KURDISH LEXICOGRAPHY A SURVEY AND DISCUSSION MICHAEL CHYET Berkeley The goal of a dictionary is to reflect accurately the language in question as it is used by native speakers both in speech and in writing. In the case of Kurmanji, the northern dialect of Kurdish, the spoken language is far more developed and varied than the written language. In practice, this means that most speakers of Kurmanji are illiterate, at least in Kurdish: if they have any formal education, it is either in Turkish, Arabic, or Persian. Only the Kurdish minority in Armenia has had the opportunity to be educated in Kurmanji. The situation for Sorani, the central dialect of Kurdish, on the other hand, is more balanced in this respect: many more native speakers of this dialect are also literate in it, and have consequently incor- porated a more technical vocabulary into their everyday speech. Kurmanji lexicographers are faced with a dilemma: when dealing with a language that has yet to develop a technical vocabulary, they have the task of providing what is used by people, and on the other hand feel a duty to provide the missing technical vocabulary. Modem lexicographers strive to present a work
Iran and the Caucasus – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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