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Monday, September 26, 2011

Time for a unified Kurdish language

Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani

Ako Muhammed
Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani urged linguists to work together in order to establish a standard language for written Kurdish.

Barzani discussed a standard language and a number of political issues in a meeting during his visit to Soran on Sept. 20. Heading a governmental delegation, President Barzani launched a series of visits to Kurdistan Region towns.

In Koya, he promised locals he would promote the status of the town to a semi-independent administrative unit. He also declared Soran an administrative unit. The delegation also visited Suleimaniya on Sept. 21 and Khanaqin and Kalar on Sept. 22.

Unifying Kurdish dialects into one standard academic language has been a matter of debate among linguists in Kurdistan, focusing on school curricula.

"Every nation has diverse dialects and we are like any other of those nations. But they have been able to agree and create one language for the written word. We need that, too," said Barzani noting that it is possible to standardize Kurdish.

"We must work for the coming generations so when they learn at school, they have one (unified) language for reading and writing." President Barzani asked for efforts by linguists to bring the written differences closer but said the spoken language should keep its dialects.
Although they are all Kurdish, dialects differ from one city to another and even from one village to another. Kurdish has four main dialects, all of which are used in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region: Sorani is spoken in Erbil, Suleimaniya and Kirkuk provinces despite regional dialect difference among them. Badini is spoken in Duhok province and in some towns in Erbil and Ninewa provinces. Hawrami is spoken in some southeastern towns of Suleimaniya. Kalhurri is the tongue of Khanaqin in Diyala province.

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