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Iraq
INTRODUCTION
1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Defense
4. Economy
a. Figures
5. Health
6. Education
a. Universities
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. Human rights
12. History
13. Cities and Towns



























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Index / Languages
Open map of IraqFlag of IraqIraq /
Languages



Languages
Figures in 1000.
Semitic 23,300 81.0%
Arabic
23,100 80.0%
Mesopotamian
14,600 51.0%
Mesopotamian, North
6,900 24.0%
Najdi
1,200 4.2%
Egyptian
340 1.2%
Gulf
55 0.2%
Aramaic
195 0.7%
Chaldean Neo
150 0.5%
Assyrian Neo
40 0.1%
Turoyo
3 <0.1%
Iranian 4,350 15.0%
Kurdish
3,800 13.0%
Northern
3,100 11.0%
Central
500 1.7%
Southern
200 0.7%
Persian
300 1.0%
Zaza-Gorani
240 0.8%
Gorani
150 0.5%
Bajelani
50 0.2%
Shabaki
20 0.1%
Sarli
20 0.1%
Turkic 1,150 4.0%
Azerbaijani
900 3.1%
Turkmen
230 0.8%
Turkish
3 <0.1%
Indo-European 60 0.2%
Armenian
60 0.2%
Indo-Aryan 50 0.2%
Domari
50 0.2%
Caucasian 30 0.1%
Circassian
30 0.1%
Adyghe
30 0.1%

The languages situation of Iraq is very complex. The long history, the many important trade routes pasing the country, the great rivers, valleys perfect for hiding from armies and the wild mountains have all allowed minorities sanctity as well as isolation.
The Iraqi territory has proven ideal to allow certain peoples to keep up their lifestyles and identity, and with that, language. Iraq has also a tradition of tolerance, which has allowed the survival of minority identity even in cities where one group has formed a clear and dominant majority.

Arabic
The main forms of Arabic in Iraq are Mesopotamian and North Mesopotamian. These are the languages in the main populated areas of Iraq, North Mesopotamian belongs to the lands north of Baghdad. Both these two variants continue into Syria, where actually Mesopotamian is larger than North Mesopotamian. Mesopotamian is even the largest Arabic dialect in Iran.
None of the two above enters Saudi Arabian lands, the Arabic spoken close to Saudi Arabia is Najdi. Gulf Arabic is spoken close to the border to Kuwait. The presence of Egyptian Arabic is mainly a result of modern-day immigration to Iraq. Due to the conflicts over recent decades, the number of Egyptian speakers my be much lower than the estimates given here.

Kurdish
Kurdish in Iraq are mainly divided between Central and Northern dialects. Northern is spoken in the regions around the Great Zab river, and the provinces of Dahuk and Mosul. Central is spoken south of the Great Zab river, in the provinces of Sulaymaniyah, Irbil, Kirkuk, Khanaqin and Mandali.

Persian
Persian is spoken by ethnic Persians, who happened to live on the other side, when borders between Iraq and Iran were finally drawn.

Zaza-Gorani
The highly confusing group called Zaza-Gorani is in Iraq represented by 4 language types. The largest, Gorani, is mainly spoken in the Halabja region, but also found in pockets between Mosul and Khanaqin. Bajelani largely belongs to the region north of Khanaqin. Shabak is spoken in small pockets largely north of Mosul. Sarli is also found north of Mosul, as well as near Kirkuk.

Turkmen
Information about Turkmen is limited and uncertain. Turkey makes a claim on the Turkmens, and could be exaggerating their presence in Iraq. Iraqi sources may, on the other hand, count their numbers too low. The information seem to agree that Turkmen is spoken in Mosul, continuing on to the border of Turkey.

Aramaic
Aramaic is found in four main dialects. Chaldean Neo-Aramaic was originally spoken in central western and northern Iraqi Kurdistan and continuing up to the borders to Turkey, but modern days' turmoil have made the speakers move to Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, and a few across southeastern Iraqi Kurdistan.

Armenian
Armenian in Iraq is mainly spoken by Armenians immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century, living in the very largest cities, mainly then Baghdad.

Domari
Domari is the language of the Doms, a nomadic people of Indian origins, who seem to have formed small, settled communities in in and near the largest cities and towns of Iraq.

Circassian
Circassian is spoken by Circassians immigrating here in the 19th and 20th centuries.




By Tore Kjeilen