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A proposal for Latin based Kurdish alphabet

In the case of the recent debate regarding Standardisation of Kurdish language I have different view and I would like to forward my proposal below. I was born in Amed in 1968. I was graduated from French philology in Ankara. I worked in Istanbul Kurdish Institute for 4 years. Then I have worked as English and French teacher, and translator more than ten years.

A proposal for Latin based Kurdish alphabet

Raif Yaman

We have written a lot of proposals on Latin based Kurdish alphabet so far. Sometimes we have tried to create an alphabet similar to Turkish one, sometimes we wanted to have the world easiest one, and we tried to form the simplest alphabet for writing our language. Sometimes we have studied just one of our dialects especially Kurmanji or Sorani. We rarely think of the most answerable alphabet and writing system for all dialects of Kurdish. We do not have to create the world simplest or most difficult writing system for our language. This proposal may help us to create the most answerable alphabet to write Kurdish.  

There are some exceptions in this proposal. I think they do not make difficult the language. People do not learn languages by themselves, but in schools or courses. English and French do not have the easiest alphabet or orthography. This reality does not prevent them to become two common international languages. When we need to learn a language we learn it with its rules.  

The Kurdish most important problem is that we still do not have a common language. We have a lot of dialects. The Kurds cannot understand each other because of different dialects. After the step of forming a common writing system for all of our dialects we have to start to create our lingua franca from all the words of all Kurdish dialects, as soon as possible. We need a Kurdish Language Academy where the scholars graduated from linguistics or philology departments of universities will be able to study together to realize this very important mission. The people who learn this common language will understand all of Kurdish dialects easily. 

Alphabet

Majuscules: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Minuscules: a, b, k, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z 

No Letters It sounds like in Some Kurdish Words
1 A arm, fast, butter abori, adar, ager, ali, ari, aso
2 B brother ba, bend, bir, boran, buhar
3 C C before A, E, I, O, U in Spanish and English ca, car, com, con, coco, culav, Curdi, caerr, cuel, cuem, ced, cera, ci, cinema, cirk
4 D did dar, dem, din, dor
5 E hat, ten, spoken, French et, clé, dés endam, economi, em, ev; haten, hengev, goten; ave, bare, cale
6 F fall fani, ferat, ferr, fistan, fort, froten
7 G Get gav, geli, gihanden, gli, Goran, gran, guhar
8 H how, a special Kurdish guttural sound hay, heiro, hevi, Hewraman, hina, hozan, hur, hunder; cahr, mahr, tahl, tahzsi, czahv, tuhok
9 I see, sit ijar, iman, incar, inni, irani
10 J job jan, jem, jerr, jeirr, jiran, jot, juten
11 K key ka, ken, kel, kem, keya, ki, yek, czak, czek, cok,
12 L leg lal, lem, lei, lis, Lor, lur
13 M man mag, mard, meh, meir, mi, mor, mu
14 N no na, neh, nei, nir, no, nu
15 O door, saw ogher, ox, ol, opera, ordek, ordi
16 P Spanish P: Pablo, pero par, peya, pe, pir, ponezsin, pung
17 Q Arabic Qatar qad, qet, qern, qerrin, qiz, qor, qut, qurf
18 R red, parity rast, reng, rend, re, ri, roz, ru
19 S so sar, ser, seng, sev, si, Soran, spi, susek
20 T train and Spanish te, té, ta, te, tei, tir, to, tou, tu, Terki, teir, tum
21 U out, too, Kurdish ud, uti, bun, hun, cur, zu; Curmanji, gulan, Curdi
22 V voice va, vedan, verr, vei, vin, volcan
23 W window wan, we, wei, wi, wulo
24 X German ch: achtung, buch. xani, xelat, xem, xev, xox, xuz, xwenden
25 Y yes, system yar, yek, yom
26 Z zero, zoo zar, Zaza, zer, zendi, zin, zor, zu

Some basic rules:

