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Central Kurdish dialects group

Central Kurdish dialects group, also called Soraní, is the language of a plurality of Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan (Kurdistan in Iran) and Southern Kurdistan (Kurdistan in Iraq), with about 8 million speakers. Major subdialects of Central Kurdish dialects are Mukrí, Erdelaní, Germíyaní, Soraní, Xushnaw, Píjhder, Píraní, Wermawe, and Hewlérí (or Soraní proper). A line can be drawn to divide Soraní-speaking areas into a Persianized southeastern section and a more orthodox northwestern section, running from Bíjar to Kifrí, (See the map). The ergative con-struction in the Persianized Soraní has begun to disappear, while it is being retained in the non-Persianized northwestern section. Also, under the influence of Arabic and Neo-Aramaic languages, the northwest section of Soraní has acquired two fricative sounds (faucalized pharyngeal fricative 'ayn, and hâ), absent from other Kurdish, and in fact Indo-European languages.

Soraní is a recent labelling after the name of the former principality of Soran. In Silémaní, the Ottoman Empire had created a secundary school (Rushdíye), the graduates from which could go Istanbul to continue to study there. This allowed Soraní, which was spoken in Silémaní, to progressively replace Hewramí as the litterary vehicle. Mackenzie writes that the present Kurdish standard called Soranî is in fact a idealized version of the Silémaní dialect, which uses the phonemic system of the Píjhdar and Mukrí dialects. Objections have been made to th name Soraní on the grounds that the name of one dialect, Sonarí, spoken in the region Soran should not br extended to cover a group of dialect (E. M. Rasul, Núserí Kurd, No. 4, Nov. 1971).


  1. Dr. A. Hassanpour, Nationalism and Language in Kurdistan 1918 - 1985, Mellen Research University Press, USA, 1992
  2. Jemal Nebez, Toward a Unified Kurdish Language, NUKSE 1976
  3. Prof. M. Izady, The Kurds, A Concise Handbook, Dep. of Near Easter Languages and Civilization Harvard University, USA, 1992


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