West Semitic languages

sub-grouping of ancient Semitic languages

The West Semitic languages are a large branch of Semitic languages. It is the only branch of Semitic languages with languages still spoken. The other branch of Semitic languages was East Semitic. It is extinct. The two branches of West Semitic languages are Central and Southern. Some linguists disagree with the branches. They think that Central and Southern Semitic languages are not related and are actually separate branches of Semitic languages.[1][2][3]

West Semitic
Middle East, North Africa, Horn of Africa
Linguistic classification:Afro-Asiatic


  1. The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook, Chapter V, page 425
  2. Aaron D. Rubin (2008). "The subgrouping of the Semitic languages". Language and Linguistics Compass. 2 (1). Blackwell Publishing Ltd: 61–84. doi:10.1111/j.1749-818x.2007.00044.x. P. Haupt (1878) first recognized that the qatala past tense found in West Semitic was an innovation, and that the Akkadian prefixed past tense must be archaic. It was F. Hommel, however, who recognized the implications of this for the subgrouping of Semitic; cf. Hommel(1883: 63, 442; 1892: 92–97; 1926: 75–82).
  3. Fritz Hommel, Die semitischen Volker und Sprachen als erster Versuch einer Encyclopadie der semitischen Sprach- und Alterthums-Wissenschaft, (1883)