Omani Arabic: More than a Dialect



Rashid Al-Balushi


Work Unit:

Department of English Language and Literature, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University


Vol.4 No.1 (Serial No.4) 2016






This paper surveys several linguistic aspects of the varieties of the Omani Arabic dialect (OA). It starts with a discussion of the sociolinguistic situation in Oman and the factors that shaped it, as well as discussing the OA varieties and the languages spoken in the country. This is followed by a presentation of the OA consonant and vowel phonemes and their allophones. The paper also presents phonological aspects such as syllable structure and word stress as well as examples of processes like assimilation and emphasis spreading. Then, it presents the OA personal, demonstrative, possessive, and interrogative pronouns, as well as morphological issues such as subject agreement affixes, verbal forms, passive formation, and pluralization patterns. Next, it presents syntactic patterns including word order, negation, question formation, and relative clauses. Besides the survey, the paper provides examples that reveal similarity between some OA dialects and those of the pre-Islamic era, as evidenced by some of the documented and approved readings of the Holy Qurʔān. There is also discussion of some cases of grammaticalization and pronominal copulas.

Key Words:

Omani Arabic dialects, phonemes and phonological processes, pronouns, verb structure, negation particles.




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