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Encyclopedia > Semitic languages
Semitic
Geographic
distribution:
Middle East, North Africa, Northeast Africa and Malta
Genetic
classification
:
Afro-Asiatic
 Semitic
Subdivisions:
ISO 639-2: sem
14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna.
14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna.

The Semitic languages are a family of languages spoken by more than 300 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. They constitute the northeastern subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic languages, and the only branch of this group spoken in Asia. A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... The Horn of Africa. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... The Afro-Asiatic languages constitute a language family (Languages of Africa) with about 375 languages (SIL estimate) and more than 300 million speakers spread throughout North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, and Southwest Asia (including some 200 million speakers of Arabic). ... The East Semitic languages are one of the two major subdivisions of Semitic languages, the other being West Semitic. ... The West Semitic languages are a proposed major sub-grouping of Semitic languages. ... The Semitic languages are the northeastern subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic languages, and the only family of this group spoken in Asia. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... Image File history File links Amarna_Akkadian_letter. ... Image File history File links Amarna_Akkadian_letter. ... EA 161, letter by Aziru, leader of Amurru, (stating his case to pharaoh), one of the Amarna letters in cuneiform writing on a clay tablet. ... Akkadian (lišānum akkadÄ«tum) was a Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language family) spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. ... Amarna (commonly known as el-Amarna) is the name given to an extensive archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth Dynasty (c. ... a family of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 1997 Family is a Western term used to denote a domestic group of people, or a number of domestic groups linked through descent (demonstrated or stipulated) from a common ancestor, marriage or adoption. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... The Horn of Africa. ... The Afro-Asiatic languages constitute a language family (Languages of Africa) with about 375 languages (SIL estimate) and more than 300 million speakers spread throughout North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, and Southwest Asia (including some 200 million speakers of Arabic). ... For other uses, see Asia (disambiguation). ...


The most widely spoken Semitic language today is Arabic[1] (206 million first language speakers),[2] followed by Amharic (27 million first language speakers),[3][4] Hebrew (5 million first language speakers[5]) and Tigrinya (about 4.5 million total speakers[6]) . Semitic languages were among the earliest to attain a written form, with Akkadian writing beginning in the middle of the third millennium BC. Maltese is the only Semitic Language written in Roman script. The term "Semitic" for these languages, after Shem, the son of Noah in the Bible, is etymologically a misnomer in some ways (see Semitic), but is nonetheless standard. Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... “Native Language” redirects here. ... Tigrinya (Geez ትግርኛ tigriññā, also spelled Tigrigna) is a Semitic language spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people in central Eritrea (there referred to as the Tigrinya people), where it is one of the main working languages (Eritrea does not have official languages), and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia (whose... Akkadian (lišānum akkadÄ«tum) was a Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language family) spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world. ... Shem (Hebrew: , Standard  Tiberian  ; Greek: Σημ, SÄ“m ; Arabic:  ; Geez: Sham ; renown; prosperity; name) was one of the sons of Noah in the Bible. ... This article is about the biblical Noah. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... Etymology is the study of the origins of words. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical Shem, Hebrew: שם, translated as name, Arabic: سام) was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. ...

Contents

History

Origins

Main article: Proto-Semitic
11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum
11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum
Page from a 15th century Bible in Ge'ez
Page from a 15th century Bible in Ge'ez

The Semitic family is a member of the larger Afro-Asiatic family, all the other five or more branches of which are based in Africa. Largely for this reason, the ancestors of Proto-Semitic speakers are now widely believed to have first arrived in the Middle East from Africa, possibly as part of the operation of the Saharan pump, around the late Neolithic.[7][8] However, an opposing theory is that Proto-Afro-Asiatic originated in the Middle East, and Semitic was the only branch to stay put.[9] Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical proto-language of the Semitic languages. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (946x1102, 141 KB)The Schøyen Collection MS 206, Oslo and London. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (946x1102, 141 KB)The Schøyen Collection MS 206, Oslo and London. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum Hebrew Bible is a term that refers to the common portions of the Jewish canon and the Christian canons. ... A targum (plural: targumim) is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) written or compiled in the Land of Israel or in Babylonia from the Second Temple period until the early Middle Ages (late first millennium). ... Download high resolution version (519x768, 138 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (519x768, 138 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Map showing the distribution of Afro-Asiatic languages The Afro-Asiatic languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout North Africa, East Africa, the Sahel, and Southwest Asia. ... The Sahara Pump Theory is one which is used to explain the various phases by which African flora and African fauna have left that continent to penetrate the Middle East and possibly, thereafter, the rest of the world. ...


In any event, Proto-Semitic itself is assumed to have reached the Arabian Peninsula by approximately the 4th millennium BC, from which Semitic daughter languages continued to spread outwards. When written records began in the mid 3rd millennium BC, the Semitic-speaking Akkadians and Amorites were entering Mesopotamia from the deserts to the west, and were probably already present in places such as Ebla in Syria. Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical proto-language of the Semitic languages. ... The Arabian Peninsula Emirets towers in United Arab Emirates; the eastern part of Arabian Penisula The Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية, or جزيرة العرب) is a peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of Africa and Asia consisting mainly of desert. ... (5th millennium BC – 4th millennium BC – 3rd millennium BC - other millennia) // Events Sumerian city of Ur in Mesopotamia (40th century BC); Sumerian hegemony in Mesopotamia, with the invention of writing, base-60 mathematics, astronomy and astrology, civil law, complex hydrology, the sailboat, the wheel, and the potters wheel, 4000... The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age. ... For the Egyptian writer, see Abbas Al-Akkad. ... For the language, see Amorite language. ... For other uses, see Mesopotamia (disambiguation). ... Ebla is not to be confused with Elba. ...


2nd millennium BC

By the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, East Semitic languages dominated in Mesopotamia, while West Semitic languages were probably spoken from Syria to Yemen, although Old South Arabian is considered by most to be South Semitic and data are sparse. Akkadian had become the dominant literary language of the Fertile Crescent, using the cuneiform script they adapted from the Sumerians, while the sparsely attested Eblaite disappeared with the city, and Amorite is attested only from proper names. The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. ... Akkadian (lišānum akkadītum) was a Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language family) spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. ... This map shows the extent of the Fertile Crescent. ... “Cuneiform” redirects here. ... Sumer (or Šumer) was the earliest known civilization of the ancient Near East, located in lower Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium BC until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium BC. The term Sumerian applies to all speakers... Eblaite is an extinct East Semitic language which was spoken in the 3rd millennium BC in the ancient city Ebla, in modern Syria. ... The Amorite language is the term used for the early (North-)West Semitic language, spoken by the north Semitic Amorite tribes prominent in early Middle Eastern history. ...


