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Zaza–Gorani is a linguistic subgroup of Northwestern Iranian languages. They are usually classified as a non-Kurdish branch of the Northwestern Iranian languages[2][3][4], but most of their speakers consider themselves ethnic Kurds.[5][6][7][8]

Turkey, Iran, and Iraq
Linguistic classificationIndo-European

The Zaza–Gorani languages constitutes of the Zaza and the Gorani languages,[9][10] whereas Gorani is composed of three dialects being Bajelani, Shabaki and Sarli.[11][12]


The area of the Northwestern Iranian languages was largely overrun by speakers of Turkic languages, subsequently known as Azeri or Azerbaijani, introduced in the 11th century. By the 16th century, this language had ousted the indigenous Iranian languages except from the peripheral area along the Caspian coast. Two of these northwestern dialects, however, survive outside the area; they are Zaza and Gorani. The Gorani moved south, but their language, now much declined, survives only in the neighbourhood of Kermanshah.[verification needed]

As the language of the Ahl-e Haqq, Gorani became the vehicle of a considerable literature. The Zazas, living adjacent to the Kurds of Eastern Turkey and often considered Kurds themselves, are thought by some to be descended from immigrants from Dailam on the southern shore of the Caspian. They retain the language of their ancestors, speakers of the southern dialect of which call their language Dimli.[verification needed]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Zaza–Gorani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Frye, Richard Nelson (1984). The History of Ancient Iran. C.H.Beck. ISBN 9783406093975.
  3. ^ Minahan, James (2002-05-30). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World A-Z [4 Volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313076961.
  4. ^ Hamelink, Wendelmoet (2016-04-21). The Sung Home. Narrative, Morality, and the Kurdish Nation. BRILL. ISBN 9789004314825.
  5. ^ Arakelova, Victoria (1999). "The Zaza People as a New Ethno-Political Factor in the Region". Iran & the Caucasus. 3/4: 397–408. JSTOR 4030804.
  6. ^ Kehl-Bodrogi; Otter-Beaujean; Barbara Kellner-Heikele (1997). Syncretistic religious communities in the Near East : collected papers of the international symposium "Alevism in Turkey and comparable syncretistic religious communities in the Near East in the past and present", Berlin, 14-17 April 1995. Leiden: Brill. p. 13. ISBN 9789004108615.
  7. ^ Nodar Mosaki (14 March 2012). "The zazas: a kurdish sub-ethnic group or separate people?". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  8. ^ J.N. Postgate (2007). Languages of Iraq, ancient and modern (PDF). Cambridge: British School of Archaeology in Iraq. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-903472-21-0. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Traditional classification tree". Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  10. ^ I. M. Nick (2019). Forensic linguistics asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants. Vernon Press. p. 60. ISBN 9781622731305.
  11. ^ "Bajalan". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Gurani". Iranica Online. Retrieved 30 May 2019.

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