Hebrew, which is today one of the official languages of Israel, was originally spoken by the ancient Jews, and is the language of the Old Testament of the Bible. It originally died out as a spoken language over two thousand years ago, but because of its use in the Jewish religion, it kept being used and learned. At the beginning of this century, it was revived as a spoken language in nearly the same form it was probably spoken in ancient times.

Hebrew is a Semitic language, along with Arabic and several languages of the ancient Middle East, such as Assyrian and Aramaic, and also many languages of present-day Ethiopia.

The Semitic languages are part of a still larger family of languages known as Afro-Asiatic, which, as the name denotes, are spoken in Africa and Asia (although no further east than the Arabian penninsula). Besides Semitic, other languages in Afro-Asiatic include Ancient Egyptian (heiroglyphics), the Berber languages of North Africa, Hausa, one of the major languages of Nigeria, and the Cushitic languages, including Somali, the language of Somalia.

I also have a more detailed lineage of Hebrew and other Afro-Asiatic languages.

Disclaimer--All information on this page came from the top of my head. It should be accurate, however, there may be mistakes.
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December 12, 1996