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Soranî ( ; also called Central Kurdish) is the name of a Kurdish language that is spoken in Iran and Iraq and such is a member of the Iranian languages. Soranî belongs to one of the main Kurdish languages.


To refer to southern Kurmanji dialects as Soranî is a recent naming by linguists after the name of the former principality of Soran. Mackenzie writes that the present Kurdish standard called Soranî is in fact an idealized version of the Silêmanî dialect, which uses the phonemic system of the Píjhdar and Mukrî dialects. Objections have been made to the name Soranî on the grounds that the name of one dialect, Soranî, spoken in the region Soran should not be extended to cover a group of dialect (E. M. Rasul, Núserí Kurd, No. 4, Nov. 1971).


Ottoman Times

In Silemanimarker (Sulaymaniyah), the Ottoman Empire had created a secondary school (Rushdíye), the graduates from which could go to Istanbulmarker to continue to study there. This allowed Soranî, which was spoken in Silémaní, to progressively replace Hewrami (Gorani) as the literary vehicle.


Since the fall of the Bathist regime in Iraq, there has been more opportunity to publish work in the Kurdish language in Iraq than in any other country in recent a result Sorani Kurdish has become the dominant written form of Kurdish.


Sorani Kurdish is written in a modified Arabic script; This is in contrast to the other Kurdish dialect, Kurmanji which is spoken mainly in Turkeymarker and is usually written in the Latin alphabet.

However, since the recent decade, official TV in Iraqi Kurdistan mostly use Latin script for Sorani.


Areas where Sorani is spoken.
The exact number of Sorani speakers is difficult to determine, but it is generally thought that Sorani is spoken by between seven and twelve million people in Iraqmarker and Iranmarker. It is the most widespread speech form of Kurds in Iran and Iraq.
Around 3.5 Million of the Kurds in Iran. Located south of the Urmia Lakemarker that stretches roughly to the outside of Kermanshahmarker.
Around 3.5 million of the Kurds in Iraqmarker, including the Soran clan. Most of the Kurds who use it are found in the vicinity of Hewlêrmarker (Arbilmarker) , Sulaymaniyah (Silêmanîmarker) , Kerkukmarker and Diyala governates.

Colloquial subdivisions

Following includes a traditional internal subdivisions of Soranî however nowadays due to media and communications most of them are regarded as an accent of standard Soranî:

  • Mukrî; it is the language spoken in south of Lake Urmiamarker with Mehabadmarker as its center including cities: Bokan, Sardasht, Piranshahr, Oshnowiya, Naxede. A region traditionally called Mukrian.
  • Erdelanî, the region corresponding to modern Kurdistan province of Iran
  • Germíyanî, Kirkuk area
  • Xoşnaw
  • Píjhder
  • Wermawe
  • Hewlêrî, It is spoken around in the city of Hewlêr (Arbilmarker) in Iraqi Kurdistanmarker. Its main particularity is changing consonant /l/ into /r/ in many words.

As an official language

A recent proposal was made for Soranî to be the official language of the Kurdistan Regional Government. This idea has been favoured by Soranî-speaking Kurds but it has disappointed Kurmanjis.

Grammatical features

There are no pronouns to distinguish between masculine and feminineand no verb inflection to signal gender.

After publishing The Persian Today Corpus (The Most Frequent Words of Today's Persian), as a main program, the writer, Iranianmarker Kurdish-language scholar, Hamid Hassani, is supposed to prepare a Soranî Kurdish Language Corpus, consisting of one-million words.

Dictionaries and Translations

There are a substantial number of Soranî dictionaries available, amongst which there are many that seek to be bi-lingual.

English and Sorani
  • English-Kurdish Dictionary by Dr. Selma Abdullah and Dr. Khurhseed Alam
  • Raman English-Kurdish Dictionary by Destey Ferheng

As a main program, Iranianmarker Kurdish-speaker scholar, Hamid Hassani, is supposed to prepare a Soranî Kurdish Language Corpus, consisting of one-million words.

The standard word-order in Sorani is SOV (subject-object-verb).

Sorani and Kurmanji(Northern Kurdish) comparison

Sorani Kurmanji English
min ez I

dest dest hand
to tu you
ew ew him/her

See also


  1. Iraqi Kurds
  3. Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iraq
  4. Kurdish language issue and a divisive approach | Kurdish Academy of Language
  5. Kurdish Sorani language developmental features
  6. Sorani Kurdish, A Reference Grammar with Selected Readings, by W. M. Thackston


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