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Languages of Iraq

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Republic of Iraq, al Jumhouriya al'Iraqia. 25,374,691. National or official languages: Standard Arabic, Kurdi. Literacy rate: 60% to 70%. Also includes Egyptian Spoken Arabic (450,000), Syriac, Turkish (3,000), Turkmen (227,000), Turoyo (3,000). Information mainly from A. M. Maclean 1893; T. Sebeok 1963; T. M. Johnstone 1967; H. Kloss and G. McConnell 1974; O. Jastrow 1978; W. Fischer and O. Jastrow 1980; B. Ingham 1982; R. D. Hoberman 1988a, b; M. Izadi 1993. Blind population: 75,000 (1982 WCE). Deaf population: 1,205,930. Deaf institutions: 5. The number of languages listed for Iraq is 22. Of those, 21 are living languages and 1 is extinct.

Living languages

Adyghe

[ady] 19,000 in Iraq (1993).  Alternate names: West Circassian, Adygey.  Classification: North Caucasian, West Caucasian, Circassian 
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Arabic, Gulf Spoken

[afb] 40,000 in Iraq. Population total all countries: 2,338,600. In and around Zubair and on the Fau Peninsula. Also spoken in Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. Alternate names: Khaliji, Gulf Arabic.  Dialects: Zubair-Faau Arabic.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Judeo-Iraqi

[yhd] 100 to 150 in Iraq (1992 H. Mutzafi). Most in Israel. Alternate names: Iraqi Judeo-Arabic, Jewish Iraqi-Baghdadi Arabic, Arabi, Yahudic.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Mesopotamian Spoken

[acm] 11,500,000 in Iraq. Population total all countries: 15,100,000. Tigris and Euphrates clusters are in Iraq. Also spoken in Iran, Jordan, Syria, Turkey (Asia). Alternate names: Mesopotamian Qeltu Arabic, Mesopotamian Gelet Arabic, Baghdadi Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Furati.  Dialects: Anatolian Cluster, Tigris Cluster, Euphrates Cluster. Geographical and sectarian divisions correlate with Iraqi dialects. The vernacular standard is forming based on Baghdad speech. There are also Bedouin dialects. Nearly unintelligible to speakers of certain other vernacular Arabic varieties.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Najdi Spoken

[ars] 900,000 in Iraq. Central Najdi is spoken by Bedouin in the western desert, North Najdi by Bedouin in the south between the rivers up to the Syrian border. Dialects: North Najdi (Shammar), Central Najdi.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, North Mesopotamian Spoken

[ayp] 5,400,000 in Iraq (1992). Population total all countries: 6,300,000. Along most of the Tigris and part of the Euphrates valleys north of Baghdad. Also spoken in Jordan, Syria, Turkey (Asia). Alternate names: Syro-Mesopotamian Vernacular Arabic, Moslawi, Mesopotamian Qeltu Arabic.  Dialects: Very close to Judeo-Iraqi Arabic, but there are important sociolinguistic differences.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Standard

[arb]  Middle East, North Africa. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Armenian

[hye] 60,000 in Iraq.  Dialects: Western Armenian.  Classification: Indo-European, Armenian 
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Assyrian Neo-Aramaic

[aii] 30,000 in Iraq (1994). Population total all countries: 210,231. Ethnic population: 4,250,000 (1994). Northern Iraq, Baghdad, Basrah, Karkuk, Arbil. Also spoken in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia (Europe), Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey (Asia), United Kingdom, USA. Alternate names: Lishana Aturaya, Suret, Sooreth, Sureth, Suryaya Swadaya, Assyrian, Neo-Syriac, Assyriski, Aisorski, Assyrianci.  Dialects: Close linguistically to other Northeastern Aramaic varieties. Inherent intelligibility is hard to estimate due to intense exposure of most speakers throughout the Assyrian diaspora to many dialects, especially to Urmi and Iraqi Koine. Only because of this exposure is actual intelligibility between different dialects as high as 80% to 90%. Subdialects of the Urmian group: Urmi, Sipurghan, Solduz; of the Northern Group: Salamas, Van, Jilu, Gavar, Qudshanis, Upper Barwari, Dez, Baz; of the Central Group: Mar Bishu, Nochiya (Shamezdin), Tergawar, Anhar; of the Western Group: Tkhuma, Lower Barwari, Tal, Lewin. The Sapna cluster includes Aradhin, Tina, Daudiya, Inishke, Benatha. Standard literary Assyrian is based on Urmi. Many speakers have left the original areas and have developed a common spoken and written form based on the prestigious Urmi dialect as spoken by those from Iraq living in Baghdad, Chicago, and elsewhere (Iraqi Koine). Most Christians understand it. The Urmi subdialect of this language is different from the Urmi subdialect of Lishán Didán. All dialects of Western, Northern, and Central Assyrian are spoken in Syria.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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Azerbaijani, South

