Activities Strand 1

Areal Studies – The Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.

WP1. Understudied & endangered languages: A case study, Modern South Arabian (coord. Sabrina Bendjaballah, CNRS LLING & Aaron Rubin, PSU)

Modern South Arabian languages are spoken in Yemen and in Oman. They represent the last remaining indigenous languages of the southern Arabian Peninsula. Modern South Arabian languages are all endangered, to varying extents, and still remain understudied. This work package relies on a group of researchers who have a solid history of collaboration, and is thus expected to significantly advance our knowledge of this language family.


  • Al Kathiri, Amir Azad Adli & Julien Dufour. 2020. The morphology of the basic verbal stems in Eastern Jibbali/Sħrɛ̄́t. JSS LXV/1: 171-222.
  • Bendjaballah, Sabrina & Aaron Rubin. 2020. The 3fs Perfect In Omani Mehri. JSS LXV/2: 511-529.
  • Bendjaballah, Sabrina & Philippe Ségéral. 2022. On quadriliterals and “quinqueliterals” in Omani Mehri. In: Castagna, G. & L. Edzard (eds). South Arabia: Old Issues, New Perspectives: 9-37. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Dufour, Julien. 2022. Vowel quality as a history maker: Stress, metaphony and the renewal of Proto-Semitic morphology in Modern South Arabian. In: Epps, P., D Law & N. Pat-El (eds), Historical Linguistics and Endangered Languages: Exploring Diversity in Language Change. 56-96. New York / Oxford, Routledge.
  • Kungl, Anton. à par. 2023. Verbal Noun Formation in Mehri. In: F. Gasparini & K. Russell (eds). Volume of the workshop series « Language and Nature in South Arabia« 
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2021. Interview sur le hobyot. Iqra 30: 23.


  • Bendjaballah, Sabrina. 2022. Remarks on the Mehri verbal template. 34. Deutscher Orientalistentag 2022, Berlin, 12-17/09.
  • Dufour, Julien. 2021. Langues d’Arabie. L’histoire linguistique du Moyen-Orient à la lumière des langues “sudarabiques modernes”. Séminaire de l’Institut d’études avancées de Nantes, 15/02.
  • Dufour, Julien. 2021.  التاريخ اللغوي للغات جنوب الجزيرة العربية [L’histoire linguistique des langues d’Arabie du Sud]. Séminaire du département d’histoire de la Sultan Qaboos University (Mascate, Oman), 7/04.
  • Dufour, Julien. 2022. More on ‘nine’ in Modern South Arabian. 34. Deutscher Orientalistentag 2022, Berlin, 12-17/09.
  • Dufour, Julien. 2022. Retour sur l’inaccompli du sudarabique moderne. David Cohen (1922-2013) : Cent ans de linguistique (chamito‑)sémitique en France, ENS, Paris, 3/12.
  • Kungl, Anton. 2020. Verbal Noun Formation in Mehri – General overview and selected problems (Part 1), Language and Nature in Southern Arabia, online workshop series, 16/06.
  • Kungl, Anton. 2020. Verbal Noun Formation in Mehri – General overview and selected problems (Part 2), Language and Nature in Southern Arabia, online workshop series, 23/06.
  • Kungl, Anton. 2022. On the Phonology of Arabic Loans in Mehri. 34. Deutscher Orientalistentag 2022, Berlin, 12-17/09.
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2020. Le hobyot, étude d’une langue sudarabique moderne. Le Diwan de Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, CEFAS, 18/11. more information
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2021. الكلمات الفرنسية من أصل عربي : تجليات التكيّف اللغوي, Journée mondiale de la langue française, Musée national d’Oman, 22/03.
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2021. توثيق الهوبيوت من خلال مقاربة لغوية. Séminaire du département d’histoire de la Sultan Qaboos University (Mascate, Oman), 7/04.
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2021. Aperçu de quelques points de la grammaire du hobyot. LLING, Université de Nantes, 11/06.
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2021. صيغ أوزان الفعل الثلاثي في الهوبيوت . The Omani Society for Writers and Literates, Salalah, 24/11.
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2021. Le hobyot : une langue encore inexplorée. Lycée Français de Mascate, 1/12.
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2021. Le hobyot, description d’un trésor linguistique menacé. Centre Franco-Omanais, Mascate, 7/12.
  • Manoubi, Ali. 2022.  الهوبيوت من الثراء اللغوي إلى إشكالية التصنيف. CEFREPA, Koweit 15/11.


