The cultivation of the Kurdish language is due largely to the efforts of individuals. Organized linguistic and cultural activity by the Kurds has generally been considered “illegal” in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
Individuals have contributed to language reform in different capacities–as journalists, translators, broadcasters, lexicographers, grammarians, prose writers, etc. Special studies are required to assess the role of individual reformers, although it is known that the personalities listed at “Linguistic figures section” of this web site, have consciously devoted much of their work to development of Kurdish language.
The first group efforts at language reform began early in this century by Kurdish nationalist political organizations in the Ottoman Empire.
Aware of political and financial restrictions on organized cultural and literary effort, Kurds in Iraqi raised the demand for a government-sponsored language academy. As early as 1927, Peyje (No. l, p.44) called for the formation of a scientific society (Cem’iyetí Me’arif).
When the Iraq Scientific Academy was founded by the Ministry of Education in 1947, the Kurdish press demanded the formation of a similar organ for the Kurdish language. Nizar, for example, called for the establishment of an academy (No. 4, May 15, 1948:6-8) and a chair of Kurdish language and literature at Baghdad University (No. 11, August 31, 1948, pp. 9-10), asking the Kurdish intellectuals to form a “Translation and Publishing Committee” in spite of financial problems (Ibid.). In 1957, Jîn (No. 1342, April 25) demanded the formation of a language academy. Also, Jemal Nebez (1957:70; 1957a: p. w) emphasized the need for a ‘language academy’ or “Korrí Zaniyarí Zimanewaní.”
During the early years of the Republican regime, demands for a language academy were voiced by the Kurdish Democratic Party (e.g., in Xebat, July 28, 1960), the press (e.g., Jhín, December 17, 1959), individuals (e.g., in Rojhí Niwé, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1961, pp. 75-76), and in 1959 and 1960 by the first and second congress of Kurdish teachers. In spite of an initially positive response by the government in February 1960 (Rojhí Niwé, Vol. 1, No. 5, August 1960, p. 68), these demands were eventually turned down as being unnecessary and prejudicial to national unity (al-Zamán, March 9, 1960 quoted in Middle East Record, Vol. 1, 1960, p. 257).
The following list of organization is a brief biography of group efforts that dealt with Kurdish language planing and cultivation.