Northern Kurdish (Kurdiya jorîn, کوردیا ژۆرین‎), also called Kurmanji (Kurmancî, کورمانجی‎), is a group of Kurdish dialects predominantly spoken in southeast Turkey, northwest and northeast Iran, northern Iraq and northern Syria. It is the most widespread dialect group of the Kurdish languages. While Kurdish is generally categorized as one of the Northwestern Iranian languages along with Baluchi,[119] it also shares many traits with Southwestern Iranian languages like Persian, apparently due to longstanding and intense historical contacts, and some authorities have gone so far as to classify Kurmanji as a Southwestern or "southern" Iranian language.[5]

Scripts and books

Northern Kurdish is written using the Latin script in Turkey, where most of its speakers live, as well as in Syria. Northern Kurdish is the most widely spoken Kurdish language, being spoken by 80% of all Kurds. The earliest textual record of a Kurdish language dates to the 16th century.[119]

Kurmanji is also the ceremonial language[176][7] of Yazidism. The sacred book Mishefa Reş (the "Yazidi Black Book") and all prayers are written and spoken in Kurmanji.


Northern Kurdish forms a dialect continuum of great variability. Loosely, five dialect areas can be distinguished:[14]

The most distinctive of these is Badînî.[6]


The first Kurmanji dictionary was Nubihara Bicukan by Ahmed Khani. Baran Rizgar from Mardin Province wrote a pioneering Kurmanji dictionary in the 1980s. In 1998 Salah Saddulah from Zakho published a huge English-Kurdish dictionary. The strength of this dictionary was that Salah Saddulah in attempted to find words for many English terms but his work was very idiosyncratic and who has now been superseded by its inclusion within wiki wiktionary. He gave the Kurdish people many definitions for words his work was not just a word list. Michael Chyet was another pioneer who contributed both regional variations and sources. Other dictionaries that have contributed to the progress of the language include Mohammad Ameen Dusky and the Judy dictionary. Also Sadiq Bahadin worked as a teacher in Baghdad and helped to promote the Behdini dialects when Sorani held sway. Hussein Mohammed a Kurd from Zakho in Finland has been the most significant figure contributing to the Kurdish Wiktionary. The impact of media (Rudaw, K24) the way Kurdish has become established as a bistandard language because most Kurds can understand either Latin script Kurmanji or Arabic script Sorani.

See also