Languages in Oman

Languages in Oman

Nils Lindhorst
Written by: Nils Lindhorst Last updated at: October 16, 2023

Languages in Oman

The languages of Oman particularly highlight the nation’s past as a nation of sailors. The inhabitants of the coastal regions of Oman were once themselves explorers who sailed to the distant coasts of Africa and built coastal trading ports. Some stayed there, others returned and brought back culture and language from the respective regions, so that over time, a large mixture of different cultures and especially languages accumulated in Oman. The connecting thread for all of this is Islam – the reason why most people in Oman speak Arabic. Even those whose native language is a minority language often speak Arabic well or very well, since, in the Koranic schools, Islam is generally taught only in Arabic.

These languages are most widespread in Oman

Besides the historical reasons just mentioned, there is another obvious reason for the different languages that are represented in the country. The economic upswing of the past fifty years could not have been achieved without guest workers and skilled foreign workers. Many of the former guest workers have remained in the country. Today, the second and third generations of these families live in Oman. In addition to English, which is actually spoken and understood in all parts of Oman, languages such as Hindi, Swahili, and Urdu are common and widespread.

Like almost no other people in the Middle East, the Omanis understand how to preserve their culture and at the same time promote the rapid and effective modernization of their country. This is also reflected in the way different languages are used in the country. Arabic is an official language since it is the language of the religion of Islam and the native language of most inhabitants. However, English is the number one economic and commercial language here.

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