Calling All Kurds! (Or Kurdish speakers - especially any who are fluent in BOTH Sorani AND Kurmanji!!!!)

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ibn as-sabil's picture
Joined: 22/11/2016
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Dear Friends: Rojbash!

I would like more information about the differences between Sorani and Kurmanji (and Behdini-Kurmanji). (Apart from the differing alphabets!) I've been told that Sorani and Kurmanji are as different as English and German - is this true? Or is it only more like the difference between Dutch and German (which are still much closer to each other, than either is to English!)

How different is Behdini from Kurmanji? Is it essentially a "transitional" form of Kurmanji to Sorani -- i.e., are those aspects of Behdini which differ from Kurmanji features which are either the same as, or at least more similar to Sorani, or are they a "third dimension", common to neither Kurmanji nor Sorani?

If one wishes to ultimately master all three varieties of the Kurdish language, which one, if learned / studied FIRST, then forms the best basis for subsequently learning / transitioning to / adding the other two varieties?

Also, in Arabic, each consonant letter has four different forms, depending on whether the letter is written - at the beginning of a word, - at the end of a word, - in the middle of a word, or - standing alone, by itself. I know that (unlike Arabic), the modified Arabic script used for Sorani and Behdini also includes letters for the vowels, but what about the forms of the letters for consonants -- are there also four different forms for each of them in Kurdish, like there are in Arabic, or is there just a single form for each consonant in Kurdish, no matter where in the word it occurs?

I realize that Kurmanji is the most widely spoken form, in terms of the total NUMBER of speakers, but that Sorani enjoys greater PRESTIGE, as the language of culture and learning; of Kurdish literature and poetry, of Kurdish intellectuals and academia. But that Kurmanji is more conservative, in terms of it's linguistic structure, (morphology), having preserved more of the original grammatical forms, cases, distinctions, etc., whereas Sorani has become more "simplified" or has "degenerated" more, in terms of linguistic structures, (for example, Sorani no longer even distinguishes between subject and object forms of the first person singular personal pronouns, having only the equivalent of the English word for "me", and no longer a word for "I"; etc. etc.) -- kind of like German, (and especially Icelandic!), have both retained far more of their original grammatical structures than have either English or Norwegian!

But apart from "native-tongue chauvinism" and partiality to one's OWN mother tongue, my question is in TERMS OF LANGUAGE LEARNING: Which of the three forms initially learned would then give the student of Kurdish the best basis for, and the greatest ease, in subsequently learning the other two forms as well, and ultimately, in being able to switch back and forth between all three of them?

And in the K.R.G., how do Behdini and Sorani speakers communicate with one another?

Spas, u xelek Newroza te piroz be!