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Complex and Compound Adverbs in Kurdish and English

A Descriptive and Contrastive Study
of Complex and Compound Adverbs in Kurdish and English
Hiva Asadpour

Abstract: The present study aims to describe some prominent syntactic features of the two main Kurdish dialects Sorâni and Kurmânji. Kurdish is an Indo-European language (also sometimes referred to as an Indo-Iranian language) (Minorsky, 1927, 2003; Mackenzie, 1959, 1961; Kalbasi 1982; Oransky 2000; Sadeghi, 2002 cited in Asadpour & Pahlavannijad, 2007) having more than 25 million people as its native speakers the majority of whom dwell in the Middle East (Leezenberg, 1993; Hassanpour, 1989, 1992, 1995; Sment, 1996 cited in Sheykhoislami, 2001). Sorâni and Kurmânji are the main dialects of Kurdish which are spoken in Western Azerbaijan (Leezenberg, 1993; Nezami 2006; Asadpour & Pahlavannijad, 2007)

The study starts with the description of some syntactic features of the aforesaid dialects, including compound and complex adverbs and further makes a contrast between them and those of English. The examples taken from the Kurdish dialects are transcribed within the framework of the standard generative phonology (IPA model).
40 subjects from each dialect participated in the study. The subjects were educated Kurds aged between 18 and 24. They were quite able to comprehend written and spoken Persian as their second language. A questionnaire was designed so as to elicit the Kurdish equivalents to 120 items. The items were Persian sentences in two categories as follows:

  • Category I; linguistic items including AdvP ; (syntactic feature I)
  • Category II; sentences including AdvCla.; (syntactic feature II)

The questionnaire required the subjects to provide Kurdish equivalents for the items in each category. To avoid ambiguity and the interference of Persian structure and lexis, the researcher guided and helped the subjects throughout the process of administration of the questionnaire and provided clarifications whenever necessary. The data collected from the questionnaires were used as a basis for the description of compound and complex adverbs in the two Kurdish dialects. Having described the syntactic features, the researcher set out to compare and contrast them with the same syntactic features in the English language.

The study concludes with a complete description of compound and complex adverbs in the two Kurdish dialects and further points out the similarities and differences in the formation and order of the above features in Kurdish and English. For instance, it was found that Kurdish dialects do not propose any rigid predetermined rules to form adverbs as English does and whatever rules they employ are not formally clear and the reason is that there is no deep and systematic exploration, explanation and description of Kurdish syntactic structures which need further studies. Moreover, compound and complex structures in the Kurdish dialects were found to be as complicated and sophisticated as those of English and in some cases even more complex. Generally, the study presents some unique facts about compound and complex structures in Kurdish. The findings and pedagogical implications of the study can serve as a basis for material development considerations and syllabus design of EFL textbooks for Kurdish EFL learners or of Books on Kurdish intended for the English-speaking communities who need to learn Kurdish and for Kurdish PFL learners who are interested in learning Persian and vice versa.

Keywords: Kurdish, Kurdish Dialects, Sorâni, Kurmânji, English, Syntactic Feature, Description, Contrastive Analysis, Compound Adverb, Complex Adverb.

The Proceeding of the 2nd National Conference on Iranian Linguistics, Languages, Dialects and Inscriptions, 3-6 March 2009, Research Institute to the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (RI-ICHHTO); Linguistics, Inscriptions, and Text Research Center (LITRC), Tehran, Iran.

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