Dilan Majid Rostam Roshani (Kurdish: Dílan Mejíd Rostem Roshaní, دیلان مەجید روستهم رۆشانی) was born in 1968. His ancestry is found in the Bajalan tribe of Binkúre in vicinity of Khanaqin. His father Majíd is the son of Rostam Axa the son of late Majid Axa Bajalan.
Roshani went to exile in Sweden in early 80s where resided in Gothenburg, where upon finishing high school, he entered into a MSc program in Engineering at Lulea University and then the Chalmers Technical University. He graduated in 1997. During his spare time he followed his life time interest in language engineering by studying Computational Linguistic as free-mover student. His interest for computer applied engineering gave him the opportunity to start work for a Norwegian IT consultancy in Oslo/Norway, from 1998 to 2001. In 2001 he commenced his doctoral education on Collaborative Integrated Design using Internet technology at the Nottingham University in Great Britain, receiving his PhD degree in Civil and Structural Engineering.
During this period Roshani became interested in learning and teaching Kurdish in particular his mother tongue dialect of South Kurdish at early age. Being a native Kurd without a country the Internet was best place to build his classes and promote his culture. While the Internet access at the age of UNIX machine and NCSA Mosaic bowers in early 1993 was a lucrative tool provided to University student only, he published the first Kurdish related web page “Kurdistan” on the Internet. The page was spotted by a UN employee in Switzerland who wanted to be of service to Kurds. In a collaborative effort they established a major scholarly network and introduced the website “Kurdistan Web” online.
Due to the lack of reliable information source on Internet Roshani undertook the creation of a project with Nation/Global interest. In 1996 Dilan incorporated “Kurdistan Web” in a new initiative namely the Encyclopaedia of Kurdistan KURDISTANICA online. Roshani has been managing and directing the project of KURDISTANICA ever since. KURDISTANICA is constantly growing and it is serving a wide range of callers. It receives over 1000 visitors per day.
Roshani is also the founder in late 1992 of a linguistic group to work towards creating e-learning sources for South Kurdish group of dialects. In doing so, he soon realised the major obstacles in Kurdish writing practices that neither comply with International standard nor usage flexibility cross dialects (read more in FAQ question section on KAL’s website). Since the early 20th century the Kurds have been writing their language and dialects in four different non-standard scripting systems. Kurdistan geopolitical condition has never allowed for a nation wide research to initiate a reform of these writing practices. Many pioneers of the Kurdish codifications did already predicted necessary reform after a period of wide public practical writing experiences, such as Prince Jeledet Bedr Xan in 1932.
Instead of choosing between four different non-standards writing systems for his own dialect, he aimed to modify, standardise and simplify a most futuristic one and introduce the Kurdish Unified Alphabet “Yekgirtú“. His research showed that many scholars and linguists had/have been advocating the suitability of Latin based alphabet for Kurdish writing practice. Scholars such as T. Wahby, J. Bedr Xan, J.Nebez, M.Izady, A.Haji Marif, and A. Hassanpour have emphasised that Latin based alphabet for Kurdish would be more suitable. Nevertheless some of the Yekgirtú proposal has become popular choice of the Kurdish writing practice over the Internet such as /c/, /é/, /ll/, /rr/ and /sh/.
The innovation became the ground for two new web project of Kurdish Academy of Language and xuwarin.com. Through these projects Dilan put in practice the easiness, capability, workability and feasibility of Yekgirtú alphabet. Dilan and Mr Hémin Zéhawí a former school teacher managed to write the first ever Kurdish textbook for South Kurdish dialects (Alfabéy Nú) using Yekgirtú alphabet in 1998. Dilan rewrote two of the most popular Kurdish textbooks for North (Alfabe by Mehmed Emin Bozarslan from 1968) and Central Kurdish (Elfúbéy Kurdí by Amin Balder from 1952) dialects using the new the Yekgirtú alphabet. These books are available for public use at KAL website.
He strongly advocates for a Unified Alphabet as the ultimate solution to Kurdish language issue. This will promote all dialects of Kurdish but using one single alphabet to write them. A strong, workable, feasible and popular one will naturally find its way to become a link for all of them. This is the way it has worked for Spanish, Italian and many other sister languages of Kurdish, but they created an environment for it. He believes that with 80% illiteracy among Kurds in their mother tongue and all the modern world experiences available, one can only be the winners by planning Kurdish future.
Linguistic related Publication
- Introduction to Yekgirtú alphabet, 1995, KAL website
- Alfabéy nú , Kurdish textbook for south Kurdish, 1998, Oslo
- Ré rast nùsanini Kurdí, Kurdish grammar book for south Kurdish dialect, 2000, Olso
- IT the dilemma of the Kurdish language, 2001
- e-University for Kurdistan, series of presentations, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
- Writing in Yekgirtú alphabet, series of presentations, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
- Nation State building or language planning, 1st Intl. KAES Conference, UCLA, CA, USA, 5th Nov 2010