The SEMITIC LANGUAGES are a branch of the Afroasiatic language
family originating in the
Middle East .
Semitic languages are spoken
by more than 330 million people across much of
Western Asia , North
Africa and the
Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa , as well as in often large expatriate
North America and
Europe , with smaller communities in
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
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 (unknown; 5 million native and
non-native L1 speakers), Aramaic (575,000 to 1 million largely
Assyrian fluent speakers) and Maltese (520,000 speakers).
Semitic languages occur in written form from a very early historical
Eblaite texts (written in a
script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform ) appearing from the 29th
century BCE and the 25th century BCE in
Mesopotamia and the northern
Levant respectively. The only earlier attested written languages are
Sumerian , Elamite (both language isolates ) and Egyptian . However,
most scripts used to write
Semitic languages are abjads – a type of
alphabetic script that omits some or all of the vowels, which is
feasible for these languages because the consonants in the Semitic
languages are the primary carriers of meaning.
Among them are the
Ugaritic , Phoenician , Aramaic ,
Hebrew , Syriac
Arabic , and South Arabian alphabets. The Ge\'ez script , used
Yemen , and later also for writing the Semitic languages
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.
Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the
Latin script and
the only Semitic language to be an official language of the European
Semitic languages are notable for their nonconcatenative
morphology . 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). For example, in Arabic, the root meaning
"write" has the form k-t-b. From this root, words are formed by
filling in the vowels and sometimes adding additional consonants, e.g.
كتاب KiTāB "book", كتب KuTuB "books", كاتب KāTiB
"writer", كتّاب KuTTāB "writers", كتب KaTaBa "he wrote",
يكتب yaKTuBu "he writes", etc.
* 1 Name and identification
* 2 History
Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples
* 2.2 Common Era (AD)
* 3 Present situation
* 4 Phonology
* 4.1 Consonants
* 4.2 Vowels
* 4.3 Correspondence of sounds with other
* 5 Grammar
* 5.1 Word order
* 5.2 Cases in nouns and adjectives
* 5.3 Number in nouns
* 5.4 Verb aspect and tense
* 5.5 Morphology: triliteral roots
* 5.6 Independent personal pronouns
* 5.7 Cardinal numerals
* 5.8 Typology
* 6 Common vocabulary
* 7 Classification
* 8 Semitic-speaking peoples
* 8.1 Central Semitic
* 8.4 Unknown
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 12 Additional reference literature
* 13 External links
NAME AND IDENTIFICATION
1538 comparison of
Hebrew and Arabic, by
Guillaume Postel –
possibly the first such representation in Western European literature
The similarity of the Hebrew,
Arabic and Aramaic languages was
accepted by Jewish and Islamic scholars since medieval times. 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 . Almost two
Hiob Ludolf described the similarities between these
three languages and the
Ethiopian Semitic languages . However,
neither scholar named this grouping as "Semitic".
The term "Semitic" was created by members of the Göttingen School of
History , and specifically by
August Ludwig von Schlözer (1781)
Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1787) first coined the name
"Semitic" in the late 18th century to designate the languages closely
related to Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew. The choice of name was
Shem , one of the three sons of Noah in the genealogical
accounts of the biblical
Book of Genesis , or more precisely from the
Koine Greek rendering of the name, Σήμ (Sēm). 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
Canaan being "
Hamitic " in the
Table of Nations :
In the Mosaic
Table of Nations , those names which are listed as
Semites are purely names of tribes who speak the so-called Oriental
languages and live in Southwest Asia. As far as we can trace the
history of these very languages back in time, they have always been
written with syllabograms or with alphabetic script (never with
hieroglyphs or pictograms ); and the legends about the invention of
the syllabograms and alphabetic script go back to the Semites. In
contrast, all so called
Hamitic peoples originally used hieroglyphs,
until they here and there, either through contact with the Semites, or
through their settlement among them, became familiar with their
syllabograms or alphabetic script, and partly adopted them. Viewed
from this aspect too, with respect to the alphabet used, the name
"Semitic languages" is completely appropriate.
Previously these languages had been commonly known as the "Oriental
languages" in European literature. In the 19th century, "Semitic"
became the conventional name; however, an alternative name,
"Syro-Arabian languages", was later introduced by James Cowles
Prichard and used by some writers.
ANCIENT SEMITIC-SPEAKING PEOPLES
Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples
There are several locations proposed as possible sites for
prehistoric origins of Semitic-speaking peoples: Mesopotamia, The
Levant, Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa, with
the most recent Bayesian studies indicating Semitic originated in the
Levant circa 3800 BC, and was later also introduced to the Horn of
Africa in approximately 800 BC.
Semitic languages were spoken across much of the
Middle East and Asia
Minor during the
Bronze Age and
Iron Age , the earliest attested being
Akkadian of the Mesopotamian and south eastern
Anatolian polities of Akkad ,
Babylonia , and the also
Eblaite language of the kingdom of
Ebla in the north
Levant . The various closely related Northwest Semitic
Canaanite languages included Amorite ,
Moabite , Phoenician (
Carthaginian ), Samaritan , Ekronite and
Sutean , encompassed what is today
Israel , western, north western and
Palestinian territories ,
Jordan , the
Sinai peninsula , northern parts of the
Arabian peninsula and in the
case of Phoenician, coastal regions of
Algeria , as well as possibly
Ugaritic was spoken in the
Ugarit in north western Syria. South Arabian languages
(distinct from the later attested
Arabic ) were spoken in the kingdoms
Sheba , Ubar and Magan , which in modern terms
encompassed part of the eastern coast of
Saudi Arabia , and
Yemen . These languages (in the form of Ge\'ez )
later spread to the
Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa circa 8th century BC.
Arabs were attested in Assyrian annals as being extant in the
Arabian peninsula from the 9th century BC. Aramaic , a
Northwest Semitic language first attested in the 12th century BC in
Levant gradually replaced the
East Semitic and Canaanite languages
across much of the Near East, particularly after being adopted as the
lingua franca of the vast
Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC) by
Tiglath-Pileser III during the 8th century BC, and being retained by
Neo-Babylonian Empire and Achaemenid Empires .
