Emirate of present-day Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has agreed upon a standard for Sorani, implemented in Unicode for computation purposes.The Hawar is used in Turkey, Syria and Armenia; the Sorani in Iraq and Iran. Two additional alphabets, based on the Armenian alphabet and the Cyrillic script, were once used in Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Lishana Deni

Lishana Deni is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey in the lands west of the Great Zab river (Athura). Following the exodus of Jews from the Muslim lands, most speakers now live in Israel, principally Jerusalem and surrounding villages.

The name Lishana Deni means 'our language', and is similar to names used by other Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects (Lishan Didan, Lishanid Noshan). Other popular names for the language are Lishan Hozaye, 'the language of the Jews', and Kurdit, 'Kurdish'. Scholarly sources tend simply to refer to Lishana Deni as Zakho Jewish Neo-Aramaic although it was spoken in the entire region west of the Great Zab river.

Lishanid Noshan

Lishanid Noshan is a modern Jewish-Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in northeastern Iraq, in the region of Arbil. Most speakers now live in Israel.

Lishanid Noshan means "the language of our people". Speakers often also call it Lishana Didan, which means 'our language'. However, as similar names are used by most of the dialects of Jewish Neo-Aramaic, scholarly sources tend to call it "Arbil Jewish Neo-Aramaic".

Other popular names for the language are Hula'ula, Galigalu, 'mine-yours' (noting the difference in grammar from other dialects), Sureth and Kurdit.

Shabaki language

Shabaki is an Indo-Iranian language and belongs to the subgroup Zaza-Gorani of the Northwestern Iranian languages. The Shabaki language is spoken by the Shabak people in the Mosul region of northern Iraq. It has similarities with the Northwestern Iranian language Gorani (or Hawrami), which is often referred as a "Kurdish dialect", although the Kurdish languages form an independent group within the Northwestern Iranian languages. Shabaki is a distinct language. It also has elements of Arabic, Turkish and Persian language. The number of speakers of Shabaki was estimated in 1989 to be between 10,000 and 20,000. Currently, the number of native speakers of Shabaki is estimated at 250,000.

As Shabaki is one of the Zaza–Gorani languages, it is most similar to languages like Gorani (Hewrami), Bajelani, Sarli and Zazaki. Because Zaza–Gorani belongs to the Northwestern Iranian branch.

Shabaki is a language in its own right and not a spoken dialect of any other language, with its own vocabulary and pronunciations, despite the fact that words from many other languages have entered into it as a result of the geographical nearness to other ethnic tribes.

Southern Kurdish

Southern Kurdish (کوردی خوارین; kurdîy xwarîn) is a Kurdish group of languages/dialects predominantly spoken in western Iran and eastern Iraq. In Iran, it is spoken in the provinces of Kermanshah and Ilam. In Iraq it is spoken in the region of Khanaqin (Xaneqîn), all the way to Mandali, Pehle. It is also the dialect of the populous Kurdish Kakayî-Kakavand tribe near Kirkuk and most Yarsani kurds in Kermanshah province. There are also populous diasporas of Southern Kurdish-speakers found in the Alburz mountains.

Native speakers use various different alphabets to write Southern Kurdish, the most common ones are extensions of the standard Kurdish alphabets.

The extension consists of an extra vowel, "ۊ" for the Arabic-based Sorani script and "ü" for the Latin-based Kurmanji script.

University of Afrin

Afrin University was an unrecognized university in the city of Afrin in the de facto autonomous region, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava). It was reported by Al-Monitor that it was the first Kurdish university to open in Rojava, yet that honour goes to the Mesopotamian Social Sciences Academy which opened ten months beforehand; it was, however, the first Kurdish university to open in the Afrin Canton.

It opened on 26 July 2015 to an intake of students said to be anywhere from 250 to 850. In August of the same year it had 22 professors (who were required to have a master's degree or doctorate) on their staff, and 6 additional labs (for engineering and medicine) opened at the start of the new term. In August it ran programs in literature (including material in Kurdish languages), journalism, engineering, medicine, and economics. It included institutes for medicine, topographic engineering, music, theatre, business administration and the Kurdish language. The university had a five-year engineering program and four-year programs for all other specializations; and a two-tier fee system for local and international students, with price primarily dependant on the course of study chosen.The university was shut down following the Turkish military occupation of Afrin in January 2018. Students from Afrin were transferred to Rojava University in Qamishli. During the occupation, Ahrar al-Sharqiya (a component of the Syrian National Army) arrested Dr Abdul Majeed Izzat Sheikho, the dean of Kurdish literature at the University of Afrin.

Western Iranian languages

The Western Iranian languages are a branch of the Iranian languages, attested from the time of Old Persian (6th century BC) and Median.

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