Central Kurdish and English/Contrastive Grammar

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Definiteness Marker

In Sorani Kurdish, definiteness is marked by a suffix at the end of a noun instead of a separate determiner.

  • (ckb) پیاوەکە → (eng) the man
    (ckb) پیاو<n><def><sg> → (eng) the<det><def><sp> man<n><sg>
  • (ckb) پیاوێک → (eng) a man
    (ckb) پیاو<n><ind><sg> → (eng) a<det><ind><sg> man<n><sg>
  • (ckb) سەگەکان → (eng) the dogs
    (ckb) سەگ<n><def><pl> → (eng) the<det><def><sp> dog<n><pl>
  • (ckb) سەگێک → (eng) a dog
    (ckb) سەگ<n><ind><sg> → (eng) a<det><ind><sp> dog<n><sg>

Verb Conjugation

Sorani verbs get a set of suffixes at the end that tie back to the subject. This happens for both past and present verbs.

  • (ckb) من هاتم → (eng) I came
    (ckb) من<prn><pers><p1><sg> هاتن<v><iv><past><p1><sg> → (eng) I<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> came<vblex><past>
  • (ckb) ئێمە هاتین → (eng) We came
    (ckb) ئێمە<prn><pers><p1><pl> هاتن<v><iv><past><p1><pl> → (eng) We<prn><subj><p1><mf><pl> came<vblex><past>

Object Order

Sorani Kurdish sentences follow an SOV pattern, meaning that the object precedes the verb phrase.

  • (ckb) ئێمە نان ئەخۆین → (eng) We eat bread
    (ckb) ئێمە<prn><pers><p1><pl> نان<n><sg> خواردن<v><tv><npast><p1><pl> → (eng) We<prn><subj><p1><mf><pl> eat<vblex><pres> bread<n><sg>
  • (ckb) ئێمە ئاو ئەهێنین → (eng) We bring water
    (ckb) ئێمە<prn><pers><p1><pl> ئاو<n><sg> هێنان<v><tv><npast><p1><pl> → (eng) We<prn><subj><p1><mf><pl> bring<vblex><pres> water<n><sg>

Verb Negation

Sorani verbs are negated using a negation prefix. The prefixes are نە for past tense, نا for nonpast tense, and مە for imperative verbs.

  • (ckb) ئەو نەچوو → (eng) He did not go
    (ckb) ئەو<n><def><sg> چوون<v><iv><past><neg><p3><sg> → (eng) he<prn><subj><p3><m><sg> do<vaux><past> not<adv> go<vblex><inf>
  • (ckb) ئەو ناچێت → (eng) He is not going
    (ckb) ئەو<n><def><sg> چوون<v><iv><npast><neg><p3><sg> → (eng) he<prn><subj><p3><m><sg> be<vbser><pres><p3><sg> not<adv> go<vblex><ger>
  • (ckb) مەچۆ → (eng) Do not go
    (ckb) چوون<v><iv><imp><neg><p2><sg> → (eng) do<vbdo><imp> not<adv> go<vblex><inf>


The adj+noun pattern in English is manifested in Kurdish as noun+ی+adj.

  • (ckb) سەگێکی گەورە → (eng) a big dog
    (ckb) سەگ<n><ind><sg><pr> گەورە<adj> → (eng) a<det><ind><sg> big<adj><sint> dog<n><sg>