Humanities Faculty

General Linguistics

Compilation and critical edition of pre-19th century Kurmanji Kurdish

Researcher:

Dr. Ergin Öpengin

Project Details:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Duration: 10/2014 - 03/2016. 134.767 EUR

Project Summary:

Kurmanji Kurdish is one of the most widely-spoken languages of the Middle East, but research on its history and development is severely hampered due to the lack of written attestation prior to the 15th century. Furthermore, the few samples of Kurdish prose that can reliably be ascribed to the period 15th-19th centuries are largely inaccessible to a wider scholarly audience, and lack reliable critical apparatus. This project will compile a selection of 10 Kurdish texts from prior to 1800, transliterated in a standardized format and supplied with English translations and an authoritative critical apparatus. The texts will also be made fully accessible as a digital corpus, accompanied by a concordance, and the resulting two volumes will be published on the open-access portal of the University of Bamberg. Issues of authorship and localization of the texts will also be assessed in the light of the applicant’s ongoing research on regional variation in Kurdish, which allows a much finer-grained evaluation than has previously been possible. The project will thus lay the foundation for serious academic research on the history of Kurdish by creating an open-source research resource for questions relating to the history of the Kurdish language(s) itself, to the issue of the position of Kurdish within west Iranian languages, reconstructing the linguistic ecology of Kurdistan in the Ottoman period, assessing the timing of contact phenomena and of language change, and of issues of literary and religious scribal practices in the period.