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Encyclopedia > Modern South Arabian

South Arabian is a technical designation within Semitic linguistics for one of two main branches of South Semitic. (The other branch, Ethiopian, covers all South Semitic languages spoken on the African continent.) Geographically, the term "South Arabian'" covers South Semitic languages spoken on the southern Arabian peninsula in modern Yemen and Oman and the island of Socotra, part of Yemen - i.e. those not found in Africa. All the contemporary South Arabian languages are spoken by tiny populations under constant pressure from the dominant position of Arabic in the surrounding populations. Literacy in these languages among native speakers is practically nil. 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... South Semitic is one of the three macro-classifications in Semitic linguistics, the other two being North Semitic (e. ... The Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية) is a peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of Africa and Asia consisting mainly of desert. ... Map of the Socotra archipelago Socotra or Soqotra (Arabic سقطرى ; Suquá¹­ra) is a small archipelago of four islands and islets in the Indian Ocean off the Horn of Africa, some 350 km south of the Arabian peninsula. ... The Arabic language (Arabic: ‎ translit: ), or simply Arabic (Arabic: ‎ translit: ), is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ...


Old South Arabian

Old South Arabian, though little heard of today, was the language of the great civilizations of South Arabia (e.g. Sheba and Merib) with a written form of the language found on rock inscriptions showing it to be the forerunner of the modern Ge'ez alphabet still in use in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Old South Arabian is a geographic term for four closely related languages spoken in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. ... Sheba (from the English transcription of the Hebrew name shva, also Saba, Arabic: سبأ) is a southern kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures (Old Testament) and the Quran. ... The Geez language (or Giiz language) is an ancient language that developed in the Ethiopian Highlands of the Horn of Africa as the language of the peasantry. ...


Moden South Arabian

The Modern South Arabian or Eastern South Semitic languages are spoken mainly by tiny minority populations on the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Oman.

  • Mehri is the largest with 70,643 speakers in Yemen, 50,763 in Oman, and 14,358 farther afield due to emigration in Kuwait. Population total for all countries is 135,764 (SIL 2000). The Muslim ethnic goup itself is called Mahra.
  • Soqotri is another relatively numerous example, with speakers on the island of Socotra isolated from the pressures of Arabic on the mainland. According to the 1990 census in Yemen, the number of speakers there was 57,000 (including, perhaps, Soqotris living on the mainland). The population total for all countries (including work emigrants) is estimated at 64,000.
  • Shehri (Jibbali), with an estimated 25,000 speakers, is best known as the language of the rebels during the rebellion in Oman's Dhofar province along the Yemeni border in the 1970s.
  • Bathari language- 200 speakers est.
  • Harsusi language - 1-2,000 speakers est., in Oman
  • Hobyot language
  • HobyĆ³t - 100 speakers est., in Oman

Mehri or Mahri is a Semitic language in the eastern part of Yemen, in Kuwait, and in Oman. ... Mahra or Al Mahrah (Arabic: المهرة) is a governorate of Yemen in the southern Arabian Peninsula. ... Soqotri is the native language of the island of Socotra off the southern coast of Yemen. ... Map of the Socotra archipelago Socotra or Soqotra (Arabic سقطرى ; Suquá¹­ra) is a small archipelago of four islands and islets in the Indian Ocean off the Horn of Africa, some 350 km south of the Arabian peninsula. ... The Dhofar (Arabic ظفار Ẓufār) region lies in Oman, east of Yemen. ... Bathari is a language spoken in Yemen and Oman by about 200 speakers. ...

External links

  • Language family tree for South Arabian Semitic from the Ethnologue

 
 

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