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Kurdish language

NameKurdish
Nativenameكوردی, Kurdî, Kurdí, Кöрди
FamilycolorIndo-European
StatesTurkey
Iran
Iraq
Syria
Armenia
Azerbaijan (see article for full list)
RegionWest Asia
Speakers16 million (The number of ethnic Kurds is estimated to be between 25-30 million)
Fam2Indo-Iranian
Fam3Iranian
Fam4Western Iranian
Fam5Northwestern Iranian
ScriptKurdish alphabet (modified Perso-Arabic alphabet in Iraq and Iran, Latin alphabet in Turkey, Syria and Armenia, modified Cyrillic in the former USSR)
NationIraq: status as official language alongside Arabic.
Iran: constitutional status as a regional language
Armenia: minority language
Iso1ku
Iso2kur
Iso3kur
Lc1ckb|ld1=Sorani|ll1=Sorani
Lc2kmr|ld2=Kurmanji|ll2=Kurmanji
Lc3sdh|ld3=Southern Kurdish|ll3=Southern Kurdish
Lc4lki|ld4=Laki|ll4=Laki language
Lingua58-AAA-a (North Kurdish incl. Kurmanji & Kurmanjiki) + 58-AAA-b (Central Kurdish incl. Dimli/Zaza & Gurani) + 58-AAA-c (South Kurdish incl. Kurdi)
NoticeIPA

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Kurdish (Kurdish: 'Kurdî' or کوردی) is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages.

The Kurdish language itself has about 16 million speakers today. According to KONDA, 11,97% of total population of Turkey knows Kurdish as their native or second language. According to the CIA World Factbook, 9% of total population of Iran speaks Kurdish.. The actual number of ethnic Kurds is higher than speakers of Kurdish varieties, estimated to be between 25-30 million.

It exists in a continuum of dialects spoken in a geographical area spanning border regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and a small number of speakers in the South Caucasus.

There does not exist any single Kurdish language per se. What exists is the concept, a discursive construct of such a language that at best refers to a group of speech varieties which are not mutually intelligible unless there has been considerable prior contact between their speakers.

The written literary output in Kurdic languages was confined mostly to poetry until the early 20th century, when a general written literature began to be developed. In its written form today "Kurdish" has two regional standards, namely Kurmanji in the northern parts of the geographical region of Kurdistan, and Sorani further east and south. Another distinct language group called Zaza Gorani is also spoken by several millions of ethnic Kurds today and is generally also described and referred to as Kurdish, or as Kurdic languages, because of the ethnic association of the communities speaking the languages and dialects. Hewrami, a variation of Gorani, was an important literary language used by the Kurds but was steadily replaced by Sorani in the twentieth century.


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