For the 2nd millennium, somewhat more data are available, thanks to the spread of an invention first used to capture the sounds of Semitic languages — the alphabet. Proto-Canaanite texts from around 1500 BC yield the first undisputed attestations of a West Semitic language (although earlier testimonies are possibly preserved in Middle Bronze Age alphabets), followed by the much more extensive Ugaritic tablets of northern Syria from around 1300 BC. Incursions of nomadic Aramaeans from the Syrian desert begin around this time. Akkadian continued to flourish, splitting into Babylonian and Assyrian dialects. For other uses, see Alphabet (disambiguation). ... The Proto-Canaanite alphabet is an abjad of twenty-plus acrophonic glyphs, which is found in Levantine texts of the Late Bronze Age (from ca. ... The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to... The Ugaritic language is only known in the form of writings found in the lost city of Ugarit in Syria since its discovery by French archaeologists in 1928. ... The Aramaeans, or Arameans, were a Semitic, semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated and had lived in upper Mesopotamia and Syria. ... Babylonia was a state in the south part of Mesopotamia (in modern Iraq), combining the territories of Sumer and Akkad. ... In the Middle Bronze Age Assyria was a region on the Upper Tigris river, named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur (Akkadian: ; Hebrew: , Aramaic: ). Later, as a nation and empire that came to control all of the Fertile Crescent, Egypt and much of Anatolia, the term Assyria...


1st millennium BC

9th century Syriac manuscript
9th century Syriac manuscript

In the 1st millennium BC, the alphabet spread much further, giving us a picture not just of Canaanite but also of Aramaic, Old South Arabian, and early Ge'ez. During this period, the case system, still vigorous in Ugaritic, seems to have started decaying in Northwest Semitic. Phoenician colonies spread their Canaanite language throughout much of the Mediterranean, while its close relative Hebrew became the vehicle of a religious literature, the Torah and Tanakh, that would have global ramifications. However, as an ironic result of the Assyrian Empire's conquests, Aramaic became the lingua franca of the Fertile Crescent, gradually pushing Akkadian, Hebrew, Phoenician, and several other languages to extinction (although Hebrew remained in use as a liturgical language), and developing a substantial literature. Meanwhile, Ge'ez texts beginning in this era, give the first direct record of Ethiopian Semitic languages. Download high resolution version (594x992, 126 KB)The Schøyen Collection MS 574, Oslo and London. ... Download high resolution version (594x992, 126 KB)The Schøyen Collection MS 574, Oslo and London. ... Syriac ( Suryāyā) is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... The 1st millennium BC encompasses the Iron Age and sees the rise of successive empires. ... The Canaanite languages are a subfamily of the Semitic languages, spoken by the ancient peoples of the Canaan region, including Canaanites, Hebrews, Phoenicians, and eventually Philistines. ... Aramaic is a group of Semitic languages with a 3,000-year history. ... The ancient South Arabian alphabet (also known as musnad) branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in ca. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Ugaritic language is known to us only in the form of writings found in the lost city of Ugarit since its discovery by French archaeologists in 1928. ... Phoenician was a language originally spoken in the coastal region of what is now Lebanon. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... It has been suggested that Tawrat be merged into this article or section. ... Tanakh (‎) (also Tanach, IPA: or , or Tenak) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... In the Middle Bronze Age Assyria was a region on the Upper Tigris river, named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur (Akkadian: ; Hebrew: , Aramaic: ). Later, as a nation and empire that came to control all of the Fertile Crescent, Egypt and much of Anatolia, the term Assyria... Aramaic is a group of Semitic languages with a 3,000-year history. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... A sacred language is a language, frequently a dead language, that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...


Common Era

Syriac rose to importance as a literary language of early Christianity in the 3rd to 5th centuries. Download high resolution version (576x672, 265 KB)12th century Quran page, from http://faculty. ... Download high resolution version (576x672, 265 KB)12th century Quran page, from http://faculty. ... (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ... The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Alcoran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... Syriac is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is a monotheistic...


With the emergence of Islam, the ascent of Aramaic was dealt a fatal blow by the Arab conquests, which made another Semitic language — Arabic — the official language of an empire stretching from Spain to Central Asia. With the patronage of the caliphs and the prestige of its liturgical status, it rapidly became one of the world's main literary languages. Its spread among the masses took much longer; however, as natives abandoned their tongues for Arabic and as Bedouin tribes settled in conquered areas, it became the main language of not only central Arabia, but also Yemen,[10] the Fertile Crescent, and Egypt. Most of the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) followed, particularly in the wake of the Banu Hilal's incursion in the 11th century, and Arabic became the native language even of many inhabitants of Spain. After the collapse of the Nubian kingdom of Dongola in the 14th century, Arabic began to spread south of Egypt; soon after, the Beni Hassan brought Arabization to Mauritania. The spread of Arabic continues even today in Sudan and Chad, both by peaceful sociolinguistic processes, and by wars such as the Darfur conflict. For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... Languages Arabic and other minority languages Religions Islam, Christianity, Druzism and Judaism An Arab (Arabic: ) is a member of a complexly defined ethnic group who identifies as such on the basis of one or more of either genealogical, political, or linguistic grounds. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... For main article see: Caliphate First of all, this system is invalid and is unlawful Islamicly. ... A sacred language is a language, frequently a dead language, that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life. ... A Bedouin man on a hillside at Mount Sinai Bedouin, derived from the Arabic ( ), a name for a desert-dweller, is a term generally applied to Arab nomadic pastoralist groups, who are found throughout most of the desert belt extending from the Atlantic coast of the Sahara via the Western... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Banu Hilal were an Arab tribe that migrated from Arabia into North Africa in the 11th century, having been sent by the Fatimids to punish the Zirids for abandoning Shiism. ... Nubia (not to be confused with Nuba a collective term used for the peoples who inhabit the Nuba Mountains, in Kordofan province, Sudan, Africa) is the region in the south of Egypt, along the Nile and in northern Sudan. ... Dongola (also spelled Dunqulah or Dunqula and formerly sometimes known as Al Urdi) is the capital of the state of Northern in Sudan, on the banks of the Nile. ... Beni Hasan (or Bani Hasan, or also Beni-Hassan) is a village in Middle Egypt about 25 km south of Al Minya (or Minieh), on the east bank of the Nile, with remarkable catacombs that have been excavated. ... Arabization is the gradual transformation of an area into one that speaks Arabic and is part of the Arab culture. ... Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used. ... Combatants factions of the SLA Justice & Equality Movement Janjaweed  Sudan Minnawi-faction of the SLA Commanders SLA: SalaBob and Sulaiman Gamos JEM: Ibrahim Khalil Janjaweed: ? Sudan: Omar al-Bashir SLA: Minni Minnawi Casualties 300,000 civilians killed (est. ...


