Amharic (አማርኛ āmariññā) is a Semitic language spoken in North Central Ethiopia by the Amhara. The Semitic languages are a Language family whose living representatives are spoken by more than 467 million people across much of the Middle East, NOTE This intro is the result of careful NPOV work Please do not make potentially controversial edits to it without first discussing on the talk page Amhara ( Amharic: አማራ Ge'ez: አምሐራ is an Ethnic group in the central highlands of Ethiopia. It is the second most spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the "official working" language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language It thus has official status and is used nationwide. Amharic is also the official or working language of several of the states within the federal system, including Amhara Region and the multi-ethnic Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, among others. Amhara (አማራ is one of the nine ethnic divisions ( Kililoch) of Ethiopia, containing the homeland of the Amhara people. Southern Nations Nationalities and People's Region (often abbreviated as SNNPR) is one of the nine ethnic divisions ( kililoch) of Ethiopia It has been the working language of government, the military, and of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church throughout modern times. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (in transliterated Amharic: Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan) is an Oriental Outside Ethiopia, Amharic is the language of some 2. 7 million emigrants (notably in Egypt, Israel and Sweden), and is spoken in Eritrea by some Eritreans of the pre-independence generation and younger deportees from Ethiopia. This article is about the country of Egypt For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Egypt topics. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Israel topics. "Sverige" redirects here For other uses see Sweden (disambiguation and Sverige (disambiguation. Eritrea () ( Ge'ez: ኤርትራ ʾErtrā, Arabic: إرتريا Iritriya) officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in
It is written, with some adaptations, with the Ge'ez alphabet (first used for the language of the same name)—called, in Ethiopian Semitic languages, ፊደል fidel ("alphabet", "letter", or "character") and አቡጊዳ abugida (from the first four Ethiopic letters in Greek order, also giving rise to the modern linguistic term abugida). Ge'ez (gez ግዕዝ) also called Ethiopic, is an Abugida script that was originally developed to write Ge'ez, a Semitic language Ge'ez (ግዕዝ, ɡɨʕɨz also transliterated Gi'iz, and referred to as Ethiopic) is an ancient South Semitic Language Ethiopian Semitic (also known as Ethiopian Ethiosemitic Ethiopic is a language group which together with Old South Arabian forms the Western branch of the South Ge'ez (ግዕዝ, ɡɨʕɨz also transliterated Gi'iz, and referred to as Ethiopic) is an ancient South Semitic Language An abugida ( from Ge‘ez አቡጊዳ ’äbugida or Amharic አቡጊዳ ’abugida is a segmental Writing system which
There is no agreed way of transliterating Amharic into Roman characters. The Amharic examples in the sections below use one system that is common, though not universal, among linguists specializing in Ethiopian Semitic languages. The Amharic ejectives correspond to the Proto-Semitic "emphatic consonants", usually transcribed with a dot below the letter. Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical Proto-language of the Semitic languages. Emphatic consonant is a term widely used in Semitic Linguistics to describe one of a series of Obstruent Consonants which originally contrasted Overdot See also Anusvara Language scripts or transcription schemes that use the dot above a letter as a diacritical mark In Arabic romanization The consonant and vowel charts give these symbols in parentheses where they differ from the standard IPA symbols. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA is a system of phonetic notation based on the Latin alphabet, devised by the International Phonetic
|Ejective||pʼ (p', p̣)||tʼ (t', ṭ)||kʼ (q, ḳ)|
|Ejective||ʦ' (s')||ʧʼ (č', č̣)|
The following chart represents the basic forms of the consonants, ignoring the so-called "bastard" (Amh. In Phonetics, ejective consonants are Voiceless Consonants that are pronounced with simultaneous closure of the Glottis. In Phonetics, ejective consonants are Voiceless Consonants that are pronounced with simultaneous closure of the Glottis. Ge'ez (gez ግዕዝ) also called Ethiopic, is an Abugida script that was originally developed to write Ge'ez, a Semitic language ዲቃላ dīḳālā) labiovelarized forms of each consonant (represented by the addition of a superscripted "w," i. e. "ʷ") and not including the wholly labiovelarized consonants ḳʷ, hʷ (Ge'ez ḫʷ), kʷ, and gʷ. Ge'ez (gez ግዕዝ) also called Ethiopic, is an Abugida script that was originally developed to write Ge'ez, a Semitic language Some phonemes can be represented by more than one series of symbols: /'/, /s'/, and /h/ (the last has four distinct letter forms). The citation form for each series is the consonant+/ä/ form, i. e. the first column of fidel. You will need a font that supports Ethiopic, such as GF Zemen Unicode, in order to view the fidel.
