Central Semitic
Geographic
distribution
Saudi Arabia
Linguistic classificationAfro-Asiatic
Subdivisions
Glottologcent2236

Central Semitic languages[1][2] are one of the three groups of West Semitic languages, alongside Modern South Arabian languages and Ethiopian Semitic languages.

Central Semitic can itself be further divided into two groups: Arabic and Northwest Semitic. Northwest Semitic languages largely fall into the Canaanite languages (such as Phoenician and Hebrew) and the Aramaic languages.

Overview

Distinctive features of Central Semitic languages include the following:[3]

Different classification systems disagree on the precise structure of the group. The most common approach divides it into Arabic and Northwest Semitic, while SIL Ethnologue has South Central Semitic (including Arabic and Hebrew) vs. Aramaic.

The main distinction between Arabic and the Northwest Semitic languages is the presence of broken plurals in the former. The majority of Arabic nouns (apart from participles) form plurals in this manner, whereas virtually all nouns in the Northwest Semitic languages form their plurals with a suffix. For example, the Arabic بَيْت bayt ("house") becomes بُيُوت buyūt ("houses"); the Hebrew בַּיִת bayit ("house") becomes בָּתִּים bāttīm ("houses").

References

  1. ^ Bennett, Patrick R. (1998). Comparative Semitic Linguistics: A Manual. ISBN 9781575060217.
  2. ^ Huehnergard, John; Pat-El, Na'ama (2013-10-08). The Semitic Languages. ISBN 9781136115882.
  3. ^ Faber, Alice (1997). "Genetic Subgrouping of the Semitic Languages". In Hetzron, Robert (ed.). The Semitic Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 3–15. ISBN 0-415-05767-1.