Meanwhile, Semitic languages were diversifying in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where, under heavy Cushitic influence, they split into a number of languages, including Amharic and Tigrinya. With the expansion of Ethiopia under the Solomonic dynasty, Amharic, previously a minor local language, spread throughout much of the country, replacing languages both Semitic (such as Gafat) and non-Semitic (such as Weyto), and replacing Ge'ez as the principal literary language (though Ge'ez remains the liturgical language for Christians in the region); this spread continues to this day, with Qemant set to disappear in another generation. The Cushitic languages are a subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic languages, named after the Biblical figure Cush by analogy with Semitic. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Tigrinya (Geez ትግርኛ tigriññā, also spelled Tigrigna) is a Semitic language spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people in central Eritrea (there referred to as the Tigrinya people), where it is one of the main working languages (Eritrea does not have official languages), and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia (whose... The Solomonid dynasty is the traditional royal house of Ethiopia, claiming descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, who is said to have given birth to the traditional first king Menelik I after her Biblically-described visit to Solomon in Jerusalem. ... The Gafat language is an extinct Semitic language that was once spoken along the Abbay River in Ethiopia. ... The Weyto language is believed to be an extinct language formerly spoken in the Lake Tana region of Ethiopia by a small group of hippopotamus hunters who now speak Amharic. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...


Present situation

Arabic is spoken natively by majorities from Mauritania to Oman, and from Iraq to the Sudan; as the language of the Qur'an and as a lingua franca, it is widely studied in much of the Muslim world as well. Its spoken form is divided into a number of dialects, some not mutually comprehensible, united by a single written form. Maltese, genetically a descendant of Arabic, is the principal exception, having adopted a Latin orthography in accordance with its cultural situation. The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Alcoran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... Nations with a Muslim majority appear in green, while nations that are approximately 50% Muslim appear yellow. ... The Arabic language is classified as a Semitic language. ...


Despite the ascendancy of Arabic in the Middle East, other Semitic languages are still to be found there. Hebrew, long extinct outside of Jewish liturgical purposes, was revived at the end of the 19th century by the Jewish linguist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, owing to the ideology of Zionism, and has become the main language of Israel, while remaining the liturgical language of Jews worldwide. Several small ethnic groups, especially the Assyrians, continue to speak Aramaic in the mountains of northern Iraq, eastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, and northeast Syria, while a descendant of Old Aramaic, Syriac, is used liturgically by many Iraqi Christians. In Yemen and Oman, a few tribes continue to speak "Modern South Arabian" languages such as Soqotri, very different both from Arabic and from the languages of the Old South Arabian inscriptions. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Eliezer Ben-Yehuda Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (Hebrew אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן־יְהוּדָה) (January 7, 1858 – December 16, 1922), was principally responsible for the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language from its previous state as a liturgical language. ... Zionism is a political movement that supports a homeland for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, where Jewish nationhood is thought to have evolved somewhere between 1200 BCE and late Second Temple times,[1][2] and where Jewish kingdoms existed up to the 2nd century CE. Zionism is... It has been suggested that Assyrian people be merged into this article or section. ... Syriac ( Suryāyā) is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... Soqotri is the native language of the island of Socotra off the southern coast of Yemen. ...


Ethiopia and Eritrea contain a substantial number of Semitic languages, of which Amharic and Tigrinya in Ethiopia, and Tigre and Tigrinya in Eritrea, are the most widely spoken. Both Amharic and Tigrinya are official languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, respectively, while Tigre, spoken in the northern Eritrean and central lowlands, as well as parts of eastern Sudan, has over one million speakers. A number of Gurage languages are to be found in the mountainous center-south of Ethiopia, while Harari is restricted to the city of Harar. Ge'ez remains the liturgical language for Christians in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Note: This article contains special characters. ... Tigrinya (Geez ትግርኛ tigriññā, also spelled Tigrigna) is a Semitic language spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people in central Eritrea (there referred to as the Tigrinya people), where it is one of the main working languages (Eritrea does not have official languages), and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia (whose... Tigre (Geez ትግረ tigre or ትግሬ tigrÄ“; sometimes written as Tigré, also known as Xasa in Sudan; Arabic ألخاصية ) is a Semitic language that closely speaks the Geez in its purest form and it is also closely related to Tigrinya. ... Tigrinya (Geez ትግርኛ tigriññā, also spelled Tigrigna) is a Semitic language spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people in central Eritrea (there referred to as the Tigrinya people), where it is one of the main working languages (Eritrea does not have official languages), and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia (whose... Not to be confused with the Aramaic language. ... Tigrigna (or ትግሪኛ) is a Semitic language spoken in Eritrea, where it is the official language, and in parts of Ethiopia and Israel. ... Tigre (Geez ትግረ tigre or ትግሬ tigrÄ“; sometimes written as Tigré, also known as Xasa in Sudan; Arabic ألخاصية ) is a Semitic language that closely speaks the Geez in its purest form and it is also closely related to Tigrinya. ... Gurage is an ethnic group in Ethiopia. ... aman be dejqho ... Harar (sometimes spelled Harrar, Hārer, or Harer) is an eastern city in Ethiopia, and the capital of the modern Harari ethno-political division (or kilil) of Ethiopia. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... A sacred language is a language, frequently a dead language, that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life. ...


Grammar

The Semitic languages share a number of grammatical features, although variation has naturally occurred - even within the same language as it evolved through time, such as Arabic from the 6th century AD to the present.


