Zaza Kirmanc Dimili
About Zazaki Kirmancki Dimilki Language.
It is generally accepted by most scholars that the Kurdish people speak an Indo - European language, Kurdish, which is part of the Iranian language group. There are number of dialects and sub dialects of the Kurdish language. Kurmanji is the most widely spoken dialect in the most populous sector of Kurdistan, in Turkey, as well as in the ex - USSR. Sorani is mostly spoken in Iraqi Kurdistan and west of Irani Kurdistan. Zazaki -Dimilki Spoken in central Turkish Kurdistan (** )(McDowall, 1989: 7). There is controversy, however - even among Kurds - about whether Zaza is actually a Kurdish language, as it is markedly different (although not completely dissimilar form) other Kurdish dialects, except Gurani and its derivatives.
The Zaza call their Language Zazaki or Dimilki. They live mainly north of Diyarbakir and Urfa, as far as Elazig - in and around towns like Palu, Dicle, Chermik, and Siverek. People from Dersim, Bingol, Erzinca, Sivas, and theirs around with a sense of distinct Kizilbash - Alevi (Kirmanc in Dimilki) ethnicity generally describe themselves as Kirmanc, or by their language. Both sector of the Zaza / Dimili speak dialect of same language, Dimilki (literally ‘of Dailam’) (Hadank, in Mann and Hadank, 1930: II: 18-19; Hadank in Mann and Hadank, 1932: IV: 4-6; Minorsky, 1928: 91, 105 and Van Bruinessen 1992a, Footnote 115: 130). The Kizilbash dialect of Dimilki is known as Kirmancki (not Kurmanji, which is the main Kurdish dialect).
The language spoken by the Zaza and Gurani are so closely related to each other, but so
different from Kurmanji and Sorani that they are placed in different language groups. Even
the Kurdish scholar Izady concludes that these two language groups are not simply
convenient ways of categorising different dialect of the same language, but ‘like French
and Italian’ utterly distinct, quite separate languages, ‘not dialects of the same
language’. Izady continues (Izady, 1992: 170):
Their variations are far too great by any standard linguistic criteria to warrant
classification as dialect of the same language (see also Izady 2,2: 1988: 13- 24).
In fact, the current thinking is that the Kurdish language Kurmanji originated in southern Iran, while Zazaki, Kirmancki and Gurani originated in northern Iran (McKenzie, 1961: 68-86; Minorsky,1964: 13-14 and Izady 1988: 23)
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Last modified: July 30 , 1998