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Old October 7th, 2017, 10:37 AM   #21
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Shia Kords in Iran do not wish to be a part of any other country beside Iran.
Well feylis in east and southwest are anyways not part of any Kurdish separatist movements. I am only referring to those in western and north western Iran
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Old October 7th, 2017, 10:55 AM   #22
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Shia Kords in Iran do not wish to be a part of any other country beside Iran.
Pretty sure a Kurdistan would only consist of the Kurds in northern Iraq and Syria that have autonomous control of their regions at this moment, rather than being a state consisting of all Kurds in the Middle East.
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Old October 8th, 2017, 01:13 PM   #23

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Firstly my question was in linguistic context if all Kurdish areas in Turkey,Iran, Iraq and Syria form a new nation called Kurdistan. This assuming to be a secular democratic state with non Arabs like Assyrians constituting as protected minorities. Assuming this to be somewat of a socialist state.

Now the main question, what would be the script(Cyrillic,Roman,Perso-Arab) and what about the Kurdish language.

I propose a solution that either a new Proto Kurdish language be created which borrows liberally from all dialects. Or dialectal differences get respected and a multi lingual Kurdish population be developed through educational system. This would involve Sorani and Kurmanji speakers to learn Sorani and Kurmanji compulsorily, along with English as a language of instruction for science and other secular subjects. Kurdish history and culture be also taught to all. For those who speak a different dialect other than Sorani and Kurmanji; they must choose to learn one of these two dialects apart from their own native dialect. Plus they should also learn English.

Now to come to the script. Considering that a vast majority of Kurds are Kurmanji speakers(roughly 70% I believe) and they also have a handicap of having a less developed and standardised literature, hence, they start with some handicaps even in the above proposed model. Now to equalise the playing field, between them and Soranis, I propose a Roman script that Kurmanji speakers in Turkey use. Cyrillic is used by only fringe Kurdish people in Soviet areas. Hence, it is not even an option. Since Perso-Arabic would be a tougher script to adopt than vice-versa plus using Roman script would allow Soranis to adopt western languages also quickly is an added advantage. For somewhat more religious minded Kurds, they can choose to learn Persian and Arabic in the Madrasahs, if they want but outside the main schooling system.

Non Kurdish minorities must also learn one of the 2 main Kurdish dialects along with their own tongue and English. All official documents could be published in both Sorani and Kurmanji. Or it could be writen originally in English and then translated to the two tongues. The use of English would help uniting disparate linguistic groups through a common medium and at the same time help in making Kurds more accessible to international job market.

I believe this would permanently solve all linguistic, cultural barriers between the Kurds. Your thoughts on my solution to this problem?Any suggestions, improvements or modifications to the same, kindly state.Thanks.
The literacy rate is already poor among Kurds, you are effectively making all literate Kurds non-productive. Not only this will not solve communication problem, but will make things MUCH worse.

Also, if you do not provide a material need for learning Kurdish, those who do not know it will not learn it. There are Balkan immigrants in Istanbul who still can not speak Turkish or Kurds in South Eastern Turkey who can't speak a single Turkish word.

I find your design rather poor.

Last edited by turing; October 8th, 2017 at 01:16 PM.
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Old October 8th, 2017, 01:50 PM   #24

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I think it's an unrealistic idea because it's highly unlikely that the different areas of greater Kurdistan will ever be united politically.

In Iraqi Kurdistan an adapted Arabic script is used. Most people are also familiar with the Latin alphabet. I don't have statistics on this but among people I know almost everyone is familiar with both scripts. And many people I know only have a primary school education and don't speak English but they are literate so I don't think it's accurate that literacy is low.

In Iraqi Kurdistan education is in Kurdish. If we're talking about Turkey that's a totally different story of course. I think it's rare to come across Kurds in Turkey who can't speak Turkish aside from elderly women in villages. At least that's my experience.
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Old October 8th, 2017, 06:48 PM   #25
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I think it's an unrealistic idea because it's highly unlikely that the different areas of greater Kurdistan will ever be united politically.

In Iraqi Kurdistan an adapted Arabic script is used. Most people are also familiar with the Latin alphabet. I don't have statistics on this but among people I know almost everyone is familiar with both scripts. And many people I know only have a primary school education and don't speak English but they are literate so I don't think it's accurate that literacy is low.

