An Ethnographic Discussion of Folk Tales from Southern Oman

[this paper is currently under review at a scholarly journal]

Abstract

My paper examines the cultural markers within a set of folk tales recorded in southern Oman. In the 1970s Dr. Tom Johnstone documented the un-written, Modern South Arabian languages of Gibali/ Jebbali (also known as Shahri) and Mehri in the Dhofar region of Oman. In 2014, Dr. Aaron Rubin’s published a book on Gibali grammar based on his own research, Johnstone’s notes and data from Gibali speakers living in America; the book includes 70 texts of taped speech transliterated into Gibali with an accompanying English translation. My paper explains how the 10 folk tale texts are representative of southern Omani culture by analyzing the various textual elements such as characters, setting, plot events and theme, as well as physical markers such as landscape and animals. These texts help illustrate ways in which the Dhofari culture has, and has not changed, since the rapid modernization after the 1970s.