Ethno-Linguistic Groups of the Middle East


Map Code: Ax01253

The Middle East is divided into a patchwork of ethno-linguistic groups whose movements and settlement have been determined by many hundreds, even thousands, of years of migration within the region. Arabs dominate the southern areas around the Arabian Peninsula, with many neighbouring areas using Arabic as a second language. Along with Hebrew, it is one of the Semitic or Afro-Asiatic languages that have been present in the region for thousands of years. As the second most spoken language in the region, Persian is mainly found in Iran. Its fellow Indo-European-Iranic language, Kurdish, is spoken by a large stateless Kurdish population who are split between a number of adjacent countries. Within Iran there is also a large Azeri speaking population bordering Azerbaijan to the north. Turkish and Azeri are Turkic languages, which originate in Central Asia and are spoken by the majority of the population in the northwest Middle East.

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