Kurdistan is a mountainous area which covers western Iran, eastern Turkey, northern Iraq and some parts of Syria. Kurdish people also reside in Armenia, Georgia, Azarbaijan, and even Khorasan, and Turkmenistan.
It was settled around 1000 BC by Kurds who are of the Aryan (or Iranian) stock.
They have been able to preserve their ancient culture more than other Iranian groups due to the fact that their habitat has been difficult to traverse.
The first mention of these people is by the Assyrians.
Kurds have aspired for an independent state of Kurdistan for at least 100 years.
Kurdish belongs to the northern branch of the new Iranian languages. It is the third most popular Iranian language after Persian and Pashto. Modern Kurdish has been influenced by Persian. The Kurdish language could be divided into two main dialects:
- Kurmanji (northern)
- Sorani (southern)
The Kurmanji dialect is spoken west of Lake Orumiya, northern Kurdistan, Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria, Khorasan, and in the Former Soviet Union.
The Sorani dialect is popular in the towns such as Mahabad, Naqadeh, Paneh, Sanandaj, Bukan in Iran, and Soleimanieh, and Arbil in Iraq.
Kurdish has up to 10 vowels: ā, a, ē, ī, i, o, ö, u, ū, ü. Feminine and masculine nouns are recognized as in the following examples: xušk-a men (my sister) as opposed to bera-e men (my brother). The suffix -a is used for feminine, but -e for masculine nouns.
Since the middle ages (circa 11th and 12th centuries AD) Kurdish has had a tradition of written literature.
But not since the 19th century has there been any documents printed.
The alphabets used to inscribe Kurdish have been modified Arabic in Iran and Iraq, modified Latin in Turkey and Syria, and a Cyrillic-based one in the Former Soviet Union.
Translation: "The man got up, went over and slept in his place".