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Language shift among Kurds in Turkey: A spatial and demographic analysis


  • Sinan Zeyneloglu

    () (City and Regional Planning, Zirve University, Turkey and Regent’s Centre for Transnational Studies, Regent’s University, UK)

  • Ibrahim Sirkeci

    () (Faculty of Business and Management, Regent’s University London, UK)

  • Yaprak Civelek

    () (Department of Sociology, Istanbul Arel University, Turkey)


This study explores language shift and interregional migration among Turkey’s Kurdish-origin population using census data as well as TDHS data. First, the geographical retraction of the Kurdish language between 1945 and 1965 is depicted using respective censuses as data sources. Second, patterns of intergenerational language shift and the effects of migration and education on this shift are elaborated utilising 2003 TDHS data and the 2000 Census data. Interregional mobility by birth regions and language concentration across Turkey has also been mapped. The Kurdish population in Turkey appears to be on the verge of near-universal bilingualism prompting concerns about the future of the language.

Suggested Citation

  • Sinan Zeyneloglu & Ibrahim Sirkeci & Yaprak Civelek, 2016. "Language shift among Kurds in Turkey: A spatial and demographic analysis," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 4(1), pages 25-50, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:ksjrnl:v:4:y:2016:i:1:p:25-50

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Geoffrey Haig & Ergin Öpengin, 2014. "Introduction to Special Issue - Kurdish: A critical research overview," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 2(2), pages 99-122, October.
    2. Derya Bayir, 2013. "Turkey, the Kurds, and the legal contours of the right to self-determination," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 1(1), pages 5-27, October.
    3. Richard Alba & John Logan & Amy Lutz & Brian Stults, 2002. "Only English by the third generation? Loss and preservation of the mother tongue among the grandchildren of contemporary immigrants," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(3), pages 467-484, August.
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