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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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Western Asia
WESTERN ASIA, WEST ASIA, SOUTHWESTERN ASIA or SOUTHWEST ASIA is the westernmost subregion of Asia
Asia
. The concept is in limited use, as it significantly overlaps with the Middle East
Middle East
(or the Near East
Near East
), the main difference usually being the exclusion of Egypt
Egypt
(which would be counted as part of North Africa
North Africa
). The term is sometimes used for the purposes of grouping countries in statistics . The total population of Western Asia
Asia
is an estimated 300 million as of 2015. In an unrelated context, the term is also used in ancient history and archaeology to divide the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
into the "Asiatic" or "Western Asian" cultures as opposed to ancient Egypt
Egypt
. As a geographic concept, Western Asia
Asia
includes the Levant
Levant
, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
, Anatolia
Anatolia
, Iran
Iran
, the Armenian Highlands , the South Caucasus , the Arabian peninsula as well as the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
, making Egypt
Egypt
a transcontinental country
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North Africa
NORTH AFRICA is a group of Mediterranean countries situated in the northern-most region of the African continent . It is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to the countries of Morocco , Algeria , and Tunisia , a region known by the French during colonial times as “Afrique du Nord” and by the Arabs as the Maghreb (“West”). The most commonly accepted definition includes Morocco , Algeria , and Tunisia , as well as Libya , Egypt , and Sudan . The term “North Africa”, when commonly used in North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, due to its greater Middle Eastern associations, is typically viewed separately. The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity that is unique to this region. North west Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians
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Horn Of Africa
The HORN OF AFRICA (Somali : Geeska Afrika, Oromo : _Gaaffaa Afriikaa_, Amharic : የአፍሪካ ቀንድ? _yäafrika qänd_, Arabic : القرن الأفريقي‎‎ _al-qarn al-'afrīqī_, Tigrinya : ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ? ) (shortened to HOA) is a peninsula in Northeast Africa . It juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
, lying along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden . The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent . The Horn of Africa
Africa
denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti
Djibouti
, Eritrea
Eritrea
, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
, and Somalia
Somalia
. It covers approximately 2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi) and is inhabited by roughly 115 million people (Ethiopia: 96.6 million, Somalia: 12.3 million, Eritrea: 6.4 million, and Djibouti: 0.81 million). Regional studies on the Horn of Africa
Africa
are carried out, among others, in the fields of Ethiopian Studies as well as Somali Studies
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Malta
Coordinates : 35°53′N 14°30′E / 35.883°N 14.500°E / 35.883; 14.500 MALTA (/ˈmɒltə/ (_ listen ); Maltese: ), officially known as the REPUBLIC OF MALTA (Maltese : Repubblika ta' Malta_), is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea . It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy , 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia , and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya . The country covers just over 316 km2 (122 sq mi), with a population of just under 450,000, making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta , which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area. Malta has one national language , which is Maltese , and English as an official language. Malta's location in the middle of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians , Carthaginians , Greeks , Romans , Byzantines , Moors , Normans , Sicilians , Spanish , Knights of St. John , French and British , have ruled the islands. King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942 for the country's bravery in the Second World War
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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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Afroasiatic Languages
AFROASIATIC (AFRO-ASIATIC), also known as AFRASIAN and traditionally as HAMITO-SEMITIC (CHAMITO-SEMITIC), is a large language family of several hundred related languages and dialects. It comprises about 300 or so living languages and dialects, according to the 2009 Ethnologue estimate. It includes languages spoken predominantly in West Asia , North Africa
North Africa
, the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
, and parts of the Sahel
Sahel
. Afroasiatic languages
Afroasiatic languages
have over 350 million native speakers, the fourth largest number of any language family (after Indo-European , Sino-Tibetan and Niger–Congo ). The phylum has six branches: Berber , Chadic , Cushitic , Egyptian , Omotic and Semitic . By far the most widely spoken Afroasiatic language is Arabic
Arabic
. It is also the most widely spoken language within the Semitic branch, and includes Modern Standard Arabic
Arabic
and spoken colloquial varieties . Arabic
Arabic
has around 290 million native speakers, who are concentrated primarily in West Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Malta
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Proto-Semitic Language
The PROTO-SEMITIC LANGUAGE is the hypothetical proto-language ancestral to the historical Semitic languages of the Middle East . Its original Urheimat has been proposed to be in northern Mesopotamia , the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant , with a 2009 study proposing that it may have originated about 7400 BC . Semitic is considered a subfamily of the larger Afroasiatic macrofamily. CONTENTS * 1 Dating * 2 Homeland * 2.1 Out of the Levant hypothesis * 2.2 Out of Africa hypothesis * 3 Phonology * 3.1 Inventory * 3.2 Emphatics * 3.3 Fricatives * 3.4 Correspondence of sounds with daughter languages * 3.5 Correspondence of sounds with other Afroasiatic languages * 4 Comparative vocabulary and reconstructed roots * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 Sources * 9 External links DATINGThe earliest attestations of a Semitic language are in Akkadian , dating to around the 23rd century BC (see Sargon of Akkad ) and the Eblaite language , but earlier evidence of Akkadian comes from personal names in Sumerian texts around 28th century BC
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East Semitic Languages
The EAST SEMITIC LANGUAGES are one of six current divisions of the 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 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 _). Also, East Semitic languages do not possess a series of three back fricatives : *h , *ḥ , *ġ
