The fact that the Jabbali language in the south of Oman is in danger of extinction cannot be denied. The younger generation do not have the same mastery of the language as their parents, who have even less command of it compared to their own parents. The UNESCO website lists Jabbali (which has a different spelling variation, ‘Jibbali’) as a 'severely endangered' language; and only about 5000 speakers are left.
I’m not sure what is being done about the situation of Jabbali, but it certainly needs a more serious stand and a stronger push. If the critical situation of Jabbali continues to be ignored and overlooked, the language will actually extinct. Some might argue that language change is unavoidable in situations where there is another language dominating a society (in this case Arabic), however while this might be true, it does not mean that an endangered language should be left to die without documenting and recording it.
Jabbali, just like any language is a treasure on its own. It gives you insights to the culture of its speakers, how they think and see things, how they do things and how they live their lives in general. It is a culture on its own and losing it would be a real cultural loss in Oman. The Jabbalis for instance, have a wide plant vocabulary due to their wide use of these products of nature in their daily lives. This suggests that they have a wide knowledge of herbal healing or medicating by plants. Documenting the language can save this knowledge which can lead to the development of plant science or botany.
Let’s make the most of Jabbali while it struggles to survive.