Kurmanji (Kurmanji: 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 spoken form of Kurdish and mother tongue to other ethnic minorities in Kurdistan as well, including Armenians, Chechens, Circassians, and Bulgarians.
|Kurmancî, کورمانجی, Кӧрманщи|
Kurdiya Jorîn, کوردیا ژۆرین, Êzdîkî
|Region||autochthonous to Kurdistan, Kurdish diaspora|
|15 million (2009)|
|Arabic script in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon,|
Latin script in Turkey and Syria,
Cyrillic script in Russia and Armenia.
Official language in
| Kurdistan Region|
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 as well. 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 Turkey.
- Southwestern Kurmanji, spoken in the Adıyaman (Semsûr), Gaziantep (Entab) and Şanlıurfa provinces of Turkey and the Aleppo Governorate of Syria.
- Northern Kurmanji or Serhed Kurdish, spoken mainly in the Ağrı (Agirî), Erzurum (Erzerom) and Muş (Mûş) provinces of Turkey, as well as adjacent areas.
- Southern Kurmanji, spoken in the Al-Hasakah Governorate in Syria, the Sinjar District in Iraq, and in several adjacent parts of Turkey centering on the Mardin and Batman provinces.
- Southeastern Kurmanji or Badînî, spoken in the Hakkâri province of Turkey and Dohuk Governorate and parts of Erbil Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan.
- Anatolian Kurmanji is spoken in central Anatolia, especially in Konya, Ankara, Aksaray, by Anatolian Kurds
Ezdîkî and Yazidi politics
Among some Yazidis, the glossonym Ezdîkî is used for Kurmanji to signify an attempt to erase their affiliation to Kurds. While Ezdîkî is no different from Kurmanji, these efforts attempt to prove that Ezdîkî is an independent language which includes 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 from the Yazidi group. 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)
- "Social Contract - Sa-Nes". Self-Administration of North & East Syria Representation in Benelux. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- ""Rojava could be a model for all Syria"". Salih Muslim. Nationalita. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- "Təhsil" (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 6 May 2019.
- "Minority Language Education in Georgia". 15 August 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
- "Report on the implementation of state strategy for civil equality and integration and 2016 action plan" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2019.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Northern Kurdish". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Ferhenga Kurmancı̂-Inglı̂zı̂ (in Kurdish). Yale University Press. 2003.
- Captain R. E. Jardine (1922). Bahdinan Kurmanji - A grammar of the Kurmanji of the Kurds of Mosul division and surrounding districts of Kurdistan. Baghdad: Government Press. p. ii.
- Ayfer Gokalp (August 2015). "Language and Literacy Practices of Kurdish Children Across Their Home and School Spaces in Turkey:" (PDF). Arizona State University: 146. Retrieved 19 March 2019. Cite journal requires
- Paul, Ludwig (2008). "Kurdish language I. History of the Kurdish language". In Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica. London and New York: Routledge. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Georg Krotkoff (1997). Humanism, Culture, and Language in the Near East. p. 299.
- "Ethnologue - Kurdish". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
- "Kurdish language". Britannica. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- E. S. Soane (1909). Notes on Kurdish Dialects. p. 906. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- Thackston, W. M. "—Kurmanji Kurdish— A Reference Grammar with Selected Readings" (PDF). Harvard University.
- Ehsan Yar-Shater. "Encyclopaedia Iranica". Encyclopaedia Iranica. University of California. 3 (5–8): 485.
- Also described as a language or dialect group
- Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Stefan Sperl (2005). The Kurds : a Contemporary Overview. Routledge. ISBN 1134907656.
- "Kürtler'le Ermeniler işte böyle karıştı!". Internethaber (in Turkish). 30 March 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Aşiretler raporu (1st ed.). İstanbul: Kaynak Yayınları. 2000. ISBN 9753432208.
- "Türkçe için getirilen Bulgarlar Kürtçe konuşuyor". Rûdaw. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
- Sebastian Maisel (2018). The Kurds: An Encyclopedia of Life, Culture, and Society. p. 164-165.
- "Yazidis i. General". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
- Arakelova, Victoria (2001). "Healing Practices among the Yezidi Sheikhs of Armenia". Asian Folklore Studies. 60 (2): 319–328. doi:10.2307/1179060.
As for their language, the Yezidis themselves, in an attempt to avoid being identified with Kurds, call it Ezdiki.
- Khan, Celadet Bedir; Lescot, Roger (1970). Grammaire Kurde (Dialecte kurmandji) (PDF). Paris: La librairie d'Amérique et d'Orient Adrien Maisonneuve. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
- Haig, Geoffrey; Matras, Yaron (2002). "Kurdish linguistics: a brief overview" (PDF). Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung. Berlin. 55 (1): 5. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Öpengin, Ergin; Haig, Geoffrey (2014), "Regional variation in Kurmanji: A preliminary classification of dialects", Kurdish Studies, 2, ISSN 2051-4883
- "The Kurdish language". previous.cabinet.gov.krd. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- "The Human Rights Situation of the Yezidi Minority in the Transcaucasus" (PDF). Refworld. May 2008: 5. Retrieved 23 March 2019. Cite journal requires
- Sebastian Maisel (2017). Yezidis in Syria: Identity Building among a Double Minority. Lanham: Lexington Books. p. 123.
- Coene, Frederik (2009-10-16). The Caucasus - An Introduction. Routledge. ISBN 9781135203023.
- Tork Dalalyan (2011). "Construction of Kurdish and Yezidi Identities among the Kurmanji-speaking Population of the Republic of Armenia, in: Changing Identities: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia – 2011". Changing Identities: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (Collection of Selected Works, Edited by V. Voronkov, S. Khutsishvili, J. Horan), Heinrich Böll Stiftung South Caucasus: 6. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- Majid Hassan Ali (15 February 2019). "The identity controversy of religious minorities in Iraq: the crystallization of the Yazidi identity after 2003". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Routledge: 8. doi:10.1080/13530194.2019.1577129. ISSN 1353-0194.
- Witzlack-Makarevich, Kai; Wulff, Nadja (2017-08-08). Handbuch des Russischen in Deutschland: Migration – Mehrsprachigkeit – Spracherwerb (in German). Frank & Timme GmbH. ISBN 9783732902279.
- "Kurds (Kurdmanzh)". Minority Rights Group International. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- 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.