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? (Amar?ñña)
Native toEthiopia
Native speakers
22,000,000[1][2] (2007 Population and Housing Census)
Ge'ez script (Amharic syllabary)
Ge'ez Braille
Signed Amharic[3]
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byImperial Academy (former)
Language codes
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Amharic ([5][6][7] or ;[8] (Amharic: ?), Amar?ñña, IPA: [amar:a] ) is an Ethio-Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. It is spoken as a first language by the Amharas and as a lingua franca by other populations residing in major cities and towns of Ethiopia.

The Amharic language possibly originated as result of a pidginization process with a Cushitic substratum and a Semitic superstratum to enable communication between people who spoke a mix of different languages.[9] The language serves as the working language of Ethiopia, and is also the working language of several of the states within the Ethiopian federal system.[10] With 21,811,600 total speakers as of 2007, including around 4,000,000 second language speakers, Amharic is the second-most common language of Ethiopia (after Oromo) and second-most commonly spoken Semitic language in the world (after Arabic).[11][12]

Amharic is written left-to-right using a system that grew out of the Ge'ez script. The writing system is called fidäl () in Ethiopian Semitic languages. Fidäl means "script", "alphabet", "letter", or "character". The writing system is also called abugida (?), from the first four symbols; from this the modern term abugida is derived.[13]

There is no universally agreed way of romanising Amharic into Latin script. The Amharic examples in the sections below use one system that is common among linguists specialising in Ethiopian Semitic languages.[14]


Amharic has been the working language of courts, language of trade and everyday communications, the military, since the late 12th century and remains the official language of Ethiopia today.[15][16] As of the 2007 census, Amharic is spoken by 21.6 million native speakers in Ethiopia[1] and 4 million secondary speakers in Ethiopia.[2] Additionally, 3 million emigrants outside of Ethiopia speak the language.[] Most of the Ethiopian Jewish communities in Ethiopia and Israel speak Amharic.[17][] In Washington DC, Amharic became one of the six non-English languages in the Language Access Act of 2004, which allows government services and education in Amharic.[18] Furthermore, Amharic is considered a holy language by the Rastafari religion and is widely used among its followers worldwide.


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ?
Plosive voiceless p t k ?
voiced b d ?
ejective p' t' k'
Affricate voiceless t
voiced d
ejective t?s' t'
Fricative voiceless f s ? h
voiced v* z ?
Approximant l j w
Rhotic r
* - Only in loanwords

The Amharic ejective consonants correspond to the Proto-Semitic "emphatic consonants", usually transcribed with a dot below the letter. The consonant and vowel tables give these symbols in parentheses where they differ from the standard IPA symbols.

The vowels of Amharic on a vowel chart.[19]
Front Central Back
High i ? (?) u
Mid e ? (ä) o
Low a

Writing system

The Ethiopic (or Ge'ez) writing system is visible on the side of this Ethiopian Airlines Fokker 50: it reads "Ethiopia's": ye-?ityop?p?ya.

The Amharic script is an abugida, and the graphemes of the Amharic writing system are called fidel.[20] Each character represents a consonant+vowel sequence, but the basic shape of each character is determined by the consonant, which is modified for the vowel. Some consonant phonemes are written by more than one series of characters: , , , and (the last one has four distinct letter forms). This is because these fidel originally represented distinct sounds, but phonological changes merged them.[20] The citation form for each series is the consonant+ä form, i.e. the first column of the fidel. The Amharic script is included in Unicode, and glyphs are included in fonts available with major operating systems.

A modern usage of Amharic: the label of a Coca-Cola bottle. The script reads - (koka-kola).


Chart of Amharic fidels[21]
u i a ? ?
[?], ?
o ?ä/ue
?i/ui ?a/ua /u?
h ? ? ? ? ? ? ?  
l ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
m ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
r ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
s ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
q ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
b ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
t ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
t? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
n ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
k ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
x ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
w ? ? ? ? ? ? ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?  
z ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
j ? ? ? ? ? ? ?  
d ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
d? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
g ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
t?' ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
p' ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
? ? ? ? ? ? ?  
f ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
p ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   ?  
u i a ? ?
[?], ?
o ?/ue
?i/ui ?a/ua /u?