Word order

The reconstructed default word order in Proto-Semitic is Verb Subject Object (VSO), possessed–possessor (NG), and noun–adjective (NA). In Classical and Modern Standard Arabic, this is still the dominant order: ra'ā muħammadun farīdan. (lit. saw Muhammad Farid, Muhammad saw Farid). However, VSO has given way in most modern Semitic languages to typologically more common orders (e.g. SVO); in many modern Arabic dialects, for example, the classical order VSO has given way to SVO, and the same happened in Hebrew and Maltese (due to Europeanisation). Modern Ethiopian Semitic languages are SOV, possessor–possessed, and adjective–noun, probably due to Cushitic influence; however, the oldest attested Ethiopian Semitic language, Ge'ez, was VSO, possessed–possessor, and noun–adjective[4]. Verb Subject Object—commonly used in its abbreviated form VSO—is a term in linguistic typology. ... Initially conceived as the process by which the political and buraucratic élites of the member-states of the European Union become more pro-European by virtue of their frequent interactions with European institutions and the élites of the other member-states. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...


Cases in nouns and adjectives

The proto-Semitic three-case system (nominative, accusative and genitive) with differing vowel endings (-u, -a -i), fully preserved in Qur'anic Arabic (see i`rab), Akkadian, and Ugaritic, has disappeared everywhere in the many colloquial forms of Semitic languages, although Modern Standard Arabic maintains such case endings in literary and broadcasting contexts. An accusative ending -n is preserved in Ethiopian Semitic.[11] Additionally, Semitic nouns and adjectives had a category of state, the indefinite state being expressed by nunation. The nominative case is a grammatical case for a noun. ... The accusative case (abbreviated ACC) of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. ... The genitive case is a grammatical case that indicates a relationship, primarily one of possession, between the noun in the genitive case and another noun. ... The are the nominal desinences of Classical Arabic. ... A Semitic noun can take one of three states of definiteness: definite, indefinite or construct state. ...


Number in nouns

Semitic languages originally had three grammatical numbers: singular, dual, and plural. The dual continues to be used in contemporary dialects of Arabic, as in the name for the nation of Bahrain (baħr "sea" + -ayn "two"), and sporadically in Hebrew (šana means "one year", šnatayim means "two years", and šanim means "years"), and in Maltese (sena means "one year", sentejn means "two years", and snin means "years"). The curious phenomenon of broken plurals - e.g. in Arabic, sadd "one dam" vs. sudūd "dams" - found most profusely in the languages of Arabia and Ethiopia, and still common in Maltese, may be partly of proto-Semitic origin, and partly elaborated from simpler origins. In linguistics, grammatical number is a morphological category characterized by the expression of quantity through inflection or agreement. ... Common Slavic had a complete singular-dual-plural number system, although the dual paradigms showed considerable syncretism. ... Look up plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In linguistics, broken plurals is a grammatical phenomenon typical in many Semitic languages of the Middle East and Ethiopia in which a singular noun is broken to form a plural by having its root consonant embedded in a different frame, rather than by merely adding a prefix or suffix to...


Verb aspect and tense

The aspect systems of West and East Semitic differ substantially; Akkadian preserves a number of features generally attributed to Afro-Asiatic, such as gemination indicating the imperfect, while a stative form, still maintained in Akkadian, became a new perfect in West Semitic. Proto-West Semitic maintained two main verb aspects: perfect for completed action (with pronominal suffixes) and imperfect for uncompleted action (with pronominal prefixes and suffixes). In the extreme case of Neo-Aramaic, however, even the verb conjugations have been entirely reworked under Iranian influence.


Morphology: triliteral roots

All Semitic languages exhibit a unique pattern of stems consisting of "triliteral" or consonantal roots (normally consisting of three consonants), from which nouns, adjectives, and verbs are formed by inserting vowels with, potentially, prefixes, suffixes, or infixes. In the terminology used to discuss the grammar of the Semitic languages, a triliteral is a root containing a sequence of three consonants (so also known as a triconsonantal root). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


For instance, the root k-t-b, "write", yields in Arabic:

kataba كتب means "he wrote"
kutiba كتب means "it was written" masculine
kutibat كتبت means "it was written" feminine
kibun كتاب means "book"
kutubun كتب means "books"
kutayyibun كتيب means "booklet" dimunitive
kibatun كتابة means "writing"
tibun كاتب means "writer" masculine
tibatun كاتبة means "writer" feminine
kutbun كتاب means "writers"
katabatun كتبة means "writers"
maktabun مكتب means "desk"
maktabatun مكتبة means "library"
maktūbun مكتوب means "written" or "postal letter"

and in Hebrew (where it appears as k-t-):

katati כתבתי means "I wrote"
katata כתבת means "you (m) wrote"
katat כתבת means "you (f) wrote"
kata כתב means "he wrote" or "reporter" (m)
kata כתבה means "she wrote"
katanu כתבנו means "we wrote"
katatem (modern informal)/ktatem (traditional) כתבתם means "you (plural m) wrote"
kataten (modern informal)/ktaten כתבתן means "you (plural f) wrote"
katu כתבו means "they wrote"
katteet כתבת means "reporter" (f)
kattaa כתבה means "article" (plural katavot כתבות)
mita מכתב means "postal letter" (plural mitavim מכתבים)
mitaa מכתבה means "writing desk" (plural mitavot מכתבות)
ktoet כתובת means "address" (plural ktoot כתובות)
kta כתב means "handwriting"
katu כתוב means "written" (f ktua כתובה)
hiti הכתיב means "he dictated" (f hitia הכתיבה)
hitkatte התכתב means "he corresponded (f hitkata התכתבה)
nita נכתב means "it was written" (m)
nitea נכתבה means "it was written" (f)
kti כתיב means "spelling" (m)
tati תכתיב means "prescript" (m)
meutta מכותב means "a person on one's mailing list" (meutteet מכותבת f)
ktubba (note: b, not ) כתובה means "ketubah (a Jewish marriage contract)" (f)

In Maltese, the consonantal roots are referred as the mamma of each word, which can be determined by reference to the masculine past tense of the applicable verb. In the case of the verb "to write", the masculine past tense would be kiteb (k-t-b), so that the following nouns and verbs can be formed, using the same mamma always in the same order, but inserting different vowels and, occasionally additional consonants:

jiena ktibt means "I wrote"
inti ktibt means "you wrote" (m or f)
huwa kiteb means "he wrote"
hija kitbet means "she wrote"
aħna ktibna means "we wrote"
intkom ktibtu means "you (pl) wrote
huma kitbu means "they wrote"
huwa miktub means "it is written"
kittieb means "writer"
kittieba means "writers"
ktieb means "book"
kotba means "books"

This root survives in Tigrinya and Amharic only in the noun kitab, meaning "amulet", and the verb "to vaccinate". Ethiopic-derived languages use a completely different root (--f) for the verb "to write" (this root exists in Arabic and is used to form words with close meaning to "writing", such as ṣaḥāfa "journalism", and ṣaḥīfa "newspaper" or "parchment").


