Orthographic characters

As part of this project, we have developed an Arabic-based script for Modern South Arabian on the basis of minimal use of additional characters to facilitate the writing of texts. The choice of particular characters was adopted in part by observation of the use of Arabic in SMS-messaging and emails.

Download a full description of the script

Language areas map

See the map shows the language areas that are the focus of this project. Cartography by Ulrich Seeger.

Download the map

Photo libraries

The photos in these libraries relate to cultural activities, the environment, fauna, animal husbandry, food preparation and material culture within the communities of the Modern South Arabian speakers. MSAL photos from 1970s and 1980s were taken by Miranda Morris in Dhofar or in Jiddat al-Harasis. MSAL Jiddat al-Harasis photos were taken by Domenyk Eades in 2013. MSAL Dhofar photos were taken by Janet Watson between 2010 and 2014. MSAL Mehri and Śḥerɛ̄t videos were taken by Janet Watson between 2011 and 2014. The photographs from pre-1970s were taken, unless otherwise mentioned, by unknown photographers.

Access the library 

See Domenyk Eades' photo library of Jiddat al-Harasis 2014.

Children's e-books in Mehri

The Milkbowl

What we believe to be the first children's e-book in Mehri, written by Abdullah al-Mahri and Janet Watson.

Selim and the Dom Fruit

The second e-book, written again by Abdullah al-Mahri and Janet Watson, with voice by Abdullah al-Mahri, can be accessed below. This is the first in what we hope to be a series on the adventures of Selim in Dhofar.

Download a print version of this ebook.

The Cradle

The third e-book by Abdullah al-Mahri and Janet Watson looks at the cradle, and stars a young goat from Rabkut!

Selim and his Shadow

This is the latest children's e-book in Mehri produced for the project by Janet Watson and Abdullah al-Mahri, with voiceover by Abdullah al-Mahri and illustrations by Domenyk Eades. The story is about a boy who is given a goat skin bag by his mother to take to his grandmother. Along the way he forgets the bag, and then loses his shadow. When he arrives at his grandmother's cave he has no goat skin bag and no shadow. His grandmother sends him back to look for the bag and retrieve his shadow. The story draws on the significance of shade and shadow in Mehri culture: to provide for someone you should assure shade and shelter. When people are very forgetful the importance of shadow returns in the saying: they forget their shadow!

Download a printed version of this ebook.

Ibrahim in the Wadi

The fifth ebook produced for the project by Janet Watson and Abdullah al-Mahri.

Modern South Arabian Material Culture blog

View Caroline Browne's collection of photographic stills and descriptions of aspects of Modern South Arabian material culture. 

Sample sound files

Śḥerɛ̄t description of clothes in the past by Azad Adli al-Kathiri

Śḥerɛ̄t description of the fox, Khalid Musallam al-Mahri from Sudh

Mehri chant when forcing camel to accept another camel's calf, Musallam Said Hazmay Amoosh al-Mahri

Mehri Calling camels to water and when milking, by al-'Abd Ubaidaan Said al-'Afari from Ndet

Counting in MSAL

The following sound files enable a comparison of counting in MSAL

Bathari 1-10, feminine numbers

Bathari 1-10, masculine numbers

Hobyot 1-20, feminine numbers

Hobyot 1-20, masculine numbers

Śḥerɛ̄t 1-40, masculine numbers

Śḥerɛ̄t 1-10, feminine numbers

Mehri 1-50, masculine numbers

Soqotri 1-20, masculine numbers

Soqotri 1-20, feminine numbers

Harsusi 1-20, masculine numbers

Harsusi 1-10, feminine numbers

Publications, bibliography 

Modern South Arabian languages bibliography

Alec Moore's publications

Traditional water sources in Dhofar: article by Saeed al-Mahri

Modern South Arabian languages: Documentation and ethnolinguistic analysis, in BFSA Bulletin 2015

The Modern South Arabian languages, in The Middle East in London, vol. 11/5, pp. 9-10

An outreach article on Mahri by Nathaniel Lotze

When melodies gather: Oral art of the Mahra, a digital project curated by Sam Libehaber

YouTube links

Celebration in honour of Mehri diploma graduates 2015-2016 with chants and speeches in Mehri

16mm footage of Salalah and Taqah in 1962

RAF Salalah 1962_Boat unloading

Oman 1962 - RAF Salalah visit upcountry

RAF Salalah 1962 - Visit to Muscat

Theses and dissertations on MSAL by Omani and Yemeni scholars

Hassan Obeid Abdullah al-Fadly

Saeed Saad Najadan Al-Qumairi

Salim Suhail al-Shahri

Khalsa al-Aghbari

Abstract of Saeed Al-Qumairi's thesis

Articles in Arabic on the Modern South Arabian languages: مقالات باللغة العربية عن اللغات العربية الجنوبية الحديثة

Newspaper articles on MSAL

Russian roots and Yemen's Socotra language: Socotri's origins are close to the oldest written Semitic tongues that died out thousands of years ago.

مقالة عن اللغة المهرية

Review in Arabic of The Structure of Mehri

An interview with Anwar Kalshat regarding the Mehri Center for Research and Studies, in al-Ghaydha, Yemen.