COMMON ERA (AD)
Approximate distribution of
Semitic languages around the 1st
Syriac , a 5th-century BC Assyrian Mesopotamian descendant of
Aramaic used in northeastern
Mesopotamia and south east
Anatolia , rose to importance as a literary language of early
Christianity in the third to fifth centuries and continued into the
early Islamic era.
With the advent of the early
Muslim conquests of the seventh and
eighth centuries, the hitherto largely uninfluential
slowly but surely replaced many (but not all) of the indigenous
Semitic languages and cultures of the
Near East . Both the Near East
North Africa saw an influx of
Arabs from the Arabian
Peninsula , followed later by non-Semitic
Muslim Iranian and Turkic
peoples . The previously dominant Aramaic dialects gradually began to
be sidelined, however descendant dialects of Eastern Aramaic
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic , Chaldean
Turoyo and Mandaic ) survive to this day among the
Mandaeans of northern
Iraq , northwestern
Syria and southeastern
Turkey , with up to a million
Western Aramaic is now only spoken by a few thousand
Syriac Christians in western
Syria . The
Arabs spread their Central
Semitic language to
North Africa (
Morocco and northern
Mauritania ) where it gradually
replaced Egyptian Coptic and many
Berber languages (although Berber is
still largely extant in many areas), and for a time to the Iberian
Gibraltar ) and
Page from a 12th-century
With the patronage of the caliphs and the prestige of its liturgical
Arabic rapidly became one of the world's main literary
languages. Its spread among the masses took much longer, however, as
many (although not all) of the native populations outside the Arabian
Peninsula only gradually abandoned their languages in favour of
Bedouin tribes settled in conquered areas, it became the
main language of not only central Arabia, but also Yemen, the Fertile
Crescent , and
Egypt . Most of the
Maghreb followed, particularly in
the wake of the
Banu Hilal 's incursion in the 11th century, and
Arabic became the native language of many inhabitants of al-Andalus .
After the collapse of the Nubian kingdom of
Dongola in the 14th
Arabic began to spread south of
Egypt into modern
soon after, the
Beni Ḥassān brought
Mauritania . A
South Arabian languages distinct from
Arabic still survive,
such as Soqotri , Mehri and Shehri which are mainly spoken in Socotra
Yemen and Oman, and are likely descendants of the languages spoken
in the ancient kingdoms of
Sheba , Magan , Ubar ,
Semitic languages that had arrived from southern
Arabia in the 8th century BC were diversifying in
Ethiopia and Eritrea
, where, under heavy Cushitic influence, they split into a number of
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 both
Semitic (such as Gafat ) and non-Semitic (such as Weyto ) languages,
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 Qimant set to disappear in another
Map showing the distribution of Semitic (orange) and other
Afro-Asiatic language speakers today. Map showing the
historical distribution of Semitic (yellow) and other Afro-Asiatic
language speakers about 1000 – 2000 years ago.
Arabic languages and dialects are currently the native languages of
Oman , and from
Iraq to the
Arabic is the language of the
Quran , it is also studied
widely in the non-Arabic-speaking
Muslim world . The Maltese language
is genetically a descendant of the extinct Siculo-
Arabic , a variety
Arabic formerly spoken in
Sicily . The modern Maltese
alphabet is based on the
Latin script with the addition of some
letters with diacritic marks and digraphs . Maltese is the only
Semitic official language of a nation state within the European Union
Wildly successful as second languages far beyond their numbers of
contemporary first-language speakers, a few
Semitic languages today
are the base of the sacred literature of some of the world's great
Hebrew and Aramaic),
churches of Syriac
Christianity (Syriac) and Ethiopian Christianity
(Ge'ez). Millions learn these as a second language (or an archaic
version of their modern tongues): many Muslims learn to read and
recite the Qur\'an and
Jews speak and study Biblical
Hebrew , the
language of the
Midrash , and other Jewish scriptures. Ethnic
Assyrian followers of the
Assyrian Church of the East , Chaldean
Catholic Church ,
Ancient Church of the East , Assyrian Pentecostal
Assyrian Evangelical Church and Assyrian members of the
Syriac Orthodox Church
Syriac Orthodox Church both speak Mesopotamian eastern Aramaic and use
it also as a liturgical tongue. The language is also used liturgically
by the primarily Arabic-speaking followers of the Maronite , Syriac
Catholic Church and some
Arabic itself is the main
liturgical language of Oriental Orthodox
Christians in the Middle
East, who compose the patriarchates of Antioch , Jerusalem and
Alexandria . Mandaic is both spoken and used as a liturgical language
Despite the ascendancy of
Arabic in the Middle East, other Semitic
languages still exist. Biblical Hebrew, long extinct as a colloquial
language and in use only in Jewish literary, intellectual, and
liturgical activity, was revived in spoken form at the end of the 19th
Hebrew is the main language of
Israel , while
remaining the language of liturgy and religious scholarship of Jews
Several smaller ethnic groups, in particular the Assyrians, Kurdish
Jews , and Gnostic Mandeans, continue to speak and write Mesopotamian
Aramaic languages, particularly
Neo-Aramaic languages descended from
Syriac , in those areas roughly corresponding to
Iraq , northeast
Syria , south eastern
Turkey and northwestern
Syriac language itself, a descendant of Eastern
Aramaic languages (Mesopotamian Old Aramaic), is used also
liturgically by the
Syriac Christians throughout the area. Although
the majority of Neo-Aramaic dialects spoken today are descended from
Western Neo-Aramaic is still spoken in 3 villages
Yemen and Oman, on the southern rim of the Arabian
Peninsula, a few tribes continue to speak Modern South Arabian
languages such as Mahri and Soqotri . These languages differ greatly
from both the surrounding
Arabic dialects and from the (unrelated but
previously thought to be related) languages of the Old South Arabian
Historically linked to the peninsular homeland of
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian ,
of which only one language, Razihi , remains,
Ethiopia and Eritrea
contain a substantial number of Semitic languages; the most widely
Amharic in Ethiopia, Tigre in
Eritrea , and Tigrinya in
Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia. Tigrinya is a
working language in Eritrea. Tigre is spoken by over one million
people in the northern and central Eritrean lowlands and parts of
eastern Sudan. A number of
Gurage languages are spoken by populations
in the semi-mountainous region of southwest Ethiopia, while Harari is
restricted to the city of
Ge'ez remains the liturgical
language for certain groups of
Ethiopia and in
The phonologies of the attested
Semitic languages are presented here
from a comparative point of view. See
for details on the phonological reconstruction of
in this article.
