Wed, 14/05/2008 – 15:22 — Admin
Being an Indo-European language, a Latin-based alphabet better suits this vowel-rich language than a Semitic-based medium, like Arabic. Nevertheless, an Arabic-based alphabet is not in itself a source of disadvantage for development of Kurdish literacy or literature. The monumental mass of classical and modern literature in Persian-the Indo-European sister language to Kurdish-is the obvious proof. Nonetheless, as the majority of Kurds today use some form of Latin-based alphabet for their writing of Kurdish, and adoption of a Latin based system into growing electronic communication and archiving technology is easiest, a unified Kurdish alphabet based on Latin is a more logical choice. At the end Kurdish will find a home among the most Internationally recognised scripting system ISO-8859-1 as well.
Nevertheless by looking into the history of Kurdish Orthography we shall see that codification of the writing system for Kurdish is all introduced existing cases have proceeded along two lines: (a) the phonemization of the alphabet by adding diacritical marks to the letters of the Arabic alphabet, or adaption from various existing alphabet in Roman and Cyrillic version, and (b) the possible purification or Kurdification of the alphabet by omitting letters that do not represent any phonemes of the Kurdish language. The latter trend partially overlaps with the former.
Kurdish like its sister languages Spanish, Italian, and Swedish is phonemic based language. The codification by modern phonemic alphabet such as Latin will ease the spelling and learning process as well as widen the flexibility in electronic medium. These facts are the necessity to increase the workability and feasibility of Kurdish language among all its speakers. Kurds are probably the only nation that is in the process of nation building in modern time with language issue, but they can be among the luckiest one since they can deal with this issue with a enormous experience and resource of other nations.
By considering the Arabic scripts Kurds need to realize that the insufficient representation of the vowels, together with other problem related to the shape of the letters (e.g., their cursive nature, a great number of letter-variants and numerous dotes), have led many Arab reformers since the mid-19th century to either improve the existing system or to replace it by the Roman script.
The problems with this alphabet increase when it is used to represent the phonemic repertoire of the Kurdish language -29 consonants and 9 vowels. Eight of the consonants /p, v, ll, rr, c, jh, g/ do not exist in Arabic and as result, do not appear in the alphabet. Of the nine vowel only three /a, í, ú/ (similar to Arabic long vowels) have been traditionally represented by ی , ا and و as the case with Arabic. The complication is, however, more serious in Kurdish since one letter, ی , is to represent four front vowel /í, é, i/ while و , is used for three back vowels /u, ú/ and /o/.
Kurdish with a Pluricentric character is sharing the same issues as Spanish and Portuguese languages therefor Kurdish should be able to choose similar approach with a unified Orthographic system to meet its enormous shortcomings.
Kurdish need to choose wisely and pave the future its speakers!