- Kurmanji, or Bahdinani, is one of the two main Kurdish dialects or languages, the other being Sorani. There are also many different variations or dialects of each one of these main versions of the Kurdish language. Major dialects of Kurmanji include Buhtani, Bayazidi, Hakkari, Urfi, and Bahdinani proper.Kurmanji predominates among the Kurds in Turkey, Syria, the areas of Iraqi Kurdistan controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Massoud Barzani, and the former Soviet Union. It is spoken by some 15 million or half of all the Kurds. Sorani is spoken by some 6 million Kurds. It predominates in the areas of Iraqi Kurdistan controlled by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani and is also spoken by a plurality of Kurds in Iran.Dimili (Zaza) and Gurani are two other main dialects or languages spoken by a much smaller number of Kurds. Around 4.5 million Kurds speak Dimili, while some 1.5 million speak Gurani. These latter two versions of Kurdish are mainly spoken on the extreme opposite northwestern and southeastern fringes of Kurdistan, respectively. Both Kurmanji and Sorani belong to the southwestern group of Iranian languages, while Dimili and Gurani belong to the northwestern group of Iranian languages.With some difficulty, Kurmanji and Sorani speakers can understand each other, as the two only separated from each other in relatively recent times. Kurmanji, for example, retains an old gender distinction that Sorani has lost. Both, however, possess the erga-tive construction with verbs agreeing with the object rather than the subject. Dimili and Gurani do not use this grammatical construction.
Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Michael M. Gunter.
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