As in most other Ethiopian Semitic languages, gemination is contrastive in Amharic. That is, consonant length can distinguish words from one another; for example, alä 'he said', allä 'there is'; y?mätall 'he hits', y?mmättall 'he is hit'. Gemination is not indicated in Amharic orthography, but Amharic readers typically do not find this to be a problem. This property of the writing system is analogous to the vowels of Arabic and Hebrew or the tones of many Bantu languages, which are not normally indicated in writing. Ethiopian novelist Haddis Alemayehu, who was an advocate of Amharic orthography reform, indicated gemination in his novel F?q?r ?skä Mäqab?r by placing a dot above the characters whose consonants were geminated, but this practice is rare.


Punctuation includes the following:

? section mark
? word separator
? full stop (period)
? comma
? semicolon
? colon
? preface colon (introduces speech from a descriptive prefix)
? question mark
? paragraph separator


Simple Amharic sentences

One may construct simple Amharic sentences by using a subject and a predicate. Here are a few simple sentences:[22]











?Ityop?p?ya ?Afrika w?s? nat

{Ethiopia} {Africa} {in} {is}

'Ethiopia is in Africa.'


the boy



asleep is


L-u täññ?t?all.

{the boy} {asleep is}

'The boy is asleep.' (-u is a definite article. L is 'boy'. Lu is 'the boy')


the weather





Ayyäru däss y?lall.

{the weather} pleasant feels

'The weather feels pleasant.'









?ssu wädä kätäma mäa

he to city {came}

'He came to the city.'


Personal pronouns

Like most languages, Amharic grammar distinguishes person, number, and often gender. This includes personal pronouns such as English I, Amharic ?ne; English she, Amharic ?sswa. As in other Semitic languages, the same distinctions appear in three other places in their grammar.

Subject-verb agreement

All Amharic verbs agree with their subjects; that is, the person, number, and (in the second- and third-person singular) gender of the subject of the verb are marked by suffixes or prefixes on the verb. Because the affixes that signal subject agreement vary greatly with the particular verb tense/aspect/mood, they are normally not considered to be pronouns and are discussed elsewhere in this article under verb conjugation.

Object pronoun suffixes

Amharic verbs often have additional morphology that indicates the person, number, and (second- and third-person singular) gender of the object of the verb.





I saw her


almaz?n ayyäh?-at

Almaz-ACC {I saw her}

'I saw Almaz.'

While morphemes such as -at in this example are sometimes described as signaling object agreement, analogous to subject agreement, they are more often thought of as object pronoun suffixes because, unlike the markers of subject agreement, they do not vary significantly with the tense/aspect/mood of the verb. For arguments of the verb other than the subject or the object, there are two separate sets of related suffixes, one with a benefactive meaning (to, for), the other with an adversative or locative meaning (against, to the detriment of, on, at).






I opened for her

lä?almaz bärrun käffätku-llat

for-Almaz door-DEF-ACC {I opened for her}

'I opened the door for Almaz.'






I closed on her

bä?almaz bärrun zäggahu-bbat

on-Almaz door-DEF-ACC {I closed on her}

'I closed the door on Almaz (to her detriment).'

Morphemes such as -llat and -bbat in these examples will be referred to in this article as prepositional object pronoun suffixes because they correspond to prepositional phrases such as for her and on her, to distinguish them from the direct object pronoun suffixes such as -at 'her'.

Possessive suffixes

Amharic has a further set of morphemes that are suffixed to nouns, signalling possession: bet 'house', bete, my house, ; betwa, her house.

In each of these four aspects of the grammar, independent pronouns, subject-verb agreement, object pronoun suffixes, and possessive suffixes, Amharic distinguishes eight combinations of person, number, and gender. For first person, there is a two-way distinction between singular (I) and plural (we), whereas for second and third persons, there is a distinction between singular and plural and within the singular a further distinction between masculine and feminine (you m. sg., you f. sg., you pl., he, she, they).

Amharic is a pro-drop language: neutral sentences in which no element is emphasized normally omit independent pronouns: ?ityop?p?yawi näw 'he's Ethiopian', gabbäzkwat 'I invited her'. The Amharic words that translate he, I, and her do not appear in these sentences as independent words. However, in such cases, the person, number, and (second- or third-person singular) gender of the subject and object are marked on the verb. When the subject or object in such sentences is emphasized, an independent pronoun is used: ?ssu ?ityop?p?yawi näw 'he's Ethiopian', ?ne gabbäzkwat 'I invited her', ?sswan gabbäzkwat 'I invited her'.

