Why Study Kurdish? Kurdish is an Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo- European languages with multiple dialects spoken by Kurdish peoples in the mountainous regions of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. There are also smaller groups of Kurdish-speakers living in the Caucasus and in diasporic communities across Western Europe and the United States.
Kurdish, in general, is divided into three dialect groups, known as Northern Kurdish (or Kurmanji), Central Kurdish (or Sorani), and Southern Kurdish. Estimates put the total number of native Kurdish speakers between 30 and 40 million.
Kurdish has a rich history in literature, poetry, and folklore. Kurds make up the largest nation without a state of their own and are located in a region that is massively important in terms of oil, water issues throughout Mesopotamia and the Levant, and U.S. security interests. Sorani is also a good stepping-stone to or from other languages in the region, specifically Persian, Arabic, and Turkish.