also antisemitism, 1881, from German Antisemitismus, first used by Wilhelm Marr (1819-1904) German radical, nationalist and race-agitator, who founded the Antisemiten-Liga in 1879; see anti- + Semite.
One who seeks by political or other means to lessen the commercial, political, or social influence of the Jews. The name is given especially to those who have participated in the agitation against the Jews in Germany, Russia, and Austria which began about 1878. [Century Dictionary, 1900]
The most widely spoken Semitic language today is Arabic, followed by Amharic, Tigrinya, andHebrew. The table below lists the most populous Semitic languages. It is estimated that there are over 400 million first- and over 240 million second-language speakers of the 35 varieties of Arabic.
Languages In Current Use
In the early 21st century the most important Semitic language, in terms of the number of speakers, was Arabic. Standard Arabic is spoken as a first language by more than 200 million people living in a broad area stretching from the Atlantic coast of northern Africa to western Iran; an additional 250 million people in the region speak Standard Arabic as a secondary language. Most of the written and broadcast communicationin the Arab world is conducted in this uniform literary language, alongside which numerous local Arabic dialects, often differing profoundly from one another, are used for purposes of day-to-day communication.
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