Working papers of T.M. Johnstone, reflecting in particular his research into Arabian dialects and MSA languages, his efforts to record these largely unwritten and dying languages and to compile lexicons. Most of the collection falls into one of five broad categories:
- 1. Materials on Arabic and Arabic dialects, especially those of the Arabian Peninsula, including grammars, vocabularies and texts
- 2. Materials on the MSA languages: Mehri, Socotri, Harsùsi, Jibbàli (alternative name, Shauri), Bathari and Hobyôt, including grammars, vocabularies and texts
- 3. Lecture notes, articles and reviews (drafts, off-prints) and printers' proofs)
- 4. Other incidental linguistic material
- 5. Open-reel and cassette recordings of Arabic and Arabic dialects, Harsùsi, Jibbàli, Socotri and Mehri, recorded during research trips to the Middle East during the 1960s and 1970s, and now remastered. Access copies on CD are available both in Durham and at the National Sound Archive, London. A broad preliminary was made by Antoine Lonnet of the C.N.R.S., France, in 1987. His report particularly stresses the importance of the materials on the unwritten South Arabian languages in which Johnstone was interested, especially the tapes. On the Harsùsi material, for example, he comments, This language is on the verge of dying ... the Harsùsi community has been scattered and soon the only trace of the culture will be the material collected by T.M. Johnstone. Of the tapes he says These are of immense worth, and a completely irreplaceable corpus in the following languages: Harsùsi; Jibbàli; Mehri; Socotri.