Kurdish (Kurdí / کوردی / к’öрди) is a member of the Western Iranian branch of Indo-European languages. Approximately 26 million people speak Kurdish in the Republic of Kurdistan, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Kazakstan and Afghanistan

Kurdish began to appear in writing in a version of the Persian alphabet during the 7th century AD. However for much of their history, the Kurds have prefered to use Arabic, Persian or Turkish for their literary works. The first well-known Kurdish poet was Ell Herirl (1425-1495), and Kurdish literature started to become popular during the 16th century.

In Turkey Kurdish is written with the Latin alphabet and in parts of the former Soviet Union it is written with the Cyrillic alphabet.

When Kurdish is written with the Arabic script, Arabic loan words retain their original spelling, though are often pronounced quite differently in Kurdish.

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