Dr Roberta Morano

Dr Roberta Morano


I graduated from University of Naples "L'Orientale" in 2011 with a BA thesis focused on Carl Reinhardt's work (1894), 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 included a lexical glossary Omani Arabic-English, with the scope of systematising the lexical material presented by the author in 1894.

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 lexica from various vernaculars of Oman.

For my PhD I worked under the supervision of Professor Janet C.E. Watson and Dr Diane Nelson on a thesis entitled The Arabic dialect spoken in the al-'Awabi district, northern Oman.
The linguistic studies carried out in Oman are still very few and located in specific areas of the country, while some others are totally unexplored. Moreover, 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 was to revive Reinhardt’s work by analysing the vernacular spoken nowadays in the al-‘Awabi district of 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.


  • Morano, R. 2022. Diachronic variation in the Omani Arabic of the al-ˁAwābī district: from Carl Reinhardt (1894) to the present day. Cambridge Semitic Languages and Cultures series. OpenBook Publishers. Available Open-Access.
  • Morano, R. 2022. Persia and Oman: an historical and linguistic intersection. In: S. Rao Mehta & F. Al Rashdi (eds.), Language and Identity in the Arab World. Routledge Studies in Language and Identity. New York: Routledge, pp. 13–28
  • Morano, R. 2022. The use of genitive exponents in the al-ˁAwābī district (northern Oman). In: Klimiuk, M. (ed.), Semitic Dialects and Dialectology. Fieldwork, Community, Change. Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, pp. 31–43. Available Open-Access.
  • Bettega, S. & Morano, R. 2022. Preface. Languages 7(1). 
  • Watson, J., Lovett, J. and Morano, R. 2022. Introduction. Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern Arabia. Bloomsbury Advances in Ecolinguistics. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 1–14.
  • Watson, J., Lovett, J. and Morano, R. 2022. Conclusions. Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern Arabia. Bloomsbury Advances in Ecolinguistics. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 261–266.
  • Morano, R. 2020. Functions and uses of active and passive participial forms in al-ˁAwābī district vernacular of northern Oman. In: Alhawary, T.M. (ed.) Al-ˁArabiyya, The journal of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic. 53. Georgetown University Press, pp. 109–128.
  • Morano, R. et al. 2020. Editorial preface. Language@Leeds Working Papers, 1. [Online]. Available online.  
  • Morano, R. 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, 30 May – 2June, Aix Marseille Université [Online] Marseille: Livres de l’IREMAM. Available online.
  • Morano, R. 2018. Review of Richard J. Davey, "Coastal Dhofari Arabic. A Sketch Grammar" in Journal of Semitic Studies 63/2, pp. 545–547.
  • Morano, R. 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, R. 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. 

Edited volumes/journals

  • Bettega, S. & Morano, R. (eds.) 2022. The Classification of Arabic Dialects: Traditional Approaches, New Proposals, and Methodological Problems. Languages. Special issue. Basel (Switzerland): MDPI [online]. Available online
  • Watson, J.C.E., Lovett, J. & Morano, R. (eds.) (2022). Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern ArabiaBloomsbury Advances in Ecolinguistics. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Morano, R. (ed.) (forthcoming, 2024). Love and Conflict: Yemeni poetry on the front line. Studies in Arabic Linguistics. London: Routledge


  • Morano, R. 2021. The Fertile Coast. The Governorates. Al Batinah. Collection by the Anglo-Omani Society in London. Available online.


In 2022, I was awarded the Oman Research Grant funded by the Sultan Qaboos High Centre for Culture and Science (Muscat, Oman) for a three-month visiting post at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin (€7,500). 

In 2019, I was awarded the PGR Experience Fund for the organisation of the workshop “Hidden Voices of Arabia: Language Documentation in the Arabian Peninsula” (£500)

In 2015, I was awarded the ‘University of Leeds 110 Anniversary Research Scholarship’ to fund my doctoral studies (2015–2018, £54,471).

Other academic activities

In 2020, I have organised together with the Arabic PGR Satellite the Arabic Linguistic Forum (ALiF), an international conference on Arabic linguistics which gathers scholars and experts in the field from Europe and elsewhere. The conference was held online due to Covid-19 pandemic with the help and support of MeetInLeeds. 

Research interests

My research interests lie at the intersection between language documentation, anthropology and ecolinguistics. 

During fieldwork I have developed an interest for the human-nature realtionship in Oman and southern Arabia, especially looking at the symbiotic relations that tribes in Oman still have with the sourrounding environment. In the past few years, I have documented vernacular plant names used for traditional cooking and healing methods, and I am now hoping to exapnd this research towards different regions of Oman. My new research interest in ecolinguistics is reflected in the recent preliminary talks I have given at the "Language and Nature in Southern Arabia" workshops at University of Leeds on climate, environmental change and their effects on indigenous languages. My papers on nature related lexicon have prompted invitations to contribute to scholarly volumes, including a piece on the intersection between history, environment and language concerning Persian and Arabic, to appear in May in an edited collection entitled Language and identity in the Arab world.

Conference presentations

  • Persia and Oman: an historical and linguistic intersection at 4th International Conference on Language, Linguistics, Literature and Translation: Exploring Cultural Intersections, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat (Oman), 6–8 February 2020
  • The use of genitive exponents in the al-ˁAwābī district (northern Oman) at “Semitic Dialectology: Community, Continuum and Change”, Universität Heidelberg (Germany), 1–2 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), 24–26 June 2019
  • 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), 30 May–2 June 2017
  • Foreign loanwords in Omani Arabic at 45th North-Atlantic Conference on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (NACAL), University of Leiden (The Netherlands), 9–11 June 2017
  • Carl Reinhardt's lexical data (1894): distinctive features and borrowings at Linguistics in the Gulf – University of Turin (Italy), 21 April 2016.

Invited talks

  • “National identity building and the question of language in modern Oman” (July 4, 2022). Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin – Germany. Available on You Tube
  • “Traces of the past: vanishing archaisms in the Omani lexicon” (May 18, 2022). Semitisches Forschungskolloquium 2022. Freie Universitat, Berlin – Germany
  • “In the wake of the sailors: tackling the toponomastics of Omani coastal towns” (October 13, 2020). MSAL Online Workshop
  • “The threat of climate change on the languages of southern Arabia” (March 31, 2020). MSAL Online Workshop
  • “L’Oman attraverso i secoli: l’evoluzione linguistica del distretto di al-ˁAwābī” in the series “Seas of Change: Rethinking Entangled Renaissances” - Language contact and language variation in Oman, University of Turin (Italy), 30 March 2018.


  • 2019. “Alla scoperta della letteratura omanita: parliamo di Jokha al-Harthi” (Omani literature: the case of Jokha al-Harthi, in Italian). Pour Parler. [Podcast].


  • PhD in Linguistics and Phonetics
  • MA in Islamic Studies
  • BA in Islamic Studies

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Anglo-Omani Society

Student education

I have been Graduate Teaching Assistant for modules on General Linguistics, Phonetics, Sociolinguistics, Pragmatics and Language Acquisition in the AY 2017–2020.

Since 2016, I have acted as the leader organiser of the Arabic Language@Leeds Satellite.