Some such roots are found throughout most Semitic languages, while others are more restricted in their distribution.


Verbs in other Afro-Asiatic languages show similar radical patterns, but more usually with biconsonantal roots; e.g. Kabyle afeg means "fly!", while affug means "flight", and yufeg means "he flew" (compare with Hebrew uf, te'ufah and af). Kabyle is a Berber language (Kabyle: ثاقبايليث , taqbaylit, pronounced ) spoken by the Kabyle people. ...


Common vocabulary

Main article: List of Proto-Semitic stems.

Due to the Semitic languages' common origin, they share many words and roots in common. For example: It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Proto-Semitic. ...

English Proto-Semitic Akkadian Arabic Hebrew Syriac Ge'ez Mehri Phoenician
father *ʼab- ab- ʼab- ʼāḇ ʼab-ā ʼab ḥa-yb ab-
heart *lib(a)b- libb- lubb- lēḇ(āḇ) lebb-ā libb ḥa-wbēb lib
house bayt- bītu, bētu bayt- báyiṯ, bêṯ bayt-ā bet beyt, bêt bet
peace *šalām- šalām- salām- šālôm šlām-ā salām səlōm salem
tongue *lišān-/*lašān- lišān- lisān- lāšôn leššān-ā lissān əwšēn lshen
water *may-/*māy- māʼ- máyim mayy-ā māy ḥə-mō maym

Sometimes certain roots differ in meaning from one Semitic language to another. For example, the root b-y-ḍ in Arabic has the meaning of "white" as well as "egg", just as in Maltese bajda means "white" (f. sing.) and also "egg", whereas in Hebrew it only means "egg". The root l-b-n means "milk" in Arabic, but the color "white" in Hebrew. The root l-ḥ-m means "meat" in Arabic, but "bread" in Hebrew and "cow" in Ethiosemitic languages; the original meaning was most probably "food". The word medina (root: m-d-n) has the meaning of "city" in Arabic, and "metropolis" in Amharic, but in Modern Hebrew it means "state". Akkadian (lišānum akkadÄ«tum) was a Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language family) spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... Syriac ( Suryāyā) is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Mehri or Mahri is a Semitic language spoken by minority populations in the eastern part of Yemen and western Oman and is a remnant of the ancient indigenous language group spoken in the southern Arabian Peninsula before the spread of Arabic along with the Islamic religion in the 7th century... Phoenician was a language originally spoken in the coastal region then called PÅ«t in Ancient Egyptian, Canaan in Phoenician, Hebrew and Aramaic, and Phoenicia in Greek and Latin. ... Ethiopian Semitic languages (sometimes Ethiopic, or Ethiosemitic for short) is a language group which together with Old South Arabian forms the Western branch of the South Semitic languages. ... Look up city, City in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Cities with at least a million inhabitants in 2006 A metropolis (in Greek μήτηρ, mÄ“tÄ“r = mother and πόλις, pólis = city/town) is a big city[1], in most cases with over half a million inhabitants in the city proper, and with a population of at least one million living... For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ...


Of course, there is sometimes no relation between the roots. For example, "knowledge" is represented in Hebrew by the root y-d-ʿ but in Arabic by the roots ʿ-r-f and ʿ-l-m and in Ethiosemitic by the root ʿ-w-q and f-l-ṭ.


Classification

The classification given below, based on shared innovations - established by Robert Hetzron in 1976 with later emendations by John Huehnergard and Rodgers as summarized in Hetzron 1997 - is the most widely accepted today, but is still disputed. In particular, several Semiticists still argue for the traditional view of Arabic as part of South Semitic, and a few (e.g. Alexander Militarev) see the South Arabian languages as a third branch of Semitic alongside East and West Semitic, rather than as a subgroup of South Semitic. At a lower level, there is still no general agreement on where to draw the line between "languages" and "dialects" - an issue particularly relevant in Arabic, Aramaic, and Gurage below - and the strong mutual influences between Arabic dialects render a genetic subclassification of them particularly difficult. It is widely recognised in Ethiopia that Amharic inherited its basic vocabulary directly from Giiz, in which case it belongs in Ethiopic rather than North Ethiopic. Robert Hetzron (1937 – 1997) was a linguist who specialized in Afroasiatic languages and whose work embraced comparative studies, semantic analysis and theoretical aspects of grammar. ...


The traditional grouping of the Semitic languages (prior to the 1970s), based partly on non-linguistic data, differs in several respects; in particular, Arabic was put in South Semitic, and Eblaite had not been discovered yet.


East Semitic languages

The East Semitic languages are one of the two major subdivisions of Semitic languages, the other being West Semitic. ... Akkadian (lišānum akkadītum) was a Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language family) spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. ... Eblaite is an extinct East Semitic language which was spoken in the 3rd millennium BC in the ancient city Ebla, in modern Syria. ...

West Semitic languages

The West Semitic languages are a proposed major sub-grouping of Semitic languages. ...

Central Semitic languages

12th century Hebrew Bible script The Semitic languages are a family of languages spoken by more than 250 million people across much of the Middle East, where they originated, and North and East Africa. ...

