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Grammar of the Kurmanji or Kurdish Language

IT is not so long ago that Kurdish was described by travellers as a harsh jargon, a very corrupt dialect of Persian, unintelligible to any but the folk who spoke it naturally; or again by others as an artificial language composed of Persian, Armenian, and Turkish words.' It is neither of these. A little research proves it to be as worthy of the name of a separate and developed language as Turkish or Persian themselves.

The early Medes and Persians spoke two different languages, Medic or Avestic and Old Persian (that of the inscriptions), but the two tongues 'lave grown further apart than was originally the case; and while Persian has adopted almost as great a proportion of Arabic words as our own Anglo-Saxon did of Latin and Greek words to form modern English, Kurdish, eschewing importations, has kept parallel, but on different lines of grammar; and while frequently adopting a phrase or term of expression from its sister language, has retained an independence of form and style that marks it as a tongue as different from the artificial Persian as the rough Kurd himself is from the polished Persian.

The seclusion and exclusiveness which have been' its preservation have also been the means of allowing a certain development into dialects in the almost inaccessible mountains which are the home of the Kurdish nation. As little literature arose to exercise its fixing influence upon the language, there has been no impediment to the growth-each along its own lines-of the dialects, which are now very numerous.

the Kurmanji or Kurdish Language

By E.B. Soane
Author of 'To Kurdistan and Mesopotamia in Disguise', etc.
LONDON - 1913

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