The table below shows alternatives for many of the forms. The choice depends on what precedes the form in question, usually whether this is a vowel or a consonant, for example, for the first-person singular possessive suffix, agär-e 'my country', gäla-ye 'my body'.

Amharic Personal Pronouns
English Independent Object pronoun suffixes Possessive suffixes
Direct Prepositional
Benefactive Locative/Adversative
-(ä/?)ñ -(?)ll?ñ -(?)bb?ñ -(y)e
you (m. sg.)
-(?)h -(?)ll?h -(?)bb?h -(?)h
you (f. sg.)
-(?)? -(?)ll -(?)bb -(?)?
you (polite) ?
-(?)wo(t) -(?)ll?wo(t) -(?)bb?wo(t) -wo
-(ä)w, -t -(?)llät -(?)bbät -(w)u
-at -(?)llat -(?)bbat -wa
s/he (polite) ?
-aäw -(?)llaäw -(?)bbaäw -aäw
-(ä/?)n -(?)ll?n -(?)bb?n -an
you (pl.) ?
-ahu -(?)llahu -(?)bbahu -ahu
-aäw -(?)llaäw -(?)bbaäw -aäw

Within second- and third-person singular, there are two additional polite independent pronouns, for reference to people to whom the speaker wishes to show respect. This usage is an example of the so-called T-V distinction that is made in many languages. The polite pronouns in Amharic are ? ?rswo 'you (sg. polite)'. and ? ?ssaäw 's/he (polite)'. Although these forms are singular semantically--they refer to one person--they correspond to third-person plural elsewhere in the grammar, as is common in other T-V systems. For the possessive pronouns, however, the polite 2nd person has the special suffix -wo 'your sg. pol.'

For possessive pronouns (mine, yours, etc.), Amharic adds the independent pronouns to the preposition yä- 'of': yäne 'mine', yantä 'yours m. sg.', yan?i 'yours f. sg.', yässwa 'hers', etc.

Reflexive pronouns

For reflexive pronouns ('myself', 'yourself', etc.), Amharic adds the possessive suffixes to the noun ras 'head': rase 'myself', raswa 'herself', etc.

Demonstrative pronouns

Like English, Amharic makes a two-way distinction between near ('this, these') and far ('that, those') demonstrative expressions (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs). Besides number, as in English, Amharic also distinguishes masculine and feminine gender in the singular.

Amharic demonstrative pronouns
Number, Gender Near Far
Singular Masculine y?h(?) ? ya
Feminine yi, y?h
Plural ? ?nnäzzih ? ?nnäzziya

There are also separate demonstratives for formal reference, comparable to the formal personal pronouns: ?ññih 'this, these (formal)' and ?nniya 'that, those (formal)'.

The singular pronouns have combining forms beginning with zz instead of y when they follow a preposition: ? s?läzzih 'because of this; therefore', ?ndäzziya 'like that'. Note that the plural demonstratives, like the second and third person plural personal pronouns, are formed by adding the plural prefix ?nnä- to the singular masculine forms.


Amharic nouns can be primary or derived. A noun like ?g?r 'foot, leg' is primary, and a noun like ?gr-äñña 'pedestrian' is a derived noun.


Amharic nouns can have a masculine or feminine gender. There are several ways to express gender. An example is the old suffix -t for femininity. This suffix is no longer productive and is limited to certain patterns and some isolated nouns. Nouns and adjectives ending in -awi usually take the suffix -t to form the feminine form, e.g. ityop?p?ya-(a)wi 'Ethiopian (m.)' vs. ityop?p?ya-wi-t 'Ethiopian (f.)'; sämay-awi 'heavenly (m.)' vs. sämay-awi-t 'heavenly (f.)'. This suffix also occurs in nouns and adjective based on the pattern q?t(t)ul, e.g. n?gus 'king' vs. n?g?s-t 'queen' and q?ddus 'holy (m.)' vs. q?dd?s-t 'holy (f.)'.