In Iraqi Kurdistan education is in Kurdish. If we're talking about Turkey that's a totally different story of course. I think it's rare to come across Kurds in Turkey who can't speak Turkish aside from elderly women in villages. At least that's my experience.
What about Syrian and Iranian Kurds ? How are their preferences on script? Having a common script and my three language scenario will atleast create some cohesion. Need not be one nation. Do you think this formula can work. Which dialect of kurmanji would work best for standardisation for most people including badinis.
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Old October 11th, 2017, 04:37 AM   #26
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Well feylis in east and southwest are anyways not part of any Kurdish separatist movements. I am only referring to those in western and north western Iran
Your post made me realize that I should have used the term Feyli (Peyli) Kurds instead of Shia Kurds. I read that until the 18th century the Peylis adhered to the Assyrian Church, but were as attached to Iran, I assume. When it comes to Peylis and the rest of Iranians, religion is subordinate.

Last edited by MiddleEast; October 11th, 2017 at 04:46 AM.
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Old October 11th, 2017, 09:20 PM   #27

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Sorani is the most common dialect in Iraqi Kurdistan and spoken in the main urban centers in Erbil and Suleimaniyah and Kirkuk and Kurmanji is spoken in a smaller region around Duhok so I think Sorani would be the more logical choice if there was preference given for an official language there.
This Sorani, cud it be in any way associated with Syrian, or perhaps Assyrian? Perhaps a corruption or derivative?
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Old October 12th, 2017, 02:14 PM   #28

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I'd like to clear up some misconceptions.

Kurmancī and Soranī are the main two Kurdish dialects, with Kurmancī being by far the greatest, spoken by about 60-70% of all Kurds. Contrary to what some think, it's not only spoken by Northern and Western Kurds (from Turkey & Syria), but also in parts of South Kurdistan (Iraq) and Eastern Kurdistan (Iran).

Click the image to open in full size.

Kurmancī writing can be traced to the 15th century, and is thus older than Soranī. Sorani and Kurmanci aren't mutually intelligible, at least, not in first instance. The vocabulary of the two actually are quite similar, but there are some grammatical differences which must be learned. When done so, educated Kurmanci and Sorani speakers can understand eachother reasonably well. Interestingly, many of the differences between Kurmanci and Sorani can be explained by the large influence Gorani has had on the latter. Seeing as Gorani used to be more widespread, it's evident that a language shift to Sorani has occured, which has left a Gorani substratum.

The proper classification of the southern dialects still confuse me. Hewrami seems to be sub-dialect of Gorani, but the intelligibility of say, Laki with other dialects is unknown to me.

Zazaki is another interesting case. Though theories of Daylamite descendance seem possible, they aren't watertight, and the first clear accounts of the Zazas happened many centuries after the Daylamites had disappeared. Zazaki writing also seemed to have appeared quite late, like late 18/early 19th century. Kurmancī has also had a large influence on Zazaki (which is otherwise considered to be closer to Gorani and Caspian dialects), and in pre-modern times, many Zazas (as well as other minorities, such as Jews, Armenians and Assyrians) knew Kurmanci as well. Sorani & Kurmanci Kurdish also have had a particularly large influence on the Aramaic dialects in the region.

Now, Kurmanci is taught in Armenia iirc, and since a couple of years has received limited attention in Turkish education as well. There are university courses for Kurdish (both Kurmanci & Zazaki), and when the parents of 10 high school students in a particular class demand as such, the students can receive 2 hours of language class per week. Imo, full education in the mother tongue is long overdue, but it's at least a step in the right direction.

A standardized literary Kurmanci thus exists - more or less. Efforts for this have been made since the early days of Kurdish nationalism, and there are certain writers and their works who have received great attention and respect in this regard. Though there are regional varieties in Kurmancī, they do not differ dramatically in grammar, (except for Bahdini, which is Sorani-influenced Kurmanci) but since most Kurmanci speakers aren't familiar with standardized Kurmanci, differing accents and vocabulary (some are more purely Kurdish/Iranic, others more Turkish or Arabic influenced) can hamper smooth communication. Some writers also choose to use the particularities of their regional variety in their works.

If you ask me, education in the local dialect + Kurmanci + other languages (English or regional languages) is the best way to preserve the diversity, and have the struggles of non-Kurmanci speakers not be in vain, and still have a lingua franca in which everyone can communicate. Kurmanci being in the Latin alphabet only helps with this fact. However, I'm speaking in this case of a hypothetical united Kurdistan; in South Kurdistan Sorani is obviously the privileged dialect which it'll likely remain for some time to come.

