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.
Language areas map
See the map shows the language areas that are the focus of this project. Cartography by Ulrich Seeger.
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.
See Domenyk Eades' photo library of Jiddat al-Harasis 2014.
Children's e-books in Mehri
What we believe to be the first children's e-book in Mehri, written by Abdullah al-Mahri and Janet Watson, can be accessed below.
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.
The third e-book by Abdullah al-Mahri and Janet Watson looks at the cradle, and stars a young goat from Rabkut!
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!
The latest e-book about the boy and his shadow will be available very soon. Please check back shortly.
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
Counting in MSAL
The following sound files enable a comparison of counting in MSAL
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
When melodies gather: Oral art of the Mahra, a digital project curated by Sam Libehaber
16mm footage of Salalah and Taqah in 1962
Theses and dissertations on MSAL by Omani and Yemeni scholars
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.