Indo-Iranian Languages in Oman (Published)
The coexistence of a number of minority languages with Arabic language in Oman has recently been cited in literature. Distant from the latter Semitic language, the former belong to three main language families: Indo-Iranian languages, Modern South Asian languages and Bantu languages. Due to several factors such as speakers’ base, restricted domain of use and ineffective intergenerational transmission, they fall into different categories concerning their language vitality. The former language family (i.e. Indo-Iranian) includes several languages some of which are indigenous to Oman while others are spoken by other communities in some neighboring countries. The mainstream of these languages are associated with ethnic groups that identify with them as their ethnic languages whereas some are not categorically associated with certain ethnicities per se. This paper is an attempt to examine lexical resemblance among these languages using the Swadesh’s one hundred word list as its framework. Findings show that lexical resemblance is considerably high among these languages as the vast majority of the lexical items in the list formed one, two ,or three cognate groups in all or most languages as opposed to very few lexical items that happened to be so distinct in all languages under investigation that they did not form any cognate group of their own.