Sorani

Overview Sorani is the second most widely spoken of the Kurdish languages. It comes from the branch of Indo-European languages common to Northwest Iran. Like its sister language of

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Overview

Sorani is the second most widely spoken of the Kurdish languages. It comes from the branch of Indo-European languages common to Northwest Iran. Like its sister language of Kurmanji, Sorani uses Subject-Object-Verb word order and circumpositions -- the use of both prepositions and postpositions for the same word. However, unlike Kurmanji, the Sorani language does not bear any grammatical gender system. There are several varieties of Sorani dialects, depending on the local tribal heritage. The dialect selected to be officially used for government papers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is the dialect from Silemani.[i] 

Sorani uses an Arabic script as developed in the 1920s by Kurdish scholar Sa’id Kaban Sedqi.[ii] 

 

History

The Kurdish people, a group indigenous to Eastern Anatolia and Mesopotamia, are the founders of the Sorani language.  Unfortunately, throughout many parts of history, the Sorani language was neglected in favor of Arabic and Persian languages. This resulted in many years of literary works being produced in other languages by Kurdish people. For example, the Kurdish scholar Sheikh Marifi Node (yi) Barzinji, born in 1733, wrote 46 notable literary works in Arabic and Persian languages and only wrote one small Arabic-Kurdish glossary in a Kurdish language.[iii]

 

Contemporary Uses

The Sorani language is primarily used by Kurds residing in or originating from the southern areas of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq or northwestern Iran. Combined, these two areas are often referred to as Southern Kurdistan. Sorani is the spoken by about 10 million Kurds world-wide.[iv]

Presently, the topic of an official language for Kurdistan is hotly debated. Some are proponents of either Sorani or Kurmanji, while others recommend that both be simultaneously taken on as official languages. The source of debate revolves around forming a singular national identity while still accounting for the variances within Kurdish culture and history.[v]

 

Common Phrases

These simple and very basic conversational phrases are useful for travelers in Kurdish areas where Sorani is spoken. Please note, the Sorani spellings are transliterations meant to assist English speakers and readers with pronunciation of the Sorani words.[vi] 

"Hello" informal - "Rozh-bash" 

"Good morning" - "Beyanee-bash" 

"Please" - "Zahmat Nabe"

"Thank you" - "Supas" 

"Yes" - "Aa" or "Balay"

"No" - "Na"

"What's your name?" - "Naw-et cheeya?"

 

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[i] "Sorani." Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region, Indiana University. Retrieved 2014-05-21.

 

[ii] "Sorani." Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region, Indiana University. Retrieved 2014-05-21.

 

[iii] "History of Kurdish Languages." Kurdish Academy of Language. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 

 

[iv] "Sorani." Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region, Indiana University. Retrieved 2014-05-21.

 

[v] "Professor, You're Dividing My Nation." The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2014-05-20.

 

[vi] "The Kurdish Language." Kurdistan Regional Government. Retrieved 2014-05-20.

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