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Central Semitic Languages
The CENTRAL SEMITIC LANGUAGES are a proposed intermediate group of Semitic languages
Semitic languages
, comprising the Late Iron Age, modern dialect of Arabic (prior to which Arabic was a Southern Semitic language), and older Bronze Age Northwest Semitic languages
Semitic languages
(which include Aramaic , Ugaritic , and the Canaanite languages of Hebrew and Phoenician ). In this reckoning, Central Semitic itself is one of three divisions of Semitic along with East Semitic ( Akkadian
Akkadian
and Eblaite ) and South Semitic (South Arabian and the Ethiopian Semitic languages
Semitic languages
)
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Middle East
The MIDDLE EAST is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia
Asia
and Egypt
Egypt
in North Africa
North Africa
. The corresponding adjective is _Middle-Eastern_ and the derived noun is _Middle-Easterner_. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East
Near East
(as opposed to the Far East
Far East
) beginning in the early 20th century. Arabs
Arabs
, Turks , Persians , Kurds , and Azeris (excluding Republic
Republic
of Azerbaijan) constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population. Minorities of the Middle East
Middle East
include Jews
Jews
, Assyrians and other Arameans , Baloch , Berbers , Coptic Christians
Christians
, Druze
Druze
, Lurs , Mandaeans , Samaritans
Samaritans
, Shabaks , Tats , and Zazas . In the Middle East, there is also a Romani community. European ethnic groups that form a diaspora in the region include Albanians , Bosniaks , Circassians , Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
, Franco-Levantines , and Italo-Levantines
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Language Family
A LANGUAGE FAMILY is a group of languages related through descent from a common _ancestral language_ or _parental language_, called the proto-language of that family. The term "family" reflects the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics , which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a biological family tree , or in a subsequent modification, to species in a phylogenetic tree of evolutionary taxonomy . Linguists therefore describe the _daughter languages_ within a language family as being _genetically related_. Estimates of the number of living languages vary from 5,000 to 8,000, depending on the precision of one's definition of "language", and in particular on how one classifies dialects . The 2013 edition of Ethnologue catalogs just over 7,000 living human languages. A "living language" is simply one that is used as the primary form of communication of a group of people. There are also many dead and extinct languages, as well as some that are still insufficiently studied to be classified, or are even unknown outside their respective speech communities. Membership of languages in a language family is established by comparative linguistics . Sister languages are said to have a "genetic" or "genealogical" relationship. The latter term is older
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Semitic Languages
The SEMITIC LANGUAGES are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East
Middle East
. Semitic languages
Semitic languages
are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of Western Asia
Western Asia
, North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
, as well as in often large expatriate communities in North America
North America
and Europe
Europe
, with smaller communities in the Caucasus
Caucasus
and Central Asia
Central Asia
. The terminology was first used in the 1780s by members of the Göttingen School of History , who derived the name from Shem , one of the three sons of Noah in the Book of Genesis . The most widely spoken Semitic languages
Semitic languages
today are (numbers given are for native speakers only) Arabic
Arabic
(300 million), Amharic (22 million), Tigrinya (7 million), Hebrew
Hebrew
(unknown; 5 million native and non-native L1 speakers), Aramaic (575,000 to 1 million largely Assyrian fluent speakers) and Maltese (520,000 speakers)
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Northwest Semitic Languages
NORTHWEST SEMITIC is a division of the Semitic language family comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant
Levant
. It would have emerged from Common Semitic in the Early Bronze Age . It is first attested in proper names identified as Amorite in the Middle Bronze Age . The oldest coherent texts are in Ugaritic , dating to the Late Bronze Age , which by the time of the Bronze Age collapse
Bronze Age collapse
are joined by Old Aramaic , and by the Iron Age
Iron Age
by the Canaanite languages (Phoenician and Hebrew
Hebrew
). The term was coined by Carl Brockelmann in 1908, who separated Fritz Hommel 's 1883 classification of "West Semitic languages
Semitic languages
" into Northwest (Canaanite and Aramaic ) and Southwest (Arabic and Abyssinian). Brockelmann's Canaanite sub-group includes Ugaritic , Phoenician and Hebrew
Hebrew
. Some scholars would now separate Ugaritic as a separate branch of Northwest Semitic alongside Canaanite. Central Semitic is a proposed intermediate group comprising Northwest Semitic and Arabic . Central Semitic is either a subgroup of West Semitic , or a top-level division of Semitic alongside East Semitic and South Semitic
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Arabic Languages
The ARABIC language family consists of all of the descendants of Proto-Arabic , including: * Old Arabic
Old Arabic
, the language of northwestern Arabia in the pre-Islamic period and its varieties: * Northern Old Arabic
Old Arabic
