Languages

Kurdish, the most widely spoken language in the Kurdistan Region, is in the Indo-European family of languages.

The Kurdistan Region’s official languages for government purposes are Kurdish and Arabic.

The two most widely spoken dialects of Kurdish are Sorani and Kurmanji. Other dialects spoken by smaller numbers are Hawrami (also known as Gorani) and Zaza.

The Sorani Kurdish dialect uses Arabic script while the Kurmanji Kurdish dialect is written in Latin script. Sorani is spoken in Erbil and Slemani governorates, while Kurmanji is spoken in Duhok governorate and some parts of Erbil governorate. As the Region’s Kurdish-language media has developed and the population has moved, today nearly all people in the Kurdistan Region can speak or understand both of the major dialects. The Kurdistan Regional Government’s policy is to promote the two main dialects in the education system and the media.

Arabic is also an official language and is widely spoken or understood. Their respective communities also speak Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic and Turkmani.

Conversational phrases in Kurdish, Sorani and Kurmanji

English Sorani Kurdish Kurmanji Kurdish

Hello

Good morning

Welcome! (On arrival)

Goodbye

Thank you

You’re welcome

How are you?

Are you well?

I’m fine, thank you

What’s your name?

My name is John

What would you like to drink?

Tea (without sugar)

Please

Where is the bazaar?

Where is the Khanzad Hotel?

Yes

No

OK

Rozh-bash

Beyanee-bash

Be kher bi (t)

Khwa-hafees

Supas

Ser chaw / Sha-ee neeya

Chonee?

Bashee?

Bashem, supas

Naw-et cheeya?

Naw-em John-ah

Chee dakhoy?

Chai (bey shakir)

Zahmat Nabe

Bazaar le chweya?

Otel Khanzad la chweya?

Aa / Balay

Na

Bale

Rozh-bash

Beyanee-bash

Be kher hati

Khwa-hafees

Supas/Mamnoon

Ser Chaava

Chaawayi?

Bashee?

Bashem, supas

Nav-ey ta cheeya?

Nav-ey min John-ah

Chi vadkhui?

Chai (bey shakir)

Bey Zahmat

Bazaar la kidareya?

Otel Khanzad la kidareya?

Aa / Balay

Na

Bale/Arey

 

Note: The spellings used here are transliterations from English, to make it easier for non-Kurdish speakers to read the pronunciation.