Sorbonne Abu Dhabi – CEFAS Diwan: Emirati Dialects’ Singular Features: The “Sharjah Museums Authority Recordings” as a Data Source

Thursday 10 December 2020
At 4:00 pm (UAE time)
Online conference

In case you missed it, you can still watch the conference by clicking here

Join Prof. David Wilmsen for the online conference on

Emirati Dialects’ Singular Features: The “Sharjah Museums Authority Recordings” as a Data Source

This conference focuses on his work with a series of recorded folk histories related by people who had been resident in the old town of Sharjah in pre-oil days, collected between 2008 and 2013 and  housed at the Sharjah Museums Authority

Conference abstract

Emirati Arabic is the least studied of the dialects of the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Gulf of Aden, apart from Hamdi Qafisheh’s grammar of the dialect of Abu Dhabi compiled in the 1970s, while there have been no studies of the dialects of the northern Emirates of the federation.
All Emirati dialects are descendants of a chain of ancient Arabic vernaculars that extended from the southwestern coastal areas of Yemen, along the seaside and valleys of Oman, through the Emirates to Bahrain. One indication of their age is that they all share in a bundle of five or so features that are either not found in the dialects of the wider Arabophone world or only encountered sporadically.
Pr. David Wilmsen came to the Emirates specifically to investigate one of these features, the existential particle šī, which is present only in that chain of dialects. He subsequently  expanded his inquiries to include two others of those features: the presentative aku and the participial infix –nn-. His research into existential šī has recently developed to include consideration of the analogous particle śī of the Modern South Arabian languages.

Know more about Prof. David Wilmsen

Prof. David Wilmsen is Head of the Department of Arabic and Translation Studies at the American University of Sharjah. A distinguished linguist and dialectologist, his work and publications focus on the syntax and morphology of  Arabic vernaculars.

This event is in cooperation with the CEFAS

Bookings are closed for this event.