Some nouns and adjectives take a feminine marker -it: l 'child, boy' vs. l-it 'girl'; bäg 'sheep, ram' vs. bäg-it 'ewe'; mag?lle 'senior, elder (m.)' vs. mag?ll-it 'old woman'; t'ot'a 'monkey' vs. t'ot'-it 'monkey (f.)'. Some nouns have this feminine marker without having a masculine opposite, e.g. ?ärär-it 'spider', azur-it 'whirlpool, eddy'. There are, however, also nouns having this -it suffix that are treated as masculine: säraw-it 'army', nägar-it 'big drum'.

The feminine gender is not only used to indicate biological gender, but may also be used to express smallness, e.g. bet-it-u 'the little house' (lit. house-FEM-DEF). The feminine marker can also serve to express tenderness or sympathy.


Amharic has special words that can be used to indicate the gender of people and animals. For people, wänd is used for masculinity and set for femininity, e.g. wänd l 'boy', set l 'girl'; wänd hakim 'physician, doctor (m.)', set hakim 'physician, doctor (f.)'.

For animals, the words täbat, awra, or wänd (less usual) can be used to indicate masculine gender, and an?st or set to indicate feminine gender. Examples: täbat t'a 'calf (m.)'; awra doro 'cock (rooster)'; set doro 'hen'.


The plural suffix -o is used to express plurality of nouns. Some morphophonological alternations occur depending on the final consonant or vowel. For nouns ending in a consonant, plain -o is used: bet 'house' becomes bet-o 'houses'. For nouns ending in a back vowel (-a, -o, -u), the suffix takes the form -?o, e.g. wa 'dog', wa-?o 'dogs'; käbäro 'drum', käbäro-?o 'drums'. Nouns that end in a front vowel pluralize using -?o or -yo, e.g. ?ähafi 'scholar', ?ähafi-?o or ?ähafi-yo 'scholars'. Another possibility for nouns ending in a vowel is to delete the vowel and use plain o, as in w-o 'dogs'.

Besides using the normal external plural (-o), nouns and adjectives can be pluralized by way of reduplicating one of the radicals. For example, wäyzäro 'lady' can take the normal plural, yielding wäyzär-o, but wäyzaz?r 'ladies' is also found (Leslau 1995:173).

Some kinship-terms have two plural forms with a slightly different meaning. For example, wänd?mm 'brother' can be pluralized as wänd?mm-o 'brothers' but also as wänd?mmam-a? 'brothers of each other'. Likewise, ?h?t 'sister' can be pluralized as ?h?t-o ('sisters'), but also as ?t?mm-am-a? 'sisters of each other'.

In compound words, the plural marker is suffixed to the second noun: betä kr?stiyan 'church' (lit. house of Christian) becomes betä kr?stiyan-o 'churches'.

Archaic forms

Amsalu Aklilu has pointed out that Amharic has inherited a large number of old plural forms directly from Classical Ethiopic (Ge'ez) (Leslau 1995:172). There are basically two archaic pluralising strategies, called external and internal plural. The external plural consists of adding the suffix -an (usually masculine) or -at (usually feminine) to the singular form. The internal plural employs vowel quality or apophony to pluralize words, similar to English man vs. men and goose vs. geese. Sometimes combinations of the two systems are found. The archaic plural forms are sometimes used to form new plurals, but this is only considered grammatical in more established cases.

  • Examples of the external plural: mämh?r 'teacher', mämh?r-an; t'äbib 'wise person', t'äbib-an; kah?n 'priest', kah?n-at; qal 'word', qal-at.
  • Examples of the internal plural: d?ng?l 'virgin', dänag?l; hagär 'land', ah?gur.
  • Examples of combined systems: n?gus 'king', nägäs-t; kokäb 'star', käwak?b-t; mäs'?haf 'book', mäs'ah?f-t.


If a noun is definite or specified, this is expressed by a suffix, the article, which is -u or -w for masculine singular nouns and -wa, -itwa or -ätwa for feminine singular nouns. For example:

masculine sg masculine sg definite feminine sg feminine sg definite
bet bet-u gäräd gärad-wa
house the house maid the maid

In singular forms, this article distinguishes between the male and female gender; in plural forms this distinction is absent, and all definites are marked with -u, e.g. bet-o-u 'houses', gäräd-o-u 'maids'. As in the plural, morphophonological alternations occur depending on the final consonant or vowel.


