A Proposal For Latin-Based Kurdish Alphabet (3)

In this post two other issues related to Kurdish orthographic system are discussed.
1) Ancient Iranic inter/post-vocalic /p/ and /m/ have developed in two different ways in modern Kurdish dialects. In northern Kurdish (Kurmanji), the first one has developed into /w/ and the second one into /v/, while in Central Kurdish (Sorani) and Southern Kurdish, both have developed only into /w/. This may be due to influence from other Iranic and non-Iranic languages. In any case, there are not many languages which have both /w/ and /v/ simultaneously, as northern Kurdish does.
At the same time, the homogenization of the two vowels does never cause ambiguity in the central and southern dialects. In other words, here we are facing a choice between two options: keeping both /w/ and /v/ which reflects some traces of archaism (distinction between / p/ and /m/ reflected as /w/ and /v/) on one hand, and on the other ''simplification''. Personally, I would rather go for simplification.

Çaw, instead of Çav
Naw, instead of Nav
Netewe, instead of Neteve,

Expetions: But, of course, we can keep the letter /v/ for numerous foreign loanwords in Kurdish such as visa, vitamin, video, sivil, etc, as well as native Kurdish words which exist only in one form, with /v/ and not with w; such as tavge, govar, mrov, bve, dever, etc

2) In Arabic-based alphabet for Kurdish, unlike as in the current Latin-based alphabet, there is only one symbol characterizing i/y and u/w, respectively. This is true even for other languages written in the same alphabet such as Persian and Arabic. As long as the easier way, i.e. as in Arabic-based script, functions as it is expected and never does cause ambiguity in reading and writing of Kurdish language why should not keep it even in the Latin-based alphabet too?


Currently: zawa
Proposal zaua (bridegroom)

Currently: Wan
Proposal: Uan (a city)

Currently: naw
Proposal: nau (name)

Currently: Diyar
Proposal: Diar (evident)

Currently: Yar
Proposal: Iar (companion)

Currently: Televiziyon
Proposal: Televizion (television)


Currently:  Bûk
Proposal: Bwk (bride)

Currently: Kerkûk
Proposal: Kerkwk (A city)

In my opinion, it makes the alphabet both much easier and prettier, and creates no confusions at all since Kurdish phonetic system allows us to choose and effectively use such a method.
We can still keep the letter /w/ ([anlternaively] /u/) and /y/ for foreign  proper names and loanwords such as ''Washington''/''Samsung'', and ''New York''.
Besides, one can even adopt the symbol /y/ for the mid front unrounded vowel which in current Kurdish alphabet is shown with a diacritic mark as /ê/.

Currently: Jêr
Proposal: Jyr (under)

Currently: Belên
Proposal: Belyn (oath)

Currently: Êsk
Proposal:  Ysk (bone)

Currently: Hewlêr
Proposal: Hewlyr (Erbil)


Anonymous said...

Excellent suggestions, again!

Though I have a note regarding your second proposal; although I fully agree with the idea proposed for the standardization of one of the letters, your examples show that you prefer (u) over (w) as exemplified in the word (Uêran). I personally prefer (W), like writing (Wêran). Because the usage of the letter (U) at the beginning of a word may create some suspicion over its pronunciation, such as they are pronounced in the English letters [(uber)in which the letter U is pronounced as o͞o] or [(ultra) pronounced as ˈə]. Hence I think it is better to use W rather than U at all times.

Also, the usage of (I) at the beginning of any letter (Iar) may produce a sense of ambiguity and may be pronounced by the reader in a wrong way (pronouncing it as it is pronounced in the letter [Islam]). That's why I think it is better to use (Y) at the beginning of words and (I) in mid-words at all times.

PS. I have already sent a couple of mails but have gotten no reply. Maybe the email address isn't valid!?

Tigris said...

Thank you for your comment.
In Kurdish words, almost never we see close or near-close back rounded vowels at initial position, especially when it is followed by another vowel as in 'uêran'.
Similarly, the close front unrounded vowel /î/, almost never comes at initial position in native Kurdish words; In the few [often foreign loan]words with /î/ at the initial, the vowel is often followed by a consonant, (ex: islam, insan,). If /i/ is followed by a vowel then it is clearly a platal approximant (current y) ex: Iar, (companion) Ionan (Greece). Though, there are not too many native Kurdish words with /y/ either.

Thank you for you Email. I had already replied you under comments section of a post which I do not find it at the moment. will respond via email. Thank you very much again.

Tigris said...

I must admit your suggestion that ''it is better to use W rather than U at all times'', for some reasons, looks pretty logic and legitimate. I agree with you and changed the text. Thank you for your suggestion.

Dr. Sherafkandi said...

I liked the first proposal, it reminded me of you article on ezafe, for one can write Naw (name) and if one with Kurmanji dialect wants to read it as Nav it's O.K. as long as we all write Naw.

For me as a (Kurdish) English and Swedish speaker: words such as Uan, Hewlyr and Iar just look really really odd and unnatural for some reasons.

For me Uan looks like "Owan" and
Hewlyr looks like "HewlYr" where Y is as in the swedish word Yxa (axe).
And finally Iar looks like "iyar" to me.

Of course my eyes could get used to your proposals but my initial spontaneous reactions is negative.

Awesome Blog, don't ever stop!

Tigris said...

Dear Dr. Sherafkandi, taking one letter for both u and w and one for both i and y is exactly how we have been doing in Kurdo-Arabic alphabet for decades. Besides, in Persian and Arabic languages same method has been in use for centuries.

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