Semitic languages

SemiticSemitic languageArabianSemitic-speakingOriental languagesArabicSemiticsSemitic linguisticsSemitic branchProto-Semitic
The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East that are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of Western Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, as well as in often large immigrant and/or expatriate communities in North America, Europe and Australia.wikipedia
1,202 Related Articles

Amharic

amhAmharaAmh.
The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are (numbers given are for native speakers only) Arabic (300 million), Amharic (22 million), Tigrinya (7 million), Hebrew (~5 million native/L1 speakers), Tigre (~1.05 million), Aramaic (575,000 to 1 million largely Assyrian fluent speakers) and Maltese (483,000 speakers).
Amharic ( or ; Amharic: አማርኛ,, ) is one of the Ethiopian Semitic languages, which are a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages.

Afroasiatic languages

Afro-AsiaticAfroasiaticAfroasiatic language family
The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East that are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of Western Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, as well as in often large immigrant and/or expatriate communities in North America, Europe and Australia.
The phylum has six branches: Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, Egyptian, Omotic and Semitic.

Tigrinya language

TigrinyaTigrignatir
The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are (numbers given are for native speakers only) Arabic (300 million), Amharic (22 million), Tigrinya (7 million), Hebrew (~5 million native/L1 speakers), Tigre (~1.05 million), Aramaic (575,000 to 1 million largely Assyrian fluent speakers) and Maltese (483,000 speakers).
Tigrinya, often written as Tigrigna (, tigriñā,Amarəñña,) is an Afro-Asiatic language, belonging to the family's Semitic branch.

Sumerian language

Sumerianancient Sumerianeme-sal
Semitic languages occur in written form from a very early historical date, with East Semitic Akkadian and Eblaite texts (written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform) appearing from the 30th century BCE and the 25th century BCE in Mesopotamia and the northern Levant respectively. The only earlier attested languages are Sumerian, Elamite (2800 BCE to 550 BCE) (both language isolates), Egyptian and unclassified Lullubi from the 30th century BCE.
During the 3rd millennium BC, an intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Semitic-speaking Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism.

Akkadian language

AkkadianBabylonianAssyrian
Semitic languages occur in written form from a very early historical date, with East Semitic Akkadian and Eblaite texts (written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform) appearing from the 30th century BCE and the 25th century BCE in Mesopotamia and the northern Levant respectively. Semitic languages were spoken across much of the Middle East and Asia Minor during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, the earliest attested being the East Semitic Akkadian of the Mesopotamian and south eastern Anatolian polities of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia, and the also East Semitic Eblaite language of the kingdom of Ebla in the north eastern Levant.
It is the earliest attested Semitic language.

Maltese language

MaltesemltMalta
The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are (numbers given are for native speakers only) Arabic (300 million), Amharic (22 million), Tigrinya (7 million), Hebrew (~5 million native/L1 speakers), Tigre (~1.05 million), Aramaic (575,000 to 1 million largely Assyrian fluent speakers) and Maltese (483,000 speakers).
Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished.

Phoenician alphabet

PhoenicianSemiticPhoenician letter
Among them are the Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, and South Arabian alphabets.
It was used to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the ancient civilization of Phoenicia in modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and northern Israel.

Syriac alphabet

SyriacestrangelaEstrangelo
Among them are the Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, and South Arabian alphabets.
The Syriac alphabet is a writing system primarily used to write the Syriac language since the 1st century AD. It is one of the Semitic abjads descending from the Aramaic alphabet through the Palmyrene alphabet, and it shares similarities with the Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic and the traditional Mongolian scripts.

Cuneiform

cuneiform scriptcuneiform writingcuneiform inscriptions
Semitic languages occur in written form from a very early historical date, with East Semitic Akkadian and Eblaite texts (written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform) appearing from the 30th century BCE and the 25th century BCE in Mesopotamia and the northern Levant respectively.
The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian/Babylonian), Eblaite and Amorite languages, the language isolates Elamite, Hattic, Hurrian and Urartian, as well as Indo-European languages Hittite and Luwian; it inspired the later Semitic Ugaritic alphabet as well as Old Persian cuneiform.

