A Second Crack

A map of YemenA map of Aden metro area

Besides the map of Aden metro area, I threw in one of Yemen, for the heck of it.  The Yemen map includes several cities I’ve never heard of:  al-Ghaydah, Habarut, Nishtun, al-Salif.  The first three of these, as you can see, are in the extreme east.  This area is called Mahra.  A South Arabian language is still spoken there.  The South Arabian languages are not closely related to Arabic or Hebrew.  They are more akin to Semitic languages of Eritrea and Ethiopia.  I have the impression that in pre-Islamic times, South Arabian languages dominated the southern end of Arabia and that they were only displaced by Arabic after the coming of Islam.  I also noticed that the map indicates Jabal al-Nabi Shu`ayb (Mountain of the Prophet Jethro) near Sanaa.  As a sidenote of possible interest:  Jethro is Moses’ father-in-law, and his tomb is located in Jordan.  “Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian” (Exodus 3:1).


  1. acilius

     /  July 6, 2007

    very interesting. i’d like to know more about the these south arabian languages and their position within the afro-asiatic family.

    i’ll respond to recent emails and posts, i swear. i just have to dig my way out from under this backlog of work that’s been building up, both on the job and at home.

  2. lefalcon

     /  July 7, 2007

    I’ve heard that, besides east Yemen and Africa, they’re also spoken in Oman and on an island called Soqotra. South Arabian is supposed to be one of four branches in the Semitic family.

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