Gorani language

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Native toIraq and Iran
RegionPrimarily Hawraman and Garmian, around Mosul
Native speakers
250,000 (2014)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3hac

Gorani (also Gurani[2] meaning song in Kurdish)[5] is a language spoken by ethnic Kurds[6] and which with Zazaki constitute the Zaza–Gorani languages.[2] All the Gorani dialects are influenced by Kurdish lexically and morphologically.[6] Due to the speakers being ethnic Kurds and the influence of Kurdish, Gorani is considered a Kurdish language by Kurds and some linguists.[2][7][8][9][10]

Gorani has four dialects: Bajelani, Hawrami, Sarli and Shabaki and is spoken in Iraq and Iran.[2] Of these, Hawrami was the traditional literary language and koiné of Kurds in the historical Ardalan region at the Zagros Mountains,[11][12] but has since been supplanted by Central Kurdish and Southern Kurdish.[13]


The name Goran appears to be of Indo-Iranian origin. The name may be derived from the old Avestan word, gairi, which means mountain.[14]


Under the independent rulers of Ardalan (9th–14th / 14th–19th century), with their capital latterly at Sanandaj, Gorani became the vehicle of a considerable corpus of poetry. Gorani was and remains the first language of the scriptures of the Ahl-e Haqq sect, or Yarsanism, centered on Gahvara. Prose works, in contrast, are hardly known. The structure of Gorani verse is very simple and monotonous. It consists almost entirely of stanzas of two rhyming half-verses of ten syllables each, with no regard to the quantity of syllables.

Names of forty classical poets writing in Gurani are known, but the details of the lives and dates are unknown for the most part. Perhaps the earliest writer is Mala Parisha, author of a masnavi of 500 lines on the Shi'ite faith who is reported to have lived around 1398–99. Other poets are known from the 17th–19th centuries and include Mahzuni, Shaikh Mostafa Takhti, Khana Qubadi, Yusuf Zaka, and Ahmab Beg Komashi. One of the last great poets to complete a book of poems (divan) in Gurani is Mala Abd-al Rahm of Tawa-Goz south of Halabja.

There exist also a dozen or more long epic or romantic masnavis, mostly translated by anonymous writers from Persian literature including: Bijan and Manijeh, Khurshid-i Khawar, Khosrow and Shirin, Layla and Majnun, Shirin and Farhad, Haft Khwan-i Rostam and Sultan Jumjuma. Manuscripts of these works are currently preserved in the national libraries of Berlin, London, and Paris.



Bajelani is a Gorani dialect[2] with about 59,000 speakers, predominately around Mosul,[15] near Khanaqin and near the Khosar valley.[6]


Hawrami (هەورامی; Hewramî) also known as Avromani, Awromani or Horami, is a Gorani dialect and is regarded as the most archaic one.[16] It is mostly spoken in the Hawraman region, a mountainous region located in western Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and northeastern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan).


Sarli is spoken in northern Iraq by a cluster of villages[17] north of the Little Zab river,[18] on the confluence of the Khazir River and the Great Zab river, just west-northwest of the city of Kirkuk.[19] Many speakers have been displaced by conflicts in the region.

The Sarli language contains Kurdish, Turkish and Persian influences like its neighbours Bajelani and Shabaki.[20]



  1. ^ Gorani at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Gurani". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Bajalan". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gurani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. ^ Michael M. Gunter (2018). Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 127. ISBN 1538110504.
  6. ^ a b c Michiel Leezenberg (1993). "Gorani Influence on Central Kurdish: Substratum or Prestige Borrowing?" (PDF). ILLC - Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Kurdish Nationalism and Competing Ethnic Loyalties", Original English version of: "Nationalisme kurde et ethnicités intra-kurdes", Peuples Méditerranéens no. 68–69 (1994), 11-37
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Ozoglu, Hakan. "Kurdish notables and the Ottoman state." Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004
  10. ^ Romano, David. "The Kurdish nationalist movement: opportunity, mobilization, and identity." Cambridge. Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  11. ^ Chaman Ara، Behrooz. The Kurdish Shahnama and its Literary and Religious Implications. ISBN 1511523492.
  12. ^ "چمن آرا، ب، درآمدی بر ادب حماسی و پهلوانی کُردی با تکیه بر شاهنامه کُردی، جستارهای ادبی سال چهل و چهارم بهار 1390 شماره 172".
  13. ^ Meri, Josef W. Medieval Islamic Civilization: A–K, index. p 444
  14. ^ Peterson, Joseph H. "Avestan Dictionary".
  15. ^ "Bajelani". Ethnologue. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Avromani". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  17. ^ Bruinessen, Martin Van (1 January 2000). Mullas, Sufis and Heretics: The Role of Religion in Kurdish Society : Collected Articles. Isis Press. p. 20. ISBN 9789754281620.
  18. ^ Division, Naval Intelligence (3 September 2014). Iraq & The Persian Gulf. Routledge. p. 329. ISBN 9781136892660.
  19. ^ Sinor, Denis (1 January 1956). Proceedings of the Twenty-third International Congress of Orientalists, Cambridge, 21st-28th August, 1954. Royal Asiatic Society. p. 178.
  20. ^ Nations, League of; Wirsén, Einar Thure af (1 January 1925). Question de la frontière entre la Turquie et l'Irak (in French). Imprimeries réunies, s.a.


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