Kumzari language

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Native to Oman
Region Kumzar
Native speakers
2,300 (1993–2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 zum
Glottolog kumz1235[2]

Kumzari (Persian: کمزاری‎‎) is a Southwestern Iranian language that is similar to the Larestani and Luri languages.[3] Although vulnerable, it survives today with between 4,000 and 5,000 speakers.[4] It is spoken by Kumzaris (who are closely related to Larestanis and Lurs) in the Kumzar coast of Musandam Peninsula, northern Oman. This is the only Iranian language spoken exclusively in the Arabian Peninsula. Kumzaris can also be found in the towns of Dibba and Khasab as well as various villages, and on Larak Island. The speakers are descendants of fishermen who inhabited the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.


The Kumzari name derives from the historically rich mountainous village of Kumzar. The language has two main groups of speakers, one on each side of the Strait of Hormuz: by the Shihuh tribe of the Musandam Peninsula and by the Laraki community of Larak Island in Iran. On the Musandam Peninsula, the Kumzar population is concentrated in Oman, in the village of Kumzar and in a quarter of Khasab known as the Harat al-Kumzari. In addition, Kumzari is found at Dibba and the coastal villages of Elphinstone and the Malcolm Inlets. It is the mother tongue of fishermen who are descendants of the Yemeni conqueror of Oman, Malek bin Faham. Based on linguistic evidence, the presence of Kumzari in the Arabia region exists prior to the Muslim conquest of the region in the 7th Century A.D.[5]


  1. ^ Kumzari at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kumzari". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ "The History of Ancient Iran, Part 3, Volume 7". 
  4. ^ Anonby, Erik John. 2013. “Stress-induced Vowel Lengthening and Harmonization in Kumzari.” Uppsala Universitet 61:4. um:nbn:se:uu:diva-203439
  5. ^ "Anonby & Yousefian 2011">Anonby, Erik & Pakzad Yousefian. 2011. “Adaptive Multilinguals: A Survey of Language on Larak Island.” Studia Iranica Upsaliensia 16: http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:458175/FULLTEXT01.pdf

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Further reading[edit]

  • Al-Salimi, Abdulrahman. 2011. “The Transformation of Religious Learning in Oman: Tradition and Modernity.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series 21.2:10. http://jstor.org/stable/23011490
  • Bailey, H. W. 1931. “The Kumzari Dialect of the Shihuh Tribe, Arabia, and a Vocabulary, Review by H. W. B.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 1:1. http://jstor.org/stable/25194234.
  • Battenburg, John. 2013. “The Status of Kumzari and its Speakers: A Local Language of the Musandam Peninsula of Oman.” Language Problems & Language Planning 37.1:12. doi: 10.1075/lplp.37.1.02bat.

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