By Clive Holes
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Extra info for Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia, Vol. III: Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Style
1 Communities Special terms for distinct communities in Bahrain and the wider Gulf were part of common parlance at the time the fieldwork for this study was conducted, and most of them remain current. 1 The ˁArab ‘ˁArab’ (in Bahraini Arabic ˁarab, occasionally ˁirbān) is one of a set of mutually exclusive community descriptors, of which the other principal ones in Bahrain are ‘Baḥārna’ (baḥārna), ‘Ḥwala’ (ḥwala) and ‘ˁAǧam’ (ˁaǧam). In Bahraini and Gulf parlance more widely, the term ˁArab denotes Arabic-speaking Gulf communities which can trace their genealogy (or claim they can) to the formerly nomadic bedouin tribes of central Arabia (Najd).
In villages nearer to the capital, Manāma, and in Baḥārna neighbourhoods of the capital itself /g/ had become the norm for urban Baḥārna as it was for the ˁArab, in all likelihood as a result of the constant long-term exposure of the urban Baḥārna to the /g/ of the socially (if not numerically) dominant ˁArab urban community. 59 See BEHN2 82–85 and DIEM 39–63 for -(i)š in southern Yemen. 60 The only exception so far noted for interior Oman is the Āl Wahība of the south-eastern desert region, where the 2fsng is a palatalised ky (WEB 475).
Their distribution is suggestive of a common source which was spread by a later diaspora. What we know of the population movements in south Arabia in ancient times (admittedly relatively little) suggests that this source may have been south-western Arabia. 54 Geographically, these dialects are all on the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula and form a broken chain around it,55 from Bahrain in the north east, to southern Yemen in the south-west. There are still some large blanks on this dialectal map, but a sufficiently large area of it is has become 51 First noted as a peculiarity of Bahrain by Johnstone in his study of the Gulf (EADS 159).