(including Safaitic and Hismaic) * Old Hejazi * Classical Arabic , the liturgical language of Islam which emerged in the 7th century AD,* Neo-Arabic, the descendants of spoken Old Arabic, including: * Maltese * Colloquial Arabic * Western Arabic * Eastern Arabic * Modern Standard Arabic , the standardized variety of Arabic used since the 19th century and modernized version of the liturgical language of IslamNOTES * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Arabian". Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. LITERATURE * Cantineau, Jean (1955). "La dialectologie arabe", Orbis 4:149–169. * Fischer, Wolfdietrich, & Otto Jastrow (ed) (1980). Handbuch der arabischen Dialekte, Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz. * Kaye, Alan S., & Judith Rosenhouse (1997). "Arabic Dialects and Maltese", The Semitic Languages. Ed. Robert Hetzron. New York: Routledge. Pages 263–311. * Lozachmeur, H., (ed.), (1995)
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Glottolog
_GLOTTOLOG_ is a bibliographic database of the world's lesser-known languages, developed and formerly maintained at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig , Germany. There are two components: _Languoid catalogue_, the catalog of the world's languages and language families; and _Langdoc_, the bibliography. It differs from the similar catalogue _ Ethnologue _ in several ways, in that it attempts only to accept languages which the editors have been able to confirm both exist and are distinct (varieties which have not been confirmed, but are inherited from another source, are tagged as "spurious" or "unattested"); it attempts only to classify languages into families which have been demonstrated to be valid; extensive bibliographic information is provided, especially for lesser-known languages; and, to a limited extent, alternative names are listed according to the sources which use them. In some cases, the language names used in the bibliographic entries in _Langdoc_ are identified by ISO or Glottolog code; this is an area of ongoing expansion. _Glottolog_ differs in several negative ways as well: Notably, apart from a single point-location on a map at its geographic center, no ethnographic or demographic information is provided. External links are provided to ISO, _Ethnologue_, and other online language databases
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Arabic Language
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS ARABIC TEXT . Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols .ARABIC ( Arabic
Arabic
: العَرَبِيَّة‎‎, _al-ʻarabiyyah_ (_ listen ) or Arabic
Arabic
: عَرَبِيّ‎‎ ʻarabī_ (_ listen ) or ) is a Central Semitic language complex that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca _ of the Arab world . It is named after the Arabs
Arabs
, a term initially used to describe peoples living from Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
in the east to the Anti- Lebanon
Lebanon
mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, and in the Sinai peninsula. The modern written language ( Modern Standard Arabic ) is derived from Classical Arabic . It is widely taught in schools and universities, and is used to varying degrees in workplaces, government, and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic
Arabic
(_fuṣḥā_), which is the official language of 26 states and the liturgical language of Islam
Islam
. Modern Standard Arabic largely follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic and uses much of the same vocabulary
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South Semitic Languages
SOUTH SEMITIC is a putative branch of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
. Semitic itself is a branch of the larger Afro-Asiatic language family found in (North and East ) Africa
Africa
and Western Asia . South Semitic is divided into two uncontroversial branches: * South Arabian , on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula , and * Ethiopian Semitic , found across the Red Sea
Red Sea
in the Horn of Africa , mainly in modern Ethiopia
Ethiopia
and Eritrea
Eritrea
.The Ethiopian Semitic languages
Semitic languages
have by far the greatest numbers of modern native speakers, indeed of any Semitic language other than Arabic
Arabic
. Eritrea's main languages are mainly Tigrinya and Tigre , which are North Ethiopic languages, while Amharic (South Ethiopic) is the main language spoken in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
(along with Tigrinya in the northern province of Tigray ). Ge\'ez continues to be used in Eritrea and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
as a liturgical language for the Orthodox Tewahedo churches. Southern Arabian languages have been increasingly eclipsed by the more dominant Arabic
Arabic
(also a Semitic language) for more than a millennium. Ethnologue lists six modern members of the South Arabian branch and 15 members of the Ethiopian branch
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Aramaic Language
ARAMAIC (אַרָמָיָא _Arāmāyā_, Syriac : ܐܪܡܝܐ‎, Arabic
Arabic
آرامية) is a Middle Eastern language or group of languages belonging to the Semitic subfamily of the Afroasiatic language family . More specifically, it is part of the Northwest Semitic group , which also includes the Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician . The Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to the Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic alphabets . During its approximately 3100 years of written history, Aramaic has served variously as a language of administration of empires and as a language of divine worship, religious study and as the spoken tongue of a number of Semitic peoples from the Near East
Near East

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Ugaritic Language
