Wednesday, June 19, 2024
ΑρχικήΚορμακίτηςΚΜΑThe name of Kormakitis and the Similarity between Sanna and the Phoenician...

The name of Kormakitis and the Similarity between Sanna and the Phoenician Language

The language of Kormakitis, now known as “Sanna” (our language) or as “Cypriot Maronite Arabic” descends from the Aramaic language that the first Maronite settlers of Cyprus were speaking. This was a language spoken at the time of Jesus Christ in the areas where today the countries of Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine are located.
As we all know, these first Maronite settlers came from the territories around Antioch in Syria, were the Christian followers of St. Maron formed a group who became known as “Maronites”.

We also know that the countries of Lebanon and Syria were part of ancient Phoenicia. The Phoenicians were a great naval nation and they created colonies around the Mediterranean. They settled in Cyprus in large numbers and founded well known cities and kingdoms. The city known in Greek as “Kition” for example, was actually a Phoenician colony named Kittim. The famous philosopher Zeno (known in Greek as Zenon o Kitiefs) was a Phoenician from Kittim who spoke Greek.
Another ancient Phoenecian city in Cyprus was the city known today by the Greek name “Kermia”, which was located somewhere in the area of Cape Kormakitis.
In fact, one of the theories about the origin of the name Kormakitis is that it was derived from Kermia. In the language of Kormakitis, the words “Kermia jtite” mean “new Kermia”. “Kermia jtite” sounds very similar to the way Cypriots pronounce “Kormajitis”. In the formal Greek language it has become “Kormakitis” as Greek does not have the sound “j” or “ch”.

The above explanation of the origins of the name “Kormakitis” is of course, as far as I know, not supported by any historical or scientific research, but to me it seems very logical. There are also other theories about the origins of the name “Kormakitis”, such as for example the well known explanation that the first Maronite settlers of Kormakitis came from a place in Lebanon called Kour. They named the place “Kour ma jit” which in Arabic means “Kour you did not come”. This also sounds logical, but suffers from the fact that the name “Kormakitis” actually appears in the Bible itself, a book which is 2,000 years old, as “Kormiakitis”, long before the Maronites left Syria and Lebanon to come to Cyprus. “Kormiakitis” is even closer to “Kermia-jtite”. Kermia is the Greek pronunciation of the city. In Phoenician the name could even be “Kormia”, making the name “Kormia-jtite” very close to “Kormajiti”. Therefore, the theory based on “Kermia – jtite” for me has a stronger logical basis.

The ancient Phoenician language is a Semitic language and has many similarities with the other Semitic languages (Aramaic, Arabic, Hebrew) and definitely has many similarities with Sanna, the language of Kormakitis (Cypriot Maronite Arabic).

For the speakers of Sanna, it is easy to realise the similarities with Phoenician if you have a quick look at the Phoenician dictionary at the below link:

I have extracted some examples of words in Sanna and in the Phoenician language:

Note on pronunciation in Phoenician alphabet:
c   pronounced  sh (as in the English word  “share”)
x   pronounced   c  (as in the Sanna word  sacalúk)
See the attachment

The similarity is more than obvious!

It is touching how the humble village and the people of Kormakitis still speak today a language that is so close to the language of the famous ancient people of Phoenecia, and the language that another very humble person, Jesus Christ, also spoke. Even the name of the village itself most probably descends from this language.

This language is today in grave danger of disappearing. It has been neglected for too long.
Every effort to save it and to revive it will be really worth it.


A good article written in an official website of the Maronite Community of Cyprus, which fully supports the theory of the origins of the name of Kormakitis, as explained in the above post.

Maronite Community of Cyprus
Kormakitis is a picturesque village which lies on the north-western coast of Cyprus, in the Kyrenia district.…|

Relevant extract:
“The Phoenicians were very famous for their commerce activities. Cyprus is not far from Lebanon, so they built a commercial town on the northwestern part of the island which they named Kormia. Historians believe that Kormia was built near the village of Livera. It was a rich town, well known for the commerce activities. With the Islamic conquests radiating outward from the Arab Peninsula, many Maronites abandoned Syria and Lebanon and settled in Kormia. However, being persecuted by the pirates, they left the town and built a new one, the Kormia jtite (New Kormia). The new name is probably the origin of the actual name of the village, Kormakitis. “



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