Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Introduction to Semitic Languages

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Oriental Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit offers an overview of the main Semitic languages, which are a sub-family of the larger Afro-Asiatic group of languages. Particular emphasis is given to the historical contexts in which these languages were attested, their writing systems, and the various theories regarding the classification of these languages. Samples of these languages are also discussed and analyzed in the light of Semitic languages, particularly Arabic and Classical Hebrew, with which students might already be familiar.

Study-unit Aims
1. To introduce students to the main themes of Semitic studies;
2. To familiarize students with various characteristic features of Semitic studies;
3. To familiarize students with various Semitic writing systems of Semitic studies.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. comprehend the historical backdrop of the Semitic languages in the Near East and Eastern Africa;
2. identify a number of linguistic features which characterize various Semitic languages;
3. identify various Semitic writing systems;
4. understand the main typological classifications underlying the Semitic languages.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. have a synoptic perspective of the Semitic group of languages, including their historical development, their typological classification, and the various writing systems used.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Bennett, P.R.1998. Comparative Semitic linguistics, Winona Lake.
Bergsträsser, G. 1983. Introduction to the Semitic languages, translated with notes by P.T.Daniels, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.
Hetzron, R. (ed.), 1997. The Semitic languages, London.
Lipinski, E. 1997. Semitic languages: Outline of a comparative grammar, Louvain.
Moscati, S. et al. 1969. An introduction to the comparative grammar of the Semitic languages, Wiesbaden.
Rubin, A.D. 2010. A Brief introduction to the Semitic Languages, Gorgias Press.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.