Amharic

Language History

Considered a popular Semitic language, Amharic dates back to the 1st millennium B.C during the days of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. It is believed that immigrants from southwestern Arabia entered present-day Eritrea by crossing the Red Sea. It was during this time when they blended with the Cushitic population and before you know it, Ge’ez (ግዕዝ) was established – the classical language used by the Axum Empire of Northern Ethiopia between 1st Century A.D. and the 6th Century A.D. Eventually, during the 10th Century A.D. and the 12th Century A.D., Ethiopia’s power base went from Axum to Amhara. This marked the influence and presence of the Amharic language. Soon, its influence spread, helping it to become the national language of the country, used by the government and citizens.

According to mustgo.com, Amharic is spoken by 22 million people around the world. Over 21 million of these speakers reside in Ethiopia. Apparently, there are 4 million second-language Amharic speakers around the world, too.

Where is Amharic Spoken?

Amharic is the national language of Ethiopia. However, there are several speakers in other countries around the world including Egypt, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Israel, Sweden, Canada and the United States.

FACT

Did you know that the Amharic language has 33 basic characters? Unlike Arabic, Hebrew or Syrian, it is written from left to right. It is written with a version of the Ge’ez script known as Fidel.

Did you Know?

Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language in the whole world, after Arabic!

Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language in the whole

“Ethiopia is the only country in Africa with its own script.”

Dialects

The Amharic language has multiple dialects and regional variations.
They include:

Gondar • Gojiam • Wollo • Shewa

4 Easy Phrases in Amharic!

AmharicEnglish
እንደምን አደራችሁ (indemin aderatschu)Good Morning
...እባላለው (... ibalalew)My name is...
በጣም አዝናለው (betam asnalew)I’m sorry
አመሰግናለው (ameseginalew)Thank you

Population vs. Internet Penetration

Ethiopia Population:

110,135,635

Internet Users:

20,507,255

Penetration:

18.6%

As of 2019. Source:
www.internetworldstats.com

FACT!

Did you know that the Amharic numbers are loans from the Greek alphabet?Did you know that the Amharic numbers are loans from the Greek alphabet?

Amharic Translation Tips

• Don’t forget! The verbs in Amharic use combinations of prefixes and suffixes to indicate the subject.

• Remember that there are three persons, two numbers, and two genders in the Amharic language.

• Through their morphology, verbs signify the person, number and gender of their subject.

• Each character of the Amharic language has 7 forms for each consonant-vowel combination.

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