“Writing for the Enemy”: Kurdish Language Standardization Online

The aim of this thesis is to study some of the challenges that the Kurdish language and its standardization face, and offer a bottom-up solution through the “collective intelligence” and “good faith collaboration” of Wikipedia. Therefore, the fragmentation in the Kurdish language—caused by both external factors and those that are inherent to the language itself is discussed and analyzed.

This thesis describes some of the efforts that have been made to unify the Kurdish language, its dialects and its different writing systems. Even though these issues exist both in the physical world as well as online, they are rendered more conspicuous on the Internet. As a result, the problems in Kurdish cross-dialect communication are more pronounced. In spite of that, web 2.0 and its favored platforms for online collaboration provide ample opportunity for the general user of the language to participate in solving such linguistic problems.

An overview of Wikipedia, as the world’s most successful platform for online collaboration, is presented along with some of its rules and policies. Additionally, an account of the current Kurdish Wikipedia in three dialects of Kurdish: Kurmanji, Sorani and Zazaki is provided.The situation and shortcomings of Kurdish versions of Wikipedia are examined through two case studies based on two Wikipedia articles in Kurdish and their English and Persian counterparts. Moreover, I argue that a robust Kurdish Wikipedia can be a viable solution for standardizing the language, encouraging orthographic consistency, and unifying Kurdish writing systems and knowledge/information dissemination in Kurdish.
Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Author: Dehqan, Agri

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