|Region||Autochthonous to Kurdistan, Kurdish diaspora|
|15 million (2009)|
Official language in
Kurmanji (Kurdish: کورمانجی ,Kurmancî, meaning Kurdish), also termed Northern Kurdish, is the northern dialect of the Kurdish languages, spoken predominantly in southeast Turkey, northwest and northeast Iran, northern Iraq, northern Syria and the Caucasus and Khorasan regions. It is the most widely spoken form of Kurdish, and is a native language to some non-Kurdish minorities in Kurdistan as well, including Assyrians/Syriacs, Armenians, Chechens, Circassians, and Bulgarians.
The earliest textual record of Kurmanji Kurdish dates back to approximately the 16th century and many prominent Kurdish poets like Ahmad Khani (1650–1707) wrote in this dialect. Kurmanji Kurdish is also the common and ceremonial dialect of Yazidis. Their sacred book Mishefa Reş and all prayers are written and spoken in Kurmanji.
Phonological features in Kurmanji include the distinction between aspirated and unaspirated voiceless stops and the presence of facultative phonemes. For example, Kurmanji Kurdish distinguishes between aspirated and unaspirated voiceless stops, which can be aspirated in all positions. Thus /p/ contrasts with /pʰ/, /t/ with /tʰ/, /k/ with /kʰ/, /q/ with /qʰ/, and the affricate /t͡ʃ/ with /t͡ʃʰ/.
- Northwestern Kurmanji, spoken in the Kahramanmaraş (in Kurmanji: Meraş), Malatya (Meletî) and Sivas (Sêwaz) provinces of the northwest of Turkish Kurdistan.
- Southwestern Kurmanji, spoken in the Adıyaman (Semsûr), Gaziantep (Entab) and Şanlıurfa (Riha) provinces of Turkish, and Aleppo Governorate in the west of Syrian Kurdistan.
- Northern Kurmanji or Serhed Kurdish, spoken mainly in the Ağrı (Agirî), Erzurum (Erzerom) and Muş (Mûş) provinces of the northeast of Turkish Kurdistan, as well as adjacent areas.
- Southern Kurmanji, spoken in Al-Hasakah Governorate in the east of Syrian Kurdistan, Sinjar District (Şingal) in the west of Iraqi Kurdistan, and in several adjacent parts of the south of Turkish Kurdistan, centered on the Mardin (Mêrdîn) and Batman (Êlih) provinces.
- Southeastern Kurmanji or Badînî, spoken in Hakkâri Province (Parêzgeha Colêmêrgê) in the southeast of Turkish Kurdistan, and the Dohuk Governorate (Parêzgeha Dihokê) and parts of Erbil Governorate (Parêzgeha Hewlêr) in the north of Iraqi Kurdistan.
- Anatolian Kurmanji is spoken in Central Anatolia (Anatolya Navîn), especially in Konya, Ankara, and Aksaray, by Anatolian Kurds
Ezdîkî and Yazidi politics
Among some Yazidis, the glossonym Ezdîkî is used for Kurmanji to differentiate themselves from Kurds. While Ezdîkî is no different from Kurmanji, some attempt to prove that Ezdîkî is an independent language, including claims that it is a Semitic language. This has been criticized as not being based on scientific evidence and lacking scientific consensus.
On January 25, 2002, Armenia ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and placed Kurdish under state protection. However, because of the divided Yazidi community in Armenia and after strong criticism from parts of the community, the authorities chose to ratify the charter by mentioning both "Kurdish" and "Yezidi" as two separate languages. This resulted in the term Êzdîkî being used by some researchers when delving into the question of minority languages in Armenia, since most Kurdish-speakers in Armenia are Yazidis. As a consequence of this move, Armenian universities offer language courses in both Kurmanji and Êzdîkî as two different dialects.
- "Ethnologue - Kurmanji Kurdish". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
- Kurmanji at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
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- Also described as a language or dialect group
- Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Stefan Sperl (2005). The Kurds : a Contemporary Overview. Routledge. ISBN 1134907656.
- Gaunt, David (2006). Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia During World War I. Gorgias Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-59333-301-0.
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- "Yazidis i. General". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
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As for their language, the Yezidis themselves, in an attempt to avoid being identified with Kurds, call it Ezdiki.
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- Öpengin, Ergin; Haig, Geoffrey (2014), "Regional variation in Kurmanji: A preliminary classification of dialects", Kurdish Studies, 2, ISSN 2051-4883
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- Sebastian Maisel (2017). Yezidis in Syria: Identity Building among a Double Minority. Lanham: Lexington Books. p. 123.
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- Schulze, Ilona. "Methodologische Überlegungen zur soziokulturellen Dokumentation von Minderheiten in Armenien. Iran and the Caucasus Vol. 18, 2, pp. 169-193" (in German). Cite journal requires
- Serinci, Deniz (28 May 2014). "The Yezidis of Armenia Face Identity Crisis over Kurdish Ethnicity". Rudaw.
|Kurmanji Kurdish edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Kurdish.|
- Wîkîferheng Kurdish (Kurmanji) Wiktionary
- Kurdish Institute Kurdish language, history, books and latest news articles.
- Egerîn, Kurdish (Kurmanji) search engine
- Reference Grammar with Selected Readings for Kurmanji Kurdish, written by W. M. Thackston (Harvard University)
- Baran, Murat (2021). Kurdish Grammar: KURMANJI Reference Book. Erzîrom: Amazon publishing. ISBN 979-8666578360.