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Kurdish language courses a first at Bilgi

ISTANBUL - While the heated subject of Kurdish language lessons continues to be debated among universities, Istanbul’s Bilgi University made the first step forward by becoming the first university in Turkey to offer Kurdish language and literature as a part of its curriculum.

In the second semester of the 2008-2009 academic year, Bilgi University’s literature faculty added Kurdish to its list of language courses, which includes Russian, German, Japanese, French and Spanish. The decision to include Kurdish among the other languages was made by the president of the Turkish Higher Education Committee, or YÖK, and Bilgi University’s governing body in order to cater to students who wish to learn the language formally.

The Kurdish course will be divided into two sections. The first will look in detail at the roots of the language and its development over the years, focusing on the varying regional dialects. Part one of the course will look at the formal rules of spelling and grammar with the aim to teach students Kurdish expressions in the first few lessons. The second section of the course will look at the Kurdish alphabet and its history and the roots of words. The sessions will focus on the development of vocabulary and practical speaking.

In conjunction with the launch of the new course at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, the Turkish European Human Rights Court, or AİHM, charged Kocatepe University in Afyon for depriving a group of 18 students from their educational rights after expelling them for requesting Kurdish lessons in 2002. It is expected that Bilgi University’s signature launch of the language course will encourage other universities to follow suit and include Kurdish language and literature courses in their curriculum. Kurdish lessons will be open to all students from all faculties at Bilgi University.

Source: Hürriyet Daily News

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