Mehri or Mahri is a Modern South Arabian language, a branch of the greater Semitic language family, and is spoken by minority populations in isolated areas of the eastern part of Yemen and western Oman. It is a remnant of the ancient indigenous language group spoken in the southern Arabian Peninsula before the spread of Arabic along with the Muslim religion in the 7th century CE. It is also spoken today in Kuwait by guest workers originally from these areas.
Given the dominance of the Arabic language in the region over the past 1,400 years and the high bilingualism with Arabic among Mehri speakers, Mehri is at some risk of extinction. It is primarily a spoken language with little existing in print and almost no literacy in the written form among native speakers.
Mehri had 71,000 speakers in Yemen, 51,000 in Oman and 14,400 in Kuwait reported in 2000. Mehri speakers are known in the region as the Mahra tribe.
Read more about Mehri Language: Phonology
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