Amharic has an accusative marker, -(?)n. Its use is related to the definiteness of the object, thus Amharic shows differential object marking. In general, if the object is definite, possessed, or a proper noun, the accusative must be used (Leslau 1995: pp. 181 ff.).







l-u wa-w-?n abbarär-ä.

child-DEF dog-DEF-ACC drove.away-3MS.SUBJ

'The child drove the dog away.'







*l-u wa-w abbarär-ä.

child-DEF dog-DEF drove.away

'The child drove the dog away.'

The accusative suffix is usually placed after the first word of the noun phrase:







Y?h-?n sä'at gäzz-ä.

this-ACC watch buy-3MS.SUBJ

'He bought this watch.'


Amharic has various ways to derive nouns from other words or other nouns. One way of nominalising consists of a form of vowel agreement (similar vowels on similar places) inside the three-radical structures typical of Semitic languages. For example:

  • C?CäC: - bäb 'wisdom'; h?mäm 'sickness'
  • C?CCaC-e: - w?ffar-e 'obesity'; ?'?kkan-e 'cruelty'
  • C?C-ät: - rb-ät 'moistness'; '?wq-ät 'knowledge'; w?fr-ät 'fatness'.

There are also several nominalising suffixes.

  • -?nna: - 'relation'; kr?st-?nna 'Christianity'; s?nf-?nna 'laziness'; qes-?nna 'priesthood'.
  • -e, suffixed to place name X, yields 'a person from X': goam-e 'someone from Gojjam'.
  • -äñña and -täñña serve to express profession, or some relationship with the base noun: ?gr-äñña 'pedestrian' (from ?g?r 'foot'); bärr-äñña 'gate-keeper' (from bärr 'gate').
  • -?nnät and -nnät - '-ness'; ityop?p?yawi-nnät 'Ethiopianness'; q?rb-?nnät 'nearness' (from q?rb 'near').



As in other Semitic languages, Amharic verbs use a combination of prefixes and suffixes to indicate the subject, distinguishing 3 persons, two numbers, and (in all persons except first-person and "honorific" pronouns) two genders.


Along with the infinitive and the present participle, the gerund is one of three non-finite verb forms. The infinitive is a nominalized verb, the present participle expresses incomplete action, and the gerund expresses completed action, e.g. ali m?sa bälto wädä gäbäya hedä 'Ali, having eaten lunch, went to the market'. There are several usages of the gerund depending on its morpho-syntactic features.

Verbal use

The gerund functions as the head of a subordinate clause (see the example above). There may be more than one gerund in one sentence. The gerund is used to form the following tense forms:

  • present perfect nägro -all/näbbär 'He has said'.
  • past perfect nägro näbbär 'He had said'.
  • possible perfect nägro y?honall 'He (probably) has said'.
Adverbial use

The gerund can be used as an adverb: alfo alfo y?s?qall 'Sometimes he laughs'. (From 'to pass')


Adjectives are words or constructions used to qualify nouns. Adjectives in Amharic can be formed in several ways: they can be based on nominal patterns, or derived from nouns, verbs and other parts of speech. Adjectives can be nominalized by way of suffixing the nominal article (see Nouns above). Amharic has few primary adjectives. Some examples are dägg 'kind, generous', d?da 'mute, dumb, silent', bi a 'yellow'.

Nominal patterns

CäCCaC - käbbad 'heavy'; läggas 'generous'
CäC(C)iC - räqiq 'fine, subtle'; addis 'new'
CäC(C)aCa - säbara 'broken'; ?ämama 'bent, wrinkled'
C?C(C)?C - b?l?h 'intelligent, smart'; d?bb?q' 'hidden'
C?C(C)uC - k?bur 'worthy, dignified'; t'?qur 'black'; q?ddus 'holy'

Denominalizing suffixes

-äñña - hayl-äñña 'powerful' (from hayl 'power'); ?wnät-äñña 'true' (from ?wnät 'truth')
-täñña - aläm-täñña 'secular' (from aläm 'world')
-awi - l?bb-awi 'intelligent' (from l?bb 'heart'); m?dr-awi 'earthly' (from m?dr 'earth'); haymanot-awi 'religious' (from haymanot 'religion')


yä-kätäma 'urban' (lit. 'from the city'); yä-kr?st?nna 'Christian' (lit. 'of Christianity'); yä-wät 'wrong' (lit. 'of falsehood').

