A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, March 16, 2015

More on the South Arabian Language Soqotri

Last year I blogged about "The Endangered South Arabian Languages of Oman and Yemen." These languages are quite distinct from Arabic, belonging to a different branch of the Semitic subfamily of Afro-Asiatic, and are actually coser to the Ethiopian languages.

For more, see my earlier post. But here's a piece from Al Jazeera about one of them, Soqotri, (which the article spells Socotri), spoken on Yemen's island of Soqotra. Because of itsinsular loction, it is the most distinctive of the Modern South Arabian language, with little mutual intelligibility with the others.

The article deals with the work of Russian linguists who began to study Soqotri during the era of Soviet influence in South Yemen. It adds some color to my earlier post, from which I take a map and a video of Soqotri poetry:


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