Luwati language

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RegionOman (walled quarter of Muttrah, facing the old harbour; Muscat and other cities)[1]
Native speakers
30,000 (2012)[1]
Khojki script
Language codes
ISO 639-3luv

Luwati (Al-Lawatia (Arabic: اللواتية, sing. Lawati), also known as Khoja, Khojki, Lawatiyya, Lawatiya, or Hyderabadi) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by 5,000 to 10,000 people known as the Lawatiya (also called the Khojas or Hyderabadis) in the country of Oman.[3] In total it has been estimated there are 20,000 to 30,000 Lawatiya people.[4] Despite the various names, the Lawatiya refer to the language as Khojki.[5] It is considered an endangered language because a portion of the Lawatiya do not speak Luwati, and it is not continuously passed down to younger generations.[5]


The Luwati language is superficially similar to Kutchi, but retains sounds found in other Sindhi languages and Saraiki but that have been lost from Kutchi.[3] Luwati also bares similarities with other languages such as Sindhi, Kachichi, Gujarati, Hindustani and Persian.[6] As with other languages located in Oman, Luwati is influenced by the Omani dialect of Arabic.


Originating from the Pakistani town of Sindh,[6] the Luwati language has had a presence in Oman for nearly four centuries.[7] The language and people were first mentioned historically by the Omani historian Ibn Ruzayq. The Lawatiya appeared to have settled in Oman in waves of immigration from Sindh between 1780 and 1880 bringing the language with them.[7]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Luwati is a minority language found in Oman specifically in the capital of Muscat as well as in the coastal towns of Saham, Barka, Khabura, and Musana. It is spoken by 5,000 to 10,000 people.[3]


Luwati consists of 37 consonants, 10 vowels, and 3 diphthongs. Usually the world-level stress falls on the first syllable however in loan words from Arabic, it retains its original stress position.[3]


Below is a chart of Luwati consonants:[3]

Bilabial Labio-


Dental Alveolar Post-




Palatal Velar Labialized


Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
Plosive p b

t d

ʈ ɖ


k ɡ

Affricative tʃdʒ


Implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ ɠ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Trill r
Fricative f s z ʃ x ɣ ħ ʕ h
Approximate j w




Luwati consists of 10 oral long and short vowels: /i, ɪ, e, ɛ, a, ɘ, ə, u, ʊ, o/.

It consists of three diphthongs as well. They are: /a͡ɪ, a͡ʊ, ɔ͡ɪ/.[3]

Writing system[edit]

Luwati no longer has a writing system and is only a spoken language.[5]


  1. ^ a b Lawati at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Luwati". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Salman, Amel & Kharusi, Nafla S. (2012) ‘The Sound System of Lawatiyya’, Journal of Academic and Applied Studies May Vol. 2(5), pp. 36–44, ISSN 1925-931X, available online @
  4. ^ Valeri, M. "Identity Politics and Nation-Building under Sultan Qaboos". Sectarian Politics in the Persian Golf. 179.
  5. ^ a b c Al Jahdhami, S. "Minority Languages in Oman". Journal of the Association for Anglo-American Studies. 4: 105–112.
  6. ^ a b Asani, A. "The Khojkī Script: A Legacy of Ismaili Islam in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 3: 439–449.
  7. ^ a b Valeri, M. "High Visibility, Low Profile: The Shiʿa in Oman under Sultan Qaboos". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 42: 251–268.