The documentation and ethnolinguistic analysis of Modern South Arabian: Shehret
|Depositor:||Janet Watson, Miranda Morris|
Group represented Speakers of the Shehret language: members of Qara, Shahrah, Bara'amah al-Kathiri and Bait al-Shaikh tribes, and some members of the Mahrah tribe in Oman, in particular in cases of inter-tribal marriage.
Language information Other names include: Ehkili, Geblet, Jibali, Jibbali, Qarawi, Shehri, Shahari, Sheret. Number of speakers is estimated around 50,000, though we cannot be sure of the actual number of speakers due to lack of census figures for speaker communities. The language is spoken in the mountains of Dhofar and parts of the coastal plain. Dialects are generally classified as western, central and eastern.
Special characteristics The whole documentation will include audio and photographic material collected during the 1970s and 1980s by Miranda Morris, as well as material collected during the lifetime of the project. All the Modern South Arabian languages lack a formal script. Part of the objective of the whole documentation project has been to encourage use of an Arabic-based script for the Modern South Arabian languages,developed by members of the team in early 2013, and to encourage SMS and email communication between speakers in the languages.
Deposit contents Material collected from western, central and eastern Shahri. The codes used for dialect variants are: WJ 'western', EJ 'eastern', WCJ 'western central' and CJ 'central'. J in the code name is given to acknowledge the most common alternative name of the language, Jibbali. Naturalistic and narrative data collected with speaker and text metadata. Cultural topics covered: personal (wedding, birth, death, clothes), trade, stories, games, occupation, material culture, environment, animal husbandry. Audio data saved in WAV format. The complete collection will include photographs, audio and audio-visual data, transcriptions and translations in ELAN, and a comparative cultural glossary.
Deposit history The documentation project emerged from work by Watson on Mehri since 2006, work by Morris on the culture and languages of the Modern South Arabian communities since the 1970s, and enthusiasm on the part of the Modern South Arabian language communities. The languages and culture of the communities are severely endangered due to the introduction of modern technology, communications, literacy in Arabic, travel and the increasing employment of workers from south-east Asia. The project was funded by a Leverhulme Trust project grant (RPG-2012-599) between January 2013 and December 2016.
2017 The ELAN files at present in the archive represent the first rough draft transcriptions and translations of the sound files.As the depositors continue to work on their material,these will inevitably be altered and expanded, and errors will be addressed. For up to date versions of transcriptions and translations, or, in some cases, for detailed footnotes, the depositors can be contacted via ELAR.
For more information about the project, please visit Modern South Arabian languages.
Caroline Brown is creating a virtual, multimodal museum and blog of Modern South Arabian material and culture. This can be accessed here.The museum's Flickr page can be viewed here.
Acknowledgement Users are requested to cite the depositors, Janet Watson and Miranda Morris, the Shahri language community, and the Leverhulme Trust when using resources from this deposit.
Resources online and curated