The Current Linguistic Status of Modern South Arabian Languages in the South of Oman

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Abstract

This study examines the current linguistic status of indigenous Modern South Arabian Languages (MSAL) in
the South of Oman. It reports the attitudes of their speakers and attempts to look into their future, exploring
whether they are in maintenance or regress. In Oman, where Arabic is dominant, the use of these languages
is reduced to oral interaction between their native speakers at home and with friends. The speakers’ attitudes
towards them vary in the face of counter-pressures from the dominant language. In order to assess their present
status and speakers’ attitudes, a questionnaire was distributed to 77 subjects at two local universities in Oman.
The study reveals that although these languages are confined in their use to limited domains and settings, they
are highly valued by their native speakers as ethnic and cultural symbols, which may secure their maintenance.
Garrett (2010:11) stated that “…attitudes can play a key role in whether they [indigenous minority languages]
survive, revive, re-flourish, or whether they die out…”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-266
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Omani Studies
Volume22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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