Language planning in Diaspora: the Case of the Kurdish Kurmanji Dialect


  • Salih Akin



In this paper, we study a particular case of language planning in Diaspora through the activities of the Committee for Standardization of Kurdish Kurmanji dialect spoken by the majority of Kurds living in Turkey, in Syria and by part of the Kurds living in Iran and in Iraq. Despite its sizeable speaker community, Kurmanji is not officially recognized and public education is not provided in this dialect in the countries where it is spoken. The absence of official recognition and structural variation within Kurmanji led Kurdish intellectuals and researchers living in exile to form the Committee in 1987. Holding two meetings per year in a European city, the Committee tries to standardize and to revitalize the Kurmanji dialect without relying on government support. We examine the activities of the committee in the light of its research in the field of language policy and planning. The activities will be assessed by three typologies of language planning: 1) Haugen’s classical model of language planning (1991 [1983]); 2) Hornberger’s integrative framework of language planning (1988); 3) Nahir’s Language Planning Goals (2000). Our contribution focuses on two aspects of the activities: corpus planning and dissemination of results in exile. We study the practices of collection of vocabulary and neology in different scientific domains as well as the influences of these activities on the development of Kurmanji


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How to Cite

Akin, S. (2011). Language planning in Diaspora: the Case of the Kurdish Kurmanji Dialect. Eesti Ja Soome-Ugri Keeleteaduse Ajakiri. Journal of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics, 2(1), 9–27.