An Exploratory Analysis of a Small Corpus of Spoken Omani Arabic

Videos, audio files, texts and scripts used to produce and analyse a small corpus of spoken Arabic in the dialect of Oman

All phonemes of the abǧad are present, which might be attributable to the formal nature of text VII. Transcription, where it is used, follows what was heard as closely as possible and is otherwise done by rules of the DMG. OA has some variation in short vowel sounds that can make it difficult to understand what vowel exactly has been said—in writing Latin letters, informants mostly used the proper MSA vowels (a, i and u) if for some reason required to do so. For more detailed information on phonetics of OA than given here, the reader is referred to . As for the present corpus, a list of phonemes with remarks on deviations from CA/MSA found within is presented in .

أ/إ/آ/ا ʾ Hamza (an obstruent glottal stop) is mostly used in formal parts of speech (nuʾmin: speaker Q). Has otherwise disappeared from the inventory (i.e. ʿalšān: speaker S) except in word- or sentence-initial contexts (one-word sentences such as ʾənta!.
ا ā Mostly as CA/MSA.
ب b Soft plosive.
ت t Hard plosive.
ث Fricative.
ج g, ̣ǧ, y Dependent on speaker and register. In most cases a soft plosive (/g/, magālisina: speaker Q); affricate (/ǧ/, only higher registers: speakers N, Q); or glide (/y/, ʿayib: speaker N). All are reflexes of < CA /ʤ/ (Edzard 2009).
ح Affricate.
خ Strident.
د d Soft plosive.
ذ Voiced strident.
ر r Vibrant, probably tap.
ز z Sibilant.
س s Sibilant.
ش š Sibilant.
ص Emphatic sibilant.
ض Dependent on speaker and register. A soft plosive (//, ḍarb: speaker N); can also approach /b/ (taḥaḍḍur: speaker Q). An emphatic strident (like CA /ẓ/) which says to be the default for OA could not be found in the corpus.
ط Hard, emphatic plosive.
ظ Emphatic strident preserved from CA (Edzard 2009).
ع ʿ Strident.
غ ġ Voiced, uvular fricative.
ف f Fricative.
ق q Voiceless, uvular plosive or soft plosive /g/ (gāl: speaker N). Can approach /ġ/ (speaker L: rāġid).
ك k Voiceless, velar plosive. Never a voiceless postalveolar affricate in the corpus.
ل l Usually a voiced alveolar lateral approximant, but sometimes realised as /r/ (rayta instead of layta).
م m Bilabial nasal.
ن n Alveolar nasal.
ه h Fricative.
و w, ū May either be a consonantal glide /w/ or two (/ū, ō/) of the five long vowels in OA (Edzard 2009). Only /ū/ is found in the corpus.
ي y, ī/ē May either be a consonantal glide /y/ the long vowel /ī/ or, when occuring as a diphtong, /ē/ (bēt, speaker Ḥ).
a (e), i, u (ü) Any occurence where a short vowel is heard clearly and unambigously. Only when a short a and long ī join to form a diphtong, ey is used.
ə Vowels “in between”, as in fahamət (I understood, speaker Ṭ) where the exact colouring of the vowel is unclear and may vary from speaker to speaker and depending on register, emotionality, speed or other factors.

Edzard, Lutz. 2009. “Omani Arabic.” In Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, edited by Kees Versteegh, 3:478–91. Leiden: Brill.