About this Site
We hope this site will be a help to English speakers wanting to learn the Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish. There are a number of helpful resources that teach from Turkish to Kurmanji or German to Kurmanji. While there are a few helpful resources in English for studying Kurmanji, we are not aware of any comprehensive resource in English that provides grammar explanations, audio and video helps, texts and dialogues and workbook type exercises.
This site takes a fairly traditional approach in moving from the basic to advanced grammar points, building on foundational patterns and climbing toward advanced structures and topics. We have tried to create lessons that are bite sized chunks instead filling each lesson with lots of grammar points. We hope to help learners hear and see what they are learning by providing lots of audio resources, along with a little video content. The exercises are aimed to help learners apply grammar structures and vocabulary with real life examples.
You will notice that no dialogues or texts appear until Lesson 8. However, after Lesson 8, most, if not all, of the lessons will include texts or dialogues which reflect real life situations or topics. So, hang on until that point!
We encourage you to take the time to learn the vocabulary in each lesson well. It is tempting to skip over the vocabulary, but words are essential building blocks of language. Knowing the vocabulary well will assist you in being able to focus on the structure of the language as you do the exercises, rather than having to constantly check the dictionary while trying to remember the grammar structures as well.
Finally, as much as possible, this site will attempt to explain grammar points in simple language and avoid highly technical grammatical terms. For those grammar geeks, we may occasionally offer more detailed explanations on separate pages.
A Note on Variety in Kurmanji
If you know anything about Kurmanji, you know that it has no universally accepted standard, for lots of reasons. Vocabulary can vary significantly from region to region (for example, see the “Dialects” section of this Wikipedia entry.) Grammatical structures and usage can vary as well.
Often Kurmanji possesses multiple words for the same object, action or concept. (For example, “to speak” can be peyivîn, axifîn, or xeberdan.) We will sometimes give multiple Kurmanji words for an English word, but in most cases we will not attempt to give lots of alternatives in order minimize confusion and frustration.
The Kurmanji presented on this site may reflect the closest thing to an accepted standard of what is generally spoken in the Diyarbakir area. It will also reflect what is generally taught in course books produced by Kurds themselves.