The phonetics and phonology of Modern South Arabian: Mehri and Shehret
- Start date: 1 December 2019
- End date: 30 September 2022
- Funder: Leverhulme Trust
- Primary investigator: Janet C.E. Watson
- Co-investigators: Gisela Tome Lourido and Barry Heselwood
- External co-investigators: Abdullah Musallam al-Mahri
This project will produce a data-rich monograph for publication in the OUP Endangered Languages Series on the sound systems of Mehri and Shehret, two endangered Modern South Arabian languages (MSAL) spoken in Southern Arabia, with reference to other MSAL. Within the field of MSAL, the novelty of the project lies in the inclusion of data from male and female speakers with different geographical and tribal affiliations, and in the collection and analysis of audio, audio-visual and instrumental phonetic data. Within MSAL, this will be the first comprehensive study on the phonetics and phonology on these unwritten languages, the first study to examine variation within the languages, and the first study to employ a range of audio, instrumental and audio-visual phonetic data. An ethical and intellectual cornerstone of my research methodology is that endangered languages can only be revitalised in collaboration with the active support of current speakers. The monograph will be of interest to phoneticians, phonologists, and to scholars of Semitic languages, MSAL and other endangered languages.
Impact resulting from this work builds on the impact case study I submitted for REF 2021. The work engages with community members, involving them in presentations and article-length work resulting from the study.