Abugida

abugidasalphasyllabaryalphasyllabaries
The Ge'ez script, used for writing the Semitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, is technically an abugida a modified abjad in which vowels are notated using diacritic marks added to the consonants at all times, in contrast with other Semitic languages which indicate diacritics based on need or for introductory purposes.
Abugidas include the extensive Brahmic family of scripts of South and Southeast Asia, Semitic Ethiopic scripts, and Canadian Aboriginal syllabics (which are themselves based in part on Brahmic scripts).

Egyptian language

EgyptianAncient Egyptianancient Egyptian language
The only earlier attested languages are Sumerian, Elamite (2800 BCE to 550 BCE) (both language isolates), Egyptian and unclassified Lullubi from the 30th century BCE.
Of the other Afroasiatic branches, linguists have variously suggested that the Egyptian language shares its greatest affinities with Berber, and Semitic.

Ethiopia

🇪🇹AbyssiniaEthiopian
The Ge'ez script, used for writing the Semitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, is technically an abugida a modified abjad in which vowels are notated using diacritic marks added to the consonants at all times, in contrast with other Semitic languages which indicate diacritics based on need or for introductory purposes.
Most people in the country speak Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches.

Semitic root

roottriconsonantaltriliteral root
That is, word roots are not themselves syllables or words, but instead are isolated sets of consonants (usually three, making a so-called triliteral root). Words are composed out of roots not so much by adding prefixes or suffixes, but rather by filling in the vowels between the root consonants (although prefixes and suffixes are often added as well).
The roots of verbs and most nouns in the Semitic languages are characterized as a sequence of consonants or "radicals" (hence the term consonantal root). Such abstract consonantal roots are used in the formation of actual words by adding the vowels and non-root consonants (or "transfixes") which go with a particular morphological category around the root consonants, in an appropriate way, generally following specific patterns.

Hamites

HamiticAsiatic race theoryHamitic hypothesis
Eichhorn is credited with popularising the term, particularly via a 1795 article "Semitische Sprachen" (Semitic languages) in which he justified the terminology against criticism that Hebrew and Canaanite were the same language despite Canaan being "Hamitic" in the Table of Nations:
The appellation Hamitic was applied to the Berber, Cushitic, and Egyptian branches of the Afroasiatic language family, which, together with the Semitic branch, was thus formerly labelled "Hamito-Semitic".

Amorite language

AmoriteAmorites
The various closely related Northwest Semitic Canaanite languages included Amorite, Edomite, Hebrew, Ammonite, Moabite, Phoenician (Punic/Carthaginian), Samaritan, Ekronite and Sutean, encompassed what is today Israel, western, north western and southern Syria, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Jordan, the Sinai peninsula, northern parts of the Arabian peninsula and in the case of Phoenician, coastal regions of Tunisia (Carthage), Libya and Algeria, as well as possibly Malta also.
Amorite is an extinct early Semitic language, formerly spoken by the Amorite tribes prominent in ancient Near Eastern history.

East Semitic languages

East SemiticEast Semitic languageEast Semitic-speaking
Semitic languages occur in written form from a very early historical date, with East Semitic Akkadian and Eblaite texts (written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform) appearing from the 30th century BCE and the 25th century BCE in Mesopotamia and the northern Levant respectively. Semitic languages were spoken across much of the Middle East and Asia Minor during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, the earliest attested being the East Semitic Akkadian of the Mesopotamian and south eastern Anatolian polities of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia, and the also East Semitic Eblaite language of the kingdom of Ebla in the north eastern Levant.
The East Semitic languages are one of six divisions of the Semitic languages.

Guillaume Postel

Postel, Guillaume
The languages were familiar to Western European scholars due to historical contact with neighbouring Near Eastern countries and through Biblical studies, and a comparative analysis of Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic was published in Latin in 1538 by Guillaume Postel.
Postel was adept at Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac and other Semitic languages, as well as the Classical languages of Ancient Greek and Latin, and soon came to the attention of the French court.

