Kurdistan Regional Government
SUN, 18 NOV 2018 12:53 Erbil, GMT +3

The Kurdish language



Kurdish, the most widely spoken language in the Kurdistan Region, is in the Indo-European family of languages.

The Kurdistan Region’s official languages for government purposes are Kurdish and Arabic.

The two most widely spoken dialects of Kurdish are Sorani and Kurmanji. Other dialects spoken by smaller numbers are Hawrami (also known as Gorani) and Zaza.

The Sorani Kurdish dialect uses Arabic script while the Kurmanji Kurdish dialect is written in Latin script. Sorani is spoken in Erbil and Slemani governorates, while Kurmanji is spoken in Duhok governorate and some parts of Erbil governorate. As the Region’s Kurdish-language media has developed and the population has moved, today nearly all people in the Kurdistan Region can speak or understand both of the major dialects. The Kurdistan Regional Government’s policy is to promote the two main dialects in the education system and the media.

Arabic is also an official language and is widely spoken or understood. Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic and Turkmani are also spoken by their respective communities.

The Kurdistan Regional Government promotes linguistic diversity and rights, and schools have been established that teach mainly in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Turkmen and Arabic.

Conversational phrases in Kurdish, Sorani and Kurmanji

A few basic expressions in the Sorani and Kurmanji dialects.

English Sorani Kurdish Kurmanji Kurdish   
Hello
Good morning
Welcome! (on arrival)
Goodbye
Thank you
You’re welcome
How are you?
Are you well?
I’m fine, thank you
What’s your name?
My name is John
What would you like to drink?
Tea (without sugar)
Please
Where is the bazaar?
Where is the Khanzad Hotel?
Yes
No
OK
 
Rozh-bash
Beyanee-bash
Be kher bi(t)
Khwa-hafees
Supas
Ser chaw / Sha-ee neeya
Chonee?
Bashee?
Bashem, supas
Naw-et cheeya?
Naw-em John-ah
Chee dakhoy?
Chai (bey shakir)
Zahmat Nabe
Bazaar le chweya?
Otel Khanzad la chweya?
Aa / Balay
Na
Bale
Rozh-bash
Beyanee-bash
Be kher hati
Khwa-hafees
Supas/Mamnoon
Ser Chaava
Chaawayi?
Bashee?
Bashem, supas
Nav-ey ta cheeya?
Nav-ey min John-ah
Chi vadkhui?
Chai (bey shakir)
Bey Zahmat
Bazaar la kidareya?
Otel Khanzad la kidareya?
Aa / Balay
Na
Bale/Arey



Note: The spellings used here are transliterations from English, to make it easier for non-Kurdish speakers to read the pronunciation.



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