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Kurds

The meaning of «kurds»

Kurds (Kurdish: کورد ,Kurd‎) or Kurdish people are an ethnic group native to a mountainous region of Western Asia known as Kurdistan, which spans southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria.[29][30] There are also exclaves of Kurds in Central Anatolia and Khorasan. Additionally, there are significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in particular Istanbul, while a Kurdish diaspora has developed in Western Europe, primarily in Germany. Numerically, the Kurds are estimated to number between 30 and 45 million.[2][31]

Kurds speak the Kurdish languages and the Zaza–Gorani languages, which belong to the Western Iranian branch of the Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family.[32][33][34] A majority of Kurds belong to the Shafi‘i school of Sunni Islam, but significant numbers practise Shia Islam and Alevism, while some are adherents of Yarsanism, Yazidism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

After World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. However, that promise was nullified three years later, when the Treaty of Lausanne set the boundaries of modern Turkey and made no such provision, leaving Kurds with minority status in their respective countries.[35] This fact has led to numerous genocides and rebellions, along with the current ongoing armed conflicts in Turkish Kurdistan, Iranian Kurdistan, and Rojava. Kurds in Iraq and Syria have autonomous regions, while Kurdish nationalist movements continue to pursue greater cultural rights, autonomy, and independence throughout Kurdistan.

Kurdish (Kurdish: Kurdî or کوردی) is a collection of related dialects spoken by the Kurds.[36] It is mainly spoken in those parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey which comprise Kurdistan.[37] Kurdish holds official status in Iraq as a national language alongside Arabic, is recognized in Iran as a regional language, and in Armenia as a minority language.

Most Kurds are either bilingual or multilingual, speaking the language of their respective nation of origin, such as Arabic, Persian, and Turkish as a second language alongside their native Kurdish, while those in diaspora communities often speak three or more languages.

According to Mackenzie, there are few linguistic features that all Kurdish dialects have in common and that are not at the same time found in other Iranian languages.[38]

The Kurdish dialects according to Mackenzie are classified as:[39]

The Zaza and Gorani are ethnic Kurds,[40] but the Zaza–Gorani languages are not classified as Kurdish.[41]

Commenting on the differences between the dialects of Kurdish, Kreyenbroek clarifies that in some ways, Kurmanji and Sorani are as different from each other as is English from German, giving the example that Kurmanji has grammatical gender and case endings, but Sorani does not, and observing that referring to Sorani and Kurmanji as "dialects" of one language is supported only by "their common origin ... and the fact that this usage reflects the sense of ethnic identity and unity of the Kurds."[42]

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