K-T-B

For example, in Arabic, the root meaning "write" has the form k-t-b.
K-T-B is a triconsonantal root of a number of Semitic words, typically those having to do with writing.

Mesopotamia

Mesopotamianancient MesopotamiaIraq
Semitic languages occur in written form from a very early historical date, with East Semitic Akkadian and Eblaite texts (written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform) appearing from the 30th century BCE and the 25th century BCE in Mesopotamia and the northern Levant respectively. Semitic languages were spoken across much of the Middle East and Asia Minor during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, the earliest attested being the East Semitic Akkadian of the Mesopotamian and south eastern Anatolian polities of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia, and the also East Semitic Eblaite language of the kingdom of Ebla in the north eastern Levant.
Along with Sumerian, Semitic languages were also spoken in early Mesopotamia.

Dilmun

Dilmun civilizationDilmun civilisationTilmun
South Arabian languages (distinct from the later attested Arabic) were spoken in the kingdoms of Dilmun, Meluhha, Sheba, Ubar and Magan, which in modern terms encompassed part of the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Yemen.
Dilmun, or Telmun, (Arabic: دلمون, Sumerian: 𒆠, ni.tuk ki = DILMUN ki ;) was an ancient Semitic-speaking polity in Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards.

Jordan

🇯🇴TransjordanJordanian
The various closely related Northwest Semitic Canaanite languages included Amorite, Edomite, Hebrew, Ammonite, Moabite, Phoenician (Punic/Carthaginian), Samaritan, Ekronite and Sutean, encompassed what is today Israel, western, north western and southern Syria, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Jordan, the Sinai peninsula, northern parts of the Arabian peninsula and in the case of Phoenician, coastal regions of Tunisia (Carthage), Libya and Algeria, as well as possibly Malta also.
While several theories for the origin of the river's name have been proposed, it is most plausible that it derives from the Semitic word Yarad, meaning "the descender", reflecting the river's declivity.

Ge'ez script

Ge'ezEthiopicAmharic
The Ge'ez script, used for writing the Semitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, is technically an abugida a modified abjad in which vowels are notated using diacritic marks added to the consonants at all times, in contrast with other Semitic languages which indicate diacritics based on need or for introductory purposes.
The earliest inscriptions of Semitic languages in Eritrea and Ethiopia date to the 9th century BC in Epigraphic South Arabian (ESA), an abjad shared with contemporary kingdoms in South Arabia.

Ethiopian Semitic languages

EthiopicEthiopian SemiticEthiopian
Almost two centuries later, Hiob Ludolf described the similarities between these three languages and the Ethiopian Semitic languages.
Together with the Razihi language of Old South Arabian, they form the Western South Semitic languages, which, together with Modern South Arabian, the Eastern branch, they form the South Semitic sub-branch of the Afroasiatic family's Semitic languages branch.

Babylonia

BabylonianBabylonBabylonians
Semitic languages were spoken across much of the Middle East and Asia Minor during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, the earliest attested being the East Semitic Akkadian of the Mesopotamian and south eastern Anatolian polities of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia, and the also East Semitic Eblaite language of the kingdom of Ebla in the north eastern Levant.
However, their language was not Semitic or Indo-European, and is thought to have been either a language isolate or possibly related to the Hurro-Urartian language family of Anatolia, although the evidence for its genetic affiliation is meager due to the scarcity of extant texts.

Syria

SyrianSyrian Arab RepublicSyrian government
The various closely related Northwest Semitic Canaanite languages included Amorite, Edomite, Hebrew, Ammonite, Moabite, Phoenician (Punic/Carthaginian), Samaritan, Ekronite and Sutean, encompassed what is today Israel, western, north western and southern Syria, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Jordan, the Sinai peninsula, northern parts of the Arabian peninsula and in the case of Phoenician, coastal regions of Tunisia (Carthage), Libya and Algeria, as well as possibly Malta also.
Scholars believe the language of Ebla to be among the oldest known written Semitic languages after Akkadian.