The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East. Semitic languages are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of Western Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, as well as in large expatriate communities in North America and Europe. The terminology was first used in the 1780s by German orientalists von Schlözer and Eichhorn, who derived the name from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Book of Genesis.

The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are Arabic, Amharic, Tigrinya , and Hebrew.

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