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All are spoken in different regions of Southern Arabia. Soqotra is still somewhat of a mystery. The island has had minimal contact with the outside world and the inhabitants of Socotra have no written history. What is known of the islands is gathered from references found in records from those who have visited the island, usually in a number of different languages, some yet to be translated.
The language is under immense influence of the dominant Arabic language and culture. Because many Arabic-speaking Yemenis have settled in the Soqotri region permanently, resulting in Arabic becoming the official language of the island. Soqotri is now replaced with Arabic as a means of education in schools.
Students are prohibited from using their mother tongue while at school and job seeking Soqotrans must be able to speak Arabic before getting employed. Young Soqotrans even prefer Arabic to Soqotri and now have a difficult time learning it. Oftentimes they mix Arabic in it and cannot recite or understand any piece of Soqotri oral literature. Arabic is now the symbolic, or more ideological, articulation of the nation's identity, making it the privileged lingua franca of the nation.
The government has also taken up an inclination of neglect toward the Soqotri language. This seems to based on the view that Soqotri is only a dialect rather than a language itself.
There is also no cultural policy on what should be done about the remaining oral non-Arabic languages of Yemen, include Soqotri and Mehri. The language is seen as an impediment to progress because of the new generation's judgement of it as being irrelevant in helping to improve the socio-economic status of the island. There seems to be cultural sentiments toward the language but yet an indifference due to neglect and the notion of hindrance associated with it.
Hence, Soqotri is regarded as a severely endangered language and a main concern toward the lack of research in Soqotri language field is not only related to the semitics, but to the Soqotry folklore heritage conservation.
This isolated island has high pressures of modernization and with a rapidly changing cultural environment, there is a possibility of losing valuable strata of the Soqotran folklore heritage. Poetry and song used to be a normal part of everyday life for people on the island, a way of communicating with others, no matter if they were human, animal, spirits of the dead, jinn sorcerers, or the divine.
However, Soqotri poetry has been overlooked and the skill of the island's poets ignored. This has induced research since the nineteenth century by the United Nations Development Program in order to closely survey the island and understand its biodiversity. The European Union has also expressed serious concerns on the issue of preserving cultural precepts of the Archipelago's population.
The total population of Soqotri users throughout Yemen is 57, census and total users in all countries is 71, . Soqotri has no official status. The Soqotri dialectology is very rich, especially considering the surface of the island and number of inhabitants. Soqotri speakers live on their islands, but rarely on the Yemeni mainland. The language was, through its history, isolated from the Arabian mainland.
Arabic is also spoken in a dialectal form on Socotra. There are four dialect groups: the dialects spoken on the north coast, the dialects spoken on the south coast, the dialects spoken by Bedouins in the mountains in the centre of the island and the dialect spkoen on cAbd al-Kuri. The dialect that is spoken on this island Samhah appears to be the same as the one spoken on the west coast of Socotra.
Scholars believe there are no longer any grounds for associating the Modern South Arabian languages so directly with Arabic. They consider these dialects to be not Arabic, but Semitic languages in their own right. The isolation of the island of Socotra has led to the Soqotri language independently developing certain phonetic characteristics absent in even the closely related languages of the mainland.
Soqotri once had ejective consonants. However, ejective fricatives have largely become pharyngeal consonants as in Arabic , and this occasionally affects the stops as well.
Apart from that, the phonemic inventory is essentially identical to that of Mehri. Soqotri grammar and vocabulary is very poorly documented and distributed. Preservation of the Soqotri language will give future generations access to this education as well. In research done by Marie-Claude Simeone-Senelle, het and hit actually specific to some of the dialects spoken in Diksam, and the far-western areas of Qalansiya, Qafiz.
She found that in other places, the 2nd singluar m. In the latest system, the subject pronouns are the full form. Another linguistic uniqueness in the far-western dialect of Qafiz is the possessive construction. This dialect, like all other Soqotri dialects, is based in the connective d- , followed by a pronoun.
However, in this dialect, the connective is variable like the relative pronoun : d- with a singular, and l- with a plural:. This variation highlights the link between connective, deictic and relative pronoun. In other dialects, a grammaticalization process took place and the singular form was frozen as a connecting invariable particle d-. The nominal dual -in, instead of -i is a specific feature to a year-old boy from Diksam. It may be due to his idiolect, but the link with classical Arabic dual is interesting: [ clarification needed ] [ why?
Many people in contact with Arabic tend to use plural in all cases verb or pronoun. In many dialects, the verbal negation is the same with indicative and prohibitive. Lieutenant Wellstedt, who was part of a surveying mission in , was the first to collect toponyms, tribe names, plant names, figures, and in total was able to put together a list of Soqotri words.
The words have no characteristics of the Western dialects and 41 words out of the were noted as Arabic loans by Wellstedt. Religious poems show influence of Arabic with borrowings from classical Arabic vocabulary and Quranic expressions. A writing system for the Soqotri language was developed in by a Russian team led by Dr. Vitaly Naumkin following five years of work.
This writing system can be read in his book Corpus of Soqotri Oral Literature. The script is Arabic-based and transcriptions of the text appear in translated English and Arabic. This Arabic based orthography has helped passive narrators of oral lore collaborate with researchers in order to compose literature truthful to its origins. The following examples are couplets, which is the basic building block of Soqotri poetry and song. This is a straightforward humorous piece about a stingy fisherman with easy language usage that anyone on the island could easily understand.
The next example is a line that most Soqotrans would not find too difficult to understand either:. These plants, part of the Euphorbia plant group, survive long months of dry seasons and have a milky latex which goats often feed on in times of shortage.
There is no nutritious benefit to it but, it helps rid of the goats' thirst. However, when goats feed on the latex from damaged plants, it stains their muzzles and causes sores in and around the mouth. The lines were made by a woman who had found out that her lover was bragging to others of his victories he is being compared to the feeding goats. She is calling this out and warning other women to be careful of men of his like. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article possibly contains original research.
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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Glottolog 3. Retrieved Journal of Arabian Studies. Northeast African Studies. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. Rex V; Kogan, Leonid Efimovich Corpus of Soqotri oral literature.
Languages of Yemen. Yemeni Sign Language. Modern South Arabian languages. Semitic languages. East Semitic languages. Akkadian Eblaite. West Semitic and Central Semitic languages.
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Lexique soqotri (sudarabique moderne) : avec comparaisons et explications étymologiques