|Regions with significant populations|
|Zazaki (Dimli), Kurmanji|
|Islam (Alevi and Sunni)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|other Iranian people, particularly Gilakis, Kurmanjis, Soranîs, Mazandaranis, and Persians|
The Zazas, Kird, Kirmanc or Dimilis are a Kurdish people living mainly in eastern Anatolia, in the Dersim region (present-day Tunceli) between Erzincan (see ARZENJĀN) in the north and the Muratsu (Morādsū, Arm. Aracani) in the south, the far western part of historical Upper Armenia (Barjr Haykʿ)." whose native language is Zazaki, spoken in eastern Anatolia. They primarily live in the eastern Anatolian provinces, such as Adıyaman, Aksaray, Batman, Bingöl, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Erzurum, Erzincan, Gümüşhane, Kars, Malatya, Mus, Şanlıurfa, Sivas, and Tunceli provinces. Almost all speakers of the Zaza language consider themselves as Kurds and they are often counted as such by international statistics and surveys as part of the Kurdish people.
In the census of 1965, 150,644 Turkish citizens spoke Zazaki as mother language. Proportionally, Zazaki-speakers were most numerous in Bingöl (20.5%), Diyarbakır (12.1%), Elazığ (9.6%), Adıyaman (2.5%), Tunceli (1.5%) and Bitlis (1.4%). 92,288 of these spoke only Zazaki. An additional 20,413 people spoke Zazaki as second best language.
The exact number of Zazas is unknown, due to the absence of recent and extensive census data. The fact that some Zazas have mixed into other regional ethnic groups has also contributed to the lack of certainty. Many Zazas live outside their homeland. Apart from widespread suppression and mass evacuation of villages, the economically miserable situation of the Zaza areas forces the local population to emigrate to Turkish or European cities. There are many Zazas living in major Turkish cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir. Moreover, the Zaza diaspora is spread across Europe (mainly in Germany) and beyond (United States, Canada, etc.) According to estimated figures, the Zaza population is somewhere between 1 to 2 million.
While almost all linguists agree that the Zazaki language is not a dialect of Kurmanji but rather an independent language just like Gilaki, they also agree on the fact that the Zazaki and Kurmanji Kurds build an ethno-cultural unity. And Ludwig Paul also mentions that the ethno-cultural point is the decisive factor for the question of the ethnic identity of Zazaki speakers.
Historic roots of the Zaza people
Linguistic studies shows that the Zazas may have immigrated to their modern-day homeland from the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Some Zazas use the word Dimli (Daylami) to describe their ethnic identity. The word Dimli (Daylami) also describes a region of Gilan Province in today’s Iran. Some linguists connect the word Dimli with the Daylamites in the Alborz Mountains near the shores of Caspian Sea in Iran and believe that the Zaza have migrated from Daylam towards the west. Today, Iranian languages are still spoken in southern regions of Caspian Sea (also called the Caspian languages), including Sangsarī, Māzandarānī, Tātī (Herzendī), Semnānī, Tāleshī, and they are grammatically and lexically very close to Zazaki; this supports the argument that Zazas immigrated to eastern Anatolia from southern regions of Caspian Sea.
Zazas also live in a region close to the Kurmanji people, another Iranian ethnic group. But, historic sources such as the Zoroastrian holy book, Bundahishn, place the Dilaman (Dimila/Zaza) homeland in the headwaters of the Tigris, as it is today. This suggests that the Dimila/Zaza migrated to the Caspian sea, rather than the other way around[original research?]. This hypothesis however is not supported by genetics. Recent studies show the origin of Zaza being native to eastern Anatolia and genetically indistinguishable from their Kurmanji neighbors, although linguistically connected to the region south of the Caspian Sea.
The first written statements in the Zaza language were compiled by the linguist Peter Lerch in 1850. Two other important documents are the religious writings (Mewlıd) of Ehmedê Xasi of 1899, and of Usman Efendiyo Babıc (published in Damascus in 1933); both of these works were written in the Arabic alphabet.
The use of the Latin alphabet for writing the Zazaki language only became popular in the diaspora after meager efforts in Sweden, France and Germany at the beginning of the 1980s. This was followed by the publication of magazines and books in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul. The efforts of Zaza intellectuals to promote their native language by the written word is beginning to bear fruit: the number of publications in Zaza is increasing. The rediscovery of the native culture by Zaza intellectuals not only caused a renaissance of Zaza language and culture, it also triggered feelings among younger generations of Zazas (who rarely speak Zaza as a mother tongue anymore) in favor of the Zaza language, and thus their interest in their heritage. In the diaspora, a limited number of Zaza-language programs are broadcast. Moreover, with the gradual easing of restrictions on local languages in Turkey in preparation for European Union membership, the state owned TRT television launched a Zazaki TV program and a radio program, which is broadcast on Fridays.
- Kaya, Mehmed S. (2011). The Zaza Kurds of Turkey: A Middle Eastern Minority in a Globalised Society. London: Tauris Academic Studies. p. 5. ISBN 9781845118754.
