Description of Number, Person and Tense Features in the Verbal Morphologies of Jibbāli and Lari

Khalsa Al Aghbari, Me. Muhammad Ourang


The study describes a few linguistic features in the verbal morphologies of two understudied languages: Jibbāli and Lari. Jibbāli, a Modern South Arabian language spoken in the southern part of the Sultanate of Oman and Lari, an Indo-Iranian language spoken in Iran, are at risk of being endangered due to the facts that (1) they lack a writing system, (2) they are not taught at schools, (3) they are not the official languages in Oman and Iran and, most importantly, (4) there is no effort recorded to preserve these languages. Therefore, the study aims at exposing the linguistic richness of Jibbāli and Lari through describing the tendencies of their verbal morphologies. This may help revitalize a substantial linguistic aspect of these languages. However, since this study is limited in space, it only focuses on certain morphological features which make these languages stand out. The researchers observe a few undocumented linguistic tendencies in Jibbāli and Lari which may attract attention for further studies. For example, Lari, unlike other Iranian languages, lacks an auxiliary on the progressive tense which is largely expressed via morphemes. Jibbāli also exhibits some linguistic tendencies manifested by having a pronoun that refers to the speaker and another (exclusive) person in the conversation. Jibbāli is also characterized by abundant verbs which exhibit internal change along with a few affixes. Where relevant, features from the verbal morphologies of the two languages are delineated with examples collected through fieldworks and personal communication. Findings revealed that Lari is, by and large, a linear language in which affixes dock on bases to express grammatical contrasts while Jibbāli is highly inflectional with verbal affixes (number, person and tense) and morpho-phonological changes. In addition, affixes were found to play a crucial role in marking tenses and mood in Lari while Jibbāli employed a dual system in marking number.



Jibbāli, Lari, verbal morphology, number, person, language documentation

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