Preserving Kurdish

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Jun 1 13:17:13 UTC 2007

Preserving the Kurdish Language

The Globe - By Suleman Tashan

Promoting the study of the language and developing a standardized
vocabulary should go a far way in strengthening the bonds of Kurdish
citizens everywhere. The Kurdish Language Department at Salahaddin
University in Erbil held its second conference to promote the Kurdish
language at the Salahaddin Cultural Center in early May of 2007. The
conference, entitled "Toward the Development of Kurdish Language at the
University," was conducted under the auspices of Idris Hadi, Kurdistan
Region's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

The first conference on Kurdish language was held last year in Erbil, and
focused primarily on the education system and language classes at local
universities of Iraqi Kurdistan Region. More than 16 studies and research
projects on Kurdish language were presented during the three-day
conference, which was attended by a large number of language specialists
and researchers. Addressing the opening ceremony, the minister shed light
on the significance of the Kurdish language, referencing courageous
efforts by Kurdish political leaders to preserve and obtain recognition
for the Kurdish language when holding negotiations with successive rulers
of Kurdistan Region in the past.

Dr. Ali Jookle, who is Dean of the College of Languages of Salahaddin
University and attended the conference, said it was necessary to devise a
plan to develop the Kurdish language, and added that following the
historical division of Kurdistan among Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria,
language can be the key factor in the process of national rebuilding. Dr.
Dilshad Ali Mohammed, assistant lecturer at Salahaddin University,
presented his research on the second day of the conference. He outlined
the primary tasks of language in the Kurdish press and media, a topic that
enjoyed active participation by the attendees. The birth of the English
language and its development toward becoming a standard language was
another subject presented in the conference by Dr. Ismaeel Mohammed Fahmi,
shedding light on how to make use of linguistic experience of other

Attendees at the conference had different ideas and viewpoints about such
conferences to develop the Kurdish language. In speaking with The Kurdish
Globe newspaper, Rahim Sourkhi, a lecturer at the College of Languages at
Salahaddin University, said that world nations held regular conferences on
their languages in order to facilitate further development, and added that
Kurds needed to hold by far more conferences to promote the Kurdish
language and develop it into a language of knowledge and sciences.
Establishing an academic center on Kurdish language is important,
according to Sourkhi. Dr. Jamshid Haidari, an instructor at Salahaddin
University, thought the conference was a little unorganized and that
subjects presented did not conform to the motto of the conference.
However, he spoke positively about the event in terms of providing an
opportunity for language specialists to meet and network.


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