PROTO-SEMITIC CONSONANT PHONEMES
dental Dental /
Note: the fricatives *s, *z, *ṣ, *ś, *ṣ́, *ṱ may also be
interpreted as affricates (/t͡s/, /d͡z/, /t͡sʼ/, /t͡ɬ/,
/t͡ɬʼ/, /t͡θʼ/), as discussed below.
This comparative approach is natural for the consonants , as sound
correspondences among the consonants of the
Semitic languages are very
straightforward for a family of its time depth; for the vowels there
are more subtleties.
Proto-Semitic phoneme was reconstructed to explain a certain
regular sound correspondence between various Semitic languages. Note
that Latin letter values (italicized) for extinct languages are a
question of transcription; the exact pronunciation is not recorded.
Most of the attested languages have merged a number of the
reconstructed original fricatives, though South Arabian retains all
fourteen (and has added a fifteenth from *p > f).
In Aramaic and Hebrew, all non-emphatic stops occurring singly after
a vowel were softened to fricatives, leading to an alternation that
was often later phonemicized as a result of the loss of gemination.
In languages exhibiting pharyngealization of emphatics, the original
velar emphatic has rather developed to a uvular stop .
Regular correspondences of the
ḏ > d
ܖ ז3/ܕ ד
ܫ שׁ3/ܬ ת
ܥ שׂ3/ܤ ס
ṱ > ġ
צ ܨ3/ט ܛ
ק ܩ3/ע ܥ
ר ܪ n
/j/ /v/, /w/
/j/ ו ܘ
י ܝ w
Proto-Semitic *ś was still pronounced as in Biblical Hebrew, but
no letter was available in the Phoenician alphabet, so the letter ש
did double duty, representing both /ʃ/ and /ɬ/. Later on, however,
/ɬ/ merged with /s/, but the old spelling was largely retained, and
the two pronunciations of ש were distinguished graphically in
Hebrew as שׁ /ʃ/ vs. שׂ /s/ < /ɬ/.
Hebrew as of the 3rd century BCE apparently still
distinguished the phonemes ġ /ʁ/ and ḫ /χ/, based on
transcriptions in the
Septuagint . As in the case of /ɬ/, no letters
were available to represent these sounds, and existing letters did
double duty: ח /χ/ /ħ/ and ע /ʁ/ /ʕ/. In both of these cases,
however, the two sounds represented by the same letter eventually
merged, leaving no evidence (other than early transcriptions) of the
* Although early Aramaic (pre-7th century BCE) had only 22
consonants in its alphabet, it apparently distinguished all of the
Proto-Semitic phonemes, including *ḏ, *ṯ, *ṱ, *ś,
*ṣ́, *ġ and *ḫ – although by
Middle Aramaic times, these had
all merged with other sounds. This conclusion is mainly based on the
shifting representation of words etymologically containing these
sounds; in early Aramaic writing, the first five are merged with z,
š, ṣ, š, q, respectively, but later with d, t, ṭ, s, ʿ. (Also
note that due to begadkefat spirantization, which occurred after this
merger, OAm. t > ṯ and d > ḏ in some positions, so that PS *t,ṯ
and *d, ḏ may be realized as either of t, ṯ and d, ḏ
respectively.) The sounds *ġ and *ḫ were always represented using
the pharyngeal letters ʿ ḥ, but they are distinguished from the
pharyngeals in the Demotic-script papyrus Amherst 63, written about
200 BCE. This suggests that these sounds, too, were distinguished in
Old Aramaic language, but written using the same letters as they later
* The earlier pharyngeals can be distinguished in
Akkadian from the
zero reflexes of *h, *ʔ by e-coloring adjacent *a, e.g. pS
*ˈbaʕal-um 'owner, lord' > Akk. bēlu(m).
Hebrew and Aramaic underwent begadkefat spirantization at a
certain point, whereby the stop sounds /b ɡ d k p t/ were softened to
the corresponding fricatives (written ḇ ḡ ḏ ḵ p̄ ṯ) when
occurring after a vowel and not geminated. This change probably
happened after the original
Old Aramaic phonemes /θ, ð/ disappeared
in the 7th century BCE, and most likely occurred after the loss of
Hebrew /χ, ʁ/ c. 200 BCE. It is known to have occurred in
the 2nd century CE. After a certain point this alternation became
contrastive in word-medial and final position (though bearing low
functional load ), but in word-initial position they remained
allophonic. In Modern
Hebrew , the distinction has a higher
functional load due to the loss of gemination, although only the three
fricatives /v χ f/ are still preserved (the fricative /x/ is
pronounced /χ/ in modern Hebrew). (The others are pronounced like the
corresponding stops, apparently under the influence of later
non-native speakers whose native European tongues lacked the sounds
/ɣ ð θ/ as phonemes.)
* In the
Northwest Semitic languages , */w/ became */j/ at the
beginning of a word, e.g.
Hebrew yeled "boy" < *wald (cf. Arabic
* There is evidence of a rule of assimilation of /j/ to the
following coronal consonant in pre-tonic position, shared by Hebrew,
Phoenician and Aramaic.
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic , is nonexistent. In general cases, the
language would lack pharyngeal fricative (as heard in
However, /ʕ/ is retained in educational speech, especially among
Ugaritic orthography indicated the vowel after the glottal stop .
In addition to those in the table, Modern
Hebrew has introduced the
new phonemes /tʃ/, /dʒ/, /ʒ/ through borrowings.
The following table shows the development of the various fricatives
in Hebrew, Aramaic and
Arabic through cognate words:
*/ʃ/ ش */s/ ס
'water melon like plant'
* possibly affricated (/dz/ /tɬʼ/ /ʦʼ/ /tθʼ/ /tɬ/)
Proto-Semitic vowels are, in general, harder to deduce due to the
nonconcatenative morphology of Semitic languages. The history of vowel
changes in the languages makes drawing up a complete table of
correspondences impossible, so only the most common reflexes can be
Vowel correspondences in
Semitic languages (in proto-Semitic stressed
a, e, ē5
WSyr. ɛ ə
BA , JA ay(i), ē,
WSyr. ay/ī however, the oldest attested Ethiopian Semitic language,
Ge'ez, was VSO, possessed–possessor, and noun–adjective. Akkadian
was also predominantly SOV.
