Discussing some Phonological Aaspects of Kurdish Through the Words befr and berf ”snow”


  • Newzad Hirori Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities, University of Stockholm.




”befr” and ”berf” are variants of the same word. They are used in different Kurmanji-speaking areas. Although the sequencing of [f] and [r] is the main difference between them, this variation leads us to investigate some aspects of Kurdish phonology. It also works as a sample for testing some phonological theories.

In this study, the sounds of befr and berf  are described in phonetics terms and in the frame of distinctive features. Since one of the key questions of this study is why these two forms exist in Kurmanji, the phonotactics of their sounds within the frame of the Sonority Hiearchy and the Sonority Sequencing Principle is presented.

When befr is pronounced in isolation, an epenthetic [i] is inserted between [f] and [r]. This epenthesis changes the monosyllabic [befr] to a disyllabic [be.fir]. Therefore, syllabe types and stress placement in Kurmanji are also discussed here by presenting the theory of Metrical phonology and the moraic theory.
The study ends with answering the key question. The last section demonstrates why both forms of Kurdish ”snow” are acceptable by adopting Optimaltiy Theory.


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How to Cite

Hirori, N. (2024). Discussing some Phonological Aaspects of Kurdish Through the Words befr and berf ”snow”. Academic Journal of Nawroz University, 13(1), 517–524. https://doi.org/10.25007/ajnu.v13n1a1746