Askari Hujayraan Saad

From April 2001 until May 2003 Askari Hujayraan Saad was lecturing in Mehri at the institute of Semitic Studies Heidelberg. He was born in 1957 in Hauf, a city close to the border of Yemen and Oman, and spent his childhood and youth there. He works as a singer at weddings, holidays or similar occasions. For a few years he stays with his wife at al-Ghaydha. Besides Mehri he also speaks the new south Arabic idioms Hobyot and Jibbali, that up to now have not been subject to detailed scientific research.

Askari Saad teached Mehri in Heidelberg and recorded Mehri sound-samples onto tape. You can listen to some of the texts on this homepage. The photographs shown on this site, that may give you a visual impression of the province of Mahra, have been taken from Askaris' album he brought here for this purpose.

Mehri is a language spoken in the region close to the border of Yemen and Oman; together with Sheri (Djibbâli) and Soqotri it forms the group of new south Arabic languages. Although they were already known to the classical Arabic authors (e.g. al-Hamdânî or Ibn al-Mudjâwir) and scientific research started at the early date of 1834, compared to other Semitic languages very little is known about the new-south-Arabic group. The Viennese southern-Arabia expedition yielded various samples in 1898/99; the results and documentary reports have been published in 1900-1920. Then Thomas M. Johnstone started to work in this area at the end of the 1960s; he published sketches on grammar and in particular three dictionaries in the languages and dialects Harsûsi, Djibbâli and Mehri. Since the early 1980s the French Mission Linguistique (M.-C. Simeone-Senelle, A. Lonnet) lead to numerous articles and by this contributed to a better comprehension of these languages, but never published a compendious collection of texts.

Mehri is a spoken language without an alphabet. It consists in several dialects: 1. the dialect of the Omani Nadjd (studied by Th. Johnstone), 2. the Bedouin dialects of Yemen, 3. the dialects of the coastal area of Yemen (Viennese south-Arabia expedition and French Mission Linguistique). The first item is rather conservative, 3. innovative; 2. has an intermediate position.

Tape recordings

 Text 1  MP3  Real Player
 Text 2  MP3  Real Player
 Text 3  MP3  Real Player
 Text 4  MP3  Real Player
 Text 5  MP3  Real Player
 Song 1  MP3  RealPlayer
Editor: J. Buchholz
Latest Revision: 2019-04-29
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