- AMONG SOCIAL KURDISH GROUPS – GENERAL GLANCE AT ZAZAS
- Kird, Kirmanc Dimili or Zaza Kurds, Deng Publising, Istanbul, 1996 by Malmisanij
- Bonwick, James (1873), The Treasury of languages; a rudimentary dictionary of universal philology, London : Hall and Co., r. 300 "ZAZA. KURDISH dialect of N.W. Persia, allied to BUKHAREE."
- Jaba, Alexandre & Justi, Ferdinand (1879) Dictionnaire kurde-français, St.-Pétersbourg, Commissionaire de l'Académie impériale des sciences
- Houtum-Schindler, A. (1884), "Beiträge zum kurdischen Wortschatze", Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Bd. 38
- Albert Socin, “Die Sprache der Kurden”, Grundriss der Iranischen Philologie, Editor: Wilhelm Geiger & E.Kuhn, Band: I, Strassburg 1898, p.250
- Le Coq, Albert Von (1903), Kurdische Texte, Reichsdruckerei, Berlin
- Soane, Ely Banister (1913), Grammar of the Kurmanjî or Kurdish Language, London 1913 / E. S. Soane (1909), Notes on Kurdish Dialects, A Classic Reference Tool On The Kurdish Dialects First Published In 1909, Asian Educational Services, 2003 - 98 sayfa, s.6
- Fossum, Ludvig Olsen (1919), A Practical Kurdish Grammar, The Inter-Synodical Ev. Lutheran Orient -Mission Society, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis "As a conclusion, we seem to be justified in making the assertion, that for linguistic purposes, we may collect all the Kurdish dialects into three large groups, covering the three large districts of North, Central, and South Kurdistan. In North Kurdistan we have the Zaza group, in Central Kurdistan we have the Kermanji group, and in South Kurdistan we have the Lur and Kelhur group."
- Bedirxan, Celadet (1933) “Zarê Dumilî û Mewlûda 'Usman Efendî” Hawar, Hejmar: 23, 25 tîrmeh (temmuz) 1933, r. 1-6 "Zarê dumilî: Ev zar zimanê kurdên dumilî an zaza ne. Kurdên dumilî di welatê jorîn di rojavayê wî welatî de rûniştî ne."
- Safrastian, Arshak (1948), Kurds and Kurdistan, Harvill Press, London .r.106 "The tribes of Dersim speak the Zaza-Dialect of the Kurdish language"
- McCarus, Ernest N. (1958), A Kurdish Grammar, American Council of Learned Societies, s.1
- Bedirxan, Celadet Ali & Lescot, Roger (1970), Grammaire kurde, Maisonneuve, Paris, s.V
- Kurdoev, Kanat Kalashevich (1977), Ḥālatakānī jins u bīnāy barkār la zāzādā: On gender and number in the Zaza dialect of Kurdish, Translated by Azīz Ibrāhīm, Chāpkhānay Kōrī Zānyārī Kurd, Baghdad 1977, 32 p.
- F. R. Akrawy (1982), Standard Kurdish grammar, s.19
- Ayyoubi, Kerim Rakhmanovich & Smirnova, Iraida Anatolʹevna / Ed. Yusupova, Zare Aliyevna (1998), The zaza dialect of the Kurdish Language (Dersim), Moscow: Center for Kurdish Studies, 102 r. (И.А.Смирнова, К.Р.Эйюби. Курдский диалект заза /Отв. ред. З. А. Юсупова. М.: Центр курдских исследований, 1998. 102 с.)
- Houston, Christopher (2001), Islam, Kurds and the Turkish nation state, Berg, s.129 "Zazaki (a Kurdish dialect)"
- Kenstowicz, Michael J. (2004), Studies in Zazaki Grammar, MITWPL, s.1-2, 10 vd. "Zaza dialect of kurdish"
- Walter, Mary Ann (2004), "Vowel Adaptation in Zazaki", Workshop on theoretical approaches to language contact 27th Generative Linguistics in the Old World, Thessaloniki, 18-21 April 2004 "Kurdish: Sorani, Kurmanji, Zazaki..."
- O'Neil, Mary Lou (2007), "Linguistic Human Rights and the Rights of Kurds", Human Rights in Turkey, Editör: Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat, University of Pennsylvania Press, s.74 "Zaza is actually a Kurdish dialect"
- Aygen, Gülşat (2010), Zazaki/Kirmanckî Kurdish, Volume 479 of Languages of the World, Lincom Europa
- D. Ridgeway (2010), "Etruscan", Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World, Elsevier, Oxford, r.401 "Zazaki Kurdish (Dimli)"
- Watts, Nicole F. (2010), Activists in Office: Kurdish Politics and Protest in Turkey (Studies in Modernity and National Identity), University of Washington Press, r.xii, 12, 151 "Linguistically, there is no single Kurdish language, but two main language groups (Kurmanji and Sorani) and two other dialects (Zazaki and Gurani)."