UGARITIC (/ˌuːɡəˈrɪtɪk, ˌjuː-/ ) is a Northwest Semitic language discovered by French archaeologists in 1929. It is known almost only in the form of writings found in the ruined city of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra, Syria ). It has been used by scholars of the Hebrew Bible to clarify Biblical Hebrew texts and has revealed ways in which the cultures of ancient Israel and Judah found parallels in the neighboring cultures. Ugaritic has been called "the greatest literary discovery from antiquity since the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mesopotamian cuneiform ". CONTENTS * 1 Corpus * 2 Writing system * 3 Phonology * 4 Grammar * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 External links CORPUSThe Ugaritic language is attested in texts from the 14th through the 12th century BC . The city of Ugarit was destroyed roughly 1190 BC. Literary texts discovered at Ugarit include the _ Legend of Keret _, the legends of Danel , the _Myth of Baal-Aliyan_, and the _Death of Baal_—the latter two are also collectively known as the _Baal Cycle _—all revealing aspects of ancient Canaanite religion
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Canaanite Languages
The CANAANITE LANGUAGES or CANAANITE DIALECTS are one of the two subgroups of the Northwest Semitic languages , the others being the Aramaic language and Ugaritic language . They were spoken by the ancient Semitic people of the Canaan and Levant regions, an area encompassing what are today Israel , Jordan , Sanai , Lebanon , Syria , the Palestinian territories , and also some fringe areas of southern Turkey and the northern Arabian peninsula . The Canaanites , broadly defined to include the Israelites (including Judeans and Samaritans ), Phoenicians (including Carthaginians ), Amorites , Ammonites , Moabites , Edomites , Suteans , Ekronites and Amalekites . The Canaanite languages had ceased to be everyday spoken languages by the 1st millennium AD, but Hebrew remained in continuous use by many Jews since that period into medieval times as a liturgical language, literary language, and for commerce, until it was revived as an everyday spoken language in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and became the main language of the Jews of Palestine and later the State of Israel . Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language today
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Hebrew Language
HEBREW (/ˈhiːbruː/ ; עִבְרִית‎, _Ivrit_ ( listen ) or ( listen )) is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel , spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh . The earliest examples of written Paleo- Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language . Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between 200 and 400 CE, declining since the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt . Aramaic and to a lesser extent Greek were already in use as international languages, especially among elites and immigrants. It survived into the medieval period as the language of Jewish liturgy , rabbinic literature , intra- Jewish commerce, and poetry . Then, in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language. It became the _lingua franca _ of Palestine's Jews, and subsequently of the State of Israel . According to Ethnologue , in 1998, it was the language of 5 million people worldwide
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Phoenician Language
PHOENICIAN was a language originally spoken in the coastal (Mediterranean) region then called " Canaan " in Phoenician, Hebrew , Old Arabic , and Aramaic , " Phoenicia " in Greek and Latin , and "_Pūt_" in the Egyptian language . It is a part of the Canaanite subgroup of the Northwest Semitic languages . Other members of the family are Hebrew , Ammonite , Moabite and Edomite . The area where Phoenician was spoken includes modern-day Lebanon , coastal Syria , coastal northern Israel, parts of Cyprus and, at least as a prestige language, some adjacent areas of Anatolia . It was also spoken in the area of Phoenician colonization along the coasts of the southwestern Mediterranean Sea , including those of modern Tunisia , Morocco , Libya and Algeria as well as Malta , the west of Sicily , Sardinia , Corsica , the Balearic Islands and southernmost Spain . Phoenician, together with Punic, is primarily known from approximately 10,000 surviving inscriptions, supplemented by occasional glosses in books written in other languages. In addition to their many inscriptions, the Phoenicians are believed to have left numerous other types of written sources, but most have not survived
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East Semitic
The EAST SEMITIC LANGUAGES are one of six current divisions of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
, the others being Northwest Semitic , Arabian , Old South Arabian (also known as Sayhadic), Modern South Arabian , and Ethio-Semitic . The East Semitic group is attested by two distinct languages, Akkadian and Eblaite , both of which have been long extinct . They stand apart from other Semitic languages, traditionally called West Semitic, in a number of respects. Historically, it is believed that this linguistic situation came about as speakers of East Semitic languages wandered further east, settling in Mesopotamia during the third millennium BCE , as attested by Akkadian texts from this period. By the beginning of the second millennium BCE , East Semitic languages, in particular Akkadian , had come to dominate the region. They were influenced by the non-Semitic Sumerian language and adopted cuneiform writing. Modern understanding of the phonology of East Semitic languages
Semitic languages
can only be derived from careful study of written texts and comparison with the reconstructed Proto-Semitic . Most striking is the loss of the glottal stop , or aleph , and the voiced pharyngeal fricative , or ayin , both of which are prominent features of West Semitic languages (for example, Akk. _bēl_ 'master' < PS. _*ba‘al _)
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Akkadian Language
AKKADIAN (/əˈkeɪdiən/ _akkadû_, 𒀝𒅗𒁺𒌑 AK-KA-DU-U2; logogram: 𒌵𒆠 URIKI ) is an extinct East Semitic languagethat was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
(Akkad , Assyria
Assyria
, Isin
Isin
, Larsa
Larsa
and Babylonia
Babylonia
) from the 30th century BC until its gradual replacement by Akkadian-influenced Eastern Aramaicamong Mesopotamians between t