Kurdish Women from a Linguistic Perspective

There are many words in Kurdish which refer to a Kurdish female person whether it is kinship or not. Most words are from PIE Proto-Indo-European. However, the most important word  دایه daaya mother which is conceptualized on wet nursing, breast-feeding differs from some Iranian languages. One characteristic of Kurdish is shortening Iranian words as in braa for braadar brother:

First woman: the more widespread and familiar word ژن  zhin “woman”. Russian жена (žená), Polish żona, Czech žena, Avestan gənā, Ancient Greek γυνή (gynē), English cwēn/queen, Norwegian kvinne , Sanskrit gnā;jani, Old Prussian genno, Old Armenian կին (kin), Albanian zonjë, Irish ben/bean, Welsh benyw, Kashmiri zanānū', Old Church Slavonic жєна (žena), Gothic qinō, Old Norse kona, German quena/--, Persian /zan, Phrygian knaik, Tocharian śä/śana, Luwian wanatti-, Pashto šëdza/khëdza, Kurdish jin.

Note the term  gynecology is from the same root: from the Greek γυνή gyne. "woman" and -logia, "study."

Aafrat  ئافره ت  is another term for woman in Kurdish in more formal context which is said either to be from Iranian Aafarid “being" which turned to 3ifrit عفريت (genie) in Arabic or from the Greek Aphrodite the Goddes of love and beauty. However, these are clearly nothing but folk or pseudo etymologies as neither reason, time or place of their borrowing can be explained or traced back. Kurdish ئافره ت  is most probably a corruption of the Islamic Arabic عورة pronounced avrat . For a detailed discussion of this word see


Second mother: Kurdish dayik, dayk, daye, mak. The concept of mother in Kurdish conceptualizes on wet nursing, breast-feeding rather than motherhood (see Encyclopedia Iranica); compare Pahlevi dāyag, Avestian daēnu däyun. Daya is most probably from “do” milk used in some Iranian dialects to replace Persian maadar: mother. The word daaya still refers to a nurse in some oriental languages as children were or are still sometimes breast-fed by more than one woman. The Kurdish word mak for mother from matere is still preserved in Kurdish words like  زگمك zigmak  and  ورگمك     wirgmak where  زگ zig or  ورگ  wirg refer to stomach / belly. The k in dayik is from Iranian  –eke often added at the end compare also baawk father

Third sister: Kurdish Xushk خوشک ـ خویشک   from Iranian  xanhar Persian  خاهر indo-Iranian swasar, Sanskrit svas English sweostor/sister, German swester/Schwester, , Old Church Slavonic сєстра (sestra), Russian сестра (sestrá) Polish siostra, Czech sestra, Latin soror, French sœur, Kamviri sus, Irish siur/siur, Old Armenian քոյր (kʿoyr), Tocharian ar/er, Ancient Greek eor/--, Welsh chwaer, Gaulish suiior, Old Norse systir, Gothic swistar, Avestan xvahar, Lithuanian sesuo, Old Prussian swestro, Persian /xāhar, Pashto khor, Kurdish xwişk

The word  دوت“dot” related to English daughter Persian duxtar is preserved in Kurdish only in words like dotmaam cousin or daughter of the uncle from paternal side  from dot and Arabic    عم  uncle.

Fourth daughter: Many words exist for girl /daughter in Kurdish: کچ – کنیشک – قز-  چیژ-  دوت  kech /kich qiz , dot, kenishk. Probably kich is related to zaza kena, It remains to be seen whether kich it is realated to English kin.

Fifth bride: Kurdish buk after changing w /v to b in Kurdish (compare also Kurdish bist twenty from Avestian vist) from Pahlevi vuyók, Zazaki veyve.

Sixth widow: Kurdish bewazhin بیو ه ژن -  بیو ه   widow (literally a woman without - a husband) Persian /bēve(h)Sanskrit vidhyati, Avestan viðavā, Gothic widuwō, Old Prussian widdewu, Russian вдова (vdová), Latin vidua;dīvidō, French veuve, Spanish viuda, Irish fedb/, German wituwa/Witwe, Welsh gweddw, Polish wdowa, English widuwe/widow, Old Church Slavonic въдова (vŭdova), , Ancient Greek eitheos, Umbrian uef, Lithuanian vidus, Latvian vidus, Serb. udova/udovica, Czech vdova

Jamshid  - Bremen  7 July 2015