- "Kurdish language", Encyclopædia Britannica, Online: 29 Adare 2013
- Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias (li gora malpera "Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias" Zazakî zaraveyekî kurdî ye)
- Biblio Monde Bibliographie (li gora bibloteka "biblio-monde" zazaki dîyalekta kurdî ye)
- Encyclopedia of the Middle East (li gora "Encyclopedia of the Middle East", zazakî zaraveya kurdî ye)
- Mireille Ferreira,"Le kurde, langue du peuple des montagnes", la revue de Téhéran (li gora rojnameya îranî "la revue de Téhéran", zazakî zaraveya kurdî ye)
- Elî Ekber Dehxuda, Lugatname - Onlîne: 29 Adar 2013 "Zazakî, cureyeke taybet a zimanê kurdî ye" "زازائی . نوعی مخصوص از زبان کردی"
- T.C. Millî Eğitim Bakanlığı, Talim Ve Terbiye Kurulu Başkanlığı, Ortaokul Ve İmam Hatip Ortaokulu Yaşayan Diller Ve Lehçeler Dersi (Kürtçe; 5. Sınıf) Öğretim Programı, Ankara 2012, "Bu program ortaokul 5, 6, 7, ve 8. sınıflar seçmeli Kürtçe dersinin ve Kürtçe’nin iki lehçesi Kurmancca ve Zazaca için müşterek olarak hazırlanmıştır. Program metninde geçen “Kürtçe” kelimesi Kurmancca ve Zazaca lehçelerine birlikte işaret etmektedir."
- Prof. Dr. Kadrî Yildirim & Yrd. Doç. Dr. Abdurrahman Adak & Yrd. Doç. Dr. Hayrullah Acar & Zülküf Ergün & Îbrahîm Bîngol & Ramazan Pertev, Kurdî 5 – Zazakî, Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı, 2012
- J. G. Taylor, Travels in Kurdistan, with Notices of the Sources of the Eastern and Western Tigris, and Ancient Ruins in Their Neighbourhood, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Vol. 35, 1865, p.39
- John G. Bordie, "Kurdish Dialects in Eastern Turkey", Linguistic and Literary Studies, Vol: 2 Descriptive Linguistics, Ed. Mohammad A Jazayery, TiLSM, Mouton De Gruyter, The Hague, Netherlands, 1978, p. 205-212
- Riza Muradi Ghiyasabadi, Ferhengnamê Îran/Irania Encyclopedia, 2013
- Sheikh A. Waheed, The Kurds and Their Country: A History of the Kurdish People, from Earliest Times to the Present, University Book Agency, Lahore, Pakistan, 1958, (First edition: Published by United LTD, 1955) p.12
- Ludwig Paul, Zaza(ki) – Dialekt, Sprache, Nation?, In: Gernot Wiessner, & Bärbel Beinhauer-Köhler (Hg.): Religion und Wahrheit - religionsgeschichtliche Studien - Festschrift für Gernot Wiessner zum 65. Geburtstag, Harrassowitz, 1998, page 385-399
- Martin van Bruinessen,The Ethnic Identity of the Kurds in Turkey , page 1
- MtDNA and Y-chromosome Variation in Kurdish Groups
- "Kurdish Nationalism and Competing Ethnic Loyalties", Original English version of: "Nationalisme kurde et ethnicités intra-kurdes", Peuples Méditerranéens no. 68-69 (1994), 11-37
- Kehl-Bodrogi, Krisztina. "Syncretistic religious communities in the Near East: Collected Papers of the International Symposium, Alevism in Turkey and Comparable Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East in the Past and Present”, Berlin, 14–17 April 1995
- Ozoglu, Hakan. "Kurdish notables and the Ottoman state." Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004
- Mehmed S. Kaya, The Zaza Kurds of Turkey: A Middle Eastern Minority in a Globalised Society, Tauris, London 2011
- Martin Strohmeier,Lale Yalçin-Heckmann, Die Kurden: Geschichte, Politik, Kultur p. 32
- Duus (EDT) Extra, D. (Durk) Gorter, Guus Extra, The Other Languages of Europe: Demographic, Sociolinguistic and Educational Perspectives, Multilingual Matters (2001). ISBN 1-85359-509-8. p. 415. Cites two estimates of Zaza-speakers in Turkey, 4,000,000 and 6,000,000, respectively. Accessed online at Google book search.
- Article on Konda survey in Turkish
- Ludwig Paul, The position of Zazaki among West Iranian languages, 15 November 2006.
- A web site about Zazas and Zazaki: Zazaki.net (In Zazaki, Kurmanji, Turkish and English)
- A web site about Zazas and Zazaki: Kirdki.com
- DersimInfo: Kirmancki (Zazaki) news
- ZazakiOnline: Zazaki news
- zazaki-institut.de - Zazaki Language Institute (In German, Zazaki, and Turkish)
- ZazaPress: journal of zaza language and culture (In Zazaki, Swedish, English and Turkish)
- Iremet Publishing (iremet publishing was created in order to principally protect, develop and promote the Zaza language.)
- zazaki.de - Zazas and Zazaki
- Web Center of Zaza People (Weblinks of Zaza people)
- Ethnic Differentiation among the Kurds: Kurmancî, Kizilbash and Zaza