Northwest Semitic languages

Several Jewish dialects, typically with a number of Hebrew loanwords, are grouped together with classical Arabic written in Hebrew script under the imprecise term Judeo-Arabic. The Northwest Semitic languages form a medium-level division of the Semitic language family. ... The Amorite language is the term used for the early (North-)West Semitic language, spoken by the north Semitic Amorite tribes prominent in early Middle Eastern history. ... The Ugaritic language is only known in the form of writings found in the lost city of Ugarit in Syria since its discovery by French archaeologists in 1928. ... The Canaanite languages are a subfamily of the Semitic languages, spoken by the ancient peoples of the Canaan region, including Canaanites, Hebrews, Phoenicians, and eventually Philistines. ... The Ammonite language is the extinct Canaanite language of the Ammonite people mentioned in the Bible, who used to live in modern-day Jordan, and after whom its capital Amman is named. ... The Moabite language is an extinct Hebrew Canaanite dialect, spoken in Moab (modern-day northwestern Jordan) in the early first millennium BC. Most of our knowledge about Moabite comes from the Mesha Stele, as well as the El-Kerak Stela; this is sufficient to show that it was extremely similar... The Edomite language is the extinct Hebrew Canaanite language of the Edomites in southwestern Jordan in the first millennium BC. It is known only from a very small corpus. ... Hebrew language most commonly refers to Modern Hebrew; in historical contexts, it commonly refers to the Biblical Hebrew language. ... This article describes the Biblical dialects of Hebrew. ... The Mishnaic Hebrew language or Rabbinic Hebrew language is the ancient descendant of Biblical Hebrew as preserved by the Jews after the Babylonian captivity, and definitively recorded by Jewish sages in writing the Mishnah and other contemporary documents. ... Medieval Hebrew has many features that distinguish it from older forms of Hebrew. ... The Mizrahi Hebrew language or Oriental Hebrew language refers to any one of the pronunciation systems for Biblical Hebrew used liturgically by Mizrahi Jews, that is, Jews living in Arab countries or further east, and typically speaking Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Turkish, or other languages of the Middle East and Asia. ... The Yemenite Hebrew language or Temani Hebrew language is a descendant of Biblical Hebrew traditionally used by Yemenite Jews. ... The Sephardi Hebrew language is the pronunciation system for Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Sephardi Jewish practice. ... Ashkenazi Hebrew is the pronunciation system for Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Ashkenazi Jewish practice. ... The Samaritan Hebrew language is a descendant of Biblical Hebrew as pronounced and written by the Samaritans. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... Phoenician was a language originally spoken in the coastal region of what is now Lebanon. ... The Punics, (from Latin pÅ«nicus meaning Phoenician) were a group of Western Semitic speaking peoples originating from Carthage in North Africa who traced their origins to a group of Phoenician and Cypriot settlers. ... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... Al Khazneh, Petra (the Nabataean capital) Shivta The Nabataeans, Arabic (الأنباط) Al-Anbaat, were an ancient trading people of southern Jordan, Canaan and the northern part of Arabia- whose oasis settlements in the time of Josephus gave the name of Nabatene to the borderland between Syria and Arabia, from the Euphrates... Samaritan Aramaic, or Samaritan, is the dialect of Aramaic used by the Samaritans in their sacred and scholarly literature. ... Western Neo-Aramaic is a Modern Aramaic language. ... Biblical Aramaic is the form of the Aramaic language that is used in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few other places in the Hebrew Bible. ... Syriac ( Suryāyā) is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... Chaldean Neo-Aramaic is a modern Eastern Aramaic or Syriac language. ... Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is a modern Eastern Aramaic or Syriac language. ... The Senaya language is a modern Eastern Aramaic or Syriac language. ... Koy Sanjaq Surat is a modern Eastern Aramaic or Syriac language. ... The Hértevin language is a modern Eastern Aramaic or Syriac language. ... Turoyo is a Modern West Syriac language, a dialect of Aramaic. ... Mlahsô is a Modern West Syriac language, a dialect of Aramaic. ... The Mandaic language is the liturgical language of the Mandaean religion; a vernacular form is still spoken by a small community in Iran around Ahwaz. ... Judæo-Aramaic is a collective term used to describe several Hebrew-influenced Aramaic and Neo-Aramaic languages. ... Arabic is a Semitic language, closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... The Arabic language family consists of The Arabic macrolanguage (ISO 639-3 ara), including the living varieties of Arabic as well as Classical Arabic and Standard Arabic. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... The term Fusha may refer to: Fusha (language), a collective term referring to a kind of variety in the Arabic language, or Fusha Town(阜沙鎮), a town in the city of Zhongshan, Guangdong Province of China. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Modern Standard Arabic is the form of Arabic currently used in Arabic books, newspapers and nearly all written media. ... // In linguistics, a calque (pronounced ) or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word (Latin: verbum pro verbo) or root-for-root translation. ... The Arabic language is classified as a Semitic language. ... Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic service organization which studies lesser-known languages primarily to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language. ... Yemeni Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in Yemen. ... Hezaji Arabic is a variety of the Arabic language spoken in the cregions of western Saudi Arabia . ... Najdi Arabic is a variety of the Arabic language spoken in the desert regions of central and eastern Saudi Arabia. ... Yemeni Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in Yemen. ... Yemeni Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in Yemen. ... Yemenite Jews (תֵּימָנִי, Standard Hebrew Temani, Tiberian Hebrew Têmānî; plural תֵּימָנִים, Standard Hebrew Temanim, Tiberian Hebrew Têmānîm) are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen (תֵּימָן far south, Standard Hebrew Teman, Tiberian Hebrew Têmān), on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. ... Central Asian Arabic is a variety of Arabic spoken in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and currently facing extinction. ... Khuzestani Arabic is a dialect of Arabic spoken in the Iranian province of Khuzestan. ... Shirvani Arabic was a dialect of Arabic that was once spoken in what is now central and northwestern Azerbaijan (historically known as Shirvan) and Dagestan (southern Russia). ... Egyptian Arabic (MarÄ« مصري) is part of the Arabic macrolanguage of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ... Baharna Arabic is a dialect of the Arabic language spoken by the Baharna Shia of Bahrain and some parts of Saudi Eastern Province, and also in Oman. ... Gulf Arabic or The Persian Gulf Arabic is a variety of the Arabic language spoken around both shores of the Persian Gulf, mainly in Kuwait, eastern Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and parts of Oman. ... UAE redirects here; for other uses of that term, see UAE (disambiguation) The United Arab Emirates is an oil-rich country situated in the south-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia, comprising seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. ... Levantine Arabic (sometimes called Eastern Arabic) is a group of Arabic dialects spoken in the 100 km-wide eastern-Mediterranean coastal strip known as the Levant, i. ... Probably the most divergent of all Arabic dialects is Cypriot Maronite Arabic, still spoken by most of the 130 elderly Maronite Catholics in Kormakiti (Korucam) in Northern Cyprus, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. ... Lebanese or Lebanese Arabic is the colloquial form of Arabic spoken in Lebanon. ... Palestinian Arabic is a Levantine Arabic dialect subgroup. ... Iraqi Arabic is a dialect of Arabic used in Iraq. ... Baghdad Arabic Jewish is the Arabic dialect spoken by the Jews of Baghdad and other towns of Southern Iraq. ... Sudanese Arabic, as spoken throughout much of northern Sudan, is the result of a mixing of Egyptian Arabic and Arabic from the Arabian peninsula with local languages (El Rutana). ... Maghrebi Arabic is a cover term for the dialects of Arabic spoken in the Maghreb, including Western Sahara, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. ... Algerian Arabic is the dialect or dialects of Arabic native to Algeria. ... Chadian Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in Chad. ... Hassaniya is a dialect of Arabic derived from the Arabic spoken by the Beni Hassan tribe, who extended their authority over most of the Mauritanian Sahara between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. ... Libyan Arabic is a collective term for the closely related spoken varieties of Arabic as spoken in Libya. ... Andalusi Arabic was a dialect of the Arabic language spoken in Al-Andalus, the regions of Spain under Muslim rule. ... Siculo-Arabic was a dialect of Arabic spoken in Sicily between the ninth and the fourteenth centuries. ... This article or section is incomplete and may require expansion and/or cleanup. ... Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, is the language spoken in the Arabic-speaking areas of Morocco, as opposed to the official communications of governmental and other public bodies which use Modern Standard Arabic, as is the case in most Arabic-speaking countries, while a mixture of French and Moroccan... // Widely used in the Jewish community during its long history there, the Moroccan dialect of Judeo-Arabic has many influences from languages other than Arabic, including Spanish (due to the close proximity of Spain), Haketia or Moroccan Judeo-Spanish, due to the influx of Sephardic refugees from Spain after the... Tunisian Arabic is a Maghrebi dialect of the Arabic language, spoken by some 9 million people. ... Categories: Language stubs | Judaism-related stubs | Mizrahi Jews | Arab | Arabic languages | Jewish languages ...