  1. There are more than forty diagraphs to separate the writing of homonyms, hynonyms and show the other different words. The highlighted 11 of them are much more important than the others in our writing system. We use three of these eleven important diagraphs, sh, xw and zh, everywhere not just to separate one word from other: 
    aa [a], ae [ae] and [e], ai [ae], au [o] and [o:], ea [ae] and [e], ee [ı] and [ı:] ei [é] and [é], ou [u] and [u:] ie [i] and [i:] ii [i] and [i:], oo [u] and [u:], ou [u] and [u:], ue [é] and [é:] bh [b], ch [ts], dh [d], fh [f], gh [gh], jh [j], kh [k], mh [m], nh [n], ph [p], qh [q], rh [r], sh [sh], sz [sh], td [t], th [t], ts [ts], xv [xw], xw [xw], vh [v], wh [w] zh [zh], zs [zh]:  
    xwaar, zraav, baer, daest, bei, wei, bair, jaut, laur, bear, geer, biera, wii, boom, boum, hour, bue, lue, bhend, chek, cho, dhin, magh, fhit, jhel, khar, kheir, khal, lhei, mhat, nhav, phar, phan, phin, qham, rhast, shadi, shar, shev, shin, shokh, shushten, szar, szin, tda, tha, thei, thu, tsek, tsem, xvar, xwaren, xwasten, xwe, xwenden, vhedan, wher, zhan, zhenin, zher, zhin, zhor, zhuni, zsar, dezsi        
  2. The letter Y is usually used as a morpheme between two vowels. Among the same vowels and i…a, i…e, (ae and ei), i…o, i…u, o…a, u…o, u…a, u…e (ae) it is usually not a morheme and pronounced like Y in YES. However there are exceptions in both cases. There are five diphthongs:
    ay, ey, iy, oy, uy:
    jaya, maya, dayik, payiz sayi, aghaye, kaye, naye, aghayo, ciyayo, amadeyi, gedeye, heye, keya, serevdeye, penahendeyo, sherpezeyo, biyani, zhiyan, aliyek, briye, xwendiye, bazhariyo, zendiyo, mriyo, hemwelatiye, rendiye, wi triyi, wi gundiyi, goya, koye, coye, goyi, koyi, koyo, reshoyo, rendoyo, bebuya, buye, cuye, cuyei, hatebuya, muyin, peshtuyi, ruye, touya
  3. We can write all phonetics stressed by doubling the same consonnants like bb, dd, kk, ll, rr, nn etc. in and at the and of the words:
    berrin, gelle kurd, kerrin perr, rebbe aleme, haddad, shekkal, tunne, be rumetter
  4. Our nasal sounds are very similar to the French nasal sounds:
    ban, bun, cun, don, gewen, gran, kon, lan, nalin, men, ron, zen, zhan, zin   
  5. We have several blends like br, cr, dr, fr, gr, kr, mr, str, tr, zr; bl, cl, dl, gl, kl, pl, ql, sl, sp, st
    bra, cra, drezh, frar, gring, kren, mren, stran, tri, zrav, blur, clo, dlop, gli, klit, pleng, qloc, slav, spi, star
  6. It is possible to write Arabic AYN with five basic vowels, a, e, i, o, u:
    alem, areb, awr, ayni, erd, ilm, Isa, bellui, orin, Umre, Umer
  7. It is possible to write Arabic GHAYN and HA using the phonemes /g/ and /h/. In case of hynonym and homonym we should write gh instead of g:
    aga, geyda, gedar, gurbet, magh, megel, haj, hejer, hut.
  8. The monemes ze, zi and the words including roz should be considered as exceptions. Because of their high percentage of using it is better to write them without using zh diagraph.
  9. We should use the letter Y to separate homonyms and hynonyms: ary, byr, shyn
  10. If we use a writing system like that we have to give the pronuniation of all of our words in the dictionaries.
  11. The letter X should be used for the same voice in words which come from Latin and Germanic languages: taxi, extra, maximum, express 
  12. For foreign geographical words and private names from the languages of the nations that do not use latin alphabet we must use our common diagraphs with English, ch, gh, kh, sh, zh, because they are more international. Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Aleksander Solzhenitsin, Ali Sheriati, Ayetullah Khumeyni, Baghdad, Chad, Chechenia, Muhammed Khatemi, Mikhail Sholokhov, Khristos Zoumis, Pervez Musherref, Salman Rushdi, Shimon Peres, Zalmay Khalilzad 
  13. It is better to write the foreign scientific words like or near their original pronunciation: arkeologi, biologi, communist, digital, economi, internacionalist, psicologi, socialist, sociologi, stacion, televizion 
  14. We must write the name of people who use a version of Latin alphabet as their original. If they include letters that are different from 26 letters of alphabet, we must write them with one of 26 letter which is very near as a symbol: Albert Camus, Miguel de Cervantes, Ernesto Che Guevara, Francois Mitterand, George Washington, Goran Bregovic, Hans Christian Andersen, Ho Chi Minh, Isaac Asimov, Ismail Besikci, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, John Baez, Nazim Hikmet, Nelson Mandela, Yasar Kemal 
  15. We should write the first letter of national, linguistic, locale adjectives and nouns as majuscule not minuscule: Afgan, Amedi, Bengali, Berlini, Chini, Curd, Curdi, Dersemi, Duhoki, Ermeni, Faresi, Flaman, Flamani, Frenk, Frenki, Grek, Greki, Gurji, Hewleri, Hewrami, Hindi, Ibrani, Inglesi, Iraqi, Israili, Italian, Italiani, Mehabadi, Merdini, Mesri, Pakistani, Ruski, Slivi, Suryani, Urdui, Tehrani, Terk, Terki, Wani, Yemeni 
  16. We should write the first letter of the names of months and seasons with majuscules: Rebendan, Reszemi, Mard (Adar), Avrel, Gulan (Mais), Puszper, Temmuz (Tirmeh), Gelawezs, Rezber (Kela Rezan), Kewczer, Sermawez, Berfanbar; Buhar, Havin, Paiz, Zevestan.  
  17. We should write the names of the days with minuscules, if there is not an orthographic reason like to be the first word of the sentence etc.: szemi (szembe), yekszemi (yekszembe), duszemi (duszembe), ceszemi (ceszembe), czarszemi (czarszembe), penjszemi (penjszembe), ini (heyni)                

Linguists and philologues who think we need a reform on Latin based Kurdish alphabet can send their opinions and comments about the above proposal to my email address at raif@ymail.com 

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