Gorani language

Gorani language
Hewrami, Howrami, Hawramani, Awromani, Gurani, Gorani
Spoken in Iraq and Iran
Region Primarily Hawraman and Garmian
Native speakers Between 2 and 5 million[1][2]  (date missing)
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3 hac
Linguasphere 58-AAA-b

Gorani (also Gurani) is a Northwestern Iranian language, that includes Hewrami,[3] and is spoken by Kurdish populations in the southernmost parts of Iranian Kurdistan and the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Some linguists classify it as a member of the Zaza–Gorani branch of the Northwestern Iranian languages.[4] Although it shares similarities in vocabulary to Kurmanji and Sorani, also spoken by Kurds, Gorani is distinct grammatically from the two and shares similarities with Zazaki.[4] Gorani is spoken in the southwestern corner of province of Kurdistan and northwestern corner of province of Kermanshah in Iran, and in parts of the Halabja region in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Hawraman mountains between Iran and Iraq. The oldest literary documents in these related languages, or dialects, are written in Gorani. Hewrami, considered a sub-dialect of Gorani, is a very distinct dialect spoken by Gorani/Hewrami people in a region called Hewraman along the Iran-Iraq border. Many Gorani speakers belong to the religious grouping Yarsanism, with a large number of religious documents written in Gorani.

Gorani was once an important literary language in the southeastern parts of the Kurdistan geographical region but has since been replaced by Sorani.[5] In the nineteenth century, Gorani as a language of communication was slowly replaced by Sorani in several cities, both in Iran and Iraq. Today, Sorani is the primary language spoken in cities including Kirkuk, Meriwan, and Halabja, which are still considered part of the greater Goran region.



The name Goran appears to be of Indo-Iranian origin. The name may be derived from the old Avestan word, gairi, which means mountain.[6] The word Gorani refers to inhabitants of the mountains or highlanders as the suffix -i means from. The word has been used to describe mountainous regions and the regions' communities in modern Kurdish literary texts.

The name Horami is believed by some scholars to be derived from God's name in Avestan, Ahura Mazda.[7]


Under the independent rulers of Ardalan (9th-14th / 14th-19th cent.), with their capital latterly at Sanandaj, Gorani became the vehicle of a considerable corpus of poetry. Gorani was and remains the first language of the scriptures of the Ahl-e Haqq sect, or Yarsanism, centered around Gahvara. Prose works, in contrast, are hardly known. The structure of Gorani verse is very simple and monotonous. It consists almost entirely of stanzas of two rhyming half-verses of ten syllables each, with no regard to the quantity of syllables.

An example: دیمای حمد ذات جهان آفرین

"After praise of the Being who created the world

یا وام پی تعریف شای خاور زمین

I have reached a description of the King of the Land of the East.

Names of forty classical poets writing in Gurani are known, but the details of the lives and dates are unknown for the most part. Perhaps the earliest writer is Mala Parisha, author of a Mathnawi of 500 lines on the Shi'ite faith who is reported to be alive around 1398-99. Other poets are known from the 17th-19th centuries and include Mahzuni, Shaikh Mostafa Takhti, Khana Qubadi, Yusuf Zaka, and Ahmab Beg Komashi. One of the last great poets to complete a book of poems (divan) in Gurani is Mala Abd-al Rahm of Tawa-Goz south of Halabja.

There exists also dozen or more long epic or romantic Mathnawis, mostly translated by anonymous writers from Persian literature including: Bijan and Manijeh, Khurshid-i Khawar, Khosrow and Shirin, Lalyi o Majnoon, Shirin and Farhad , Haft Khwan-i Rostam and Sultan Jumjuma. Manuscripts of these works are currently preserved in the national libraries of Berlin, London, and Paris.

Some Gorani literary works:

  • Shirin u Xusrew by Khana Qubadi (lived 1700-1759), published 1975 in Bagdad.
  • Diwan des Feqe Qadiri Hemewend, 19th century
  • The Koran in Gorani, translated in the 20th century by Haci Nuri Eli Ilahi (Nuri Eli Shah).


Hewrami or Horami refers to a specific variant or dialect of Gorani and is regarded as the most archaic of the Gorani group.[8] It is mostly spoken in Horaman (also Horaman or Horaman) in western Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and northeastern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan). The key cities of this region are Pawe in Iran and Halabja in Iraq. Horami is sometimes called Auramani or Horami by people foreign to the region. Horami is very similar to Avestan, the language of the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism[1]. Prayers are still recited by Horami by using a style called Siya Çeman in Horami, where the one reciting the prayer uses high notes to sing holy verses of Zoroastrian faith. The same style is used for Islamic Sufi hymns in Horaman where Sufism is also a prevalent religious practice.[9] Today, some Horami speakers use the Siya Çeman style of singing to perform traditional songs and even modern songs in Horami.

Several Zazaish scholars regard Horami as one of the oldest dialects of the Goran-Zaza language. Some scholars claim that the name Horami has close links to the Zoroastrian faith and assert that the name actually originated from Ahuraman, (see Horaman).

Generally, the majority of Horami-speakers can also speak Sorani, Arabic, or Persian in order to communicate with other people in neighboring cities.

See also


  1. ^ Case Western Reserve University. War Crimes Prosecution Watch. Vol. 3 Issue 38. Deb 2009
  2. ^ http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=hac
  3. ^ D. N. Mackenzie Avromani, Encyclopedia Iranica[dead link]
  4. ^ a b J. N. Postgate, Languages of Iraq, ancient and modern, British School of Archaeology in Iraq, [Iraq]: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 2007, p. 138.
  5. ^ Meri, Josef W. Medieval Islamic Civilization: A-K, index. p444
  6. ^ http://www.avesta.org/avdict/avdict.htm#dctg
  7. ^ Nyberg, H.S. (1923), The Pahlavi documents of Avroman, Le Monde Oriental, XVII, p.189.
  8. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica: Alphabetical[dead link]
  9. ^ Weisman, Itzchak. The Naqshbandiyya: orthodoxy and activism in a worldwide Sufi traditionn


  • D.N.MacKenzie (1966). The Dialect of Awroman( Hawraman-i Luhon). Kobenhavn. 

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