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Am­mon­ite

(76 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Canaanite dialect very similar to  Phoenician and used by the Ammonites in the region around Rabbath Ammon. There is very little written evidence c. 9th-7th cents. BC): citadel inscriptions from Amman, writing on a receptacle (Tell Siran bottle) and approximately 150 stamping seals. Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography W. R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestina, 1000-586 B.C.E., 1985 L. Herr, The Scripts of Ancient Northwest Semitic Seals, 1978 K. P. Jackson, The Ammonite Language of the Iron Age, 1983.

Afro-Asiatic

(140 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Afro-Asian is a new linguistic term identical to the traditional term Hamito-Semitic. It covers all the major languages related to such language families as  (Ancient) Egyptian, Berber, Cushitic,  Semitic, Chadic (various subfamilies with more than 125 separate languages) and - often debated - Omotic. Overall, it includes more than 200 separate languages, many of them without writing, that can be traced over a period of almost 5,000 years. Reconstructing the proto-Afro-Asiatic lan…

Moabite

(80 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Language of the inhabitants of Moab, a country to the south of the Dead Sea; it is very similar to Hebrew. Moabite is recorded on seal inscriptions and on a 34-line inscription of King Meša of Moab ( c. 850 BC), which was found in the vicinity of Diban (KAI 181). Canaanite; Semitic languages Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography A. Dearman (ed.), Studies in the Mesha Inscription and Moab, 1989  W.R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine, 1000-586 BCE, 1985.

Ancient Southern Arabian

(255 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] (ASA) Earlier known as Himyaritic after the tribe of the Ḥimyar ( Homeritae), this belongs with Ethiopian to the southern branch of the Semitic languages, but is not the same as (Northern) Arabian. There is evidence of four main dialects: c. 9th cent. BC to 6th cent. AD: Ḥadramautian, Minaean, Qataban and Sabaean, named after the centres of power of the same names. The dialects are divided into two groups relative to their causative prefix and the pronoun (3rd person sing. masc.): an h- (only Sabaean) and an s- group. There are further differences in terms of lexis …

Hebrew

(247 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] The name of the Hebrew language is derived from the nomen gentile, also called ‘Hebrew’. This language belongs to the  Canaanite branch of Semitic languages. The 22 symbols of the epigraphical Old Hebrew alphabet developed from the proto-Canaanite  alphabet. The later Hebrew  square script was used only as a book hand. Hebrew developed over several linguistic stages, of which spoken Classical Hebrew, also defined as Old Hebrew, is preserved in inscriptions (10th-6th cents. BC) on stone, ostr…

Ugaritic

(259 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Term for a Semitic language, named after Ugarit, an important city and centre of the northern Syrian city state of the same name. The city of Ugarit was only discovered in 1928. Other than in Ugarit, texts written in Ugaritic have been found in Mīnā al-Baiḍā (the port of Ugarit), Ras Ibn Hāni and sporadically in other places, including Cyprus. Ugaritic represents an independent branch of the Semitic language family. Its precise classification is disputed by scholars of the Sem…

Hasai(ti)c

(63 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] early north-Arabic dialect ( Arabic). Its inscriptions, written in a slightly modified ancient south-Arabic  alphabet, are predominantly grave inscriptions, amongst them two Hasaitic-Aramaic  bilingual inscriptions from north-eastern Saudi Arabia ( c. between 5th and 2nd cents. BC).  Ancient south-Arabic;  Semitic languages Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography W. W. Müller, Das Altarab. und das klass. Arabisch, Hasaitisch, in: W.-D. Fischer (ed.), Grundriß der arab. Philol., 1982, 25-26.

Samaritan

(200 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Special form of Hebrew, in which the Samaritans (Samaria) wrote the Pentateuch and a revised version of the book of Joshua. The Samaritan Pentateuch, which is distinguished from the Masoretic Hebrew text by orthographic variants and religiously based textual changes, was earlier occasionally considered to represent a more original version; yet proto-Samaritan Hebrew text versions have been found in Qumran. The texts from Qumran - which are, with the exception of the Masada Fragmen…
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