Published July 21, 2019
This video was recorded by Mohamad Saeed in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Northern Kurdish, also known as Kurmanji, is largely spoken in southeast Turkey, northwest Iran, northern Iraq, northern Syria, and the Caucasus and Khorasan regions by the Kurdish people. The Kurds are a stateless group, meaning they do not possess a state of their own and are considered a minority ethnic group within Iran, which explains the wide distribution of the Kurdish language. It is the most spoken form of Kurdish -- the other Kurdish varieties are Sorani, Southern Kurdish, and Laki. Kurmanji itself is incredibly diverse, forming a dialect continuum containing six recognized dialects: Northwestern Kurmanji, Southwestern Kurmanji, Northern Kurmanji, Southern Kurmanji, Southeastern Kurmanji, and Anatolian Kurmanji. The earliest Kurmanji records date back to around the 16th century and include the works of prominent poets like Ahmad Khani. Kurmanji is also the chosen ceremonial language of Yazidis. The Kurdish languages that form the Kurdish continuum are together an official language of Iraq alongside Arabic, a regional language of Iran, and a minority language of Armenia. Northern Kurdish was spoken by roughly 20 million people worldwide as of 2009, but that number is thought to be decreasing. Northern Kurdish belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family.