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West Semitic Languages
The WEST SEMITIC LANGUAGES are a proposed major sub-grouping of ancient Semitic languages . The term was first coined in 1883 by Fritz Hommel . The grouping, supported by semiticists like Robert Hetzron and John Huehnergard , divides the Semitic language family into two branches: Eastern and Western. The East Semitic languages consist of the extinct Eblaite and Akkadian languages, while the remaining majority of Semitic languages form the West Semitic languages grouping. It consists of the clearly defined sub-groups: Ethiopic , South Arabian , Arabic and Northwest Semitic (this including Hebrew , Aramaic , Amorite and Ugaritic ). The first two, Ethiopic and South Arabian, show particular common features, and are often grouped together as South Semitic . The correct classification of Arabic with respect to other Semitic languages is debated. In older classifications, it is grouped with the South Semitic languages. However, Hetzron and Huehnergard connect it more closely with the Northwest Semitic languages, to form Central Semitic . Some semiticists continue to argue for the older classification based on the distinctive feature of broken plurals . Some linguists also argue that Eteocypriot was a Northwest Semitic language spoken in ancient Cyprus . FOOTNOTES * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds
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ISO 639-2
ISO 639-2:1998, _Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 2: Alpha-3 code_, is the second part of the ISO 639 standard , which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages . The three-letter codes given for each language in this part of the standard are referred to as "Alpha-3" codes. There are 464 entries in the list of ISO 639-2 codes . The US Library of Congress is the registration authority for ISO 639-2 (referred to as ISO 639-2/RA). As registration authority, the LOC receives and reviews proposed changes; they also have representation on the ISO 639-RA Joint Advisory Committee responsible for maintaining the ISO 639 code tables. CONTENTS * 1 History and relationship to other ISO 639 standards * 2 B and T codes * 3 Scopes and types * 3.1 Collections of languages * 3.2 Reserved for local use * 3.3 Special situations * 4 See also * 5 External links HISTORY AND RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER ISO 639 STANDARDSWork was begun on the ISO 639-2 standard in 1989, because the ISO 639-1 standard, which uses only two-letter codes for languages, is not able to accommodate a sufficient number of languages. The ISO 639-2 standard was first released in 1998. In practice, ISO 639-2 has largely been superseded by ISO 639-3 (2007), which includes codes for all the individual languages in ISO 639-2 plus many more
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ISO 639-5
ISO 639-5:2008 "Codes for the representation of names of languages—Part 5: Alpha-3 code for language families and groups" is a highly incomplete international standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It was developed by ISO Technical Committee 37, Subcommittee 2, and first published on May 15, 2008. It is part of the ISO 639 series of standards. CONTENTS * 1 Collective codes * 2 Relationship to other parts of ISO 639 * 3 History * 4 Deficiencies * 5 References * 6 External links COLLECTIVE CODES ISO 639-5 defines _alpha-3_ (3-letter) codes, called "collective codes," that identify language families and groups. As of August 29, 2008 update to ISO 639-5, the standard defined 114 collective codes. The United States Library of Congress maintains the list of Alpha-3 codes that comprise ISO 639-5. The standard does not cover all language families used by linguists. The languages covered by a group code need not be linguistically related, but may have a geographic relation, or category relation (such as _Creoles _). RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER PARTS OF ISO 639 See also: ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3 Some of the codes in ISO 639-5 codes are also found in the ISO 639-2 "Alpha-3 code" standard
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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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Amarna Letters
The AMARNA LETTERS (sometimes referred to as the AMARNA CORRESPONDENCE or AMARNA TABLETS) are an archive, written on clay tablets , primarily consisting of diplomatic correspondence between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom . The letters were found in Upper Egypt at Amarna , the modern name for the ancient Egyptian capital of _Akhetaten_ (el-Amarna), founded by pharaoh Akhenaten (1350s – 1330s BC) during the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt . The Amarna letters are unusual in Egyptological research, because they are mostly written in Akkadian cuneiform, the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia , rather than that of ancient Egypt. The known tablets total 382: 24 tablets had been recovered since the Norwegian Assyriologist Jørgen Alexander Knudtzon 's landmark edition of the Amarna letters, _Die El-Amarna-Tafel_, published in two volumes (1907 and 1915). The written correspondence spans a period of at most thirty years. The Amarna letters are of great significance for biblical studies as well as Semitic linguistics , since they shed light on the culture and language of the Canaanite peoples in pre-biblical times
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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 the 8th century BC and its final extinction by the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. It is the earliest attested Semitic language, and used the cuneiform writing system, which was originally used to write the unrelated, and also extinct, Sumerian (which is a language isolate ). Akkadian
Akkadian
was named after the city of Akkad , a major centre of Mesopotamian civilization during the Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Empire
(c. 2334–2154 BC), but the language itself precedes the founding of Akkad by many centuries, being first attested in the 29th century BC. The mutual influence between Sumerian and Akkadian
Akkadian
had led scholars to describe the languages as a _sprachbund _. Akkadian
Akkadian
proper names were first attested in Sumerian texts from around the mid 3rd-millennium BC. From the second half of the third millennium BC (c
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Amarna
AMARNA (Arabic : العمارنة _al-‘amārnah_‎‎) is an extensive Egyptian archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city newly established and built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth Dynasty , and abandoned shortly after his death (1332 BC). The name for the city employed by the ancient Egyptians is written as AKHETATEN (or AKHETATON—transliterations vary) in English transliteration. Akhetaten means "Horizon of the Aten ". The area is located on the east bank of the