Native toSamʼal
Extinct1st millennium BC
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Samalian was a Semitic language spoken and first attested in Samʼal.

Samalian is primarily known from three inscriptions, the Hadad Statue and the Panamuwa II inscription (KAI 214–215), both unearthed in the late 19th century, and a third known as the Kuttamuwa stele, unearthed in 2008.[1]


Among the Semitic languages, Samalian shows most similarities to Aramaic. It has been earlier often considered an outright early dialect of Aramaic, possibly influenced by Canaanite. Strong evidence is however absent, and Samalian is best considered an independent member of the Northwest Semitic group,[2][3] or, together with the Deir Alla Inscription, a sister variety of Aramaic in an "Aramoid" or "Syrian" group.[2][4]

Linguistic features

Features connecting Samalian with Aramaic include:

Pat-El & Wilson-Wright propose as additional general characteristics of Samalian the development of nasal vowels, as expected word-final n after long vowels is systematically absent in the Panamuwa inscriptions;[7] as well as an object marker wt, cognate with Aramean ləwāt 'with'.[8]

See also



Further reading

  • Dion, Paul-E. (1978). "The Language Spoken in Ancient Samʾal". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 37 (2): 115–18. JSTOR 545138. Accessed 6 July 2023.
  • Giusfredi, Federico; Pisaniello, Valerio (2021). "THE POPULATION, THE LANGUAGE AND THE HISTORY OF YADIYA/SAM'AL". In Payne, Annick; Velhartická, Šárka; Wintjes, Jorit (eds.). Beyond All Boundaries: Anatolia in the First Millennium BC. Peeters Publishers. pp. 189–223. doi:10.2307/j.ctv2tjd71x.12.
  • Gzella, Holger (2014). "Language and Script". In Niehr, Herbert (ed.). The Aramaeans in Ancient Syria. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Vol. 106. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. pp. 71–107. doi:10.1163/9789004229433_005.
  • Gzella, Holger (2015). "The Emergence of Aramaic Dialects in the Fertile Crescent". A Cultural History of Aramaic. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. pp. 72–77. doi:10.1163/9789004285101_003.
  • Lemaire, André; Sass, Benjamin (2013). "The Mortuary Stele with Samʾalian Inscription from Ördekburnu near Zincirli". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 369: 57–136. doi:10.5615/bullamerschoorie.369.0057. Accessed 6 July 2023.
  • Noorlander, Paul (2012). "Sam'alian in Its Northwest Semitic Setting: A Historical-Comparative Approach". Orientalia. 81 (3): 202–38. JSTOR 43077430. Accessed 6 July 2023.