Saturday, November 29, 2014

No Semitic Race-Only Semitic Languages

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       

There is no such thing as a Semitic race, but there are the Semitic Languages, spoken by Arabic, Hebrew and the Abyssinians of 57 million people.

Semites came from Shem, who was one of the 3 sons of Noah.  From Shem, the nations of Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, and Aram came forth.  Arpachshad was in turn father of Eber and ancestor of Abraham. Peoples speaking tongues similar to Hebew are called Semitic peoples and their languages are Semitic Languages.   

There is a connection between Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic.  Judah Ibn Kuraish demonstrated it in the 10th century.  It was described by W. Wright in 1890.  The name "Semitic" for the family is based on Genesis 10 and was suggested by A. L. Schlozer in 1781.  The Semitic family forms a branch of the Hamito-Semitic family, to which belong also the Ancient Egyptian, Somali, the Cushitic languages of E. Africa, and the Berber dialects of North Africa.

In Israel, all students study Hebrew and English and may choose to also study Arabic or French.  As a teacher of English, I was asked how many languages I spoke.  Ha!  We Americans tend to study one language only, but luckily I could say 2, being I had done a little with Spanish, another important language in the USA.  My Hebrew was taught in Sunday school of which I soon dropped as my attendance had been poor.  I had to cram like crazy before I moved to Israel with cards I made all over the house labeling everything in Hebrew.  Getting used to reading from right to left is different for an English speaker and reader.  Being left-handed, I loved it, especially the writing part.

  one (1)                ehad                        had                     edu                 ahadu           ahadu
three (3)              shalosh                     tlat                     shelashu            thalathu         shalsh
father                 ab (av) abba                ab, abba                 abu              abu             ab
mother               em, eema                  em, imma             ummu              ummu             emm
brother               ah                              ah                       ak hu               ak hu              ekhw
sister                  ahot                           hat                      ak hatu             ukhtu             ak hat, ekh

This particular language family was made up of:

1. Eastern Semitic=Akkadian Branch
    A. Old Akkadian (2500-1950 BCE)
    B. Assyrian (?- 600 BCE)
    C  Babylonian  (?-200 BCE

2. Northwest Semitic 
    A. Amorite (Syria-Mesopotamia, 18th-17th centuries) known only through personal names:
    B. Ugaritic (NW Syria, 14th century BCE, discovered in 1929.

3. Canaanite Branch
    A. Hebrew
    B. Phoenician (18th to 3rd century BCE
   C. Punic (Carthage( ? -4th century BCE)
   D. Moabite (one inscription of 9th century BCE

4. Aramaic Branch
   A. Many old dialects (9th -6th centuries)
   B. Imperial Aramaic (Persian Empire 6th-4th centuries, known mainly from Egypt
  C. Biblical Aramaic; Nsabatean (Transjordan and NEgev, 1st century BCE-3rd century CE
  D. Palmyrenian (E. Ssyria, 1st to 3rd century CE
  E. Palestinian Jewish Aramaic (Targums and Palestinian Talmud)
  F. Samaritan (Christian Palestinian Aramaic (died out before 1000 CE)
  G. Syria (2nd-13th century)
  H. Jewish Babylonian (Talmudic) Aramaic
  I. Mandean (Southern Iraq)
 J. Modern Syriac
 K. Modern Aramaic of Malula (Lebanon)

5. South Semitic
   A. Many proto-Arabic dialects (6th century BCE to 5th century CE,) with many modern dialects.  Arabic since 5th century CE.  Ancient S. Arabian languages (4th century CE)
  B. Minean, Sabean, Katabanian, etc.
   C. Modern south Arabian languages: Mehri, Shkauri, Botohari in Hadhramaut;
   D. Sokkotri on the Isle of Sokotra,
   E. Ancient Ethiopic (since 3rd century CE), Amharic (since 15th century CE)
   F. Tigre, Tigrinya, Harari, Gafat, gurage, Argobba (all in Abyssinia.

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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