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Mahri Poetry Archive

Today, there are an estimated 115,200 speakers of the Mahri language, a distinct tongue spoken by the Mahra, an ethnic group that lives in modern-day Yemen, the Yemeni island of Socotra, Oman, Kuwait, and Northeastern Somalia. Mahri speakers have preserved their language orally, making it "one of the few, living remnants of the pre-Arabic language substrate that once stretched across the southern quarter of the Arabian Peninsula." Oral Poetry, in particular, is an important artistic component of the Mahri language. Samuel Liebhaber, Associate Professor of Arabic at Middlebury College, has created this impressive archive of Mahri poetry. Visitors can browse the Index of Poems by Title, Region, or Poet, Transmitter, or Singer. Each poem is transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet and also translated into English. And, excitingly, visitors can watch videos or hear recordings of many of these poems being performed as a way to experience Mahri for themselves. In addition to the extensive Index, Liebhaber also provides an extensive history of the Mahra people and Mahri language as well as an analysis of Mahri poetry.
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