CASES IN NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES
The proto-Semitic three-case system (nominative , accusative and
genitive ) with differing vowel endings (-u, -a -i), fully preserved
Ugaritic , has
disappeared everywhere in the many colloquial forms of Semitic
languages. Modern Standard
Arabic maintains such case distinctions,
although they are typically lost in free speech due to colloquial
influence. An accusative ending -n is preserved in Ethiopian Semitic.
The archaic Samalian dialect of
Old Aramaic reflects a case
distinction in the plural between nominative -ū and oblique -ī
(compare the same distinction in Classical Arabic). Additionally,
Semitic nouns and adjectives had a category of state, the indefinite
state being expressed by nunation .
NUMBER IN NOUNS
Semitic languages originally had three grammatical numbers :
singular, dual , and plural . Classical
Arabic still has a mandatory
dual (i.e. it must be used in all circumstances when referring to two
entities), marked on nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns. Many
contemporary dialects of
Arabic still have a dual, as in the name for
the nation of
Bahrain (baħr "sea" + -ayn "two"), although it is
marked only on nouns. It also occurs in
Hebrew in a few nouns (šana
means "one year", šnatayim means "two years", and šanim means
"years"), but for those it is obligatory. 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, may
be partly of proto-Semitic origin, and partly elaborated from simpler
VERB ASPECT AND TENSE
Paradigm of a regular Classical
Form I kataba (yaktubu) "to write"
Semitic languages show two quite distinct styles of morphology
used for conjugating verbs. Suffix conjugations take suffixes
indicating the person, number and gender of the subject, which bear
some resemblance to the pronominal suffixes used to indicate direct
objects on verbs ("I saw HIM") and possession on nouns ("HIS dog").
So-called prefix conjugations actually takes both prefixes and
suffixes, with the prefixes primarily indicating person (and sometimes
number and/or gender), while the suffixes (which are completely
different from those used in the suffix conjugation) indicate number
and gender whenever the prefix does not mark this. The prefix
conjugation is noted for a particular pattern of ʔ- t- y- n- prefixes
where (1) a t- prefix is used in the singular to mark the second
person and third-person feminine, while a y- prefix marks the
third-person masculine; and (2) identical words are used for
second-person masculine and third-person feminine singular. The prefix
conjugation is extremely old, with clear analogues in nearly all the
Afroasiatic languages (i.e. at least 10,000 years old).
The table on the right shows examples of the prefix and suffix
conjugations in Classical Arabic, which has forms that are close to
In Proto-Semitic, as still largely reflected in East Semitic, prefix
conjugations are used both for the past and the non-past, with
different vocalizations. Cf.
Akkadian niprus "we decided" (preterite),
niptaras "we have decided" (perfect), niparras "we decide" (non-past
or imperfect), vs. suffix-conjugated parsānu "we are/were/will be
deciding" (stative). Some of these features, e.g. gemination
indicating the non-past/imperfect, are generally attributed to
Afroasiatic. According to Hetzron,
Proto-Semitic had an additional
form, the jussive , which was distinguished from the preterite only by
the position of stress: the jussive had final stress while the
preterite had non-final (retracted) stress.
West Semitic languages significantly reshaped the system. The
most substantial changes occurred in the Central Semitic languages
(the ancestors of modern Hebrew,
Arabic and Aramaic). Essentially, the
old prefix-conjugated jussive and/or preterite became a new non-past
(or imperfect), while the stative became a new past (or perfect), and
the old prefix-conjugated non-past (or imperfect) with gemination was
discarded. New suffixes were used to mark different moods in the
non-past, e.g. Classical
Arabic -u (indicative), -a (subjunctive), vs
no suffix (jussive). (It is not generally agreed whether the systems
of the various
Semitic languages are better interpreted in terms of
tense, i.e. past vs. non-past, or aspect, i.e. perfect vs. imperfect.)
However, in Hebrew, elements of the old system survived alongside the
new system for a while, in forms known as the waw-consecutive and
marked with a prefixed w-. The
South Semitic languages show a system
somewhere between the East and Central Semitic languages.
Later languages show further developments. In the modern varieties of
Arabic , for example, the old mood suffixes were dropped, and new mood
prefixes developed (e.g. bi- for indicative vs. no prefix for
subjunctive in many varieties). In the extreme case of Neo-Aramaic,
the verb conjugations have been entirely reworked under Iranian
MORPHOLOGY: TRILITERAL ROOTS
Semitic languages exhibit a unique pattern of stems called
Semitic roots consisting typically of "triliteral", or 3-consonant
consonantal roots (2- and 4-consonant roots also exist), from which
nouns, adjectives, and verbs are formed in various ways: e.g. by
inserting vowels, doubling consonants, lengthening vowels, and/or
adding prefixes, suffixes, or infixes .
For instance, the root k-t-b , (dealing with "writing" generally)
yields in Arabic: KaTaBa كَتَبَ or كتب "he wrote"
(masculine) KaTaBat كَتَبَت or كتبت "she wrote" (feminine)
KaTaBtu كَتَبْتُ or كتبت "I wrote" (f and m) KuTiBa
كُتِبَ or كتب "it was written" (masculine) KuTiBat
كُتِبَت or كتبت "it was written" (feminine) KaTaBū
كَتَبُوا or كتبوا "they wrote" (masculine) KaTaBna
كَتَبْنَ or كتبن "they wrote" (feminine) KaTaBnā
كَتَبْنَا or كتبنا "we wrote" (f and m) yaKTuB(u)
يَكْتُب or يكتب "he writes" (masculine) taKTuB(u)
تَكْتُب or تكتب "she writes" (feminine) naKTuB(u)
نَكْتُب or نكتب "we write" (f and m) aKTuB(u)
أَكْتُب or أكتب "I write" (f and m) yuKTaB(u)
يُكْتَب or يكتب "being written" (masculine) tuKTaB(u)
تُكتَب or تكتب "being written" (feminine) yaKTuBūn(a)
يَكْتُبُونَ or يكتبون "they write" (masculine)
yaKTuBna يَكْتُبْنَ or يكتبن "they write" (feminine)
taKTuBna تَكْتُبْنَ or تكتبن "you write" (feminine)
yaKTuBān(i) يَكْتُبَانِ or يكتبان "they both write"
(masculine) (for 2 males) taKTuBān(i) تَكْتُبَانِ or
تكتبان "they both write" (feminine) (for 2 females) KāTaBa
كاتَبَ or كاتب "he exchanged letters (with sb.)" yuKāTiB(u)
يُكَاتِب or يكاتب "he exchanges (with sb.)"
