Zazaki, Southern


A language of Turkey

Alternate Names
Dimili, Dimli, Southern Zaza, Zaza, Zazaca

1,500,000 (Paul 1998), decreasing. A few elderly monolinguals. No census made. Ethnic population: 3,000,000–4,000,000 see themselves as Zaza (Paul 1998).


East-central, Diyarbakir, Elazig and Bingö provinces. Mainly Cermik, Gerger, Egil, Siverek, Dicle, Palu, Bingöl, and Hani cities.

Language Status

4 (Educational).


Dersimki, Dumbuli (Dumbeli), Eastern Zazaki (Central Zazaki), Hazzu (Hazo), Kori, Motki (Moti), Sivereki. Dialects differ slightly, but mutually intelligible. Zaza most closely related to Gurani [hac]; also related to Gilaki [glk], Mazanderani [mzn], and Balochi [bal].


SOV; noun head initial; numerals, demonstratives, and quantifiers precede head; 2 genders; 3 cases: nominative, oblique, vocative; content-question word position in situ; split ergative system

Language Use

In urban areas children still learn only L1 at home. Home, neighborhood, friends. All ages. Increasingly positive attitudes. About 80% also use Turkish [tur]; about 20% Kurmanji-Kurdish [kmr].

Language Development
Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions.
Latin script.
Other Comments

Muslim (Sunni).