Roberta Morano

Roberta Morano


Arabic dialectology; Arabic language; Gulf Arabic; Oman; Arabic linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Language Documentation; Ethnolinguistics

My research
Under the supervision of Professor Janet C.E. Watson and Dr Diane Nelson, I am working on a Phd project "The Arabic dialect spoken in the al-'Awabi district, northern Oman".
The linguistic studies carried out so far in Oman are very few and located in specific areas of the country, while some others are totally unexplored. Moreover, all the studies providing most of the data for Omani dialectology date back to the end of nineteenth and the beginning of twentieth century. This lack is mainly due to the difficulty and sometimes the impossibility for researchers to reach some areas of the Sultanate – at least until the 1980s – both for political and social reasons. Carl Reinhardt’s work – Ein arabischer Dialekt gesprochen in ‘Oman und Zanzibar, dated 1894 – still plays a very important role in the linguistic and neo-Arabic dialectological field. He described the phonology, morphology and syntax of the Banu Kharus' vernacular, spoken in the area of Nizwa and Rustaq, northern Oman.
The aim of my research is to revive Reinhardt’s work by analysing the dialectal variety spoken nowadays in al-‘Awabi district, northern Oman. The thesis is an extensive phonological, morphological and syntactical description of this dialectal variety, and includes a deep analysis of the lexicon used throughout the district and in some other parts of Oman. I have been primarily interested in collecting local names of plants and animals, insects, kitchen utensils, diseases, and methods to cure them. Moreover, I have been focusing on the extensive use of foreign loanwords, especially from Persian, Swahili, Hindi/Urdu, Portuguese and English. The ultimate purpose was the realisation of a concise lexical glossary of all the lexical items found in the district.

About me
I graduated from University of Naples "L'Orientale" in 2011 with a BA thesis specifically focused on Carl Reinhardt's work, under the supervision of Professor Riccardo Contini. My BA thesis analysed all the morphological and lexical features presented by the German linguist over a century ago and it also had a lexical glossary at the end.
I then obtained my MA degree at the same University in 2014, working on a MA thesis - under the supervision of Professor Riccardo Contini - entitled Glossary of Omani Arabic (in Italian). In this work I analysed studies of other scholars, who focused on different areas of Oman, comparing them with the main version of Carl Reinhardt (1894). Also in this thesis, I compiled a lexical glossary, including many varieties of Omani Arabic.

Carl Reinhardt's lexical data (1894): distinctive features and borrowings at Linguistics in the Gulf - University of Turin (Italy), 21 April 2016.

An Omani evolving lexicon: from Carl Reinhardt (1894) to nowadays at 12th Conference of the International Association of Arabic Dialectology (AIDA) - Aix Marseille University (France), 30th May - 2nd June 2017.

Foreign loanwords in Omani Arabic at 45th North-Atlantic Conference on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (NACAL) - University of Leiden (The Netherlands), 9th-11th June 2017.

The use of genitive exponents in the al-ʿAwābī district (northern Oman) at “Semitic Dialectology: Community, Continuum and Change”, Universität Heidelberg (Germany), 1st-2nd July 2019

Remarks on the negative system in the Arabian Peninsula: the case of Omani /-ši/ at 47th North-Atlantic Conference on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (NACAL), INALCO (Paris, France), 24th-26th June 2019


Morano, R. (forthcoming). The use of genitive exponents in the al-ʿAwābī district (northern Oman), in Semitic dialectology. Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing

Morano, R. (forthcoming). Functions and use of participial forms in the al-ʿAwābī district vernacular (northern Oman). In: Alhawary, T.M. (ed.) Al-ʿArabiyya, The journal of the American association of teachers of Arabic. Georgetown University Press

Morano, Roberta. 2019. An Omani Evolving Lexicon: from Carl Reinhardt (1894) to present day. In: C. Miller, A. Barontini, M. Germanos et al. (eds.), Studies on Arabic dialectology and sociolinguistics. Proceedings of the 12th AIDA conference, 30th May – 2nd June, Aix Marseille Université [Online] Marseille: Livres de l’IREMAM. Available from:

Morano, Roberta. 2018. Review of Richard J. Davey, "Coastal Dhofari Arabic. A Sketch Grammar" in Journal of Semitic Studies 63/2, pp. 545-547.

Morano, Roberta. 2017. Carl Reinhardt's lexical data (1894): distinctive features and borrowings in Linguistics Studies in the Arabian Gulf (QuadRi - Quaderni di RiCOGNIZIONI VII). Turin: University of Turin, pp. 187-195.

Morano, Roberta. 2015. Review of Holes and De Jong's "Ingham of Arabia: A Collection of Articles Presented as a Tribute to the Career of Bruce Ingham (2013), in QSA 10 (2015), pp. 262-264. 

Academic event organisation

Arabic Linguistic Forum (ALiF), University of Leeds, 1st-2nd July, 2020

  • Lead organiser

Hidden voices of Arabia: Language Documentation in the Arabian Peninsula, University of Leeds, 20th May 2019.

  • Lead organiser
  • Funded by: PGR Experience Fund 2018/2019 (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies – University of Leeds) (£500); Language at Leeds (£100).

Cross-Cultural Crossing – LCS Postgraduate Conference, University of Leeds, 6th May 2016

  • Co-organisers: Serena Vandi, Sophiko Daraselia, Polly Galis, Shiping Yu
  • Funded by: School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds 

Member of the editorial board of Language@Leeds Working Papers since October 2018

Member of Arabic Language at Leeds PGR committee since October 2017

Teaching commitments

Tutor in Seminar groups for MODL1060: “Language: Structure and Sound” (A.Y. 2019/2020)

PGR Training Programme (2019/2020): “Methodologies I” (18.11.2019); “Fieldwork” (25.11.2019)

Tutor in Seminar groups for MODL1090: “Intercultural Competence: Theory and Application” (2018/2019)

PGR Training Programme (2018/2019): “Fieldwork”, 4.2.2019

Tutor in Seminar groups for LING1100: “Language: Meaning and Use” (2017/2018)

L'Oman attraverso i secoli: l'evoluzione linguistica del distretto di al-'Awabi in the series "Seas of Change: Rethinking Entangled Reinassences", for the BA course in Arabic Language and Literature at University of Turin (Italy), 16th March 2018


2015 – 2018               University of Leeds 110 Anniversary Research Scholarship (£54,471)

2019                           PGR Experience Fund for the organisation of the event/workshop “Hidden voices of Arabia: Language Documentation in the Arabian Peninsula” (£500)

Research interests

My research interests are primarily in language documentation of Arabic varieties spoken in the Arabian Peninsula. I am most interested in lexicology, ethnolinguistic research, sociolinguistics, and anthropological linguistics. 



  • European Computer Driving Licence
  • BA in Islamic Studies
  • MA in Islamic Studies