Kurmanji Kurdish

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Kurmanji
Northern Kurdish
Native to Iran, Iraq , Syria , Turkey
Native speakers
20 million  (2004–2009)[1]
Indo-European
Latin (main); Perso-Arabic
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kmr
Glottolog nort2641[3]
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Geographic distribution of Kurdish and other Iranian languages spoken by Kurds

Kurmanji (Kurmancî), or Northern Kurdish (also written Kirmanji, Kurmangi or Kermanji), is the most widespread 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]

The Kurmanji language, which uses the Latin script, is the most common dialect of the Kurdish language, spoken by 80% of all Kurds. However, the earliest textual record of the Kurdish language dates to the 16th century.[4]

Kurmanji is the ceremonial language[citation needed] of “Yezidism”. The sacred book Mishefa Reş (“Black Book”) and all the prayers are written and said in Kurmanji.

Speakers[edit]

Kurmanji is a recognized minority language of education in Armenia, where most Kurds are Yezidi.[1]

Most significant native communities in Kurdistan
  • Kurmanji is the only Kurdish dialect that is spoken in all four areas which are vastly populated by Kurds.[clarification needed]
  • The vast majority of Kurds in Eastern and Southeastern Turkey speak Kurmanji.
  • Kurmanji is the mother tongue of the Kurds in Syria.[citation needed]

Iran and Iraq also have a significant number of Kurmanji speakers:

  • In northern Iraq, Kurmanji is spoken in the cities of Mosul, Duhok, Zakho, Akre, Amedia, Sheikhan, Shangal, and Zummar.
  • In Iraq, Kurmanji is sometimes known as Bahdini, simply because Kurmanji speaking Kurds live in the Bahdinan region, which consists of the abovementioned cities and towns.
  • In Iran, Kurmanji is spoken in the northern parts of the country, in the cities of Urmia, Maku, Khoy, and Salmas, as well as exile[clarification needed] by Kurds in Khorasan province of Iran.
  • In Iran, Kurmanji is sometimes called "Shikaki" after the major Kurmanji tribe Shikak, which is the tribe of Kurdish leader Ismail Aghaye Shikak, who is also known as legendary Simko among the Kurds.
Also
  • Kurmanji was the official language of the autonomous Red Kurdistan (Russian Красный Курдистан) that was established in Lachin, Kalbajar and Qubadli and surrounding cities in Azerbaijan, and existed from 1923 to 1929.
  • Kurmanji is spoken by the Kurdish population that was exiled from the historical Kurdish homeland. Some one million Kurds living in Khorasan Province of Iran in cities such as Quchan, Shirvan, Esfarayen, Bozhnurd (Bojnurd), Dargaz, Chenaran, Faruj, Bajgiran, Ashkhane and Kalat speak Kurmanji.
  • Kurdish migrant communities, some of whose members were forcefully exiled, in Ankara, Konya, Kirsehir, Aksaray, Eskisehir and some other cities of Central Anatolia of Turkey speak Kurmanji.
  • Kurdish populations in former Soviet countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Ukraine, as well as the Kurds in Lebanon are speakers of Kurmanji.
  • Kurmanji is spoken by 200,000 Kurdophones settled around Kabul, Afghanistan, and some in Pakistan.

Etymology[edit]

The main theory about the etymology of Kurmanji is that the term Kurmanji, according to Prince Celadet Bedirxan, the great Kurdish intellectual who prepared the Latin Kurdish alphabet, comes from Kurd+man+cî which means, those Kurds who remained in their places (not moved like others). In earlier publications of this century, the term Kurmanji was sometimes spelled with a "d" like "Kurdmanji" but the standard spelling of the term is Kurmanji in English and Kurmancî in Kurdish.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kurmanji at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Pavlenko, Aneta (2008). Multilingualism in post-Soviet countries. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. pp. 18–22. ISBN 978-1-84769-087-6. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Northern Kurdish". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  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. 

External links[edit]