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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.

This family of languages has the distinction of being the first historically attested group of languages to use an alphabet, derived from the Proto-Canaanite alphabet , to record their writings, as opposed to the far earlier Cuneiform of the region.

The primary reference for extra-biblical Canaanite inscriptions, together with Aramaic inscriptions, is the German-language book " Kanaanäische und Aramäische Inschriften ", from which inscriptions are often referenced as KAI _N_ (for a number _n_).

CONTENTS

* 1 Classification and sources

* 1.1 North Canaan * 1.2 South Canaan * 1.3 Other

* 2 Comparison to Aramaic * 3 Descendants * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Bibliography * 7 External links

CLASSIFICATION AND SOURCES

The Canaanite languages or dialects can be split into the following:

NORTH CANAAN

* Phoenician . The main sources are Ahiram sarcophagus inscription , sarcophagus of Eshmunazar , the Tabnit sarcophagus , the Kilamuwa inscription , the Cippi of Melqart , the other Byblian royal inscriptions . For later Punic : in Plautus ' play Poenulus at the beginning of the fifth act.

SOUTH CANAAN

* Hebrew died out as an everyday spoken language between 200 and 400 CE, but remained in continuous use by many Jews since that period, as a written language, a read language and by many people a spoken language as well. It was primarily used in liturgy, literature, and commerce well into medieval times. Beginning in the late 19th century, it was revived as an everyday spoken language by Jews in Palestine and Europe as Zionism emerged as a political movement and Jews began moving to Palestine in increasing numbers, and it became the _lingua franca _ of the growing Jewish community there. After the State of Israel was established, it became the main language of the country. Slightly different dialects of the language were used at different times, but overall it is as much the Hebrew language as the various forms of Hebrew in the first Millennium BC were one language. Hebrew is the only Canaanite language that is a living language, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language .

The main sources of Classical Hebrew are the various books of the Jewish Bible ( Tanakh ).

* Ammonite – an extinct Hebraic dialect of the Ammonite people mentioned in the Bible. * Moabite – an extinct Hebraic dialect of the Moabite people mentioned in the Bible. The main sources are the Mesha Stele and El-Kerak Stela . * Edomite – an extinct Hebraic dialect of the Edomite people mentioned in the Bible.

OTHER

Other possible Canaanite languages:

* Ugaritic , although the inclusion of this language within Canaanite is disputed * The Deir Alla Inscription , written in a dialect with Aramaic and South Canaanite characteristics, which is classified as Canaanite in Hetzron. * Ekronite or Philistine Semitic - not to be confused with the non-Semitic (assumed Indo-European ) Philistine language . The former is attested by several dozen inscriptions in Phoenician script scattered along Israel's southwest coast, in particular the Ekron Royal Dedicatory Inscription .

COMPARISON TO ARAMAIC

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Some distinctive typological features of Canaanite in relation to Aramaic are:

* The prefix _h-_ used as the definite article (Aramaic has a postfixed _-a_). That seems to be an innovation of Canaanite. * The first person pronoun being _ʼnk_ (אנכ _anok(i)_, versus Aramaic _ʼnʼ/ʼny'_, which is similar to Akkadian , Ancient Egyptian and Berber . * The *_ā_ > _ō_ vowel shift ( Canaanite shift ).

DESCENDANTS

Modern Hebrew . Hebrew has remained in continuous use by many Jews since that period, as a written language, a read language and by many people a spoken language as well. Slightly different dialects were used at different times but overall it is as much the Hebrew language as the various forms of Hebrew in the first Millennium BC were one language. All of the other Cannanite languages seem to have become by the early 1st millennium AD.

Slightly varying forms of Hebrew utilized from the First Millennium BC until modern times include:

* Tiberian Hebrew – Masoretic scholars living in the Jewish community of Tiberias in Palestine c. 750-950 CE. * Mizrahi Hebrew Mizrahi Jews , liturgical * Yemenite Hebrew Yemenite Jews , liturgical * Sephardi Hebrew Sephardi Jews , liturgical * Ashkenazi Hebrew Ashkenazi Jews , liturgical * Mishnaic Hebrew (Rabbinical Hebrew) – Jews , liturgical, rabbinical, any of the Hebrew dialects found in the Talmud . * Medieval Hebrew – Jews , liturgical, poetical, rabbinical, scientific, literary; lingua franca based on Bible, Mishna and neologisms forms created by translators and commentators * Haskala Hebrew – Jews , scientific, literary and journalistic language based on Biblical but enriched with neologisms created by writers and journalists, a transition to the later * Modern Hebrew used in Israel today * Samaritan Hebrew Samaritans , liturgical

The Phoenician and Carthaginian expansion spread the Phoenician language and its Punic dialect to the Western Mediterranean for a time, but there too it died out, although it seems to have survived slightly longer than in Phoenicia itself.

SEE ALSO

* Northwest Semitic languages * Classification of Semitic languages * Ancient Hebrew writings

REFERENCES

* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Canaanite". _ Glottolog 2.7 _. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ _A_ _B_ Rendsburg 1997 , p. 65. * ^ For example, the Mesha Stele is "KAI 181". * ^ Waltke this "dialect" is not strikingly different from the Hebrew preserved in the Masoretic text. Unfortunately, it is meagerly attested. Similarly limited are the epigraphic materials in the other South Canaanite dialects, Moabite and Ammonite; Edomite is so poorly attested that we are not sure that it is a South Canaanite dialect, thoug