Adjective noun complex

The adjective and the noun together are called the 'adjective noun complex'. In Amharic, the adjective precedes the noun, with the verb last; e.g. k?fu geta 'a bad master'; t?ll?q bet särra (lit. big house he-built) 'he built a big house'.

If the adjective noun complex is definite, the definite article is suffixed to the adjective and not to the noun, e.g. t?ll?q-u bet (lit. big-def house) 'the big house'. In a possessive construction, the adjective takes the definite article, and the noun takes the pronominal possessive suffix, e.g. t?ll?q-u bet-e (lit. big-def house-my) "my big house".

When enumerating adjectives using -nna 'and', both adjectives take the definite article: qon?o-wa-nna astäway-wa l mäa (lit. pretty-def-and intelligent-def girl came) "the pretty and intelligent girl came". In the case of an indefinite plural adjective noun complex, the noun is plural and the adjective may be used in singular or in plural form. Thus, 'diligent students' can be rendered t?gu tämari?o (lit. diligent student-PLUR) or t?gu?o tämari?o (lit. diligent-PLUR student-PLUR).


Not much has been published about Amharic dialect differences. All dialects are mutually intelligible, but certain minor variations are noted.[23][24]

Mittwoch described a form of Amharic spoken by the descendants of Weyto language speakers,[25] but it was likely not a dialect of Amharic so much as the result of incomplete language learning as the community shifted languages from Weyto to Amharic.


The Ethiopian anthem (since 1992) in Amharic, done on manual typewriter.

There is a growing body of literature in Amharic in many genres. This literature includes government proclamations and records, educational books, religious material, novels, poetry, proverb collections, dictionaries (monolingual and bilingual), technical manuals, medical topics, etc. The Bible was first translated into Amharic by Abu Rumi in the early 19th century, but other translations of the Bible into Amharic have been done since. The most famous Amharic novel is Fiqir Iske Meqabir (transliterated various ways) by Haddis Alemayehu (1909-2003), translated into English by Sisay Ayenew with the title Love unto Crypt, published in 2005 (ISBN 978-1-4184-9182-6).

Rastafari movement

The word Rastafari comes from Ras Täfäri, the pre-regnal title of Haile Selassie, composed of the Amharic words Ras (literally "Head", an Ethiopian title equivalent to duke) and Haile Selassie's pre-regnal name, Tafari.[26]

Many Rastafarians learn Amharic as a second language, as they consider it to be sacred. After Haile Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica, study circles in Amharic were organized in Jamaica as part of the ongoing exploration of Pan-African identity and culture.[27] Various reggae artists in the 1970s, including Ras Michael, Lincoln Thompson and Misty in Roots, have sung in Amharic, thus bringing the language to a wider audience. The Abyssinians, a reggae group, have also used Amharic, most notably in the song "Satta Massagana". The title was believed to mean "give thanks"; however, this phrase means "he thanked" or "he praised", as sää means "he gave", and amässägänä "thanks" or "praise". The correct way to say "give thanks" in Amharic is one word, misgana. The word "satta" has become a common expression in the Rastafari dialect of English, Iyaric, meaning "to sit down and partake".[28]


Amharic is supported on most major Linux distributions, including Fedora and Ubuntu.

The Amharic script is included in Unicode, in the Ethiopic block (U+1200 - U+137F). Nyala font is included on Windows 7 (see YouTube video)[29] and Vista (Amharic Language Interface Pack)[30] to display and edit using the Amharic Script. In February 2010, Microsoft released its Windows Vista operating system in Amharic, enabling Amharic speakers to use its operating system in their language.

Google added Amharic to its Language Tools[31] which allows typing Amharic Script online without an Amharic Keyboard. Since 2004 resource has had an Amharic language Wiki that uses Ethiopic script.

See also



  1. ^ a b Central Statistical Agency. 2010. "Population and Housing Census 2007 Report, National". Accessed 13 December 2016].
  2. ^ a b Lewis, Lewis M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2015). Amharic. Ethnologue: Languages of the World (Eighteenth ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Morgan, Mike (9 April 2010). "Complexities of Ethiopian Sign Language Contact Phenomena & Implications for AAU". l'Alliance française et le Centre Français des Études Éthiopiennes. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Amharic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh; Collins English Dictionary (2003), Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary (2010)
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