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South Arabian and Yemeni dialects

Watson, JCE 2011, 'South Arabian and Yemeni dialects' , Salford Working Papers in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, 1 , pp. 27-40.

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Abstract

It has traditionally been assumed that with the Islamic conquests Arabic overwhelmed the original ancient languages of the Peninsula, leaving the language situation in the south-western Arabian Peninsula as one in which dialects of Arabic are tinged, to a greater or lesser degree, with substrate features of the ancient South Arabian languages. The ancient Arab grammarians had clear ideas concerning the difference between the non-Arabic languages of the Peninsula and Arabic, including the -t feminine nominal ending in all states and -n versus the -l definite article.. Today, however, we read about ‘Arabic’ dialects that exhibit large proportions of ‘non-Arabic’ features. Here I compare phonological, morphological, lexical and syntactic data from several contemporary varieties spoken within historical Yemen – within the borders of current Yemen into southern ‘Asīr – with data from Ancient South Arabian, Sabaean, and Modern South Arabian, Mehri, as spoken in the far east of Yemen. On the basis of these comparisons I suggest that Arabic may not have replaced all the ancient languages of the Peninsula, and that we may be witnessing the rediscovery of descendants of the ancient languages. The Yemeni and ‘Asīri dialects considered are: Yemen: Rāziḥīt, Minabbih, Xašir, San‘ani, Ġaylħabbān ‘Asīr: Rijāl Alma‛, Abha, Faifi

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arabic, Semitic, ancient South Arabian, modern South Arabian, lateral sibilants, relative clauses
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences
Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Salford Working Papers in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Publisher: University of Salford
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: JCE Watson
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2011 09:55
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:09
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/17631

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