South Semitic languages

The Semitic languages are the northeastern subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic languages, and the only family of this group spoken in Asia. ...

Western South Semitic languages

  • Old South Arabian languages — extinct, formerly believed to be the linguistic ancestors of modern South Arabian and Ethiopian Semitic languages (for which see below)

Old South Arabian is a geographic term for four closely related languages spoken in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. ... The Sabey language was a language and alphabet used in Ethiopia up until the 8th Century AD. The Sabay language was replaced by the Geez language and writing system. ... The Minaean language was an Old Arabic Language spoken in Yemen between 100 BC and 600 AD. http://linguistlist. ... One of the four known dialects of Old South Arabian, Qatabian was spoken in Yemen between 100 BC and 600 AD. http://linguistlist. ... Ethiopic languages is a language group which belongs to the Western branch of the Southern Semitic languages. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is an Oriental Orthodox church in Ethiopia that was part of the Coptic Church until it was granted its own Patriarch by Cyril VI, the Coptic Pope, in 1959. ... The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches. ... Tigrigna (or ትግሪኛ) is a Semitic language spoken in Eritrea, where it is the official language, and in parts of Ethiopia and Israel. ... Tigre (Geez ትግረ tigre or ትግሬ tigrÄ“; sometimes written as Tigré, also known as Xasa in Sudan; Arabic ألخاصية ) is a Semitic language that closely speaks the Geez in its purest form and it is also closely related to Tigrinya. ... Dahlik (Dahaalik, Dahalik, Dahlak) is a newly discovered language spoken exclusively in Eritrea off the coast of Massawa, on three islands in the Dahlak Archipelago: Dahlak Kebir, Nora and Dehil. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Argobba is an Ethiopic language that was spoken in an area north-east of Addis Ababa. ... aman be dejqho ... The Silte language (Selti, Silti; ISO/DIS 639-3: xst) is an South Semitic (East Gurage) language of Ethiopia, with some 830,000 speakers (1998 census), spoken in the region about 150 km south of Addis Abeba. ... The Zay language is one of the Ethiopic languages. ... The Wolane language is the language of the Wolane people of Ethiopia. ... The Gafat language is an extinct Semitic language that was once spoken along the Abbay River in Ethiopia. ... Soddo (autonym kəstane Christian; formerly called Aymälläl in Western sources, after a particular dialect of it) is a Gurage language spoken by about 300,000 people in southeastern Ethiopia. ... Muher is a Semitic [2] language belonging to Ethiopia. ... Chaha (in Chaha and Amharic: ቸሃ čehā or čexā) is a Semitic language spoken in central Ethiopia, mainly within the Gurage Zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region and by speakers of the language who have settled in Ethiopian cities, especially Addis Ababa. ...

Eastern South Semitic languages

These languages are spoken mainly by tiny minority populations on the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Oman.

Bathari is a language spoken in Yemen and Oman by about 200 speakers. ... Harsusi is a Semitic language closely related to Mehri. ... Jibbali (Alternate names: Ehkili, Geblet, Jibali, Qarawi, Shahari, Shehri, Sheret) is a dialect of Oman, interesting to philologists as one of the oldest of Semitic tongues. ... Mehri or Mahri is a Semitic language spoken by minority populations in the eastern part of Yemen and western Oman and is a remnant of the ancient indigenous language group spoken in the southern Arabian Peninsula before the spread of Arabic along with the Islamic religion in the 7th century... Soqotri is the native language of the island of Socotra off the southern coast of Yemen. ... Map of the Socotra archipelago Socotra or Soqotra (Arabic سقطرى ; Suquṭra) is a small archipelago of four islands and islets in the Indian Ocean off the coast Somalia some 350 km south of the Arabian peninsula. ...

Living Semitic languages by number of speakers

lang speakers
Arabic 206,000,000
Amharic 27,000,000
Hebrew 5,055,000[5]
Tigrinya 4,450,000
Syriac 1,500,000
Silt'e 830,000
Tigre 800,000
Neo-Aramaic 605,000
Sebat Bet Gurage 440,000
Maltese 410,000
South Arabian languages 360,000
Inor 280,000
Soddo 250,000
Harari 21,283

Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... Not to be confused with the Aramaic language. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... Tigrinya (Geez ትግርኛ tigriññā, also spelled Tigrigna) is a Semitic language spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people in central Eritrea (there referred to as the Tigrinya people), where it is one of the main working languages (Eritrea does not have official languages), and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia (whose... Syriac ( Suryāyā) is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ... The Silte language (Selti, Silti; ISO/DIS 639-3: xst) is an South Semitic (East Gurage) language of Ethiopia, with some 830,000 speakers (1998 census), spoken in the region about 150 km south of Addis Abeba. ... Tigre is a Semitic language descended from Geez and is closely related to Tigrinya and Amharic. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Sebat Bet Gurage (also called Central West Gurage, West Gurage, Chaha, Ezha, Gumer, Gura, Gyeto, Muher) is a South Semitic language of Ethiopia (ISO/DIS 639-3: sgw). ... Old South Arabian is a geographic term for four closely related languages spoken in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. ... Inor ([ino:r]), sometimes called Ennemor, is a Semitic language spoken in central Ethiopia, mainly within the Gurage zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, and by speakers of the language who have settled in Ethiopian cities, especially Addis Ababa. ... Soddo (autonym kəstane Christian; formerly called Aymälläl in Western sources, after a particular dialect of it) is a Gurage language spoken by about 300,000 people in southeastern Ethiopia. ... aman be dejqho ...

