Lesson 1: Alphabet and Sounds

The Kurmanji alphabet has 31 letters. Many of the sounds are similar to English. One of the biggest differences is that in Kurmanji letters almost always sound the same, whereas in English a letter can have multiple sounds. A few sounds unique to Kurmanji can only really be learned by hearing and imitating. To hear and practice the sounds, see the video on the ‘Sounds’ tab in this lesson.

A a

a in father, balm

B b

b in boy

C c

j in judge

Ç ç

ch in church

D d

d in dog

E e

e in egg, pen

Ê ê

like the a in fake

F f

f in far

G g

g in girl

H h

h in house

I i

like the io in motion

Î î

ee in meet

J j

like the s in casual or z in seizure

K k

k in kite

L l

l in like

M m

m in man

N n

n in net

O o

o in note

P p

p in pick

Q q

like k but farther back in palate

R r

flapped r sound, like thrill with a Scottish accent *

S s

s in sad

Ş ş

sh in shake

T t

t in ten

U u

similar to oo in foot

Û û

like oo in cool

V v

v in vase

W w

w in water

X x

like German ch in auch or Scottish ch in loch **

Y y

y in yes

Z z

z in zoo


* The letter “r” is normally a flapped r but at the end of some words can be rolled. When rolled, it is often written a a double r (pirr) or with the r underlined (pir), but not always.

** At the beginning of certain words the sound of the letter “x” can become more guttural. This is best learned through practice with native speakers.

Sounds of the Alphabet

Similar Sounds and Letters

You can review these words in various modes, and even create a test for yourself, by clicking on “Choose a Study Mode” at the bottom of the box. To create a test for yourself:

  1. Choose Test mode (from the bottom right of the box)
  2. Click “Options” at the top.
  3. Decide which kinds of questions, how many questions, and which language should come first.
  4. Click “Create Test.”
  5. Once you answer all questions, click submit and your test will be graded immediately.

For a short video explanation of these options, see this page.

Vocabulary Lesson 01 Vocabulary Lesson 01 Audio

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