Living languages center founded in Diyarbakır

A living languages center has been established at the Diyarbakır-based Dicle University, where Kurdish, Zaza, Syriac, Armenian and Arabic language courses will be offered.

After the establishment of a living languages institute at Mardin Artuklu University in late 2009, the second such institute has been opened at Dicle University. The center, which will begin operations after final approval by the Higher Education Board (YÖK), will provide elective Kurdish, Syriac, Zaza and Arabic courses. The center will also open language courses to local residents.

Dicle University Secretary-General Professor Sabri Eyigün told the Anatolia news agency that Turkey and the southeastern region is very rich with respect to languages, indicating that it is the duty of universities to research these languages and provide data on them for the public. He added that YÖK is currently checking whether the university has completed necessary preparations regarding the center. “I expect that the board will approve the establishment of the center soon and that it will begin operating,” he said.

Noting that the university decided to establish a living languages center in the first phase, Eyigün said they considered opening a living languages department after training sufficient number of academics to be employed at the department. Stating that there is a lack of Kurdologists in Turkey, he said the center aims to train more experts in Syriac and Kurdish. Speaking Kurdish was banned in Turkey until 1991.