A Proposal For Latin-Based Kurdish Alphabet (4)

If our previous suggestions accepted, then remains only two controversial letters in the alphabet: ç and ş, both directly adopted from Turkish. The negative thing with them is that they include circumflexes, something most people who propose a reformed Latin alphabet for Kurdish tend to avoid. Some have suggested diphthongs such as ch and sh, as in Yekgirtu and Izady's suggestions.

In the current latin alphabet we have c for voiced palato-alveolar affricate, (= English j) and ç for voiceless palato-alveolar affricate (= English ch). While in Yekgirtu, one of the most well-known alternatives for the current Latin-based Kurdish alphabet, instead we see j and c, respectively. As can be seen c is treated differently in the two alphabets. but since yekgirtu has j for the voiced consonant, it has adopted jh a diphthong for voiced palato-alveolar sibilant (= /si/ as in English vision).

I've got a proposal which solves both of the shortcommings i.e. neither uses a circumflexe nor a diphthong. though due to the Turkish influence it may at the first sight sound stupid but it really works. The proposal is to use c for both voiced and viceless palato-alveolar affricates. Well this is not the first case we use one letter for two consonants in Kurdish alphabet!

We already have accepted x for both ( خ and غ), h for ( ه and ح) nothing for (ء and ع) l for (ل and ڵ) r for (ر and ڕ); also p, t, k and g each represent several different consonants, many of them pure Kurdish.

but we we cannot use the same method for voiceless and voice palato-alveolar affricates? It's worth of note that the voiceless consonant is much more frequent in Kurdish vocabulary and more interestingly while most Kurdish words containing the voiceless consonant are native Kurdish words, most Kurdish words containing the voiced consonant are foreign loans (with the exeption of a handful of words where the old iranic initial platal approximant /y/ has developed to voiced palato-alveolar affricatve, and that is most likely under Persian influence.)

The second letter with a circumflexe is ş, which basically is an s with a circumflex. One must confess that this is a little bit more difficult to solve, since both the voiceless alveolar sibilant and voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant are legitimate native Kurdish consonants. Although use of the second in modern Kurdish has dramatically decreased due to many historic phonetical developments, where it has eroded (f.ex: chaw<chashma, gwê< goasha, nas<shnas, êwe<shma etc, but this does not affect our case much since there are still a lot of Kurdish words with this consonant.

Returning to the previous post, we see that there will be one letter in our proposed alphabet that will be useless (used only for a few loanwords). it is the letter /w/ which accidentally resembles much the cyrillic letter for voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant: / Ш /, used already even in the Cyrillic-based alphabet for Kurdish. I agree that at the begining it would sound difficult for many, but it is not far-fetched idea since a lot of Latin-based alphabets use different letters for different consonants.

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)