Kurdish is the cover term for a bundle of closely related west Iranian languages, spoken across a large area of the Middle EaSIcenteringal1he intersection of the Turkish Iranian and Iraqi national borders. The number of speakers is variously estimated at between 20 and 40 million. Traditionally three major dialect clusters are identified: The Northern Group often re¬ferred to as Kurmanji (also spelt Kurmanjî, Kurmanci, Kurmancî) the Central Group often referred as Soranî: and the Southern Group.
In terms of numbers of speakers, the Northern Group is the largest, encompassing all the Kurds of Turkey' and Syria, plus the northernmost Kurds of Iraq (Zakho. Dohuk), Kurds of west Iran around Lake Urmia, plus outliers in Azerbai¬jan, Armenia, and Georgia. The Central Group includes most of the Kurds of Iraq around the cities of Suleimania, Kirkûk and Erbil, plus speakers in Iran around the cities of Sanandaj and Kermanshah. While the distinction between Northern and Central Group Kurdish is not controversial, the exact demarcation of the Southern Group remains hotly disputed, but I will not enter these issues here. This chapter is concerned solely with the Northern Group of Kurdish.
Speakers of the Northern Group have maintained long-standing relations with speakers of many languages. Alongside the national languages such as Arabic Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian. Persian, Turkish and Russian, there has been contact with numerous minority languages, for example varieties of Eastern Neoaramaic some indigenous languages of the Caucasus, Turkoman, varieties of Romani (see for example the Chapter on Domari), to name but a few. Obviously it is not possible to cover the full range of contact situations and outcomes in the space of this chapter. Instead I will be focusing on the Kurdish of Central Anatolia and restricting the analysis to the impact of the (now) major contact language, Turkish. The areas considered are Mus, Erzrum and Tunceli where contact with Turkish has tradition¬ally been fairly strong and where the number of other languages involved is somewhat less than in many parts of the Kurdish speech zone.
Grammatical Borrowing in Cross-Linguistic Perspective
Edited by Matras, Yaron; Sakel, Jeanette
Berlin, New York (Mouton de Gruyter) 2007
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