Some sources (which in some cases contradict each other):
Gorani Influence on Central Kurdish: Substratum or Prestige Borrowing?
On the Linguistic History of Kurdish
Zīn-ə Hördemīr: A Lekī Satirical Verse from Lekistan (with background on Laki writing)
The Position of Zazaki among West Iranian Languages
Kurmanji Grammar (a good introduction)
A larger book on Kurmanci in French, written by Celadet Bedr Khan and Roger Lescot

Last edited by Znertu; October 12th, 2017 at 02:25 PM.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 02:37 PM   #29

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What do you think about the differences among the dialects themselves?

I found for example, in Zakho they would say "To la kive?" for - Where are you? And in Turkey they would say, " To ku derey yi?" for the same thing. And then in Sorani it's, "To la kweyt?" I'm not that familiar with Kurmanji but it seemed to me like what they spoke in Turkey was really different from Iraq even just among Kurmanji itself but a lot of it may be the Arabic loanwords they used. It seemed to me in Erbil they also use more Arabic loanwords than in Sulaymaniyah but even in Sulaymaniyah you'll often hear people say something like, "Achin bo mustashfa," instead of "Achin bo naxoshxana."

When I was in Hakkari I thought it was really interesting how people would say bajan rash for eggplants and bajan sur for tomatoes. I hadn't heard this in Iraq. I just heard baynjan and domates.

But when looking at Kurdish language material from Turkey I wondered if they had a lot of neologisms many people weren't familiar with and you often see this in Iraq too. Like people will say andazyar for engineer when mohandis is still more common. This comes out a lot in writing as well where people will say like waziri darawa for foreign minister in newspeak when waziri khariji is sometimes more common using the Arabic word. Also a lot of people only have a primary school education so they may not be familiar with formal Kurdish.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 03:05 PM   #30

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What do you think about the differences among the dialects themselves?

I found for example, in Zakho they would say "To la kive?" for - Where are you? And in Turkey they would say, " To ku derey yi?" for the same thing. And then in Sorani it's, "To la kweyt?" I'm not that familiar with Kurmanji but it seemed to me like what they spoke in Turkey was really different from Iraq even just among Kurmanji itself but a lot of it may be the Arabic loanwords they used. It seemed to me in Erbil they also use more Arabic loanwords than in Sulaymaniyah but even in Sulaymaniyah you'll often hear people say something like, "Achin bo mustashfa," instead of "Achin bo naxoshxana."

When I was in Hakkari I thought it was really interesting how people would say bajan rash for eggplants and bajan sur for tomatoes. I hadn't heard this in Iraq. I just heard baynjan and domates.

But when looking at Kurdish language material from Turkey I wondered if they had a lot of neologisms many people weren't familiar with and you often see this in Iraq too. Like people will say andazyar for engineer when mohandis is still more common. This comes out a lot in writing as well where people will say like waziri darawa for foreign minister in newspeak when waziri khariji is sometimes more common using the Arabic word. Also a lot of people only have a primary school education so they may not be familiar with formal Kurdish.
The similarities with Bahdini and standard Kurmanci are more clear if you put it this way:
'To la ki ve?' (if that is indeed the proper Bahdini way)
'Tu li ku (derź) yī'

'Der' means place and is not necessary in this sentence, even though it's often used.

There indeed seems to be large differences in regions concerning lexically 'purity'. I've never been to Erbil, but I know that it nowadays also has a large Arab population of which many refuse to learn Kurdish (correct me if I'm wrong), which might explain some of the Arabic influences. However, classical Kurmanci writers also appear to have used many Arabic words, while using the Kurdish equivalent in other verses or even side-by-side; indeed there's a rhetorical device where the authentic Kurdish word and the loan word are used in succession in the same phrase.

Surely, a number of words are neologisms, other Kurdish words were simply preserved in limited areas and then given new life in standardized Kurmanci to the detriment of loan words. Just look at this series by the Kurdish Institute of Paris, wherein they often focus on the vocabulary of a particular region; the material to draw from is pretty big:

KIP 1-59

This is an interesting article btw:

KURDISH LEXICAL MODERNIZATION AND PURIFICATION

The best source for Kurmancī vocabulary is Wikiferheng, in the search bar you can use English & other words to search for their equivalents in Kurmanci.

And, lastly, a project by the University of Manchester, a database of Kurdish dialects, with maps, speech samples etc. Dialects of Kurdish.
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