Omani Arabic


Despite MSA as the only national official language and English as the main business language, Omani Arabic is the main variety spoken in the country, mostly in Central Oman and on the island of Zanzibar. Dhofari or Zofari Arabic is spoken in Salalah and the surrounding Southern coast, whereas Gulf Arabic is also spoken along the border to the UAE. 

Due to the influx of Indian and Pakistani migrants, Asian languages like Urdu and Hindu are also spoken in Oman, as well as Balochi. Balochi is a Northwestern Iranian Language spoken by the Baloch people from Balochistan in western Pakistan, eastern Iran, and southern Afghanistan. It is distantly related to Arabic but shares features with Semitic languages in Eritrea and Ethiopia and is written with the Urdu Arabic script.

More language minorities include Arabic varieties and Semitic Languages such as:

  • Bahrani Arabic, spoken by the Bahrani people.
  • Shihhi Arabic, spoken in the Musandam Governorate of Oman.
  • Shehri Language, spoken by a small native population in southwestern Oman.
  • Endangered semitic languages Harsusi, mostly spoken in central Oman and closely related to Mehri, and Hobyot, mostly spoken on the border between Oman and Yemen.

and Southwestern Iranian Languages such as:

  • Language Luri, spoken by the Lur people, an Iranian people native to Western Asia.
  • Kumzari, spoken by Kumzaris in northern Oman.
  • Mehri, spoken by the Mahra people in Oman as well as Kuwait and Yemen.
  • Farsi.

Other languages are Swahili due to trade relations with Zanzibar; endangered Indo-aryan Luwati, mostly spoken in Muscat and in the Northern region of Oman; and Afro-asiatic Bathari, which is closely related to Mehri and spoken on the southeastern coast of Oman