Gorani (also Gurani) is a group of Northwestern Iranian dialects spoken by Kurdish people in the southernmost parts of Iranian Kurdistan and the Iraqi Kurdistan region. It is classified as a member of the Zaza–Gorani branch of the Northwestern Iranian languages. Gorani is a dialect of the Pahlawani strand of Kurdish, which diverged off from Kurmanji speakers, Badhini and Sorani alike, at around 100 BCE. The Hewramî dialect, although often considered a sub-dialect of Gorani, is a very distinct dialect spoken by Gorani/Hewrami people in a region called Hewraman along the Iran–Iraq border, and is sometimes considered to be a distinct language.
The variations between the Pahlawani strand and the Kurmanji strands of Kurdish are too many, and are therefore far too great by any standard linguistic criteria to warrant classification as dialects of the same languages, though speakers from both sides can understand each other for the most part. Gorani is spoken in the southwestern corner of province of Kurdistan and northwestern corner of province of Kermanshah in Iran, and in parts of the Halabja region in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Hawraman mountains between Iran and Iraq.
The oldest literary documents in these related languages, or dialects, are written in Gorani.
Many Gorani speakers belong to the religious grouping Yarsanism, with a large number of religious documents written in Gorani.
Gorani was once an important literary language in the southeastern parts of the Kurdistan geographical region but has since been replaced by Sorani. In the 19th century, Gorani as a language was slowly replaced by Sorani in several cities, both in Iran and Iraq. Today, Sorani is the primary language spoken in cities including Kirkuk, Meriwan, and Halabja, which are still considered part of the greater Goran region.
The name Goran appears to be of Indo-Iranian origin. The name may be derived from the old Avestan word, gairi, which means mountain. The word Gorani refers to inhabitants of the mountains or highlanders as the suffix -i means from. The word has been used to describe mountainous regions and the regions' communities in modern Kurdish literary texts. In this sense Gorani has the same etymological background as the Gorani language spoken in the Balkans, which derives from a Slavic word 'gora' also meaning mountainous region.
The name Horami is believed by some scholars to be derived from God's name in Avestan, Ahura Mazda.
Under the independent rulers of Ardalan (9th–14th / 14th–19th century), with their capital latterly at Sanandaj, Gorani became the vehicle of a considerable corpus of poetry. Gorani was and remains the first language of the scriptures of the Ahl-e Haqq sect, or Yarsanism, centered on Gahvara. Prose works, in contrast, are hardly known. The structure of Gorani verse is very simple and monotonous. It consists almost entirely of stanzas of two rhyming half-verses of ten syllables each, with no regard to the quantity of syllables.
An example: دیمای حمد ذات جهان آفرین
"After praise of the Being who created the world
یا وام پی تعریف شای خاور زمین
I have reached a description of the King of the Land of the East.
Names of forty classical poets writing in Gurani are known, but the details of the lives and dates are unknown for the most part. Perhaps the earliest writer is Mala Parisha, author of a masnavi of 500 lines on the Shi'ite faith who is reported to have lived around 1398–99. Other poets are known from the 17th–19th centuries and include Mahzuni, Shaikh Mostafa Takhti, Khana Qubadi, Yusuf Zaka, and Ahmab Beg Komashi. One of the last great poets to complete a book of poems (divan) in Gurani is Mala Abd-al Rahm of Tawa-Goz south of Halabja.
There exist also a dozen or more long epic or romantic masnavis, mostly translated by anonymous writers from Persian literature including: Bijan and Manijeh, Khurshid-i Khawar, Khosrow and Shirin, Layla and Majnun, Shirin and Farhad, Haft Khwan-i Rostam and Sultan Jumjuma. Manuscripts of these works are currently preserved in the national libraries of Berlin, London, and Paris.
Some Gorani literary works:Shirin u Xusrew by Khana Qubadi (lived 1700–1759), published 1975 in Bagdad.
Diwan des Feqe Qadiri Hemewend, 19th century
The Koran in Gorani, translated in the 20th century by Haci Nuri Eli Ilahi (Nuri Eli Shah).
Hawrami (هەورامی; Hewramî) also known as Avromani, Awromani or Owrami, is one of the main groups of dialects of the Gorani language, and is regarded as the most archaic of the Gorani group. It is mostly spoken in the Hawraman region, a mountainous region located in western Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and northeastern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan). The key cities of this region are Pawe in Iran and Halabja in Iraq. Hawrami is sometimes called Auramani or Horami by people foreign to the region.
There are also large communities of people of Ahl-e Haqq in some regions of Iranian Azerbaijan. The town of Ilkhichi (İlxıçı), which is located 87 km south west of Tabriz is almost entirely populated by Yâresânis. For political reasons, one of which was to create a distinct identity for these communities, they have not been called Goran Kurds since the early 20th century. They are called under the various names, such as Ali-Ilahis and Ahl-e Haqq. Groups with similar beliefs also exist in Iranian Kurdistan. Interestingly, both the Dersim (Zazaki) people and the Gorani people, adhere to a form of Yazdanism. These people are called under the various names, such as Ali-Ilahis and Ahl-e Haqq. Groups with similar beliefs also exist in all parts of Kurdistan.D.N.MacKenzie (1966). The Dialect of Awroman (Hawraman-i Luhon). Kobenhavn. THE DIALECT OF AWROMAN