[azb] 300,000 to 900,000 in Iraq (1982). Kirkuk City, Arbil, Rowanduz, towns and villages southeast from Kirkuk as far as Al Miqdadiyah, Khanaqin, and Mandali; also several places in the Mosul Region. Dialects: Kirkuk.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Azerbaijani 
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Bajelani

[bjm] 20,000 (1976 Sara). Qasr-e Shirin, Zohab, Bin Qudra, Quratu, north of Khanaqin, also in Mosul Province. Since late 1980s, many have become displaced. Alternate names: Bajalani, Gurani, Chichamachu, Bajoran, Bejwan.  Dialects: In the Gurani and Zaza group.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Zaza-Gorani 
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Chaldean Neo-Aramaic

[cld] 100,000 to 120,000 in Iraq (1994 Mutzafi). Population total all countries: 206,000. Originally in central western and northern Iraqi Kurdistan and some in bordering Turkey. Now in Mosul, Baghdad, Basrah, southeastern Iraqi Kurdistan. Also spoken in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Lebanon, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey (Asia), USA. Alternate names: Chaldean, Kildani, Kaldaya, Neo-Chaldean, Modern Chaldean, Sureth, Soorith, Soorath, Suras, Lishana Kaldaya, Fellihi, Fallani.  Dialects: Mangesh, Alqosh, Tel Kepe, Tisqopa, Bartille, Shirnak-Chizre (Bohtan), Dihok. High intelligibility of Lishana Deni and Ashirat (western dialect group of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic); little or no intelligibilty with other Northeastern Aramaic varieties. Comprehension among all of these improves with contact.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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Domari

[rmt] 22,946 in Iraq (2000 WCD).  Alternate names: Middle Eastern Romani.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Dom 
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Farsi, Western

[pes] 227,000 in Iraq (1993).  Alternate names: Persian.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Gurani

[hac] 21,099 in Iraq (2000 WCD). Several hundred thousand for group of Gurani speakers in both Iraq and Iran (Blau 1989). Population total all countries: 44,047. Near Halabja, east of Suleimaniye, Topzawa near Tawuq, pockets ('islands') from Mosul to Khanaqin. Also spoken in Iran. Alternate names: Hawrami, Hewrami, Hawramani, Gorani, Macho.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Zaza-Gorani 
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Koy Sanjaq Surat

[kqd] 800 to 1,000 (1995 H. Mutzafi). Northern Iraq, town of Koi-Sanjaq, and nearby village of Armota. Alternate names: Koi Sanjaq Soorit, Koy Sanjaq Soorit, Koi-Sanjaq Sooret, Koy Sanjaq Sooret.  Dialects: Related in certain morphological and lexical respects to Senaya.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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Kurdish, Central

[ckb] 462,000 in Iraq (2004). Population total all countries: 3,712,000. South of the Great Zab River, in Suleimaniye, Arbil, Kirkuk, and Khanaqin and Mandali provinces. Speakers have also been displaced. Diaspora communities in other areas, including western Europe, USA. Also spoken in Iran. Alternate names: Kurdi, Sorani.  Dialects: Hewleri (Arbili), Xoshnaw, Pizhdar, Suleimani (Silemani), Warmawa, Rewandiz, Bingird, Mukri, Kerkuki, Garmiyani.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Kurdish 
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Kurdish, Northern

[kmr] 2,800,000 in Iraq (2004). Northern Kurdish is spoken north of the Great Zab River, in Dohuk and Mosul provinces. Speech varieties, such as Surchi, sharing elements of both Northern and Central Kurdish, are spoken near the Great Zab River. Many speakers have been displaced since the late 1980s. Alternate names: Behdini, Bahdini, Badinani, Kirmanciya Jori, Kurmanji.  Dialects: Surchi, Akre, Amadiye, Barwari Jor, Gulli, Zakho, Sheikhan.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Kurdish 
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Kurdish, Southern

[sdh]  South of Xanaqin, Kirind, and Qorwaq. Dialects: Kolyai, Kermanshahi (Kermanshani), Kalhori, Sanjabi, Maleksh ahi (Maleksh ay), Bayray, Kordali, Feyli, Luri.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Kurdish 
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Sarli

[sdf] Fewer than 20,000. North of Mosul, also in Kirkuk Province, many are displaced. Alternate names: Sarliya.  Dialects: In the Gurani (Gorani) and Zaza group.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Zaza-Gorani 
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Shabak

[sdb] 10,000 to 20,000 (1989 Blau). In villages of Ali Rach, Yangija, Khazna, Talara, north of Mosul, but since late 1980s, many have become displaced. Dialects: In the Gurani (Gorani) and Zaza group.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Zaza-Gorani 
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Extinct languages

Jewish Babylonian Aramaic

[tmr] Extinct.  Alternate names: Babylonian Talmudic Aramaic.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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