Book Launch & Lecture : Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern Arabia

Thursday 23rd Feb 2023, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

34 Sackville St, London

We are pleased to invite you to the British Omani Society for a lecture on 'Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern Arabia' by Janet C.E. Watson, Jon C. Lovett, and Roberta Morano. 

The presentation will introduce the book 'Language and Ecology in Southern and Eastern Arabia', which includes seven chapters focussing on the language-ecology relationship within Oman. The talk will be illustrated with photos and sound files. The book emerged from an AHRC-funded network on Language and Nature in Southern and Eastern Arabia, which ran from 2017–2019. The network included three-day, face-to-face workshops at Qatar University in February 2017 and the University of Leeds in April 2019, and a video conference in October 2018.

The volume takes a multidisciplinary view of the relationship between Language and Ecology, examining expressions of, and threats and challenges to, the Language–Ecology relationship in southern and eastern Arabia, with primary focus on Oman. Regions of the world with greatest biodiversity are shown to exhibit greatest linguistic diversity, strongly suggesting that the relationship between Language and Ecology is both symbiotic and spatially and temporally determined. Indigenous languages reflect the close relationship between people and their natural environment, embodying the complex relationship humans enjoy with landscape and seasons. These connections can be broken when indigenous languages are severed from the ecosystems in which they arose, a situation that can arise through replacement of indigenous languages by alien lingua franca, through degradation of the ecosystem, through depopulation, or through forced or voluntary removal of the indigenous language community from the local ecosystem. The volume provides a case study within a region of the world that has not traditionally been considered in the discourse around the relationship between endangered languages and ecosystems.


Janet C.E. Watson holds the Leadership Chair for Language@Leeds at the University of Leeds. She is co-director of the Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems (CELCE) and a Fellow of the British Academy. Her research interests lie in Modern South Arabian and Yemeni Arabic dialects, with particular focus on theoretical phonological and morphological approaches. Her key works include Phonology and Morphology of Arabic, The Structure of Mehri and Təghamk Āfyət: A course in Mehri of Dhofar (with Abdullah al-Mahri et al). Janet can be contacted at


Jon C. Lovett holds the Leadership Chair in Global Challenges in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, UK. With Janet C.E. Watson he is CoDirector of the Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems (CELCE). A botanist by training, his work has taken him to many countries, including those in southern Arabia, Africa, India, Nepal and Indonesia. He has co-authored several hundred journal articles and his books include Biogeography and Ecology of the Forests of Eastern Africa, A Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania and A Handbook of Environmental Management.


Roberta Morano completed a PhD in linguistics and phonetics at the University of Leeds, UK, in 2019, working on the Arabic varieties spoken in northern Oman. Her research interests focus on language documentation and ecolinguistics, especially the relationship between the environment and its representation in language. She has published several articles on the morphosyntax and sociolinguistics of Omani dialects. Her most recent publication is Diachronic variation in the Omani Arabic vernacular of the al-‘Awabi district: from Carl Reinhardt (1894) to the present day (2022).

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