  • Three-year doctoral contract (CEFAS, ANR ALMAS) – starting date: 01/10/2020 – more information

Research stays

  • Julien Dufour (CEFREPA, ENS-Ulm), Fellow Nantes Institute of Advanced Studies, 10/2020-06/2021- more information
  • Ali Manoubi (CEFREPA, Paris 4), Nantes, 25/05-25/06/2021
  • Anton Kungl (LLING), Oman, Koweit, 1/02-1/04/2022
  • Julien Dufour (CEFREPA, ENS-Ulm) & Ali Manoubi (CEFREPA), Oman, 16/12/2022-22/01/2023


  • Anton Kungl (LLING), Morphophonologie nominale en sudarabique moderne. Nantes Université, 14/12/2023, collab. ANR ALMAS
  • Ali Manoubi (CEFREPA), Le hobyot : description grammaticale d’une langue sudarabique moderne. Sorbonne Université, 18/12/2023, collab. ANR ALMAS
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WP2. Music & language: Poetry in the Arabian Peninsula and in the Horn of Africa (coord. Julien Dufour, ENS-Ulm, Cefrepa & Martin Orwin, Napoli L’Orientale)

The Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa share a common cultural characteristic: poetry is held in high regard and represents the most prominent form of expressive culture. The members of this work package instantiate different areas of specialization: descriptive linguistics, literature, metrics, and phonetics. It is expected to shed new light on the poetry of the region, as well as on the relationship between language and music.


  • Ameka, Felix K. & Azeb Amha. 2022. Research on language and culture in Africa. In: S. Völkel & N. Nassenstein (eds.), Approaches to Language and Culture (Book series Anthropological Linguistics, vol.1).  Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter. 339-383.
  • Dufour, Julien & Anne Regourd. 2020. Les safinas yéménites, in: F. Bauden & E. Franssen (eds), In the Author’s Hand: Holograph and Authorial Manuscripts in the Islamic Handwritten Tradition. 115-208.
  • Mous M.P.G.M. 2022. Commands, curses, blessings and invocations among the Iraqw of Tanzania. In: Storch A. & Dixon R.M.W. (eds.) The art of language. Brill’s Studies in Language, Cognition and Culture no. 32. Leiden: Brill. 204-220.
  • Orwin, Martin. 2021. Lyric Voice in hees and maanso poetry: Some initial thoughts concentrating on hees-hawleedBildhaan 21: 64–78,
  • Orwin, Martin (translator). 2022. Raage Ugaas Warfaa: Walhad. Modern Poetry in Translation. 2022 (2): 81–85.
  • Orwin, Martin (translator). 2022. Xasan Daahir Ismaaciil “Weedhsame”: Royal Jelly. Modern Poetry in Translation. 2022 (2): 50–55.
  • Orwin, Martin. 2022. Language and Its Sound in “Allayl Dumay” by Raage Ugaas Warfaa. Ethnorêma 18: 49-68.


  • Orwin, Martin. 2021. Ars Poetica in Somali: A comparison of ‘Uurkubbaalle’ by ‘Gaarriye’ and ‘Hal-Abuur’ by Hadraawi and what they tell us about Somali poetry, Somali Studies International Association (14th Congress), Jigjiga-online, 3/07/2021.

Research stays

  • David Le Gac (Rouen), Nantes et La-Roche-sur-Yon, 23-26/03/2022