Date of Award

5-1-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Fuller, Janet

Abstract

In many countries around the world, determining what languages or dialects should be the instrument of education in schools is a major issue. Today, in Kurdistan this issue is a growing concern, particularly amongst students who speak a Kurdish dialect known as Kurmanji (Hassanpour, 2008, 2012). This thesis is an attempt to investigate the difficulties that Kurmanji students encounter in schools. Its aim is to investigate their attitudes and perceptions towards the Sorani dialect and Sorani speakers. For this reason, twenty students, including 10 males and 10 females, participated in this study. The students were from a Kurmanji town known as Akre. For this study,the qualitative method was used as it allowed the students to describe in detail the difficulties they have faced in schools and the attitudes they had towards the Sorani dialect and its speakers. The research revealed that Kurmanji students faced different kinds of problems not only in their classes, but also in their neighborhoods and communities. These problems ranged from simple issues with classroom curricula and pedagogical approaches, to more extreme problems. Many of the extreme problems involve being humiliated in the classroom by their teachers, being unfairly disciplined and penalized for language mistakes, and many other forms of punitive action. Further, the study reported how these issues have been addressed through the use of a method called bidalectialsim in several countries, such as America, Australia, Canada, England, etc. This method teaches the dominant dialect through the use of the students own native dialect (Yiakoumetti, 2006, 2007). These approaches and solutions can offer Kurdistan a blueprint for how to address their own problems and how to pave the way for speakers of Kurmanji to learn the targeted standard dialect of Sorani in Kurdistan.

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