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A grammar of Kumzari : a mixed Perso-Arabian language of Oman

This book presents an in-depth grammatical description of Kumzari, a mixed language spoken in remote villages on the Musandam Peninsula in northern Oman.

Christina van der Wal Anonby
22 April 2015
Leiden University Repository

Not mutually intelligible with adjacent languages Persian or Arabic, Kumzari has a mixed heritage of both language families and bears features of developments from Middle Persian and Semitic. Although the present work is synchronic in perspective, the introductory chapter includes a study of the history of the language from known sources, crucial for understanding Kumzari’s mixed nature. It follows with chapters on each constituent of the grammar: phonology, noun, verb, existential, modifier, evidential, preposition, clause, negation, and discourse.

The twelfth chapter extends the analysis to the rhetorical aspects of the language, concerning the structures in Kumzari’s narrative oral tradition. The appendices provide transcripts of Kumzari texts and a lexicon. Of note are the descriptions of the mirative verb form, the wide-ranging role of the subordinator, evidentials, and the distinct word class of deverbs.

From a comparative perspective, post-verbal negation is unique to Kumzari among Iranian languages. Rare also are Kumzari’s emphatic consonants, which occur even in words of non-Semitic origin. Rich in examples drawn from natural speech gathered in the field, this description situates linguistic data in its cultural context. The work documents a little-known language spoken in remote villages accessed only by boat, and it is of particular interest to scholars of both Iranian and Arabian languages as well as linguistic typology.

Promotor: H.J. Stroomer, Co-Promotor: G.R. van den Berg

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