Non-speakers are often disconcerted or astonished by the remarkable similarity of many of the symbols. This is mitigated somewhat because, like many Semitic languages, Amharic uses triconsonantal roots in its verb morphology. The Semitic languages are a Language family whose living representatives are spoken by more than 467 million people across much of the Middle East, In the terminology used to discuss the grammar of the Semitic languages and some other Afro-Asiatic languages, a triliteral ( Arabic: جذر ثلاثي The result of this is that a fluent speaker of Amharic can often decipher written text by observing the consonants, with the vowel variants being supplemental detail.
As in most other Ethiopian Semitic languages, gemination is contrastive in Amharic. Ethiopian Semitic (also known as Ethiopian Ethiosemitic Ethiopic is a language group which together with Old South Arabian forms the Western branch of the South In Phonetics, gemination happens when a spoken Consonant is pronounced for an audibly longer period of time than a short Consonant. The phoneME project is Sun Microsystems reference implementation of Java virtual machine and associated libraries of Java ME with source licensed under the GNU That is, consonant length can distinguish words from one another; for example, alä 'he said', allä 'there is'; yǝmätall 'he hits', yǝmmättall 'he is hit'. Gemination is not indicated in Amharic orthography, but since there are relatively few minimal pairs such as these, Amharic readers seem not to find this to be a problem. In Phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of Words or phrases in a particular Language, which differ in only one phonological element such as a Phone 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. Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language Tone is the use of pitch in Language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning—that is to distinguish or inflect words The noted Ethiopian novelist Haddis Alemayehu, who was an advocate of Amharic orthography reform, indicated gemination in his novel Fǝqǝr Ǝskä Mäqabǝr by placing a dot above the characters whose consonants were geminated, but this practice has not caught on. Haddis Alemayehu ( 15 October 1910 - 6 December 2003) also transliterated Hadis Alamayahu, was a Foreign Minister and novelist
In most languages, there is a small number of basic distinctions of person, number, and often gender that play a role within the grammar of the language. Grammatical person, in Linguistics, is deictic reference to a participant in an event such as the speaker the Addressee, or others In linguistics grammatical number is a Grammatical category of nouns pronouns and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one" In Linguistics, grammatical genders, sometimes also called Noun classes are classes of nouns reflected in the behavior of associated words every noun must belong We see these distinctions within the basic set of independent personal pronouns, for example, English I, Amharic እኔ ǝne; English she, Amharic እሷ ǝsswa. Personal pronouns are Pronouns used as substitutes for proper or common Nouns. In Amharic, as in other Semitic languages, the same distinctions appear in three other places within the grammar of the languages.
|'I saw Almaz'|
|'I opened the door for Almaz'|
|'I closed the door on Almaz (to her detriment)'|
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').
Like other Semitic languages, Amharic is a pro-drop language. A pro-drop language (from "pronoun-dropping" is a Language in which certain classes of Pronouns may be omitted when they are in some sense pragmatically That is, neutral sentences in which no element is emphasized normally do not have independent pronouns: ኢትዮጵያዊ ነው ityop'p'ǝyawi näw 'he's Ethiopian,' ጋበዝኳት ‘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 (2nd or 3rd 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: እሱ ኢትዮጵያዊ ነው ǝssu ityop'p'ǝyawi näw 'he's Ethiopian', እኔ ጋበዝኳት ǝne gabbäzkwat 'I invited her', እሷን ጋበዝኳት ǝsswan 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 1st person singular possessive suffix, አገሬ agär-e 'my country', ገላዬ gäla-ye 'my body'.
