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Ca. 2000-1600 BCE

Index / Languages / Semitic /
Amorites /
Akkadian: amurru or tidnum

The Amorite language is an ancient Semitic language, now extinct. It was the language of the Amorites, and became a major language of Syria and Palestine in the 2nd millennium BCE. Amorite dominance here was so that the region was called by the same name long after the language had disappeared: Amurru. In Mesopotamia, however, Amorite did not replace the original languages.
With the Amorite expansion from Arabia to both the Levant and Mesopotamia, Amorite can be classified as both North Central Semitic and West Semitic.
Very little is known about the structures and vocabulary of the language. Our main sources to Amorite are clay tablets from the city-state of Mari, and to a lesser extent other, smaller cities, but the textual evidence is limited to names. These names differ from Akkadian, the other major language of the time, in the construction, and testifies about an independent Amorite language. This corresponds with what is quite obvious; the Amorites originated outside the Akkadian hemisphere.
There are similarities between Amorite names and Biblical ones; it is possible that Amorite has had influence on the development of Hebrew.

By Tore Kjeilen