A system for forming words, employed in languages of the Semitic family. Semitic languages, like Arabic or Hebrew, have many roots, sequences of three consonants (sometimes 2 or 4) that have a basic gloss, like "walk" or "fight". These roots are combined with a pattern of affixes (usually vowels, some consonants) that fit in between and around the consonantal root. Each pattern distinctly changes a root to which it is applied.

Examples in Arabic:

root: K T B ("write")
kataba  "he wrote"
katabat "she wrote"
kutiba  "it was written"
kutub   "books"
root: D R S ("study")
darasa  "he studied"
darasat "she studied"
durisa  "it was studied"
dars    "lesson"

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