History of the Kurdish Language

Kurdish is the language of the Kurds belonging to the north-western group of Irano-Aryan languages. It does not have the standardized linguistic entity and therefore it does not integrate itself with any other language. Besides, it cannot be recognized as an official or a state language. The languages such as Balochi, Talysh and Gileki are closely related to Kurdish and belong to the north-western branch of the Iranian languages.

Its dialects have distinct similarities and are divided into 3 groups, the northern being the biggest group in terms of the number of people. The Kurds living in Turkey, USSR, Syria and some parts of Iran and Iraq speak Kurdish, which is also commonly known as ‘kurmanji’. The language is also popular in some parts of Kabul.

Majority of the Kurdish vocabulary is of the Iranian origin, especially of north-western Iranian. Some south-western loanwords are said to have become part of the language, in the form of poetry.

It is true that earlier the Kurdish language was neglected by its intellectuals and its myths and legends were abandoned.

Today, the Kurdish language has earned the status of being called the official language of Iraq. However, it is banned in Syria where publishing any material in Kurdish is considered unlawful. The Turkish government, in the year 2002, had prohibited the use of Kurdish in education as well as broadcast media. The Kurdish alphabet, therefore, hasn’t yet been recognized in Turkey and has forbidden the use of alphabets such as X, Q and W. However, teaching Kurdish in private institutions is allowed but the courses have not seen much acceptance. In Iran, the language usage is limited to some local newspapers and media.

In the year 2006, Turkey lifted its partial ban on the language and allowed its use in private television channels for 45 minutes in a day or 4 hours in a week. This excluded the children’s cartoons and education programs. Fortunately, most of these restrictions were relaxed in the mid 2009.

Today, one can see many Kurdish blogs where the Kurdish speaking internet users can express themselves explicitly.

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