Gorani language

Gorani (Kurdish: گۆرانی, romanized: Goranî, lit.'song')[5] also known by its main dialect; Hawrami (ھەورامی, romanized: Hewramî) is a language spoken by ethnic Kurds in northeastern Iraq and eastern Iran[6] and which with Zaza constitute the Zaza–Gorani languages.[3] Gorani is a Kurdish dialect.[6][7][8][9] But since the 20th century, some orientalists who are not linguist, neither have any language about the Kurdish or any other languages in the region consider it a 'northwest Iranian' language, which is separate from the Kurdish language.[10][11][12] Gorani is literary language for Kurds,[13] and the speakers of Gorani call their language Kurdish.[14]

Native toIraq and Iran
RegionKurdistan (Primarily Hawraman, also Garmian and Nineveh)
Native speakers
350,000 (2014)[1]
Kurdish alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
hac – Gorani (Gurani)
sdb – Shabaki
sdf – Sarli

Gorani has four dialects: Bajelani, Hawrami, Sarli and Shabaki and is spoken in Iraq and Iran.[3] Of these, Hawrami was the traditional literary language and koiné of Kurds in the historical Ardalan region at the Zagros Mountains,[15][16] but has since been supplanted by Central Kurdish and Southern Kurdish.[17]


The name Goran appears to be of Indo-Iranian origin. The name may be derived from the old Avestan word, gairi, which means mountain.[18]


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 Mele Perîşan, author of a masnavi of 500 lines on the Shi'ite faith who is reported to have lived around 1356–1431. Other poets are known from the 17th–19th centuries and include Shaykh Mustafa Takhtayi, Khana Qubadi, Yusuf Yaska, Mistefa Bêsaranî and Khulam Rada Khan Arkawazi. One of the last great poets to complete a book of poems (divan) in Gurani is Mawlawi Tawagozi south of Halabja.

Kurdish Shahnameh is a collection of epic poems that has been passed down through speech from one generation to the next, that eventually some stories were written down by Almas Khan-e Kanoule'ei in the eighteenth century. 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.

Example of Gorani poetryEdit

Şîrîn û Xesrew written in 1740 by Khana Qubadî.




Bajelani is a Gorani dialect[3] with about 59,000 speakers, predominately around Mosul,[20] 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.[21] It is mostly spoken in the Hawraman region, a mountainous region located in western Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and northeastern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan). There are around 23,000 speakers, and it was classed as "definitely endangered" by UNESCO in 2010.[22]

Due to concerns with the decline of Hawrami speakers, as people move away from the Hawraman region to cities like Erbil, Jamal Habibullah Faraj Bedar, a retired teacher from Tawela, decided to translate the Qur'an from Arabic into Hawrami. The translation took two and a half months and 1000 copies of the publication were printed in Tehran.[22]


Sarli is spoken in northern Iraq by a cluster of villages[23] north of the Little Zab river,[24] on the confluence of the Khazir River and the Great Zab river, just west-northwest of the city of Kirkuk.[25] Many speakers have been displaced by conflicts in the region.[26] It is reportedly most similar to Bajelani[26] but is also similar to Shabaki.[27] It contains Kurdish, Turkish and Persian influences, like its neighbours Bajelani and Shabaki.[28]




Labial Dental Alveolar Post-
Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive aspirated t͡ʃʰ q [ʔ]
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x ħ h
voiced (v) ð z ʒ (ʁ) (ʕ)
Lateral plain l
velarized ɫ
Rhotic tap ɾ
trill r
Approximant w j

All voiceless plosives and affricates are aspirated.

  • A glottal stop [ʔ] may be heard before a word-initial vowel, but is not phonemic.
  • Sounds /ʕ ʁ/ only occur in loanwords.
  • /x/ can also be heard as [χ] among different dialects.
  • /q/ can also be aspirated as [qʰ].
  • The voiced /d/ may be lenited in post-vocal positions, and occur as a voiced dental approximant [ð̞]. In the Nawsud dialects, /d/ can be heard as an alveolar approximant sound [ɹ], and may also be devoiced when occurring in word-final positions as [ɹ̥].
  • In the Nawsud and Nodša dialects, a word-initial /w/ can be heard as a [v] or a labialized [vʷ].
  • /n/ when preceding velar consonants, is heard as a velar nasal [ŋ].


Front Central Back
Close i u
Near-close ɪ ʊ
Close-mid e o
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Near-open æ
Open a
  • Sounds /æ ə/ both can be realized as an open-mid [ɛ].[29]

Hawrami GrammarEdit


  • Hawrami distinguishes between two genders and two cases; Masculine & Feminine, and Nominative & Oblique. The two cases are otherwise referred to as the Direct and Indirect Cases

Masculine and Feminine, and Nominative and Oblique

Gender distinctions in nouns are indicated by a combination of final stress and vowel/consonant ending. Masculine nouns in the nominative form are indicated by a stressed "-O", -I", "-U", "-A", "-Á" and all consanant endings. Feminine nouns are indicated by an unstressed "-A", "-I", a stressed "-E" and rarely, a stressed "-Á".