yataKāTaBūn(a) يَتَكَاتَبُونَ or يتكاتبون
"they write to each other" (masculine) iKtaTaBa اِكْتَتَبَ
or اكتتب "he is registered" (intransitive) or "he contributed (a
money quantity to sth.)" (ditransitive) (the first t is part of a
particular verbal transfix , not part of the root) istaKTaBa
اِسْتَكْتَبَ or استكتب "to cause to write (sth.)"
KiTāB كِتَاب or كتاب "book" (the hyphen shows end of stem
before various case endings) KuTuB كُتُب or كتب "books"
(plural) KuTayyiB كُتَيِّب or كتيب "booklet" (diminutive)
KiTāBat كِتَابَة or كتابة "writing" KāTiB كاتِب or
كاتب "writer" (masculine) KāTiBat كاتِبة or كاتبة
"writer" (feminine) KāTiBūn(a) كاتِبونَ or كاتبون
"writers" (masculine) KāTiBāt كاتِبات or كاتبات
"writers" (feminine) KuTTāB كُتاب or كتاب "writers" (broken
plural) KaTaBat كَتَبَة or كتبة "clerks" (broken plural)
maKTaB مَكتَب or مكتب "desk" or "office" maKāTiB
مَكاتِب or مكاتب "desks" or "offices" maKTaBat
مَكتَبة or مكتبة "library" or "bookshop" maKTūB
مَكتوب or مكتوب "written" (participle) or "postal letter"
(noun) KaTīBat كَتيبة or كتيبة "squadron" or "document"
KaTā'iB كَتائِب or كتائب "squadrons" or "documents"
iKtiTāB اِكتِتاب or اكتتاب "registration" or
"contribution of funds" muKtaTib مُكتَتِب or مكتتب
"subscription" istiKTāB اِستِكتاب or استكتاب "causing
and the same root in Hebrew: Kāṯaḇti כתבתי "I wrote"
Kāṯaḇtā כתבת "you (m) wrote" Kāṯaḇ כתב "he wrote"
KaTTāḇ כתב "reporter" (m) KaTTeḇeṯ כתבת "reporter" (f)
KaTTāḇā כתבה "article" (plural KaTTāḇōṯ כתבות)
miḵTāḇ מכתב "postal letter" (plural miḵTāḇīm
מכתבים) miḵTāḇā מכתבה "writing desk" (plural
miḵTāḇōṯ מכתבות) Kəṯōḇeṯ כתובת "address"
(plural Kəṯōḇōṯ כתובות) Kəṯāḇ כתב
"handwriting" Kāṯūḇ כתוב "written" (f Kəṯūḇā
כתובה) hiḵTīḇ הכתיב "he dictated" (f hiḵTīḇā
הכתיבה) hiṯKaTTēḇ התכתב "he corresponded (f
hiṯKaTTəḇā התכתבה) niḵTaḇ נכתב "it was written"
(m) niḵTəḇā נכתבה "it was written" (f) Kəṯīḇ כתיב
"spelling" (m) taḵTīḇ תכתיב "prescript" (m) məḵuTTāḇ
מכותב "addressee" (meḵuTTeḇeṯ מכותבת f) KəṯuBBā
כתובה "ketubah (a Jewish marriage contract)" (f)
In Tigrinya and Amharic, this root survives only in the noun kitab,
meaning "amulet", and the verb "to vaccinate". Ethiopic-derived
languages use different roots for things that have to do with writing
(and in some cases counting) primitive root: ṣ-f and trilateral root
stems: m-ṣ-f, ṣ-h-f, and ṣ-f-r are used. This roots also exists
Semitic languages like (Hebrew: sep̄er "book", sōp̄er
"scribe", mispār "number" and sippūr "story"). (this root also
Arabic and is used to form words with a close meaning to
"writing", such as ṣaḥāfa "journalism", and ṣaḥīfa
"newspaper" or "parchment"). Verbs in other non-Semitic Afroasiatic
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, where
hap̄lēḡ means "set sail!", hap̄lāḡā means "a sailing trip",
and hip̄līḡ means "he sailed", while the unrelated ʕūp̄,
təʕūp̄ā and ʕāp̄ pertain to flight).
INDEPENDENT PERSONAL PRONOUNS
ʔanā, anā, ana, āni, āna, ānig
אנכי, אני ʔānōḵī, ʔănī
You (sg., masc.)
*ʔanka > *ʔanta
ʔant, ant, inta, inti, int, (i)nta
āt, āty, āten
You (sg., fem.)
ʔanti, anti, inti, init (i)nti, intch
āt, āty, āten
هو huwa, hū
huwwa, huwwe, hū
هي hiya, hī
hiyya, hiyye, hī
niħna, iħna, ħinna
אנו, אנחנו ʔānū, ʔănaħnū
Plural form is used
Plural form is used
Ye (pl., masc.)
ʔantum, antum, intu, intum, (i)ntūma
Ye (pl., fem.)
