Monday, May 31, 2010

Omani Arabic-for my girl in Jordan- part 1

Oman can be grouped into different language regions with different accents. I find it fun to guess where people are from based on their clothing and accents. I love anthropology! [The map above is of the regions in Oman].

Muscati is different from the dialects near the UAE border, and the interior dialects are different from these, and the Eastern Coastal dialects are distinct, and then the Southern dialects are very similar to Yemeni except the mountain dialects which are very unique.

The sedentary dialect of Oman proper sounds closest to the dialect of Qatif and the Bahraini Shi'a (according to Kees Versteegh), while the bedouin dialect is basically the same as the speech of the bedouins of the UAE and southeastern Saudi Arabia (a sort of bedouin-Gulf hybrid, where ج is prononced ي). Southern Oman can be grouped as very similar to Southern Yemen (7adhramaut), including pronouncing جـ as [g] .

In Muscat:
The future tense formation (Gulf: with ba-; Yemen: with sha-; Oman: ba)
The present continuous (Gulf: null or with gaa3ed; Yemen: ?; Oman: null)
Interrogation (Gulf: wish(shu), shino, shu, etc.; Yemen: maa; Oman: muu [muu is interior], as well as Waish. [*In Muscat they say aish, near the UAE border they say shu*]

In Muscat jeem is geem but the qaaf is correct.

In UAE border dialects qaaf is gaaf. So Qu'ran would Guran.

One distinct feature of most Omani dialects is the feminine -ish instead of Khaleeji -ich. This is a feature shared with Yemenis. Also, kaafs don't change, as in Khaleeji i.e. tomorrow is baakar, not baachar. Also, about the phonology: Omanis use long Khaleeji vowels, and also their 'ain and Ha are very hard sounding compared to that of non-Khaleejis.

Omani dialects also have a lot of Hindustani and Farsi lexicon.

One rather extensive linguistic volume on the subject states "The modern Arabic dialects of Oman form a structurally coherent group, distinguishable from those of the Gulf littoral on the one hand, and central Arabia on the other. None the less, Omani dialects can still be clearly sub-divided into two basic types: 'sedentary' (S) and 'bedouin' (B). "There is also, according to EI2, "a 'mixed' dialect which has both S and B elements," for example, in the coastal towns of the Bāṭina region (this, as the article states, includes the speech of Muscat). The article also says that the S dialects in many ways closely resemble "those of other ancient sedentary groups living on the periphery of the peninsula (Hadhramawt and Dathīna ... the Shi'i Baḥārna of eastern Arabia)."

Also, because of the grande cultural mix here in Oman, both regional aaaaaand (add in the Irani, Baluchi, Tanzanian, Portuguese, and Hindu mixes in Oman's history), Omanis use some different words than the standard Arabic and it can be funny to the student of only-a-little-arabic to notice the difference. You'll see a bit of hindi and swahili thrown in, as well as some Bedu:)

Straight ahead: English
Alatool: Arabic
Ceda: Omani Arabic

How are you?: English
Kayf al haal?: Arabic
Chef barak!: Omani Arabic

Cat: English
KitTa: Arabic
Senora: Omani Arabic

What: English
Ma: Arabic
Waish: Omani Arabic (or shu near UAE, and mu near Salalah)

I don't understand: English
La afham: arabic
Ma a'rif: Omani Arabic

No problem: English
La mushkila: Arabic
Ma mushkila: Omani Arabic

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