Canaanite Languages

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Canaanite Languages


the languages of the Semites who inhabited the region between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia in the third and second millennia B.C. A number of scholars believe that the Canaanite languages included Old West Canaanite, Ugaritic, and Amorite, as well as the languages derived from them, including Hebrew, Phoenician, and Moabite. With Aramaic, the Canaanite languages form the northwestern subgroup of the Semitic languages.

The Old West Canaanite (Old Canaanite) languages comprise a group of dialects of the early and middle second millennium B.C. attested in glosses in Accadian texts from Tell el-Amarna (Egypt), in Canaanite borrowings in the Egyptian language of the Hyksos period and later, and in inscriptions written in a Sinaitic-Palestinian alphabet (Sinai). Amorite is attested in proper names in Accadian texts dating from the first half of the second millennium B.C., and Moabite is attested in inscriptions from the ninth century B.C. found near the southeastern shore of the Dead Sea. The only living Canaanite language is Hebrew.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.