Kurdish Lesson 08 - Full Sorani Pronunciation

I debated for a while whether or not to go too much into Kurdish pronunciation and especially into latini. I've discussed here on the blog the reasons for it, but I'll recap:

Latini isn't widely used
Where Latini is used, it's not always consistent
The Kurdish alphabet it better
I think you'll find it boring

Well, I've decided that it's not a big deal if you think it's boring, you don't have to read it and the other reasons aren't good enough not to do it.

Plus, it'll make any other language discussions/lessons easier because I'll have this page as a reference.

Below you'll find the Latini alphabet as it applies to Sorani. I have tried to keep the explanations simple, but a few of the letters will require more explanation. Those letters are shown in red and discussed further below the list. Also, all of my references are for American English, so keep that in mind.

a.. always "ah" as the o in Bob

b.. just like the b in english

c.. in Latini this represents the the j in judge. Always j, never c

ç.. this special character is for the ch sound like in chair

d.. like the d in dog

e.. always "uh" as the u in bub

ȇ.. long a like the a in baby

f.. like the f in fire

g.. like the g in gravy

h.. like the h in heavy

ḧ.. *see below

i.. short i sound like the i in big

ȋ.. long e sound like the y in baby

j.. this is not like the j in judge it's like the s in fusion (or the zh in zhane for anyone who remembers them)

k.. this is like the k in kite

l.. like the l in lamp

ll.. *see below

m.. m in man

n.. n in man

o.. full o like the os in oboe

p.. p in panic

q.. *see below

r.. not the American r! *see below

rr.. rolled or trilled r as in Spanish

s.. s like sassy

ş.. sh. like shabby

t.. t like tea

u.. *see below

û.. *see below

v.. v is for victory

w.. w as in water

x.. *see below

ẍ.. *see below

y.. y as in you

z.. z in zebra

'.. *see below

There are some sounds which you won't find in Kurdish. The short a in apple or the th of this and think for example.

ḧ.. Click here to hear it. This is an h sound made well back in the throat. It's a sound borrowed from Arabic.
ll.. Click here to hear it. This is like the ll sound in well versus the l in like.

q.. Click here to hear it. This is a swallowed k. Make the k sound with the back of your tongue. It's the last sound in the word Iraq. This is another sound borrowed from Arabic.

r.. Click here to hear it.

u.. Click here to hear it.

û.. Click here to hear it.

x.. Click here to hear it. This is like the ch in Bach. We don't have it in English, but you'll recognize the sound.

ẍ.. Click here to hear it. This is the letter that we replace with gh in Baghdad. This one's also borrowed from Arabic.

'.. Click here to hear it. This one's also borrowed from Arabic.

One last note, there is no letter for the i (eye) sound like the i in, well, like. But it's a relatively common sound in Sorani. It's made with a vowel combo of either eȋ or aȋ.

So that's all of the sounds. I made a special note of the Arabic sounds because, once you recognize the sounds, you'll easily be able to pick out the Arabic loan words. These are the words which are being replaced with Kurdish words. If your language helper teaches you one of these words, it's a good idea to ask for the Kurdish word - just so you'll know it.

A great way to practice the sounds is to write with Latini, but in your language.

ȇ grȇt wȇ tu praktis saunds iz tu raȋt Latȋnȋ, bet in yur on languac.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Finally I have found some resources for learning Kurdish.
I've got a question.
What's the difference between
Kurmanji and Sorani?
Which one does use the Arabic
Which is more widely understood?


rdmeeker said...

Kurmanji is spoken by Kurds in Turkey. Sorani is spoken by Kurds in Iraq and Iran. I don't know enough about Kurmanji to get into the linguistic differences, though there are many.

Sorani uses an Arabic script, but don't call it that in front of a Kurd. They prefer to call it Kurdish script and there are many differences between Kurdish and Arabic scripts.

There are more Kurds in Turkey, and therefore more Kurmanji speakers, but the language has been banned for any official use in Turkey.

Because of more freedom in Iraq, there are many many media resources in Sorani. Both Kurdsat and Kurdistan TV are in Sorani.

The question of which is more widely understood really depends on where you go.

Anonymous said...

Kurmanji is also spoken in Syria and Duhok and shingal in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Kurmanji -truely, Northern Kurdish- is not so different from Sorani -truely, Central Kurdish-. Northern Kurdish is written in Latin alphabet and Central Kurdish in Arabic alphabet.
Rojhat from Northern Kurdistan...

Alen Issa said...

hii im alen im kurd frm syria i live in erbil naw thnx for that usefull post it help me becouse i speak kurmanje not sorane i work in beeting shope and i have to speak sorane with coustmers so many funny moment happen anyway im relly happy to see u guys talking about kurdi lang