References

  1. ^ Including all varieties.
  2. ^ http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=arb
  3. ^ 1994 Ethiopian census
  4. ^ http://www.omniglot.com/writing/amharic.htm
  5. ^ a b Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/. (Hebrew->Population total all countries, [1])
  6. ^ In 2005, Ethnologue estimated a total of 4.45 million Tigrinya speakers ranging over all countries; 3.2 million in Ethiopia, 1.2 million in Eritrea, 10,000 Beta Israels in Israel (the remaining 15,000 are unaccounted for).[2] The Tigrinya ethnic group, almost entirely Tigrinya speaking[citation needed] is estimated at 2.4 million in Eritrea (July 2006).[3] and 4.3 million Tigrayans in Ethiopia according to the CSA, both members of the Tigray-Tigrinya ethnic group (CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.3.), 2.4 million
  7. ^ http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/citation/306/5702/1680c
  8. ^ http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0011-3204%28199802%2939%3A1%3C139%3ATALPAI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-J&size=LARGE
  9. ^ http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1680c
  10. ^ Nebes, Norbert, "Epigraphic South Arabian," in von Uhlig, Siegbert, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005), pps.335.
  11. ^ Moscati, Sabatino (1958). "On Semitic Case-Endings". Journal of Near Eastern Studies 17 (2): 142-43.  "In the historically attested Semitic languages, the endings of the singular noun-flexions survive, as is well known, only partially: in Akkadian and Arabic and Ugaritic and, limited to the accusative, in Ethiopic.

The Beta Israel (Geez ቤተ፡ እስራኤል Bēta Isrāēl, modern Bēte Isrāēl; Hebrew: ), also known by the term Falasha (Amharic for Exiles or Strangers, as they were called by non-Jewish Ethiopians — a term that is considered pejorative) are Jews of Ethiopian origin. ... The Tigray-Tigrinya are an ethnic group who live in Eritrea and the northern highlands of Ethiopias Tigray province. ...

See also

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Proto-Semitic. ... Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical proto-language of the Semitic languages. ... The Proto-Canaanite alphabet is an abjad of twenty-plus acrophonic glyphs, which is found in Levantine texts of the Late Bronze Age (from ca. ... The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to...

Bibliography

  • Patrick R. Bennett. Comparative Semitic Linguistics: A Manual. Eisenbrauns 1998. ISBN 1-57506-021-3.
  • Gotthelf Bergsträsser, Introduction to the Semitic Languages: Text Specimens and Grammatical Sketches. Translated by Peter T. Daniels. Winona Lake, Ind. : Eisenbrauns 1995. ISBN 0-931464-10-2.
  • Giovanni Garbini. Le lingue semitiche: studi di storia linguistica. Istituto Orientale: Napoli 1984.
  • Giovanni Garbini & Olivier Durand. Introduzione alle lingue semitiche. Paideia: Brescia 1995.
  • Robert Hetzron (ed.) The Semitic Languages. Routledge: London 1997. ISBN 0-415-05767-1. (For family tree, see p. 7).
  • Edward Lipinski. Semitic Languages: Outlines of a Comparative Grammar. 2nd ed., Orientalia Lovanensia Analecta: Leuven 2001. ISBN 90-429-0815-7
  • Sabatino Moscati. An introduction to the comparative grammar of the Semitic languages: phonology and morphology. Harrassowitz: Wiesbaden 1969.
  • Edward Ullendorff, The Semitic languages of Ethiopia: a comparative phonology. London, Taylor's (Foreign) Press 1955.
  • William Wright & William Robertson Smith. Lectures on the comparative grammar of the Semitic languages. Cambridge University Press 1890. [2002 edition: ISBN 1-931956-12-X]

Gotthelf Bergsträsser (1886 - 1933, Berchtesgaden) was a Semitic linguist, usually considered to be one of the greatest of the twentieth century. ... Peter T. Daniels is a scholar of writing systems. ... Robert Hetzron (1937 – 1997) was a linguist who specialized in Afroasiatic languages and whose work embraced comparative studies, semantic analysis and theoretical aspects of grammar. ... Edward Ullendorff (b. ...

External links

  • Chart of the Semitic Family Tree American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed.)
  • Semitic genealogical tree (as well as the Afro-Asiatic one), presented by Alexander Militarev at his talk “Genealogical classification of Afro-Asiatic languages according to the latest data” (at the conference on the 70th anniversary of V.M. Illich-Svitych, Moscow, 2004; short annotations of the talks given there(Russian))
  • "Semitic" in SIL's Ethnologue
  • Ancient snake spell in Egyptian pyramid may be oldest Semitic inscription

  Results from FactBites:
 
Proto-Semitic Language and Culture. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 2000 (3655 words)
The Appendix of Semitic Roots (Appendix II) that follows this essay is designed to allow the reader to trace English words derived from Semitic languages back to their fundamental components in Proto-Semitic, the parent language of all ancient and modern Semitic languages.
Central Semitic is further subdivided into the South Arabian inscriptional languages; classical, medieval, and modern forms of Arabic; and the Northwest Semitic languages, which include Hebrew and Aramaic.
A distinctive characteristic of the Semitic languages is the formation of words by the combination of a “root” of consonants in a fixed order, usually three, and a “pattern” of vowels and, sometimes, affixes before and after the root.
History of the Arabic (858 words)
Semitic languages have a recorded history going back thousands of years, one of the most extensive continuous archives of documents belonging to any human language group.
While the origins of the Semitic language family are currently in dispute among scholars, there is agreement that they flourished in the Mediterranean Basin area, especially in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin and in the coastal areas of the Levant.
The Semitic language family is a descendant of proto-Semitic, an ancient language that was exclusively spoken and has no written record.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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