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The town of Shakhty, the Rostov region, 85-B Pobeda Revolutsii Str., 3rd floor, office 5

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The Kurdish language

Kurdish (Kurdish: Kurdî or ?????) 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.

History

Although Kurdish has a long history, little is known about Kurdish in pre-Islamic times. Among the earliest Kurdish religious texts is the Yazidi Black Book, the sacred book of Yazidi faith. It is considered to have been authored by Hassan bin Adi (b. 1400 AD), the great-grandnephew of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, the founder of the faith, sometime in the 13th century AD. It contains the Yazidi account of the creation of the world, the origin of man, the story of Adam and Eve and the major prohibitions of the faith. From the 15th to 17th centuries, classical Kurdish poets and writers developed a literary language. The most notable classical Kurdish poets from this period were Ali Hariri, Ahmad Khani, Malaye Jaziri and Faqi Tayran.

The Italian priest Maurizio Garzoni published the first Kurdish grammar titled Grammatica e Vocabolario della Lingua Kurda in Rome in 1787 after eighteen years of missionary work among the Kurds of Amadiya. This work is very important in Kurdish history as it is the first acknowledgment of the originality of the Kurdish language on a scientific base. Garzoni was given the title Father of Kurdology by later scholars. The Kurdish language was banned in a large portion of Kurdistan for some time. After the 1980 Turkish coup d'état until 1991 the use of the Kurdish language was illegal in Turkey.

(from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia)