Kurdish language has 4 major dialects: Kurmanji, Sorani, Zaza-Gorani and southern Kurdish. Each Kurdish dialect has subdialects.


Kurmanji (Kurdish كورمانجى Kurmancî) or Northern Kurdish is one of the four Kurdish dialects.

About 65% of all Kurds speak Kurmanji. It is mainly spoken in Turkey and Syria but also in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Armenia and some other former Soviet republics. Also in Europe, Kurmanji spreads strongly through immigration.

Kurmanji, Sorani (Central Kurdish) and South Kurdish form a group of Kurdish dialects. Between these dialects there are differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. In addition, the Sorani-Kurdish is, in contrast to the Kurmanji, usually written in Persian script.


Sorani is spoken mainly by Kurds from Iran (about 7 million) and Iraq. It is considered as the most common form of the Kurdish in Iraq with about 3-5 million speakers. The writing of the Sorani is mostly the Persian script with special characters, but increasingly also the Kurdish-Latin alphabet. Sorani has an extensive literary tradition (religious texts, poetry, historical works).

Important subdialects of Sorani are:

Hawleri, Pishdari, Kerkuki, Khanaqini, Kushnawi, Mukri
Sulaimani, Bingirdi, Garrusi, Ardalani, Sanandaji, Warmawa, Garmiyani

The spread of Sorani and its subdialects is closely linked to the rule of the Baban dynasty of Suleymania. The economic power of the city spread the Sorani in the region and thus displaced the older Hewramani and Gorani. Today Sorani is also used as a source for word-making in Kurmanji.


Zaza-Gorani is a small genetic unity within the Kurdish language. It consists of two relatively closely related dialects, the Zaza (also Zazaki or Dimili) and the Gorani. Zazaki is spoken by 2 to 3 million people in eastern Turkey and Gorani is spoken by circa 500,000 Kurds in Iran and Iraq.


Southern Kurdish

South Kurdish is spoken in Ilam, Kordestān and Kermanschah provinces of Iranian-occupied Kurdistan and in the south of Iraqi Kurdistan (South Khanaqin, Jalawla and Mandali).  Individual enclaves of the Feyli, Kalhur and Lak Kurds also occur in Turkey and in the Fars and Khorasan provinces of Iran  as well as in the Alborz Mountains. With the exception of some Kakai villages in Iraqi Kurdistan, all Ahl-e Haqq Kurds speak dialects of the South Kurdish.

The following subdialects belong to this dialect:

Gûranî (not to be confused with Hawrami, which is closer to the dimili/zazaki)