ʔantin, antin, ʔantum, intu, intum, (i)ntūma
hum, humma, hūma, hom, hinne
הם, המה hēm, hēmmā
hin, hinne, hum, humma, hūma
הן, הנה hēn, hēnnā
List of numbers in various languages
واحد، أحد waːħid-, ʔaħad-
אחד ʼeḥáḏ ʔeˈχad
*ṯin-ān (nom.), *ṯin-ayn (obl.), *kilʼ-
θinaːn, θinajn, kilʔ
اثنان iθn-āni (nom.), اثنين iθn-ajni (obj.),
اثنتان fem. iθnat-āni, اثنتين iθnat-ajni
שנים šənáyim ˈʃn-ajim, fem. שתים šətáyim ˈʃt-ajim
*śalāṯ- > *ṯalāṯ-
ɬalaːθ > θalaːθ
fem. שלוש šālṓš ʃaˈloʃ
seleste (Ge\'ez śälas)
fem. ארבע ʼárbaʻ ˈʔaʁba
fem. חמש ḥā́mēš ˈχameʃ
ستّ sitt- (ordinal سادس saːdis-)
fem. שש šēš ʃeʃ
fem. שבע šéḇaʻ ˈʃeva
fem. שמונה šəmṓneh ʃˈmone
fem. תשע tḗšaʻ ˈtejʃa
fem. עשר ʻéśer ˈʔeseʁ
These are the basic numeral stems without feminine suffixes. Note
that in most older Semitic languages, the forms of the numerals from 3
to 10 exhibit gender polarity (also called "chiastic concord" or
reverse agreement), i.e. if the counted noun is masculine, the numeral
would be feminine and vice versa.
Semitic languages are speculated to have had weak ergative
Due to the Semitic languages' common origin, they share many words
and roots. Others differ. For example:
mû (root *mā-/*māy-)
Terms given in brackets are not derived from the respective
Proto-Semitic roots, though they may also derive from Proto-Semitic
(as does e.g.
Arabic dār, cf. Biblical
Hebrew dōr "dwelling").
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", 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
"cow" in Ethiopian Semitic; the original meaning was most probably
"food". The word medina (root: m-d-n) has the meaning of "metropolis"
in Amharic, "city" in
Arabic and Ancient Hebrew, and "State" in Modern
Of course, there is sometimes no relation between the roots. For
example, "knowledge" is represented in
Hebrew by the root y-d-ʿ, but
Arabic by the roots ʿ-r-f and ʿ-l-m and in Ethiosemitic by the
roots ʿ-w-q and f-l-ṭ.
For more comparative vocabulary lists, see Wiktionary appendices:
* List of
* Swadesh lists for Afro-Asiatic languages
There are six fairly uncontroversial nodes within the Semitic
East Semitic ,
Northwest Semitic , North Arabian , Old
South Arabian (also known as Sayhadic), Modern South Arabian , and
Ethiopian Semitic . These are generally grouped further, but there is
ongoing debate as to which belong together. The classification based
on shared innovations given below, established by
Robert Hetzron in
1976 and with later emendations by John Huehnergard and Rodgers as
summarized in Hetzron 1997, is the most widely accepted today. In
particular, several Semiticists still argue for the traditional
(partially nonlinguistic) view of
Arabic as part of South Semitic, and
a few (e.g.
Alexander Militarev or the German-Egyptian professor Arafa
Hussein Mustafa) see the
South Arabian languages as a third branch of
Semitic alongside East and West Semitic, rather than as a subgroup of
Roger Blench notes that the
Gurage languages are highly
divergent and wonders whether they might not be a primary branch,
reflecting an origin of Afroasiatic in or near Ethiopia. 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 – and the strong mutual influences
Arabic dialects render a genetic subclassification of them
Himyaritic language and
Sutean language appear to have been
Semitic, but they're unclassified due to insufficient data.
* Central Semitic
* Western: Ethiopian Semitic and
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian
* Eastern: Modern South Arabian
The following is a list of some modern and ancient Semitic-speaking
peoples and nations:
Ammonite speakers of
Amorites – 20th century BC
Ancient North Arabian -speaking bedouins
Arameans – 16th to 8th centuries BC / Akhlames (Ahlamu) 14th
* Canaanite-speaking nations of the early Iron Age:
Chaldea – appeared in southern
Mesopotamia c. 1000 BC and
eventually disappeared into the general Babylonian population.
Israelites – founded the nation of
Israel which later
split into the Kingdoms of
Israel and Judah . The remnants of these
people became the
Jews and the
Mhallami – A minority of Syriac-
Arameans who converted to
Islam but retained Syriac identity
Phoenicia – founded Mediterranean colonies including Tyre ,
Sidon and ancient
Carthage . The remnants of these people became the
modern inhabitants of Lebanon.
Ugarit , 14th to 12th centuries BC
* Nasrani (Syrian Christian)
Akkadian Empire – ancient Semitic speakers moved into
Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC and settled among the local
Sumer . The remnants of these people became the modern
Assyrian people (also known as Chaldo-Assyrians) of Iraq, Iran, south
Turkey and northeast Syria.
Ebla – 23rd century BC
Kingdom of Aksum – 4th century BC to 7th century AD
* Dahalik people
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian -speaking peoples
Yemen – 9th to 1st centuries BC
* Silt\'e people
Suteans – 14th century BC
Thamud – 2nd to 5th centuries AD
Bronze Age alphabets
* ^ According to the generally accepted view, it is unlikely that
begadkefat spirantization occurred before the merger of /χ, ʁ/ and
/ħ, ʕ/, or else and would have to be contrastive, which is
cross-linguistically rare. However, Blau argues that it is possible
that lenited /k/ and /χ/ could coexist even if pronounced
identically, since one would be recognized as an alternating allophone
(as apparently is the case in Nestorian Syriac). See Blau (2010 :56).
* ^ see
* ^ While some believe that *ʔanāku was an innovation in some
branches of Semitic utilizing an "intensifying" *-ku, comparison to
other Afro-Asiatic 1ps pronouns (e.g. Eg. 3nk, Coptic anak, anok,
proto-Berber *ənakkʷ) suggests that this goes further back.
(Dolgopolsky 1999, pp. 10–11.)
