Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dhofar

Rregion lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen. Its mountainous area covers 99,300 km2 (38,300 sq mi) and has the population of 215,960 as of census 2003. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincense in the world. However, its frankincense is now mostly used locally. (Somalia is now the leading exporter.)

While Arabic speakers from the dominant Omani culture have come to live in the province, especially the larger cities and towns, Dhofar has been the traditional homeland of many tribespeople speaking a variety of South Arabian Semitic languages. One of the largest—spoken by the Qara (Ehkel├┤), Shahra, Barahama, ِAl Mashaikh and Bathira mountain tribes—is called Jeballi, (or Shehri)—popularly referred to as Jeballi people or mountain talk. The Yemeni language of Mehri is somewhat linked to Jeballi. Other indigenous groups speaking smaller languages such as Bathari live in the coastal towns of Shuwaymiya and Sharbithat. The Harasis, speaking Harsusi, number 1,000–2,000 and live in Jiddat al-Harasis.

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