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Sunday 28 October 2018

Languages and Folklore of Southern Arabian Ethnicities: main directions of the recent Russian and international studies

Languages and Folklore of Southern Arabian Ethnicities: main directions of the recent Russian and international studies Languages and Folklore of Southern Arabian Ethnicities: main directions of the recent Russian and international studies

 
Institute of Oriental Studies 200th Anniversary Conference

The Modern South Arabian group of languages is one of the most unique and archaic within the Semitic language family. According to contemporary linguistic classification, South Arabian languages were the first to separate from the Western Semitic branch, thus, they are not closely related to any language of the group. Though research into South Arabian languages is crucial for comparative history and synchronic typology of the Semitic family, for many decades they have been overlooked by scholars. The significant progress has been made recently in this branch of Semitic linguistics, largely due to the pioneering discoveries by Russian researchers of Soqotri language and culture.

The main objective of the Conference is to represent the current state of this highly relevant branch of Semitic linguistics as widely as possible and to outline the key points of its development in upcoming decades. The publication of the second volume of the “Soqotri Folklore Collection,” created and compiled by a group of Russian scholars led by Academician and Professor Vitaly Naumkin, will be one of the most notable events of the Conference. This fundamental work is to be published by the renowned Dutch publishing house Brill almost simultaneously with the celebration of the Institute’s 200th anniversary.

Almost all Russian specialists in the Modern South Arabian languages will take part in the Conference, representing different generations and spheres of interests within the South Arabian studies (descriptive and historical grammar, collection and analysis of new texts, folklore studies, visual documentation of nature and living conditions). Moreover, scholars from France and Great Britain – two countries boasting leading schools of South Arabian studies – will also participate in the event. Finally, this Conference will be the first one in Russia where a qualified native speaker of both continental South Arabian Languages (Mehri and Jibbali) is involved.