Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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Subject: Language and Linguistics

Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard and Rudolf de Jong

The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online comprehensively covers all aspects of Arabic languages and linguistics. It is interdisciplinary in scope and represents different schools and approaches in order to be as objective and versatile as possible. The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online is cross-searchable and cross-referenced, and is equipped with a browsable index. All relevant fields in Arabic linguistics, both general and language specific are covered and the Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online includes topics from interdisciplinary fields, such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and computer science.

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(4,999 words)

Author(s): Martine Vanhove
Arabic dialects in Yemen are spoken as a mother tongue in most parts of the country, except in the eastern province of Mahra and on the island of Soqotra, where Modern South Arabian languages are the native languages of the inhabitants. The Yemeni Arabic dialects are characterized by a great diversity and by a number of unique traits not found elsewhere in the Arabic-speaking community. Although not the best known Arabic varieties, some of them have been studied since the end of the 19th century. For the center of the country (the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen), the first descriptions are due to the Swedish scholar Carlo de Landberg (1901, 1905, 1909, 1913, 1920–1943) for the sultanates of Ḥaḍramawt, Faḏlī, High and Low ʿAwlaqī, ʿAwāḏil, and the tribal Confederacy of Dat̲īnah (today, all but Ḥaḍramawt are situated in Abyan Province). The first dictionary (English/Arabic, in Arabic script) was published by Stace (1893) for the dialect of Aden. A few decades later, during the British domination, Emerson and Ghanem (1943a,b) wrote a grammar with exercises about the same variety. For the western part of the country (the former Yemen Arab Republic, previously an independent imamate) during the 1930s, Arabic dialects were studied by the Italian scholar Rossi (1938, 1939) in Ṣanʿāʾ and a few other places, and, later on, by the Yemeni scholars Nāmī (1946), al-ʾAkwaʿ (1968), and Šaraf ad-Dīn (1970). Landberg's publications on Ḥaḍramawt and Dat̲īnah Arabic are still unequaled today and have hardly been updated. Since then, only short studies have been carried out, and no study of a similar scale has been achieved in these areas. The opening of Yemen since the 1970s has allowed linguistic fieldwork to be carried out again and made it possible to supplement the previous studies. The dialects of the western part of the country were the first to be investigated on a larger scale by Western researchers such as Diem (1973), Diem and Radenberg (1994), Jastrow (1984), Behnstedt (1985, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2006), Bettini (1985), Prochazka (1987), and Werbeck (2001). Their studies, in particular the dialect atlas of Behnstedt and his monographs, followed later on by those of Al-Selwi (1987) on the medieval Yemeni lexicon, Watson (1993, 1996) on Ṣanʿāni Arabic, and the publications of a few others, such as Naïm-Sanbar (1994) and Simeone-Senelle (1996a,b), have enriched and updated our knowledge of this geographical zone. As for the center, it is only in the late 1980s and early 1990s that studies about dialects not previously described were undertaken by a Yemeni researcher Habtoor (1989–1990) for the valley of Ġayl Ḥabbān in Šabwa Province, and by Vanhove for the mountainous areas of Yāfiʿ and Ḏ̣ālaʿ (Vanhove 1993, 1995a,b, 1996a, 1997). Fodor's (1970) short monograph of the Lahej dialect, the only available publication based on the speech of m…
Date: 2018-04-01