Northern Kurdish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Northern Kurdish
Kurmancî, کورمانجی, Кӧрманщи
Kurdiya Jorîn, کوردیا ژۆرین, Кӧрдьйа Жорин
Native to Turkey, Armenia, Syria, Iraq
Native speakers
15 million (2009)[1]
  • Toriki
  • Botani
  • Bazidi
  • Bakrani
  • Hakkari
  • Behdini
  • Shengali
  • Judikani
  • Jiwanshiri
  • Alburzi
  • Qochani
  • Birjendi
  • Rihayi
Latin (Turkey, Syria), Perso-Arabic (Iran, Iraq); Cyrillic (formerly in the Soviet Union), Armenian (formerly in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic)
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kmr
Glottolog nort2641[3]
Linguasphere 58-AAA-a
Kurdish languages map.svg
Geographic distribution of Kurdish and other Northwestern Iranian languages spoken by Kurds

Northern Kurdish (Kurdiya jorîn, کوردیا ژۆرین‎), also called Kurmanji (Kurmancî, کورمانجی‎), is a Kurdish language spoken in southeast Turkey, northwest and northeast Iran, northern Iraq and northern Syria. It is the most widespread language of the Kurdish languages. While Kurdish is generally categorized as one of the Northwestern Iranian languages along with Baluchi,[4][5] it also shares many traits with Southwestern Iranian languages like Persian, apparently due to longstanding and intense historical contacts, and some authorities have gone so far as to classify Kurmanji as a Southwestern or "southern" Iranian language.[6][7]

Scripts and books[edit]

Northern Kurdish is written using the Latin script in Turkey, where most of its speakers live, as well as in Syria. Northern Kurdish is the most widely spoken Kurdish language, being spoken by 80% of all Kurds, the earliest textual record of a Kurdish language dates to the 16th century.[4]

Kurmanji is also the ceremonial language[8][9] of Yazidism, the sacred book Mishefa Reş (the "Yazidi Black Book") and all prayers are written and spoken in Kurmanji. In this context, the Kurmanji language may also be called Ezdiki.[10]


Northern Kurdish forms a dialect continuum of great variability. Loosely, five dialect areas can be distinguished:[11]

The most distinctive[clarification needed] of these is Badînî.[12]


The first Kurmanji dictionary was Nubihara Bicukan by Ahmed Khani. Baran Rizgar from Mardin Province wrote a pioneering Kurmanji dictionary in the 1980s; in 1998 Salah Saddulah from Zakho published a huge English-Kurdish dictionary. The strength of this dictionary was that Salah Saddulah in attempted to find words for many English terms but his work was very idiosyncratic and who has now been superseded by its inclusion within wiki wiktionary, he gave the Kurdish people many definitions for words his work was not just a word list. Michael Chyet was another pioneer who contributed both regional variations and sources. Other dictionaries that have contributed to the progress of the language include Mohammad Ameen Dusky and the Judy dictionary. Also Sadiq Bahadin worked as a teacher in Baghdad and helped to promote the Behdini dialects when Sorani held sway. Hussein Mohammed a Kurd from Zakho in Finland has been the most significant figure contributing to the Kurdish Wiktionary, the impact of media (Rudaw, K24) the way Kurdish has become established as a bistandard language because most Kurds can understand either Latin script Kurmanji or Arabic script Sorani.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Northern Kurdish at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Pavlenko, Aneta (2008). Multilingualism in post-Soviet countries. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. pp. 18–22. ISBN 978-1-84769-087-6. 
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Northern Kurdish". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ a b Paul, Ludwig (2008). "Kurdish language I. History of the Kurdish language". In Yarshater, Ehsan. Encyclopædia Iranica. London and New York: Routledge. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot (1975), “Isoglosses: A Sketch on Persians and Parthians, Kurds and Medes”, Monumentum H.S. Nyberg II (Acta Iranica-5), Leiden: 457–471
  6. ^ Paul J. White, ed. (2002). Turkey's Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview. Brill. p. 23. ISBN 978-9004125384. 
  7. ^ Gunter, Michael M. (2009). The A to Z of the Kurds. The Scarecrow Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0810868182. 
  8. ^ Kurmanji is the language of almost all the orally transmitted religious traditions of the Yazidis.
  9. ^ Yazidi people speak a northern dialect of Kurdish (Kurmanji). Except for a few Arabic poems, all religious texts are in Kurmanji, including their hymns (qewl). All Scriptures and texts that they have are also in Kurdish.
  10. ^ Arakelova, Victoria (2001). "Healing Practices among the Yezidi Sheikhs of Armenia". Asian Folklore Studies. 60 (2): 319–328. doi:10.2307/1179060. As for their language, the Yezidis themselves, in an attempt to avoid being identified with Kurds, call it Ezdiki. 
  11. ^ Öpengin, Ergin; Haig, Geoffrey (2014), "Regional variation in Kurmanji: A preliminary classification of dialects", Kurdish Studies, 2, ISSN 2051-4883 
  12. ^ for Bahdinan, a historical Kurdish principality, paralleling use of Sorani, also the name of a historical principality, for southern dialects. See BAHDĪNĀN in Encyclopedia Iranica by A. Hassanpour, 1988 (updated 2011): "The majority of the population are Kurds (see figures in Edmonds, [Kurds, Turks and Arabs, London, 1957,] p. 439) and speak Kurmanji, the major Kurdish dialect group, also called Bādīnānī (see, among others, Jardine [Bahdinan Kurmanji: A Grammar of the Kurmanji of the Kurds of Mosul Division and Surrounding Districts, Baghdad, 1922] and Blau [Le Kurde de ʿAmādiya et de Djabal Sindjar: Analyse linguistique, textes folkloriques, glossaires, Paris, 1975])."

External links[edit]

Kurdish edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia