The Afro-Asiatic languages—or simply Afro-Asiatic—are an extended language family spread mainly in the north and the east of Africa, in the Near East (Western Asia) and in some territories at the edge of Europe (Malta, southern Turkey). This family may be called also Afrasian, Afrasan or Hamito-Semitic (but the latter name is now rejected by part of the specialists).
Afro-Asiatic comprises six main subfamilies:
- the Berber language, spoken in Northern Africa.
- the numerous Chadic languages, spoken near Lake Chad and in midwestern Africa (including especially Hausa).
- the Egyptian language, spoken by Ancient Egyptians and now surviving through Coptic.
- the numerous Semitic languages, spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea and in the Near East (including especially Arabic—which was spread lately to Africa—, Maltese, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, Tigrinya and ancient languages like Geez, Phenician, Babylonian, Akkadian).
- the Cushitic languages, spoken in eastern Africa (including especially Somali, Oromo, Sidamo, Afar, Beja).
- the Omotic languages, spoken in southwest Ethiopia.