* ^ The
Akkadian form is from Sargonic Akkadian. Among the Semitic
languages, there are languages with /i/ as the final vowel (this is
the form in Mehri). For a recent discussion concerning the
reconstruction of the forms of the dual pronouns, see Bar-Asher,
Elitzur. 2009. "Dual Pronouns in Semitics and an Evaluation of the
Evidence for their Existence in Biblical Hebrew," Ancient Near Eastern
Studies 46: 32–49
* ^ Lipiński, Edward, Semitic languages: outline of a comparative
grammar . This root underwent regressive assimilation. This parallels
the non-adjacent assimilation of *ś... > *š...š in proto-Canaanite
or proto-North-West-Semitic in the roots *śam?š > *šamš 'sun' and
*śur?š > *šurš 'root'. (Dolgopolsky pp. 61–62.) The form
*ṯalāṯ- appears in most languages (e.g. Aramaic, Arabic,
Ugaritic), but the original form ślṯ appears in the South Arabian
languages , and a form with s < *ś (rather than š < *ṯ) appears in
* ^ Lipiński, Edward, Semitic languages: outline of a comparative
grammar . This root was also assimilated in various ways. For example,
Hebrew reflects *šišš-, with total assimilation;
*šitt- in cardinal numerals, but less assimilated *šādiš- in
Epigraphic South Arabian reflects original *šdṯ;
Ugaritic has a form ṯṯ, in which the ṯ has been assimilated
throughout the root.
* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank,
Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Semitic".
Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck
Institute for the Science of Human History.
* ^ Baasten 2003 .
* ^ Jonathan, Owens (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Arabic
Linguistics. Oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 0199344094 .
Retrieved 18 February 2014.
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ Tigrinya at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ Modern
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ ^ Jump up to: a b
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic at
Ethnologue (18th ed.,
Chaldean Neo-Aramaic at
Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
* ^ ^
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ ^ Jump up to: a b c Maltese at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ A B C D Ruhlen, Merritt (1991), A Guide to the World\'s
Languages: Classification, Stanford University Press, ISBN
9780804718943 , The other linguistic group to be recognized in the
eighteenth century was the Semitic family. The German scholar Ludwig
von Schlozer is often credited with having recognizes, and named, the
Semitic family in 1781. But the affinity of Hebrew, Arabic, and
Aramaic had been recognized for centuries by Jewish, Christian and
Islamic scholars, and this knowledge was published in Western Europe
as early as 1538 (see Postel 1538). Around 1700 Hiob Ludolf, who had
written grammars of Geez and
Amharic (both Ethiopic Semitic languages)
in the seventeenth century, recognized the extension of the Semitic
family into East Africa. Thus when von Schlozer named the family in
1781 he was merely recognizing genetic relationships that had been
known for centuries. Three
Semitic languages (Aramaic, Arabic, and
Hebrew) were long familiar to Europeans both because of their
geographic proximity and because the Bible was written in
* ^ A B C D Kiraz, George Anton (2001). Computational Nonlinear
Morphology: With Emphasis on Semitic Languages. Cambridge University
Press . p. 25. ISBN 9780521631969 . The term "Semitic" is borrowed
from the Bible (Gene. x.21 and xi.10–26). It was first used by the
Orientalist A. L. Schlözer in 1781 to designate the languages spoken
by the Aramæans, Hebrews, Arabs, and other peoples of the Near East
(Moscati et al., 1969, Sect. 1.2). Before Schlözer, these languages
and dialects were known as Oriental languages.
* ^ Baasten 2003 , p. 67.
* ^ A B C Kitto, John (1845). A Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature.
London: W. Clowes and Sons . p. 192. That important family of
languages, of which the
Arabic is the most cultivated and most
widely-extended branch, has long wanted an appropriate common name.
The term Oriental languages, which was exclusively applied to it from
the time of
Jerome down to the end of the last century, and which is
even now not entirely abandoned, must always have been an unscientific
one, inasmuch as the countries in which these languages prevailed are
only the east in respect to Europe; and when
Sanskrit , Chinese , and
other idioms of the remoter East were brought within the reach of our
research, it became palpably incorrect. Under a sense of this
impropriety, Eichhorn was the first, as he says himself (Allg. Bibl.
Biblioth. vi. 772), to introduce the name Semitic languages, which was
soon generally adopted, and which is the most usual one at the present
day. In modern times, however, the very appropriate designation
Syro-Arabian languages has been proposed by Dr. Prichard , in his
Physical History of Man. This term, has the advantage of forming an
exact counterpart to the name by which the only other great family of
languages with which we are likely to bring the Syro-Arabian into
relations of contrast or accordance, is now universally known—the
Indo-Germanic . Like it, by taking up only the two extreme members of
a whole sisterhood according to their geographical position when in
their native seats, it embraces all the intermediate branches under a
common band; and, like it, it constitutes a name which is not only at
once intelligible, but one which in itself conveys a notion of that
affinity between the sister dialects, which it is one of the objects
of comparative philology to demonstrate and to apply.
* ^ Baasten 2003 , p. 68.
* ^ A B Baasten 2003 , p. 69.
* ^ Eichhorn 1794 .
* ^ Kitchen, A; Ehret, C; Assefa, S; Mulligan, CJ. (2009).
"Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of
Semitic languages identifies an
Bronze Age origin of Semitic in the Near East". Proc Biol Sci.
276 (1668): 2703–10. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.0408. PMC 2839953 .
PMID 19403539 .
* ^ "Semite".
Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 24 March 2014.
* ^ 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,
though that seems likely. Of greater interest and bulk is the body of
Central Canaanite inscriptions, those written in the Phoenician
language of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, and in the offshoot
Punic tongues of the Phoenician colonies in North Africa. An
especially problematic body of material is the Deir Alla wall
inscriptions referring to a prophet Balaam (ca. 700 BC), these texts
have both Canaanite and Aramaic features. W. R. Garr has recently
proposed that all the
Iron Age Canaanite dialects be regarded as
forming a chain that actually includes the oldest forms of Aramaic as
* ^ ^ Averil Cameron, Peter Garnsey (1998). "The Cambridge Ancient
History, Volume 13". p. 708.
* ^ ^ Amir Harrak (1992). "The ancient name of Edessa". Journal of
Near Eastern Studies 51 (3): 209–214. doi :10.1086/373553 . JSTOR
* ^ Nebes, Norbert, "Epigraphic South Arabian," in von Uhlig,
Siegbert, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag,
* ^ A B Kogan, Leonid (2012). "
Proto-Semitic Phonology and
Phonetics". In Weninger, Stefan. The Semitic Languages: An
International Handbook. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 54–151. ISBN
* ^ Watson, Janet (2002). The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic
(PDF). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 13.
* ^ Huehnergard, J. (2003) "
Akkadian ḫ and West Semitic ḥ."
