A member of the North-Western Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, a subgroup of the Indo-European language family, Kurdish is the common name used to define a continuum of dialects spoken by Kurdish people living in the eastern and south-eastern Turkey, northern Syria, northern and north-eastern Iraq as well as the western parts of Iran. Within this language group, Kurmanji is the most predominantly spoken dialect in Turkey. In addition to those mentioned above, there are also Kurdish speakers in countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Russia.
Kurdish has three groups of dialects: Kurmanji, Sorani and Kelhuri, also known as Northern Kurdish, Central Kurdish and Southern Kurdish, respectively. Some argue that, apart from these, Laki may also be classified as a Kurdish dialect.
Kurmanji is the most commonly spoken Kurdish dialect. It is spoken by approximately 17 million people in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Armenia. Kurmanji is written using the Kurdish-Latin alphabet since the 1930s.
Western: Spoken in Syrian governorate of Aleppo, Turkish provinces mainly located at the west of Euphrates (Elazığ, Tunceli, Sivas, Konya, Ankara, Aksaray, Kırşehir), and Iran’s Khorasan region.
South-Eastern: Spoken in Hakkari as well as Iraq’s Duhok and Arbil regions, and Iran’s Western Azerbaijan province.
Central: Spoken in Turkey, Syrian governorate of Al-Hasakah, Iraq’s Sinjar region, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Lebanon, and Iran’s Western Azerbaijan province.
Sorani (Central Kurdish): Sorani is mostly written using the Arabic-Persian alphabet. Recently, some attempts have been made in an effort to adopt the Latin alphabet. This language is rich in terms of written sources. Today, Sorani is sought as a popular reference to derive Kurdish words for Kurmanji dialect.
Arbili, Pishdari, Kirkuki, Khanaqini, Kushnawi, Mukri, Sulaimani, Bingirdi, Garrusi, Ardalani, Sanandaji, Warmawa, Garmiyani and Jafi can be counted under this category.
A great deal of the extant Kurdish literature is written using a derivation of Arabic script. Classical Kurdish poetry as well as Diwan and Mawlid poems, and several other works of literature are written in this alphabet.
Mirora fulfills Kurdish translation requests with resources from countries such as Egypt, Iran, and using English as the pivot language. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions and prohibitions against the use of Kurdish in Turkey, translators who are fluent in this language with a competent level of grammar and expressive language skills are either non-existent or very limited in number. In the 2020s, such restrictions and prohibitions still persist on a small number of universities that host Kurdish Philology departments.
“Languages never die; in dangerous times, they take refuge in their closest one.” This article, which begins with the saying by Umberto Eco, is about more than Kurdish translation.