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Semitic Geographic distribution:Middle East, North Africa, Northeast Africa and Malta Linguistic classification:Afro-Asiatic Semitic Proto-language:Proto-Semitic Subdivisions:East Semitic (extinct) Central Semitic South Semitic Approximate historical distribution of Semitic languages


The Ugaritic script is a cuneiform used from around either the 1400/1300 BC for Ugaritic, an extinct Northwest Semitic language, and discovered in Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria, in 1928. It has 30 letters. Other languages (particularly Hurrian) were occasionally written in the Ugaritic script.


Phoenician coin with alphabetic consonants (the Phoenician alphabet had NO vowels)


Each letter of Phoenician gave way to a new form in its daughter scripts. Left to right:Latin, Greek, Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic


Tigrinya (ትግርኛ) is a member of the Ethiopic branch of Semitic languages with about 6 million speakers mainly in the Tigre region of Ethiopia and in Central Eritrea. Tigrinya is written with a version of the Ge'ez script and first appeared in writing during the 13th century in a text on the local laws for the district of Logosarda in southern Eritrea. (...)


The Sabaean or Sabaic alphabet is one of the south Arabian alphabets. The oldest known inscriptions in this alphabet date from about 500 BC. Its origins are not known, though one theory is that it developed from the Byblos alphabet. The Sabaean alphabet is thought to have evolved into the Ethiopic script. Sabaean, an extinct Semitic language once spoken in Saba, the biblical Sheba, in southern Arabia.


Aramaic, a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic, was spoken and written all over the Middle East from the beginning of the first millennium BC. Unlike Sumerian or Akkadian, it was written with an alphabet of just 22 letters, making it much easier to learn and use. This bowl from Kish, dating to the 6th century AD, is covered with an incantation in Aramaic to ward off evil demons.


Apart from people living in the savanna and eastern coast, most were illiterate using only oral methods of communication


Cypro-Minoan tablet from Enkomi is the earliest known Cypro-Minoan (CM) inscription. It was dated to ca. 1500 BC, and bore three lines of writing. Other fragments of clay tablets have been found at Enkomi and Ugarit, on the Syrian coast. The Cypro-Minoan (also known as Linear C) syllabary is an undeciphered syllabic script used on the island of Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550-1050 BC).