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Index / Languages /
Afro-Asiatic languages

Figures in 1000
% of all Afro-Asiatic speakers
16,200 84.0%
1,900 9.8%
1,150 5.9%
80 0.4%
19,350 4.0%
By country
Figures in 1000
% of country population
6,900 21.0%
130 0.2%
275 4.5%
9,000 29.0%
Saudi Arabia
60 0.2%
1,900 4.7%
United Arab Emirates
85 1.8%
1,000 4.2%

Total calculated to the MENA, with 490 million inhabitants.

Officially a large family group in which languages like Arabic, Berber and Hebrew are counted.
As a definition of a language family it is far from uncontested; Hamito-Semitic is another classification that is preferred by many scholars. In this it must be noted, that the work of classifications here is often done based upon few indicators, and definitions clearly allow future changes. Much work has been done in remote regions, Europe and the US and not necessarily by researches ever stepping on African and Asian soil.
For the purpose of this presentation, Semitic languages are separated from the rest, as the Semitic languages have historical origins that run back in time several thousand years before joining with the remainder of the Afro-Asian languages.
There are two sides of the remainder of languages listed here. Berber is not linked to the other languages, like Beja and Somali. Whereas these originate from African heartland, much research into Berber people and hence their language, link these to Europe.

By Tore Kjeilen