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Home Language Guide and MP3s

Language Guide and MP3s

Kurdish is the most spoken language in Iraqi Kurdistan and belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. Additionally, many people will understand basic Arabic or English, the latter being compulsory in schools so many young people will usually understand some English.

The two most widely spoken dialects of Kurdish are Sorani and Kurmanji. Sorani is spoken in Erbil and Sulymaniyah, while Kurmanji is spoken in Duhok. It is important to note that many people can either speak or at least understand both of the major dialects and like most cultures of the world would appreciate any traveller expressing a few key phrases, the rough Latin equivalents which we have given below.

We have produced a typical scenario, played by Alan - a tour guide with Kurdistan Adventures and Shannon, an Australian guest about to join the escorted tour - click play to listen.

The accompanying script (PDF) to the scenario is available here.

The complete set of the MP3 files (0.4 MB) is available free for download here.

English Sorani Kurdish Click play to listen
Hello Choni?
Good morning Bayani bash
Good afternoon Newaro bash
Good night Shaw bash
Good day Roj bash
Welcome Bakher beyt
How much is this? Ama ba chanda?
Yes Baleh
No Na
Please Bey zahmet
You’re welcome Shayani niya
Mr Ahmed Kak Ahmed (honorific term for men)
Miss/Mrs Sayran Sayran Khan (honorific term for women)
With pleasure Ba sar chaw
Excuse me Ba yarma teet
Do you speak English? Janabit inglizi ezani?
I don’t Speak Kurdish Min kurdi nazanm
Tea without sugar Chai ba bey shakr