Kurmanji (Kurmanji Kurdish: Kurmancî, meaning Kurdish), also termed Northern Kurdish, is the northern dialect, (also described as a language or dialect group) 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)|
|Naskh 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, which some Yazidis call Ezdiki.
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 distinct 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 of Iraqi Kurdistan.
- Anatolian Kurmanji is spoken in central Anatolia, especially in Konya, Ankara, Aksaray, by Anatolian Kurds
The most distinctive of these is Badînî.
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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.
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- Öpengin, Ergin; Haig, Geoffrey (2014), "Regional variation in Kurmanji: A preliminary classification of dialects", Kurdish Studies, 2, ISSN 2051-4883
- 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])."