Table of Transliteration

From the Book:
A Kurdish-English Dictionary
Taufiq Wahby, C. J. Edmonds
 9 minutes  517 views
RomanModified ArabicApproximate pronunciation
aاAlways long as in English ‘father’
bبAs in English
cجEnglish j, Turkish c
chچAs in English ‘church’, Turkish ç
d, ḍد, ذAs in English, but see note i
eەShort a as in English ‘bat’
êێThe open sound as in French ê
fفAs in English
gگAs in English
ghغAs in Arabic; between g and uvular r
h, ḥهـ, حAs in English, but see note 2
inoneA neutral vowel, see note 3
îیLong i, English ee; see note 4
jژFrench j, Turkish j
kکAs in English
lلAs in English
ڵVelar l
mمAs in English
nنAs in English, see note 5
oۆAlways long, as in Italian
öوَAlways long, as German ö, French eu
pپAs in English
qقGuttural k
rرAs in English
ڕRolled r
sسAlways sibilant, as in English ‘safe’
shشAs in English, Turkish ş
t, ṭت, ثAs in English, but see note 6
uوAs u in English ‘put’; see note 7
ûووLong u, as French ou
üۊAs French u
vڤAs in English
wوAs in English
xخAs ch in Scottish ‘loch’
yیAs in English ‘young, any’
zزAs in English
ع‛eyn; a guttural vowel, see note 9
noneءhemze, a soft breathing or hiatus, see note 10


  1. In the provinces of Sulaimani, Kirkuk, and Ardalan and southwards the d of many words is softened to the point of being almost inaudible; this softened d is written ; it is not however treated as a separate letter of the alphabet.
  2. The consonant ح, pronounced with a strong expulsion of air from the chest, is softer in Kurdish than in Arabic, alike in Arabic loan words and the few Kurdish words where it occurs. The modern tendency is to substitute هـ (h) for ح. For this reason the two have not been treated as distinct letters of the alphabet, but where ح is still likely to be met in writing this is indicated by the dot.
  3. The neutral vowel, which has no symbol in the modified Arabic script, generally approximates to a very short i and is so represented in the Roman. In speech it may change position or be dropped entirely in accordance with changes in the stress. The combination iy not followed by a vowel (e.g. as in bi-y-kuje ‘kill him’) is pronounced as î.
  4. The vowel î followed, with intervening euphonic y, by another vowel is generally pronounced short and may then be written i, e.g. perî (fairy), em perîye or em periye (this fairy). The combination îy not followed by a vowel is pronounced as î.
  5. In Sulaimani, Kirkuk, Ardalan, and southwards the nasal combination ng is pronounced as in English ‘ring’ but farther north as in English ‘finger’; it is frequently interchangeable with nḍ.
  6. The sound represented by corresponds to t as to d; it occurs in the 2 pers. sing, pronominal affix -iṭ, and in a very few other words.
  7. Unstressed u followed, with intervening euphonic w, by another vowel is pronounced very short and is often scarcely audible.
  8. The vowel û followed, with intervening euphonic w, by another vowel is generally pronounced short and may then be written u, e.g. kewtû (past participle), kewtûm ‘I have fallen’, but kewtûwe or kewtuwe ‘he has fallen’.
  9. The ‛eyn of the modified Arabic script, transliterated , is not treated as a separate letter for the purposes of alphabetical arrangement.
  10. Initial hemze and hemze between two vowels are not transliterated; juxtaposed vowels are pronounced separately (e.g. beenḍam, beîman, and bêabrû are words of three syllables). The position of medial hemze between a consonant and a vowel and of final hemze (both very rare) is indicated by apostrophe; elsewhere apostrophe indicates the elision of a vowel.
  11. In the Roman script the enclitic copula and the pronominal affixes are linked by a hyphen to the preceding word.
  12. In some cases the original Arabic forms of borrowed words have been given after the indication (A); these are transliterated in accordance with standard practice for Arabic.