Kurdish is actually not a single language, but a group of three languages (Kurmanji, Soran and Southern Kurdish) which all have many different regional dialects. Each of these three main languages is significantly different from the other two so that a Kurmanji speaker hardly understands Sorani and vice versa. Kurmanji (autonym: Kurmancî) is with around 20 million speakers the biggest group and is usually written in Latin script. Next is Sorani (کوردی = Kurdî or سۆرانی = Sorani) with around 8-10 million speakers. It is written in Persian script and thus read right-to-left. Finally there is Southern Kurdish with 3-5 million speakers and quite different regional dialects.
Almost all Kurdish speakers speak at least one more language (mostly Turkish or Arabic) which is the official government language in their place. Kurdish is spoken at home, but as the whole education system and official administration is not in Kurdish, they are often not confident in reading and writing their language. Often they miss specialized words and accordingly include words from the official language in their region. There is not very much written literature available. Additionally there are many regional dialects and the spelling is partly not standardized.
Kurdish Bible translations
This website is very extensive on the Bible in Kurdish: http://www.kurdisite.com It has an overview over all different Bible translations and where to get them together with a lot of other resources. Consult it if you want to know more than what is written here.
Besides you can find most of the available Kurdish Bible translations available here: http://www.kurdish-bible.org
It includes also smaller dialects and recordings of Bible stories. List of available Bible translations on www.kurdish-bible.org
There are two Bible translations with Latin script available:
This translation has the New Testament and Psalm finished (the rest is being worked on). It's character is more an easy-to-read, thought-by-thought translation. When you see a Kurmanji Bible online or anywhere else it's most likely this translation.
It is freely available online in the following ways:
- Reading online: bible.com (Psalms are at the end: ZEBUR)
- YouVersion smartphone app: Text of the New Testament and Psalms (at the end: ZEBUR), no recordings. Can be downloaded and is then available for offline use. Select Kurmanji in the language selection and then select "KNTP".
- bible.is smartphone app: No text, but audio recordings of the whole New Testament. Select "Kurdish Kurmanji" and then "2005 Edition Drama".
- Printed Bibles: ISBN 9789754620689 (New Testament + Psalms), Details on where to get it: http://kurdisite.com/?q=content/new-testament-and-psalms-kurmanji-latin - other editions also exist
This translation includes the whole Bible. It's character is more a word-by-word translation and it uses a more sophisticated language. It doesn't seem to be available anywhere in digital form. It exists in a printed, very thick format. Where to get printed Bibles: http://kurdisite.com/?q=content/whole-bible-latin-script. There is also the whole Bible available as audio Bible for download on their website: http://hoffnung-leben.info/hoerbibel.html (note: website is only in German, Turkish und Kurdish)
There is one Bible translation in Sorani, abbreviated as KSS (Kurdish Sorani Standard Version) or NRSV. The whole Bible is translated, but the Old Testament is not yet fully published and often not available (for the current status of the Old Testament see http://kurdisite.com/?q=content/old-testament-sorani).
It is freely available online in the following ways:
- PDF files:
- The whole Bible is included for download at the original source here: http://www.kitebipiroz.com/en/downloads/text/sorani-bible (zip files for NT and for OT)
- Sorani complete: Zip package with the same PDF files of the whole Bible, file names in English
- Sorani essentials: Contains PDF files of Genesis, Matthew and Acts
- Reading online (only New Testament): bible.com
- Digital for offline use:
- YouVersion smartphone app: Text of the New Testament, no recordings. Can be downloaded and is then available for offline use. Select Sorani in the language selection (close to the bottom and written as کوردیی ناوەندی) and then select "KSS".
- The Sword Project (various implementations for Windows, Linux, Mac OS; Android app: And Bible): Select "Kurdish, Central" and select "Sorani NRSV"
- Audio Bible: Download MP3s of the whole New Testament and Psalms here: http://www.kitebipiroz.com/en/downloads/audio
- Printed copies:
- Ordering from Germany via EAD (select language: "Kurdisch-Sorani", order number OT: 4840300, order number NT: 4840500)
- The following links are for Kurmanji.
- Direct links:
- Jesus film: https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/kurmanji-standard.html
- Magdalena film (Jesus film for women): https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/magdalena.html/kurmanji-standard.html
- The Story of Jesus for Children: not available
- Overview of all available media on Jesus Film Media:
- Jesus Film Project official website: You can watch videos online or download them in low or high quality
- Jesus Film App (Android iOS): You can watch videos online or download them in low or high quality
- For Sorani, Behdini and other Kurdish languages see http://www.jesusfilm.org/search.html?q=kurdi
Training resources available in Kurdish
The following resources are in Kurmanji:
Besides there are some resources available in the Kurmanji dialect of the Sinjar region in North Iraq. In the northern regions of Iraq there are many Kurdish-speakers, but they usually always speak Sorani which is also one of the official languages in the Kurdistan region in Northern Iraq. But there is a small Kurmanji-speaking minority in the very West of that province which mainly consists of Yezidi. The material is in this particular dialect which has quite some differences to "Standard" Kurmanji as spoken e.g. in Turkey.