Phoenician language  

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Phoenician was a language originally spoken in the coastal (Mediterranean) region then called "Canaan" in Phoenician, Arabic, Greek, and Aramaic, "Phoenicia" in Greek and Latin, and "Pūt" in Ancient Egyptian. Phoenician is a Semitic language of the Canaanite subgroup; its closest living relative is Hebrew, to which it is very similar. The area where Phoenician was spoken includes modern-day Lebanon, coastal Syria, Palestine, northern Israel, parts of Cyprus and, at least as a prestige language, some adjacent areas of Anatolia. It was also spoken in the area of Phoenician colonization along the coasts of the Southwestern Mediterranean, including those of modern Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, as well as Malta, the west of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and southernmost Spain.

Phoenician is currently known only from brief and unvaried inscriptions of official and religious character and occasional glosses in books written in other languages; Roman authors such as Sallust allude to some books written in Punic, but none have survived except occasionally in translation (e.g., Mago's treatise) or in snippets (e.g., in Plautus' plays). The Cippi of Melqart, discovered in Malta in 1694, were inscribed in two languages, Ancient Greek and Phoenician. This made it possible for French scholar Abbé Barthelemy to decipher and reconstruct the Phoenician alphabet. Further, since a trade agreement was found in 1964 written between Etruscans and a group of Phoenicians, more Etruscan has been deciphered.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Phoenician language" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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