|Region||Formerly spoken in northwestern Jordan|
|Era||early half of 1st millennium BCE|
|Glottolog||(insufficiently attested or not a distinct language)|
The Moabite language is an extinct Canaanite language, spoken in Moab (modern day central-western Jordan) in the early first millennium BC. It was written using a variant of the Phoenician alphabet.
Most of our knowledge about Moabite comes from the Mesha Stele, which is the only known extensive text in this language. In addition there are the three line El-Kerak Inscription and a few seals. The main features distinguishing Moabite from fellow Canaanite languages such as Hebrew are: a plural in -în rather than -îm (e.g. mlkn "kings" for Biblical Hebrew məlākîm), like Aramaic and Arabic; retention of the feminine ending -at or "-ah" which Biblical Hebrew reduces to -āh only (e.g. qiryat or "qiryah" "town", Biblical Hebrew qiryāh) but retains in the construct state nominal form (e.g.qiryát yisrael "town of Israel"); and retention of a verb form with infixed -t-, also found in Arabic and Akkadian (w-’ltḥm "I began to fight", from the root lḥm.)
According to Glottolog, referencing Huehnergard & Rubin (2011), Moabite was not a distinct language from Hebrew. The Moabite language only differed only dialectally from Hebrew language, Moabite religion and culture were related to those of the Israelites. On the other hand, although Moabite language itself had begun to diverge, the script used in the ninth-century BC did not differ from the script used in Hebrew inscriptions at that time.
While knowledge of the Moabite language is limited primarily to the Mesha Stele and a few seals, it is clear that Moabite is a dialect of Hebrew, and is closely related to Phoenician, Ugaritic and Aramaic.
Alphabet[edit | edit source]
Moabite appears to use a variant of the Phoenician alphabet, much like Paleo-Hebrew. Most of the letters don't seem to have changed in appearance in Moabite context, however a few have noticeable differences.
References[edit | edit source]
- Moabite at MultiTree on the Linguist List
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Moabite". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (2007). Moab. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 395.
- "Moabite | people". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
- "isbn:0805446796 - Sök på Google". books.google.se (in svenska). Retrieved 2018-04-13.
- "isbn:0802837859 - Sök på Google". books.google.se (in svenska). Retrieved 2018-04-13.
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