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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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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D’iakonov, I. M. Iazyki drevnei Perednei Azii. Moscow, 1967.
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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(12) Although some of the Canaanite languages, such as Phoenician, attest to the collapse of diphthongs, the evidence for this feature in other dialects is inconsistent.
Kogan finds that the number of shared exclusive vocabulary items between Ugaritic and some Canaanite languages (78) is much larger than the number of unique lexical items Ugaritic shares with other languages (2010: 308).
Thus, without dismissing the lexical similarity between Ugaritic and some Canaanite languages, we doubt that Ugaritic can be considered Canaanite solely on the basis of seventy-eight lexical items.
The Canaanite languages, on the other hand, use a separate particle to mark direct objects, which is written with initial aleph and a final taw in consonantal orthography: Hebrew ?t (Gen.
In order for Aramaic to have influenced Canaanite as a whole--not simply individual Canaanite languages like Hebrew, Aramaic would have had to be an important regional language at a very early time period; specifically, its speakers would have needed to be the regional political or cultural elite at the time the features in question developed.
The situation in other Canaanite languages is hard to ascertain, due to the absence of gemination markers in the orthography; however, the consonantal skeleton indicates that these forms are comparable to Hebrew, e.g..
Steiner), Phoenician and the Eastern Canaanite Languages (Stanislav Segert), Classical Arabic (Wolfdietrich Fischer), Sayhadic (Epigraphic South Arabian) (Leonid E.
Furthermore, Phoenician and Moabite are Canaanite languages. That the author defines a noun as "a word used to denote a person, place, or thing" (p.
Classifying the language of the inscription as the Philistine version of whatever Canaanite language the Philistines had adopted, as does Lema ire, [3] is of no help for such an hypothesis, for no known Canaanite language retained at this period either the nominative dual form or the productive dual (defined as the ability to express any common noun as singular, dual, and plural).