Index / Languages /
Language group that includes the languages Arabic, Hebrew in the Middle East region. Semitic languages belong to the Hamito-Semitic family.
Figures in 1000
% of MENA population
Only showing countries with more than one Semtic language. For the rest, see tables for Arabic.
|United Arab Emirates
Total calculated to the MENA, with 490 million inhabitants.
Semitic languages are characterized by roots of 3 consonants, from which a large body of verbs and nouns can be derived. Semitic writings are divided into 3 groups: The cuneiform signs of Assyria and Babylonia, and secondly the alphabet of the North Semitic. From these the alphabets of Arabic and Hebrew developed, even if these are very different styles. From North Semitic, the Greek alphabet also grew. The third form has survived into syllabic scripts of modern Ethiopian languages.
Semitic languages consist of 4 groups:
Akkadian which was spoken in Assyria and Babylonia, and is the oldest Semitic language. It stopped being used as literary language in 1st century CE.
Hebrew which is the language of Israel today, Aramaic, Ugaritic, and Phoenician, where the two latter no longer exists.
Arabic in nearly all of its shapes, as well as Maltese which is an offshoot of Arabic.
South Arabic dialects, and Amharic, as well as other Ethiopian languages.