Official languages in Iraq


Official languages in Iraq

Vahid, Tue, 2015-01-27 14:47
Language Status
ISO 639-3: 

Article 4: First: The Arabic language and the Kurdish language are the two official languages of Iraq. The right of Iraqis to educate thei r children in their mother tongue, such as Turkmen, Syriac, and Armenian shall be guaranteed in government educational institutions in acco rdance with educational guidelines, or in any other language in priv ate educational institutions. Second : The scope of the term “official la nguage” and the mean s of applying the provisions of this article shall be defined by a law a nd shall include: A. Publication of the Official Gazette, in the two languages; B. Speech, conversation, and expression in official domains, such as the Council of Representatives, the Council of Ministers, courts, and official conferences, in either of the two languages; C. Recognition and publication of offici al documents and correspondence in the two languages; D. Opening schools that teach the tw o languages, in accordance with the educational guidelines; E. Use of both languages in any matter enjoined by th e principle of equality such as bank notes, passports, and stamps. Third : The federal and official institutions and agencies in the Kurdistan region shall use both languages. Fourth : The Turkomen language and the Syri ac language are two other official languages in the administrative units in which they constitute density of population. Fifth : Each region or governorate may adop t any other local language as an additional official languag e if the majority of its population so decides in a general referendum.


Ethnologue Editor, Wed, 2015-02-11 09:01

Vahid, The Ethnologue is current on the language status of Central Kurdish [ckb] in Iraq. Article 4 of the Constitution does specify Arabic [arb] and C.entral Kurdish as official languages of Iraq, particularly in the autonomous area of Kurdistan. Moreover, from the website of the Kurdish enclave, it is quite apparent that both languages are actively used in communication with its citizens, according to the strictures of the constitution. The language status is "statutory provincial language", EGIDS 2. So, no change is needed.

The issues with Syriac [syc] and Turkmen [tuk] are much more problematic. There are obvious legal limitations on the actual use of these languages despite the right granted for education and preservation of the tongues. We show no information whatsoever on Syriac, not even guesses at a speaker population, or general usage. Outside research suggests that Syriac is spoken in minuscule surviving Christian groups. I do not think Syriac should qualify for any official status and the regional data field justifies a “scattered” evaluation.

Turkmen shows a very small population but carries the educational marker of EGIDS 4. Its speaker communities may very well be scattered, too. It might merit Recognized Language status but little more, at least for the present.

Ethnologue Editor, Tue, 2015-06-02 09:16

No action taken.