Semitic languages

language group containing Arabic and Hebrew

The Semitic languages are a branch of Afroasiatic languages spoken in North Africa, Arabia, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

Middle East, North Africa, Northeast Africa and Malta
Linguistic classification:Afro-Asiatic
  • Semitic
East Semitic (extinct)
ISO 639-2 and 639-5:sem

Approximate historical distribution of Semitic languages.

The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family, which originated in the Middle East. Semitic languages are spoken by more than 470 million people across much of Western Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, as well as in large communities of people from different countries in North America and Europe.

The name was taken from Shem, a son of Noah in Genesis (chapters 6-11).

Some examples of Semitic languages are Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Maltese.