Kurdish, Central


A language of Iraq

Alternate Names
Kurdi, Sorani
زمانێ سۆرانی‎ (zimanê soranî)

4,000,000 in Iraq (Leclerc 2014b). Total users in all countries: 4,527,000.


Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta’mim (Kirkuk), and Diyala governorates; Salah ad Din governorate: east of Tuz Khurmatu; all areas are south of Great Zab river; 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. Bible: 2017.


Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab], primary usage.

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