Southern Kurdish

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Southern Kurdish
Kurdish: کوردیی باشووری ,کوردی خوارگ
Native toEastern Iraq, Western Iran
Native speakers
3 million in Iran, 350,000 in Iraq[1]
Perso-Arabic (Sorani alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3sdh
Kurdish languages map.svg
Geographic distribution of Kurdish and other Iranian languages spoken by Kurds

Southern Kurdish (Kurdish: زۆڤان کوردیی باشووری ,کوردی خوارگ‎, romanized: Zûwane Kurdîy başûrî, Kurdiy xwarig),[2] also known as Kurdiy xwarîn is one of the Kurdish languages, spoken predominantly in eastern Iraq and western Iran.[3] The Southern Kurdish-speaking region spans from Khanaqin in Iraq to Dehloran southward and Asadabad eastward in Iran.[4]


Southern Kurdish has many variants, linguist Fattah divides them into 35 varieties. These inculde:

  • Bijarî
    • The most septentrional variety of Southern Kurdish spoken in and around Bijar in Iran. Bijarî is the only Southern Kurdish variety detached from the greater Southern Kurdish-speaking region.[5]
  • Qorwa (Chahar Dawli xarbi)
    • The Qorwa variety is spoken around Ghorveh in Iran and is related to the variety spoken in Asadabad and other Kurdish-speaking areas in Hamadan Province.[6]
  • Kolyayî
    • The Kolyayî variety is spoken northeast of Kermanshah, principally in Sonqor County and surrounding counties. The variety also spans into the Kolyai Rural District in Hamadan Province.[7]
  • Bilawar
  • Dinawar
    • About 83 villages in Dinavar District speak the Dinawar variety. The differences between the Dinawar and the Kolyayî varieties are anodine.[9]
  • Sahana / lakî-kirmashanî
    • The Sahana variety, or lakî-kirmashanî has many similar characteristics with Laki and is spoken in Harsin County and in Sahneh. What distinguishes it most from Laki is the lack of the ergative case.[9]
  • Kurdali a.k.a. Palai is quite distant, and may be a distinct language.[10]


The Southern Kurdish alphabet is very similar to the Central Kurdish (Sorani) alphabet, which is a derivation of the Arabic alphabet. Southern Kurdish has one additional letter "ۊ"; the Arabic letter waw with two dots above.

ع ش س ژ ز ڕ ر د خ ح چ ج ت پ ب ا ئـ
17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ێ ی ۊ ۆ و ە ھ ن م ڵ ل گ ک ق ڤ ف غ
34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Southern Kurdish at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ "Kurdish, Southern". Ethnologue. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Kurdish language i. History of the Kurdish language". Iranica Online. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  4. ^ Fattah (2000), pp. VII.
  5. ^ Fattah (2000), pp. 16–17.
  6. ^ Fattah (2000), pp. 18–19.
  7. ^ Fattah (2000), p. 19.
  8. ^ Fattah (2000), p. 20.
  9. ^ a b Fattah (2000), p. 21.
  10. ^ Erik Anonby, Mortaza Taheri-Ardali & Amos Hayes (2019) The Atlas of the Languages of Iran (ALI). Iranian Studies 52. A Working Classification


  • Fattah, Ismaïl Kamandâr (2000), Les dialectes Kurdes méridionaux, Acta Iranica, ISBN 9042909188

External links[edit]