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The Semitic Languages (Routledge Language Family Series) [Paperback]

Robert Hetzron

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Book Description

14 Nov 2006 0415412668 978-0415412667 New Ed

The Semitic languages are a family of languages spoken by more that 370 million people across much of the Middle East and North and East Africa. This is the first general survey of those languages, including the Arab and Aramaic dialects and various languages of Ethiopia.

Containing twenty-two chapters that present a comprehensive survey of this language family from its origins in antiquity to the present day, The Semitic Languages is an essential source of reference for the specialist and the lay reader.

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..."this will be a much-consulted work for years to come."-"Journal of the American Oriental Society ..."a useful and readable...introduction to each language... important and exemplary work."-"Ashland Theological Journal 31, 1999

About the Author

Robert Hetzron is formerly of the Department of Germanic, Oriental and Slavic Languages, University of California at Santa Barbara. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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The question underlying, explicitly or implicitly, many discussions of the relationships among the Semitic languages in how appropriate for discovering such relationships are methods developed by Indo-Europeanists. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important and informative survey. 14 Sep 2013
By Thomas Martin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has quite a number of chapters on the more important Semitic languages, both ancient and modern, and on groups of the less important languages, with detailed and useful information on phonology and grammar of each language. There is also a chapter comparing the sound changes (and grammar changes) of the branches of Semitic. Though not about the individual languages, only the chapter on Modern Aramaic has some important information about the sound changes there, in several dialects. Likewise the book would have benefited from including a chapter on the relationship of Semitic with other branches of Afro-Asiatic. Though to be sure, the relationship is very distant, so few words in common they could be mainly coincidental similarities, and the relationship is proven, or almost proven, mainly by grammatical similarities, especially the similarities in the prefix and suffix conjugations. Those are hardly likely to be similar by chance, though the possibility of borrowing cannot be entirely excluded. But it is at least very likely that Afro-Asiatic is one big family, with the exception of Omotic, which has been related to Afro-Asiatic by error, in my opinion, and is instead an unrelated family. The grammar similarities of Omotic with Afro-Asiatic are too few to be considered as good evidence. So this is an important area of research. But the book has no mention of Semitic being related, or probably related, to other languages.
There is also a useful chapter on the various scripts used for Semitic languages.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Overview of the Semitic Languages 16 Jan 2007
By Jacob - Published on
This is a collection of concise summaries of the major features of the major Semitic languages, and is quite well done. The authors are at the top of their fields. This is indispensible tool for anyone with a scholarly or amateur interest in the Semitic languages.
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