There are 3 declensions. The declensions of each gender will be demonstrated as example

First Declension (Masculine Consonant Ending; Feminine Short Unstressed Vowel Ending)

  • Masculine : Kur (Boy)
  • Feminine : Xatûna (Queen)

Second Declension (Masculine Stressed Short Vowel Ending; Feminine Stressed "-E" Ending)

  • Masculine : Yane (House)
  • Feminine : Namê (Name)

Third Declension (Stressed Long "-A" Ending)

  • Masculine : Piya (Man)
  • Feminine : Dega (Village)


First Declension Masculine Feminine
Nominative Singular -a,-i
Oblique Singular -i -e
Nominative Plural -e -e
Oblique Plural -'a -'a
Second Declension Masculine Feminine
Nominative Singular -'a,-'i,-'o,-'u -'e
Oblique Singular -'ai,-'i,-'oi,-'ui -'e
Nominative Plural -'e,-'e,-o'e,-u'e -'e
Oblique Plural -'á,-'á,-o'á,-,u'á -'á
Third Declension Masculine Feminine
Nominative Singular -'á -'á
Oblique Singular -'ái -'e
Nominative Plural -'e -'e
Oblique Plural -áy'á -áy'á

Note: " ' " indicates syllable followed will be stressed

In Hawrami, definiteness and indefiniteness is marked by two independent suffixes, "-ew", and "-(a)ka". These suffixes decline for case and gender. The indefinite suffix "-ew" is declined by the first declension pattern while the definite suffix "-(a)ka" follows the second declension paradigm


Singular Plural
First Person Min Ême
Second Person To Şiyame
Third Person Masculine Feminine Plural
Nominative Að̞ 'Aða 'Aðe
Oblique 'Aði 'Aðe Aðish'a



  1. ^ Gorani (Gurani) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Shabaki at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Sarli at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ A Working Classification
  3. ^ a b c d e "Gurani". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Bajalan". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  5. ^ Michael M. Gunter (2018). Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 127. ISBN 978-1538110508.
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  7. ^ G. Tavadze (2019). "Spreading of the Kurdish language dialects and writing systems used in the middle east". Bulletin of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences. 13 (1): 170–174. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  8. ^ Jaffer Sheyholislami (2015). "Language Varieties of the Kurds". Retrieved 30 April 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Hossein Hassani; Dzejla Medjedovic (February 2016). "Automatic Kurdish Dialects Identification". Computer Science & Information Technology ( CS & IT ). pp. 61–78. doi:10.5121/csit.2016.60307. ISBN 9781921987489. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  10. ^ Frye, Richard Nelson (1984). The History of Ancient Iran. C.H.Beck. p. 30. ISBN 9783406093975.
  11. ^ Minahan, James (30 May 2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World A-Z [4 Volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313076961.
  12. ^ Hamelink, Wendelmoet (21 April 2016). The Sung Home. Narrative, Morality, and the Kurdish Nation. BRILL. ISBN 9789004314825.
  13. ^ Ara, Behrooz Chaman; Amiri, Cyrus (8 August 2018). "Gurani: practical language or Kurdish literary idiom?". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 45 (4): 627–643. doi:10.1080/13530194.2018.1430536. ISSN 1353-0194. S2CID 148611170.
  14. ^ Jügel, Thomas (15 July 2016). "Parvin Mahmoudveysi, Denise Bailey. The Gorani language of Zarda, a village of West Iran". Abstracta Iranica (Volume 34-35-36). doi:10.4000/abstractairanica.41149. ISSN 0240-8910.
  15. ^ Ara, Behrooz Chaman (2015). Chaman Ara، Behrooz. The Kurdish Shahnama and its Literary and Religious Implications. ISBN 978-1511523493.
  16. ^ "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".
  17. ^ Meri, Josef W. Medieval Islamic Civilization: A–K, index. p 444
  18. ^ Peterson, Joseph H. "Avestan Dictionary".
  19. ^ Xanay Qubadî, Şîrîn û Xesrew, (Saxkirdnewey Ferheng û Pîşekî: Muhemmed Mela Kerîm), Korrî Zanyarî Kurd, Bexda 1975.
  20. ^ "Bajelani". Ethnologue. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Avromani". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  22. ^ a b Menmy, Dana Taib (31 January 2020). "Teacher translates Quran to save endangered Kurdish dialect". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Division, Naval Intelligence (3 September 2014). Iraq & The Persian Gulf. Routledge. p. 329. ISBN 9781136892660.
  25. ^ Sinor, Denis (1 January 1956). Proceedings of the Twenty-Third International Congress of Orientalists, Cambridge, 21st-28th August, 1954. Royal Asiatic Society. p. 178.
  26. ^ a b "Sarli". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  27. ^ Bruinessen, Martin Van (1 January 2000). Mullas, Sufis and Heretics: The Role of Religion in Kurdish Society : Collected Articles. Isis Press. p. 300. ISBN 9789754281620.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Mahmoudveysi, Parvin; Bailey, Denise (2018). Hawrāmī of western Iran. Geoffrey Haig and Geoffrey Khan (eds.), The Languages and Linguistics of Western Asia: Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton. pp. 533–568.
  30. ^ D. N., Mackenzie (1966). "Hawramani - Luhoni" (PDF).
  31. ^ "worldhistory". worldhistory.com by Multiple authors. Retrieved 19 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)


  • D.N.MacKenzie (1966). The Dialect of Awroman (Hawraman-i Luhon). Kobenhavn.[1]

External linksEdit