Zephaniah 3:9

For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language. That they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.

Family of languages

Kurdish belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. Kurdish dialects are members of the northwestern subdivision of the Iranic branch which comprises the largest family of languages in the world. The Kurdish language is independent, meaning it has its own historical development, continuity, grammatical system and rich living vocabularies. The ancient “Median” language is a forerunner to modern day Kurdish. There are an estimated 30 million people in what is considered Kurdistan, who speak different dialects of the Kurdish language. The Kurdish language is divided into three primary groups: Northern, Central, and Southern dialects. There are also two other major branches of the Dimili group called “Zaza” and the Hewrami group which may be called "Gorani"  in some cases. These can be further divided into many other dialects and sub-dialects as well. Kurmanji and Badinani comprise the Northern Kurdish dialects, the Central dialects are called "Sorani," and the "Pehlewaní" and the "Pahlawanik" make up the Southern group.

Where is Dimili spoken

To the far north of Kurdistan along the upper courses of the Euphrates, Kizilirmaq, and Murat rivers in Turkey, the Dimílí branch of Kurdish language (less accurately but more commonly known as Zâza) is spoken by about 1.5 million Dimíli Kurds. The larger cities of Tunçeli, Bingol, and Siverek, and a large proportion of the Kurds of Bitlis, are Dimílí-speaking as well. There are also smaller pockets of this language spoken in various corners of Anatolia from Adiysman to Malâtya (Melatye) and Maras (Meres) in Northern Iraq, where the speakers are known as the Shebeks. Also in Northwest Iran, the tribes of Dumbuli and some of the Zerzas speak Dimili as well. Historically in the early medieval times the language was far more widespread. It was being spoken in all the areas now covered by the Northern Kurdish Dialects.

Andrew Murray

Where the is much prayer, there will be much of the Spirit; where there is much of the Spirit, there will be ever increasing prayer.

Major dialects

The Dimili language has been in a steady decline from the beginning of the 16th century when it’s borders reached as far as Pontus, Cappadocia, and Cilicia and continues to decrease to this day. This is due primarily to assimilation and deportations during the Byzantine period and the advancement of the main Kurdish language from the east. Major dialects of Dimílí are Sívirikí, Korí, Hezzú (or Hezo), Motkí (or Motí), and Dumbulí. The dialect of Gâlishi now spoken in the highlands of Gilân on the Caspian Sea may be a distant offshoot of Dimílí as well, brought here by the migrating medieval Daylamites from western and northern Kurdistan. Dimílí has served as the prime language of the sacred scriptures of the Alevis, but not the exclusive one. Despite this, not much written material survives to give an indication of the older forms of Dimílí and its evolution. Kurdish Publishing houses in Europe have recently embarked on an extensive campaign of publication in the North Kurmanji dialect of Kurmaji. These employ a modified form of the Latin alphabet.

Current status

Dimili now uses the same modified Latin alphabet as North Kurmanji for print. Differences between Kurdish dialects or languages are as big as the difference between Danish and German or Spanish and Portuguese. There is difference of opinion, even among Kurds,  about whether Dimili (or Zaza) is actually a Kurdish language, as it is distinctly different (although not thoroughly dissimilar from) other Kurdish dialects, except Guarani and its derivatives.  The Kurdish languages are strongly based on Arabic loan words, as were the other three main languages of the Middle East. When Turkish and Persian “cleaned up” their languages the differences between the three main languages of the Middle East (Turkish, Persian, Arabic) became obvious and the Kurdish languages fell in the gap between the three.