About Kurdish (Sorani) Language
Soranî (Kurdish: سۆرانی; also called Central Kurdish) is the name of a Kurdish language that is spoken in Iran and Iraq and such is a member of the Iranian languages. Soranî belongs to one of the main Kurdish languages.
To refer to southern Kurmanji dialects as Soranî is a recent naming by linguists after the name of the former principality of Soran. Mackenzie writes that the present Kurdish standard called Soranî is in fact an idealized version of the Silêmanî dialect, which uses the phonemic system of the Píjhdar and Mukrî dialects. Objections have been made to the name Soranî on the grounds that the name of one dialect, Soranî, spoken in the region Soran should not be extended to cover a group of dialect (E. M. Rasul, Núserí Kurd, No. 4, Nov. 1971).
Since the fall of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq, there has been more opportunity to publish work in the Kurdish language in Iraq than in any other country in recent times. As a result Sorani Kurdish has become the dominant written form of Kurdish.
Areas where Sorani is spoken.The exact number of Sorani speakers is difficult to determine, but it is generally thought that Sorani is spoken by between seven and twelve million people in Iraq and Iran. It is the most widespread speech of Kurds in Iran and Iraq. In particular, it is spoken by:
Following includes the traditional internal variants of Soranî. However, nowadays, due to widespread media and communications, most of them are regarded as dialects of standard Soranî:
A recent proposal was made for Soranî to be the official language of the Kurdistan Regional Government. This idea has been favoured by Soranî-speaking Kurds but it has disappointed Kurmanjis.
There are no pronouns to distinguish between masculine and feminine and no verb inflection to signal gender.
Kurdish (Kurdish: Kurdî or کوردی) is the macrolanguage spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. Genealogically, it is part of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It has between 16 and 26 million speakers today. It exists in a continuum of dialects spoken in a geographic area spanning Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and a small number of speakers in the South Caucasus. The written literary output in Kurdish was confined mostly to poetry until the early 20th century, when a general written literature began to be developed. In its written form today Kurdish has two regional standards, namely Kurmanji in Turkey, and Sorani further east and south. Roughly half of Kurkish speakers live in Turkey. Written Kurdish was illegal in Turkey for most of the 20th century.
Origin and roots
The Kurdish language belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. The older Hurrian language of the people inhabiting the Kurdish areas was replaced by Indo-European around 850 BCE, with the arrival of the Medes to Western Iran.
Systematic comparison of significant features of Kurdish with other Iranian languages shows that Kurdish proper differs on a number of important points from what is known about Median.
Although Kurdish has a long history, little is known about Kurdish in pre-Islamic times. Among the earliest Kurdish religious texts is the Mashafa Rash/Mishefa Reş (The Black Book) the sacred book of Yazidi faith. It is considered to have been authored by Hassan bin Adi (b. 1400 AD), the great-grandnephew of the founder of the faith (Shiekh Adi), sometime in the 13th century AD. It contains the Yazidi account of the creation of the world, the origin of man, the story of Adam and Eve and the major prohibitions of the faith. From the 15th to 17th centuries, classical Kurdish poets and writers developed a literary language. The most notable classical Kurdish poets from this period were Ali Hariri, Ahmad Khani, Malaye Jaziri and Faqi Tayran.
The Italian priest Maurizio Garzoni published the first Kurdish grammar titled Grammatica e Vocabolario della Lingua Kurda in Rome in 1787 after eighteen years of missionary work among the Kurds of Amadiyah. This work is very important in Kurdish history as it is the first acknowledgment of the originality of the Kurdish language on a scientific base. Garzoni was given the title Father of Kurdology by later scholars. The Kurdish language was banned in a large portion of Kurdistan for some time. After the 1980 Turkish coup until 1991 the use of the Kurdish language was illegal in Turkey.
Today, Kurdish is an official language in Iraq. In Syria, on the other hand, publishing material in Kurdish is forbidden. Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish, prohibiting the language in education and broadcast media. The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized in Turkey, and the use of Kurdish names containing the letters X, W, and Q, which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet, is not allowed. Kurdish education in private institutions is allowed in Turkey, but there has been little demand for these courses.
In Iran, though it is used in some local media and newspapers, it is not used in public schools. In 2005, 80 Iranian Kurds took part in an experiment and gained scholarships to study in Kurdish in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In March 2006, Turkey allowed private television channels to begin airing programming in the Kurdish language. However, the Turkish government said that they must avoid showing children's cartoons, or educational programs that teach the Kurdish language, and could broadcast only for 45 minutes a day or four hours a week. However, most of these restrictions on private Kurdish television channels were relaxed in September 2009.
The state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) started its 24-hour Kurdish television station on 1 January 2009 with the motto “we live under the same sky.” The Turkish Prime Minister sent a video message in Kurdish to the opening ceremony, which was attended by Minister of Culture and other state officials. The channel uses the controversial X, W, Q letters during broadcasting.
Other Kurdish satellite televisions are available in the Middle East and Europe.
Kurdish blogs have emerged in recent years as virtual fora where Kurdish-speaking Internet users can express themselves in their native Kurdish or in other languages.
Kurmanji Kurdish versus Sorani Kurdish
Kurdish has two standardized versions, which have been labelled 'Northern' and 'Central'. The northern version, commonly called Kurmanji, is spoken in Turkey, Syria, and the northern part of the Kurdish-speaking areas of Iraq and Iran, and it accounts for a little over three-quarters of all Kurdish speakers. The central version, commonly called Sorani, is spoken in west Iran and much of Iraqi Kurdistan. In historical evolution terms, Kurmanji is less modified than Sorani in both phonetic and morphological structure. The Sorani group has been influenced by among other things its closer cultural proximity to the other Iranian languages including the Gorani language of Iran.
Philip G. Kreyenbroek, an expert writing in 1992, says:
According to Encyclopaedia of Islam, although Kurdish is not a unified language, its many dialects are interrelated and at the same time distinguishable from other western Iranian languages. The same source classifies different Kurdish dialects as two main groups, northern and central. The reality is that the average Kurmanji speaker does not find it easy to communicate with the inhabitants of Suleymania or Halabja.
Sorani differs on six grammatical points from Kurmanji. This appears to be a result of Gorani (Haurami) influence.
Some linguistic scholars assert that the term "Kurdish" has been applied extrinsically in describing the language the Kurds speak, while Kurds have used the word "Kurdish" to simply describe their ethnic or national identity and refer to their language as Kurmanji, Sorani, Hewrami, or whatever other dialect or language they speak. Some historians have noted that it is only recently that the Kurds who speak the Sorani dialect have begun referring to their language as Kurdî, in addition to their identity, which is translated to simply mean Kurdish.