Amharic Language

History

The Amharic language is a Semitic language that is used primarily in North Central Ethiopia. It is spoken mostly by the Amhara, an ethnic group in the central highlands of Ethiopia, but has also been adopted by many groups unrelated to this area.

In terms of script, the Amharic language does not use a Romanized western script, but instead is written using Ge’ez, an alphabet adapted to write primarily Semitic languages. It is a more ornate way of communicating language, much more so than the Roman alphabet.

Similar to many languages, Amharic uses gendered language when describing most things, but more interesting than that, male and female nouns and pronouns can also be used to convey certain emotions. For example, female pronouns can be used to indicate that something is petite or delicate, or even to express sympathy. This language is a complex and beautiful one.

Popularity

The Amharic language is the official language of Ethiopia, and is spoken in many specific regions such as Addis Ababa, the Amhara Region, the Benishangul-Gumuz Region, the Dire Dawa Administrative council, and the Gambela Region. It does not share importance with any other languages.

Due to the rise in emigration, Amharic has now been included in various computer software packages, with public service organizations making a point of including Amharic as another vital language to include in their translation and interpretation services. It is a language that is still spoken by some 2.7 million emigrants. These Amharic speakers have significant numbers in Canada, the US, and Sweden.

There is also an increasing body of literature written in Amharic. This literature is beginning to span many genres, and includes various novels, poems, proverbs, government records, educational books, religious books, tech. manuals, medical discussions, etc, etc.

Language

On account of the Amharic language using wholly its own language, it is relatively difficult to translate the Amharic language into Roman characters. There is no one way to do this, so as with the Indian language, for example, the translations have to be made aurally and transcribed as they are heard.

Amharic uses an alphasyllabary, or abugida, which is a writing system based on the pairing of consonants with vowels. Every character in the Amharic language represents a consonant and vowel pairing, which can make it a little easier to translate. Many of the symbols have a very similar look to each other, but this is partly because the consonants look very different to each other, while the vowels are rather supplemental. Because of this, words can be identified by native speakers often by their consonants alone.

The Amharic language also has a small number of differentiations between who you are speaking to, and their gender, in terms of personal pronouns. Similar to English, the Amharic language also shows positions in terms of demonstrative pronouns, such as “these” and “those”. There is no neutral pronoun, but only feminine or masculine ones.

Why Learn The Amharic Language?

Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language in the whole world. Arabic is the only Semitic language that can top this one, so if you’re looking to learn your second, third, or even first Semitic language, then Amharic is at the top of the list.

The language itself, when written, is very beautiful. There is no singular way to translate the Amharic language into Roman lettering, so when one learns Amharic, it is necessary to get to grips with the written language just as much as the spoken language. This might be difficult, but the rewards are surely greater when one has to pour more effort into an endeavor.

If you are interested in music, particularly reggae, then Amharic would be a fascinating language to learn. Some Rastafarians learn the Amharic language voluntarily as a second language, as it is considered to be a sacred language, with many reggae songs using the Amharic language as the primary language of communication.


2 Comments

  • #1 by Abera on August 3 - 2:50 am

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    It is so nice.

  • #2 by Grazingfowl on August 7 - 6:55 pm

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    I met at work the lady of my dreams who is E. She said once I learn “A” – she would relate to me. I have a steep hill, but WORTH IT. How does an Amharic lady show she likes you if they will not affront men publicly. There must be an positive resolve to learning language and meeting the lady. Where should one start — w/o falling in love immediate?? I have!! Prefer female incites.

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