Abstract and Keywords
The chapter presents a short sketch of the history of the Afro-Asiatic language family (often labeled a macro-family or language phylum), beginning with the history of the names Semitic and Hamitic. Changes in the composition of Afro-Asiatic are examined with a special focus on the correlation between Semitic and Hamitic. The place of Hamitic theory in Hamito-Semitic studies and its theoretical premises are discussed, as well as the reasons to reject the concept of original binary composition of the family and the very notion of Hamitic. All this led to changing the name of the family from Hamito-Semitic to Afro-Asiatic, which comprises five or six independent branches: Semitic, Ancient Egyptian, Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, and Omotic (as an independent branch or part of Cushitic). The present state of the art in comparative Afro-Asiatic and possible external links of Afro-Asiatic are also discussed.
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