Some aspects of language purism among Kurdish speakers
This work, SOME ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE PURISM AMONG KURDISH SPEAKERS,
deals with the process of the purification of the written" language
of the Kurdish minority in Iraq.
The study is the result of the investigation and analysis of written
Kurdish records covering a period of half a century, from 1924 to
1973. Earl ier records have also been examined and compared.
The Analysis has identified three different stages in the development
of the written Kurdish language within this fifty years. They are:
I. The Early Period in which the written language reI ied
heavily on Arabic loanwords. The mean percentage of
loans in this period is 46.48%.
2. The Middle Period in which a sharp drop in the employment
of Arabic loanwords is noticed. The mean percentage of
loans in this period is 9.80%.
3. The Modern Period where the written language is almost
completely purified. The percentage of loans in this period
The purification process in the Kurdish written language, which is
mainly the result of the reaction of the speakers of Kurdish against
certain socio-economic pressures, has, in addition to purifying the
language, resulted in:
a. the introduction of diglossia;
b. the introduction of changes in the lexicon which produced
phonological and morphological changes in the written
c. the development of a standard 1 iterary language.
This study has aiso shown that language purism is of two kinds: one is
motivated by language loyalty which seeks to preserve the language as
it exists at a certain period of time and calls for refrainment from
further borrowing, the other is motivated by language nationalism and
calls. in addition) for the el imination of earlier loanwords.