The Kurdish population is spread across several countries, including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, among others. There are multiple dialects, as well. If someone wanted to study a single Kurdish dialect with the purpose of communicating with Kurds across each of these countries, is one dialect more preferable than the others?

My understanding is that Northern Kurdish is the most dominant, but is it comprehensible to the other dialects? Or is a smaller dialect more universally intelligible among Kurds? Or are all the dialects similar enough that it doesn't matter?

  • I am not sure how relevant the history of the Kurdish Language is to you, because it does not talk about mutual interligability, but I found it a good introduction to the topic.
    – vectory
    Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


As you mentioned The Kurdish language is full of dialects. The predominant dialects are:

1) "Kurmanji or Kermanji" which is spoken in Turkey, Syria and a small part of Iraq and a bit of Iran

2) "Surani or Sorani" which is spoken in Iran and Iraq

There are varying differences between them especially in terms of grammar, for example, Kurmanji has different pronouns for males and females also for things while in Surani does not exist. However, there are a huge amount of vocabularies that are equivalent but a bit different in pronunciation like Scottish and American accent

Over past decades due to the local government of Kurdistan of Iraq and also since the official dialect is Surani, I would say it is in the spotlight more than Kurmanji.

In addition, they are not completely comprehensible for each other without any learning. In another word, an old man from Iran couldn't communicate easily with another one in Turkey or vice versa.


The Kurdish language contains many dialects and most of them are different from each other and there are two main dialects of Surani and Kurmanji, for example, the Kurds of Syria speak Kermangi and Iraqi Kurds speak the two by region

  • 1
    Are Surani and Kurmanji mutually intelligible? Is one more dominant than the other? Is "Kurmanji" the same thing as "Kermangi"?
    – AML
    Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 14:02

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