19th Edition

Kurdish, Central


A language of Iraq

Alternate Names
Kurdi, Sorani

4,000,000 in Iraq (2014 J. Leclerc). Total users in all countries: 7,250,000.


Northeast, south of Great Zab river, As Sulaymaniyah, Arbil, At Ta’mim (Kirkuk), and Diyala governorates; smaller area, east of Tuz Khurmatu, Salah ad Din Governorate; diaspora communities elsewhere.

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Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Kurdistan Region (2005, Constitution, Article 4(1)).


Hewleri (Arbili), Xoshnaw, Pizhdar, Suleimani (Silemani), Warmawa, Rewandiz, Bingird, Mukri, Kerkuki, Garmiyani. In Sulaimaniya, Hewleri and Kerkuki dialects seen as mutually intelligible. A member of macrolanguage Kurdish [kur].


SOV; no grammatical gender or case; noun head initial; tense-split ergative pattern; 9 vowel phonemes, 31 consonant phonemes (McCarus 2009).

Language Use

All domains. Children learn it first. Positive attitudes. Used as L2 by Macho [hac].

Language Development
Literary standard is based on Sorani (from Suleimaniye) variety. Taught in primary and secondary schools. Fully developed. NT: 1994–2011.

Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab].

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