Afro-Asiatic languages

views updated May 09 2018

Afro-Asiatic languages (Hamito-Semitic) Only family of languages common to both Asia and Africa. They are spoken by c.130 million people in n Africa, the Sahara, parts of e, w, and central Africa, and w Asia. On the African continent, it includes such languages as Berber and the now extinct Coptic and ancient Egyptian. It also includes the Semitic languages, notably Arabic and Hebrew, that originated in Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Palestine. With a few exceptions, the family uses a script that is read from right to left.