Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian and in older sources as Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family of about 300 languages that are spoken predominantly in West Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel.
Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also called Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic,, is a large language family. They are mainly spoken in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel. There are around 300 Afroasiatic languages that are still spoken.
For a list of words relating to Afro-Asiatic languages, see the Afro-Asiatic languages category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.: Subcategories. This category has the following 13 subcategories, out of 13 total.
Proto–Afroasiatic, sometimes referred to as Proto-Afrasian, is the reconstructed proto-language from which all modern Afroasiatic languages are descended. Though estimations vary widely, it is believed by scholars to have been spoken as a single language around 12,000 to 18,000 years ago (12 to 18 kya), that is, between 16,000 and 10,000 BC.
People also ask
Where are afroasiatic languages spoken?
What are the languages of the Afroasiatic tribe?
What is the Semitic language?
What language was spoken in ancient Egypt?
English: English version of Afroasiatic german.svg.Map showing the distribution of five of the six major subfamilies belonging to the Afroasiatic (Afrasian, Hamito-Semitic) language family (the sixth, ancient Egyptian, is extinct except for liturgical use of Coptic).
Pages in category "Afroasiatic languages" The following 3 pages are in this category, out of 3 total.
The Afroasiatic Urheimat is the hypothetical place where speakers of the proto-Afroasiatic language lived in a single linguistic community, or complex of communities, before this original language dispersed geographically and divided into separate distinct languages.
The Semitic languages, previously also named Syro-Arabian languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East that are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of West Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Malta, in small pockets in the Caucasus as well as in often large immigrant and expatriate communities in North America, Europe and Australasia.
- The Egyptian Languages
- The Semitic Languages
- The Berber Languages
- The Cushitic and Omotic Languages
- The Chadic Languages
- The Role of Semitic Languages in The Development of Writing Systems
The Egyptian branch of the Afroasiatic family comprises Ancient EgyptianEgyptian language, extinct language of ancient Egypt, a member of the Afroasiatic family of languages (see Afroasiatic languages). The development of ancient Egyptian is usually divided into four periods: (1) Old Egyptian, spoken and written in Egypt during the IV to VI ..... Click the link for more information. and its descendant, Coptic. Both languages are now extinct, although a dialect of Coptic continues to be used liturgically by the Coptic Church (see CoptsCopts , the native Christian minority of Egypt; estimates of the number of Copts in Egypt range from 5% to 17% of the population. Copts are not ethnically distinct from other Egyptians; they are a cultural remnant, i.e. ..... Click the link for more information. ). Of all the Afroasiatic languages, Ancient Egyptian is the one for which there is the oldest surviving evidence.
The Semitic languages are believed to have evolved from a hypothetical parent tongue, proto-Semitic. The place of origin of proto-Semitic is still disputed: Africa, Arabia, and Mesopotamia are the most probable locations. The Semitic subfamily may be divided into East, West (or Central), and South (or Ethiopic) Semitic. The best-known representive of the extinct East Semitic division is AkkadianAkkadian , extinct language belonging to the East Semitic subdivision of the Semitic subfamily of the Afroasiatic family of languages (see Afroasiatic languages). Also called Assyro-Babylonian, Akkadian (or Accadian) was current in ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq) from about 3000 ..... Click the link for more information. , also called Assyro-Babylonian. A distinctive feature of the Semitic languages is the triliteral or triconsonantal root, composed of three consonants separated by vowels. The basic meaning of a word is expressed by the consonants, and different shades of this basic meaning ar...
The Berber languages are the mother tongues of some 12 million persons in enclaves throughout many nations of N Africa. The oldest known Berber inscriptions are from the 4th cent. B.C., but Berber-speaking peoples have lived in N Africa since c.3000 B.C., and Berber names appear in ancient Egyptian inscriptions from the Old Kingdom. The Berber tongues have survived Phoenician, Roman, and Arab conquests. Today they are spoken in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger. Many Berbers are bilingual, speaking also Arabic. The modern Berber variants include Tamazight, Tachelhit (Tashalit), Kabyle, Shawiya (Tashawit), Tamasheq (Taureg), Rif (Tarifit), Siwi, Zenaga, and others. Grammatically, gender and number are indicated by prefixes and suffixes. The vocabulary has been enriched by borrowings from Latin, Arabic, French, and Spanish. The Arabic alphabet is employed, except in the case of the Tamazight and Tamasheq dialects, which continue to use an ancie...
The two principal Cushitic languages are Oromo, the tongue of 20 million people in Ethiopia and Kenya, and Somali, spoken by 9 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Among the many other Cushitic languages are Agaw, Bedawi, Burji, Daasanach, Komso, Saho-Afar and Sidamo. Oromo is written in the Ethiopic script (see discussion of writing below); Somali, in the Roman alphabet. The Omotic languages were formerly classified with the Cushitic and are spoken by perhaps 3 million people who live in SW Ethiopia in the Omo River region. Dizi, Gonga, Gimira, Janjero, Kaficho, and Walamo are among the Omotic languages.
The Chadic group of languages are spoken near Lake Chad in central Africa. Its most important tongue is Hausa, a West Chadic language native to 25 million people, of whom about 19 million live in N Nigeria, 5 million in Niger, and 1 million in Cameroon, Togo, and Benin. In addition, Hausa is widely used as a lingua francalingua franca , an auxiliary language, generally of a hybrid and partially developed nature, that is employed over an extensive area by people speaking different and mutually unintelligible tongues in order to communicate with one another. ..... Click the link for more information. in W Africa. Written Hausa has long employed an alphabet based on that of Arabic, but today it is turning increasingly to a system based on Roman characters. The written literature in Hausa includes both poetry and prose. Among the many other Chadic tongues are Angas, Bole, Gwandara, Ron, and other West Chadic languages; the Masa languages; Kera, Mubi, Nancere, Tobanga, and other East Cha...
The writing used for Semitic languages is either cuneiformcuneiform [Lat.,=wedge-shaped], system of writing developed before the last centuries of the 4th millennium B.C. in the lower Tigris and Euphrates valley, probably by the Sumerians (see Sumer). ..... Click the link for more information. or alphabetic writing. The oldest known writing system employed by Semitic-speaking peoples is cuneiform. It was adopted by the Akkadians (see AkkadAkkad , ancient region of Mesopotamia, occupying the northern part of later Babylonia. The southern part was Sumer. In both regions city-states had begun to appear in the 4th millennium B.C. In Akkad a Semitic language, Akkadian, was spoken. ..... Click the link for more information. ) c.2500 B.C. from the Sumerians (see SumerSumer and Sumerian civilization . The term Sumer is used today to designate the southern part of ancient Mesopotamia. From the earliest date of which there is any record, S Mesopotamia was occupied by a people, known as Sumeri...
See L. H. Gray, Introduction to Semitic Comparative Linguistics (1934); M. A. Bryan, Notes on the Distribution of the Semitic and Cushitic Languages of Africa (1947); S. Moscati, ed., An Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages (1964); J. H. Greenberg, The Languages of Africa (2d ed. 1966); D. L. E. O'Leary, Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages (1923, repr. 1969); J. J. McCarthy, Formal Problems in Semitic Phonology and Morphology (1985); G. Khan, Studies in Semitic Syntax (1989).