Northern Kurdish

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Northern Kurdish
Kurmanji
Kurmancî, Kurdiya Jorîn
Native to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey
Native speakers
"Very provisional" figure of 15 million in Turkey  (2009)[1]
Maybe 5 million elsewhere, including 2.8 million in Iraq (2004), 940,000 in Syria (1993), and 350,000 in Iran (1988)[1]
Dialects
Tori
Botani
Bazidi
Bakrani
Hakkari
Badini
Judikani
Jiwanshiri
Alburzi
Qochani
Birjendi
Rihayi
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 Northwestern Iranian languages spoken by Kurds

Northern Kurdish (کوردیا ژۆرین; kurdiya jorîn), also called Kurmanji (کورمانجی; Kurmancî), is a group of Kurdish dialects predominantly spoken in southeast Turkey, northwest Iran, northern Iraq and northern Syria. It is the most widespread dialect group 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 dialects, which uses the Latin script, is the commonest dialect group of the Kurdish language, spoken by 80% of all Kurds. The earliest textual record of the Kurdish language dates to the 16th century.[4]

Kurmanji is the ceremonial language[8][9] of Yezidism. The sacred book Mishefa Reş (the "Black Book") and all prayers are written and spoken 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 countries which are vastly populated by Kurds; Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
  • 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.

Dialects[edit]

Northern Kurdish forms a dialect continuum of great variability. Loosely, five dialect areas can be distinguished:[10]

The most distinctive of these is Badînî[11]), where features shared with Sorani appear. Also quite divergent is the geographically rather isolated Northwestern group. Standard Kurmanji is mainly based on the Southern and Southeastern dialects.

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) Kurd+man(stay, rest)+cîh(place). In earlier publications of this century [Twentieth 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 c Northern Kurdish at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  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. 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. 
  8. ^ Kurmanji is the language of almost all the orally transmitted religious traditions of the Yazidis.
  9. ^ Yezidis belong to the Kurdish race and are regarded by Kurds as those who keep their original religion. They 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. ^ Öpengin, Ergin; Haig, Geoffrey (2014), "Regional variation in Kurmanji: A preliminary classification of dialects", Kurdish Studies 2, ISSN 2051-4883 
  11. ^ 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]