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Kurdish Reader

Éditeur : Harrassowitz Date & Lieu : 2011, Wiesbaden / Allemagne
Préface : Amir Hassanpour Pages : 282
Traduction : ISBN : 978-3-447-06527-6
Langue : Anglais, KurdeFormat : 170x240 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Ang. Ku.Thème : Linguistique

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Kurdish Reader

Kurdish Reader

Khanna Omarkhali


The Kurdish Reader comprises an exciting collection of texts in Kurmanji, the northern dialect of the Kurdish language. It is designed to help students with a basic knowledge of the Kurdish language to enhance their fluency by studying a variety of texts ranging from literary and folklore to non-narrative prose works. The first part of the book focuses on the literary works, both prose and verse, from all parts of the Kurmanji speaking countries. Many of the texts were produced in Armenia where the dialect evolved its written tradition. This is the first collection incorporating material from this important literary and cultural heritage. As the first part of the book presents the development of written tradition, part two introduces the reader to a range of variants of Kurmanji from Turkey, Armenia, Russia, Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenia, and Khorasan, each conveying the richness of their forms. This part of the Reader is of interest for Kurdish Oral History Studies too for it consists of various recordings of historical information, based on the personal experience of the speakers. The Reader contains two Kurdish — English glossaries and a grammar section. This constitutes a comprehensive outline of the subjects under study along with a fundamental description of the cornerstones of Kurmanji grammatical categories, and explanations of the main discrepancies between the local Kurmanji variants and the literary language with examples taken from the selections. Additionally, the book offers English translations of selected texts with an English—Kurdish dictionary of linguistic terms.


I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to Prof. Amir Hassanpour for writing the Preface for the reader. I have also benefited from the help of colleagues and friends for advice about content and structure dur-ing my work on the book. I am indebted to Dr. Pavel Basharin who kindly read the grammar outline and offered valuable comments. My deepest ex-pression of appreciation goes to Mrs. Lynne Colley (Shina) M. A. for her valuable advice and help with the English language.

Most of all, I would like to express my deepest thanks to my parents Zina and Riza Usoyan for their moral support and all the people who inspired me to publish this book.

Göttingen, Spring 2011
Khanna Omarkhali (Usoyan)


This is an exciting collection of texts in Kurmanji, the main dialect of the Kurdish language. It is designed to help students with a basic knowledge of the language to enhance their fluency through the study of a variety of texts ranging from literary and folklore to non-narrative prose works. My goal in this preface is to place the readings in the context of the troubled history of the language, to map the place of Kurdish in the emerging world linguistic order, and to draw the contours of Kurmanji in the sociolinguistic chart of Kurdish dialects.

The Kurdish Language
In terms of the number of speakers, Kurdish ranks fortieth among the world's 6,600 to 7,000 languages.' The numerical strength of the language has, however, been undermined by the division of its speech area and speakers among five neighbouring countries of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Armenia, and the adoption, by these nation-states, of policies ranging from linguicide (Turkey 1925-1991, Iran, 1920s-1941, Syria since the mid-1960s) to tolerance (Syria in the mid-1930s and WWII to 1958) and officialization on the local level (USSR and Iraq). In this changing geopolitical environment, Kurdish is now one of the two official languages of Iraq while it is denied many rights including native-tongue education in all neighbouring countries.

Although writing, in its alphabetic forms, dates back to seven millennia ago, the majority of the languages of the world have, until quite recently, remained unwritten. At the same time, languages are extremely unequal in terms of the scope of writing and literary traditions. Although the physical landscape of Kurdistan is decorated with inscriptions in extinct ancient languages and scripts, writing in Kurdish has a more recent beginning in the sixteenth century when two dialects, Kurmanji and Hewrami, began a literary tradition, predominantly in poetic form. Later in the early nineteenth century, another dialect, named Sorani since the 1960s, developed its written tradition, followed by occasional writing in other dialects.

The three literary traditions were poetic with only a few prose works, which were mostly non-narrative. This literary spark, much like that in Azeri, Pashtu or Baluchi languages, was overshadowed by the brilliant and rich literary traditions of Arabic and Persian, the dominant classical languages ...

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