Studia Semitica 3, ed. L. E. Kogan & A. Militarev. Moscow: Russian
State University for the Humanities. pp. 102-119. ISBN
* ^ "
Old Aramaic (c. 850 to c. 612 BCE)". Retrieved 2011-08-22.
* ^ "LIN325: Introduction to Semitic Languages. Common Consonant
Changes" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-08-21.
* ^ Kaufman, Stephen (1997), "Aramaic", in Hetzron, Robert, The
Semitic Languages, Routledge, pp. 117–119 .
* ^ Dolgopolsky 1999, p. 35.
* ^ Dolgopolsky (1999 :72)
* ^ Dolgopolsky (1999 :73)
* ^ Blau (2010 :78–81)
* ^ Garnier, Romain; Jacques, Guillaume (2012). "A neglected
phonetic law: The assimilation of pretonic yod to a following coronal
in North-West Semitic". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African
Studies. 75.1: 135–145. doi :10.1017/s0041977x11001261 .
* ^ Brock, Sebastian (2006). An Introduction to Syriac Studies.
Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press. ISBN 1-59333-349-8 .
* ^ Dolgopolsky 1999, pp. 85–86.
* ^ Approaches to Language Typology by Masayoshi Shibatani and
Theodora Bynon, page 157
* ^ Moscati, Sabatino (1958). "On Semitic Case-Endings". Journal of
Near Eastern Studies. 17 (2): 142–43. doi :10.1086/371454 . "In the
historically attested Semitic languages, the endings of the singular
noun-flexions survive, as is well known, only partially: in Akkadian
Ugaritic and, limited to the accusative, in Ethiopic.
* ^ "
Old Aramaic (c. 850 to c. 612 BC)". Retrieved 2011-08-22.
* ^ Hetzron, Robert (1997). The Semitic Languages. Routledge. ISBN
978-0-415-05767-7 . , page 123
* ^ Robert Hetzron. "Biblical Hebrew" in The World's Major
* ^ Weninger, Stefan (2011). "Reconstructive Morphology". In
Semitic languages: an international handbook, Stefan Weninger, ed.
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. P. 166.
* ^ Müller, Hans-Peter (1995). "Ergative Constructions In Early
Semitic Languages". Journal of
Near Eastern Studies. 54: 261–271.
JSTOR 545846 . doi :10.1086/373769 . .
* ^ "Aramaean – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com.
* ^ "
Akhlame – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com.
* ^ "Mesopotamian religion – Britannica Online Encyclopedia".
Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
* ^ "
Akkadian language – Britannica Online Encyclopedia".
Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE LITERATURE
Wikisource has original text related to this article: SEMITIC
* Baasten, Martin (2003). "A Note on the History of 'Semitic'".
Hamlet on a Hill: Semitic and Greek Studies Presented to Professor T.
Muraoka on the Occasion of His Sixty-fifth Birthday. Peeters
Publishers. p. 57–73. ISBN 9789042912151 .
* Bennett, Patrick R. 1998. Comparative Semitic Linguistics: A
Manual. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 1-57506-021-3 .
* Blau, Joshua (2010). Phonology and Morphology of Biblical Hebrew.
Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns. ISBN 1-57506-129-5 .
* Dolgopolsky, Aron (1999). From
Proto-Semitic to Hebrew. Milan:
Centro Studi Camito-Semitici di Milano.
* Eichhorn, Johann Gottfried (1794). Allgemeine Bibliothek der
biblischen Literatur. 6. p. 772–776.
* Bergsträsser, Gotthelf . 1995. Introduction to the Semitic
Languages: Text Specimens and Grammatical Sketches. Translated by
Peter T. Daniels . Winona Lake, Ind. : Eisenbrauns. ISBN 0-931464-10-2
* Garbini, Giovanni. 1984. Le lingue semitiche: studi di storia
linguistica. Naples: Istituto Orientale.
* Garbini, Giovanni; Durand, Olivier. 1995. Introduzione alle lingue
semitiche. Paideia: Brescia 1995.
* Goldenberg, Gideon. 2013. Semitic Languages: Features, Structures,
Relations, Processes. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-964491-9
* Hetzron, Robert (ed.). 1997. The Semitic Languages. London:
Routledge. ISBN 0-415-05767-1 . (For family tree, see p. 7).
* Lipinski, Edward . 2001. Semitic Languages: Outlines of a
Comparative Grammar. 2nd ed. Leuven: Orientalia Lovanensia Analecta.
* Mustafa, Arafa Hussein. 1974. Analytical study of phrases and
sentences in epic texts of Ugarit. (German title: Untersuchungen zu
Satztypen in den epischen Texten von Ugarit). Dissertation.
* Moscati, Sabatino. 1969. An introduction to the comparative
grammar of the Semitic languages: phonology and morphology. Wiesbaden:
* Ullendorff, Edward . 1955. The
Semitic languages of Ethiopia: a
comparative phonology. London: Taylor's (Foreign) Press.
* Wright, William; Smith, William Robertson. 1890. Lectures on the
comparative grammar of the Semitic languages. Cambridge University
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia
article SEMITIC LANGUAGES .
* Semitic genealogical tree (as well as the Afroasiatic one),
Alexander Militarev at his talk "Genealogical
classification of Afro-Asiatic languages according to the latest data"
(at the conference on the 70th anniversary of Vladislav Illich-Svitych
, Moscow, 2004; short annotations of the talks given there (in
* Pattern-and-root inflectional morphology: the
Arabic broken plural
* Ancient snake spell in Egyptian pyramid may be oldest Semitic
* Swadesh vocabulary lists of
Semitic languages (from Wiktionary's
LINKS TO RELATED ARTICLES
* varieties of
* Judeo Aramaic
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian
* Jabal Razih
* Modern South Arabian
* Ethiopian Semitic
EAST SEMITIC LANGUAGES
WEST SEMITIC AND CENTRAL SEMITIC LANGUAGES
* Jewish Palestinian
* Christian Palestinian
Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
* Koy Sanjaq Surat
* Syriac Malayalam
* Modern Standard
* Eastern Egyptian and Peninsular Bedawi
* North Mesopotamian
* Central Asian
SOUTH SEMITIC LANGUAGES