Kurdish, Northern


A language of Turkey

Alternate Names
Kermancî, Kirmancî, Kurdi, Kurdî, Kurmancî, Kurmanji

15,000,000 in Turkey (McCarus 2009), decreasing. Very provisional figures for Northern Kurdish speaker population. Population total all countries: 20,222,890. 3,000,000 monolinguals. Especially in Hakkari and Shirnak provinces.


Widespread, especially east and southeast.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Ashiti, Bayezidi, Boti (Botani), Hekari, Marashi, Mihemedî, Shemdinani, Shikakî, Silivî. Dialect differences but all use the same written form. A member of macrolanguage Kurdish [kur].

Language Use

Home, market, political situations. Many are adults above age 30. Positive attitudes. 80% also use Turkish [tur]. Also use Northern Zazaki [kiu], Southern Zazaki [diq]. Used as L2 by Hértevin [hrt], Southern Zazaki [diq].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Overall about 83%, but not differentiated by L1 or L2 usage. While overall speakers are decreasing, literates are increasing. Many literary works from 16th and 17th centuries onward. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 2008.

Arabic script [Arab], used in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Cyrillic script [Cyrl], used in Russia and Armenia. Latin script [Latn], developed in 1932, used in Turkey.

Other Comments

Muslim (Sunni), Muslim (Alevi), Yezidi.

Also spoken in:

Expand All Collapse All