Kurdish is an Indo-European language, related to Persian (spoken in Iran). Kurdistan is not officially recognised as a nation. Kurds are inhabitants of many places but have their own distinct culture, language and literary history. Most Kurds live in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and some of the former Soviet countries. In addition, Kurdish immigrant communities can be found all over the world. Part of Kurdish culture and identity is the language. Many options are out there for those wishing to learn Kurdish online.
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Decide which writing system of Kurdish you want to learn. Because the Kurdish people reside in many different countries, Kurdish is written with different scripts. The Arabic, Cyrillic and Latin alphabets are all used for written Kurdish. You can learn Kurdish in the Latin alphabet, but your Kurdish will be more versatile and you will understand more reading materials if you learn another alphabet. The Arabic script is used to write Arabic and other African, Middle Eastern and Central Asian languages. The Cyrillic script is used to write Russian and many other Eastern European and Central Asian languages. Learning one of these scripts also can help you learn other languages in the future. Omniglot.com features a chart that shows the sounds that correspond with the different alphabets used in Kurdish. Depending on where you want to use your Kurdish, a particular alphabet might be more useful.
Practice the writing system. If you want to learn to read and write Kurdish, you must practice the alphabet of your choice consistently. Use the sounds as they are in Kurdish, as the pronunciation of the letters may differ from the typical sounds of the alphabet you are using. If you choose to learn Kurdish with the Latin alphabet, you will still need to learn several accent marks. These accents are not used for the Latin alphabet when writing in English. The "Alphabet" section of KurdishAcademy.org contains links to information about the writing systems. The Latin alphabet accent marks are shown and described in detail here, with audio. Use these charts to copy the alphabet and start forming words.
Listen to Kurdish. Practice hearing the sounds as they correspond to the written language. You can find basic phrases with audio at Transcon.info. Listening will help you become accustomed to the accent and pronunciation of Kurdish words. These phrases are for those at an introductory language level and will prepare you for basic communication skills in Kurdish.
Practice with speakers. You can find a native speaker with whom to practice at LiveMocha.com. Live Mocha is free to join and use, and you will be put in contact with Kurdish speakers looking to practice their English. You can complete all of your language work and interaction online. You also can look for Kurdish speakers in your hometown. In addition to the population in Central Asia and the Middle East, the United States, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Canada and England are home to large Kurdish populations.
Tips and warnings
- The Kurdish Academy of Language website is an excellent resource for information on many subjects related to the Kurdish people. Check with it often for new articles about Kurdish culture, history, politics, and language. You can also use the forum to interact with other students or those with Kurdish background.
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