Eblaite has been described as an East Semitic language or a
North Semitic language; scholars notice the great affinity between Eblaite and pre-Sargonic Akkadian language and debate the relation between the two.
North Semitic classification
- Edward Lipiński, noting that in the third millennium BC, there was no clear border between East Semitic languages and West Semitic languages, calls Eblaite a Paleosyrian language and explain the similarities with Akkadian by the use of the same system of writing borrowed from Sumer. Lipiński separates Eblaite from Akkadian, assigning the latter to the East Semitic language while grouping Eblaite with Amorite and Ugaritic into a family he names the North Semitic languages.
East Semitic classification
- Scholars such as
Richard I. Caplice, Ignace Gelb and
John Huehnergard, have the view that Eblaite is an East Semitic language not to be seen as an early Akkadian dialect, because the differences with other Akkadian dialects are considerable.
Manfred Krebernik says that Eblaite "is so closely related to Akkadian that it may be classified as an early Akkadian dialect", although some of the names that appear in the tablets are Northwest Semitic.
Eblaite is considered by the East-Semitic classification supporters as a language which exhibits both West-Semitic and East-Semitic features. Grammatically, Eblaite is closer to Akkadian, but lexically and in some grammatical forms, Eblaite is closer to West-Semitic languages.