The "homeland" of the South Semitic languages is widely debated, with sources such as A. Murtonen (1967) and Lionel Bender
suggesting an origin in Ethiopia
and others suggesting the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula
. A recent study based on a Bayesian model
to estimate language change concluded that the latter viewpoint is more probable.
South Semitic is divided into two uncontroversial branches:
The Ethiopian Semitic languages collectively have by far the greatest numbers of modern native speakers of any Semitic language other than Arabic
. Eritrea's main languages are mainly Tigrinya
, which are North Ethiopic languages, and Amharic
(South Ethiopic) is the main language spoken in Ethiopia (along with Tigrinya
in the northern province of Tigray
continues to be used in Eritrea and Ethiopia as a liturgical language
for the Orthodox Tewahedo
Southern Arabian languages have been increasingly eclipsed by the more dominant Arabic (also a Semitic language) for more than a millennium. Ethnologue
lists six modern members of the South Arabian branch and 15 members of the Ethiopian branch.
- ^ Bender, L (1997), "Upside Down Afrasian", Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere 50, pp. 19-34
- ^ Kitchen, Andrew, Christopher Ehret, et al. 2009. "Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of Semitic languages identifies an Early Bronze Age origin of Semitic in the Near East." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276 no. 1665 (June 22)
- ^ "South". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
Last edited on 27 January 2021, at 12:30
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