International Journal of Modern Anthropology

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The evolution of Arabic(s): Making the Idiom speak for the Deme

Mahé Ben Hamed, Mélissa Barkat-Defradas, Rim Hamdi-Sultan


Despite its rather shallow origin, Arabic forms the largest group of extant Semitic languages and one of the most geographically widespread languages of the world. The current distribution of its linguistic variants is the product of a phylogeography of the populations that spoke them, and Arabic dialects have captured in their words and structures traces of their speakers demic history. In this paper, we show how a phylolinguistic approach can identify such traces and make sense of them in terms of population contacts and migration, and discuss how its findings fit with the cumulative knowledge of the history and genetics of arabic-speaking populations.

Keywords : Phylo-linguistics, cultural evolution, modern synthesis, Arabic dialects, Afro-Asiatic, phylogenetic networksetic networks
AJOL African Journals Online