|English||Independent||Object pronoun suffixes||Possessive suffixes|
|you (m. sg. )||አንተ|
|you (f. sg. )||አንቺ|
|you (pl. )||እናንተ|
Within second and third person singular, there are two additional "polite" independent pronouns, for reference to people that the speaker wishes to show respect towards. This usage is an example of the so-called T-V distinction that is made in many languages. In Sociolinguistics, a T-V distinction describes the situation wherein a Language has second-person Pronouns that distinguish varying levels of The polite pronouns in Amharic are እርስዎ ǝrswo 'you sg. pol. ' and እሳቸው ǝssaččäw 'he/she pol. '. Although these forms are singular semantically — they refer to one person — they correspond to 3rd person plural elsewhere in the grammar, as is common in other T-V systems. In Sociolinguistics, a T-V distinction describes the situation wherein a Language has second-person Pronouns that distinguish varying levels of 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': የኔ yäne 'mine', ያንተ yantä 'yours m. sg. ', ያንቺ yanči 'yours f. sg. ', የሷ yässwa 'hers', etc.
For reflexive pronouns ('myself', 'yourself', etc. ), Amharic adds the possessive suffixes to the noun ራስ ras 'head': ራሴ rase 'myself', ራሷ raswa 'herself', etc.
Like English, Amharic makes a two-way distinction between near ('this, these') and far ('that, those') demonstrative expressions (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs). Demonstratives are deictic words (they depend on an external frame of reference that indicate which entities a speaker refers to and distinguishes those entities from others Besides number, as in English, Amharic also distinguishes masculine and feminine gender in the singular.
|Singular||Masculine||ይህ yǝh(ǝ)||ያ ya|
|Feminine||ይቺ yǝčči, ይህች yǝhǝčč||ያቺ|
|Plural||እነዚህ ǝnnäzzih||እነዚያ ǝnnäzziya|
There are also separate demonstratives for formal reference, comparable to the formal personal pronouns: እኚህ ǝññih 'this, these (formal)' and እኒያ ǝnniya 'that, those (formal)'.
The singular pronouns have combining forms beginning with zz instead of y when they follow a preposition: ስለዚህ sǝläzzih 'because of this; therefore', እንደዚያ ǝndäzziya 'like that'. Note that the plural demonstratives, like the second and third person plural personal pronouns, are formed by adding the plural prefix እነ ǝnnä- to the singular masculine forms.
Amharic nouns can be primary or derived. A noun like əgər 'foot, leg' is primary, and a noun like əgr-äñña 'pedestrian' is a derived noun.
Amharic nouns can have a masculine or feminine gender. In Linguistics, grammatical genders, sometimes also called Noun classes are classes of nouns reflected in the behavior of associated words every noun must belong There are several ways to express gender. An example is the old suffix -t for feminity. 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':ya-(a)wi 'Ethiopian (m. )' vs. ityop':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 qət(t)ul, e. g. nəgus 'king' vs. nəgəs-t 'queen' and qəddus 'holy (m. )' vs. qəddəs-t 'holy (f. )'.
When someone is talking to a male or female, different endings are usually used for masculine and feminine. If you are talking to a male, the word simply ends in an 'h' sound. When you are talking to a female, the word ends in 'sh'. Additionally, when you are talking to a group of people, the word ends in 'achu'. For example: Izoh-Be strong, to male. Izosh-Be strong, to female. And Izachu-Be strong, to all. This is also a common word used frequently by many Ethiopians, or Amharic speakers. It is important to keep in mind that there are irregulars, for example when you are telling someone to COME. NA(Male) Nei (Female) Nu (Everyone).
Some nouns and adjectives take a feminine marker -it: ləǧ 'child, boy' vs. ləǧ-it 'girl'; bäg 'sheep, ram' vs. bäg-it 'ewe'; šəmagəlle 'senior, elder (m. )' vs. šəmagəll-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. šärär-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 feminity, e. g. wänd ləǧ 'boy', set ləǧ '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 anəst or set to indicate feminine gender. