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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Moreover, the theophanic descriptions of Yahweh and those of Baal are so strikingly similar that Cross contended, "Israel used traditional Canaanite language in early descriptions of Yahweh's theophany, and it is this traditional poetic language, objectified and historicized in excessively literal prose that we find in the Epic accounts of the revelation at Sinai." (28) Interestingly, the Bible also preserves evidence that Yahweh could be referred to as Baal (or lord).
Is Ugaritic a Canaanite Language? In Ugarit and the Bible, ed.
(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).
Grabbe: "Thus, one people who spoke the Canaanite language, who preserved Canaanite culture, and who carried on Canaanite traditions and literary forms was Israel." Lester L.
I am pleased to see that the author does not consider Ugaritic a Canaanite language, since I have long favored this perspective, believing that Ugaritic shares more features with Arabic than many classifications would have us believe (the author seems unaware of my "Does Ugaritic Go with Arabic in Semitic Genealogical Sub-Classification?" Folia Orientalia 28 [1987]: 115-28).
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).
293-341); "Is Ugaritic A Canaanite Language?," by Joseph Tropper (pp.
Rainey concluded some years ago that Canaanites were considered foreigners at Ugarit.(1) Because the Israelites, according to various passages in the Hebrew Bible, considered Canaanite religion as inimical to theirs, many authors have lumped Ugaritic polytheistic religion together with the polytheistic religions of Phoenicia and Palestine as "Canaanite." The studies of Tropper and Grabbe challenge these two notions directly, the first attempting to prove that Ugaritic is a Canaanite language, the second that "Israelite" is only a subset of "Canaanite." Others here, such as Gibson, seem not to be adverse to a definition like Grabbe's, but keep part of the biblical paradigm in holding that the Israelites only became Canaanite when they entered Canaan from Egypt.
They reflect the simplification and reduction of the consonant inventory in Canaanite/Phoenician and in Ugaritic, a Canaanite language in peripheral position in the northernmost area of its linguistic group.(39)
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.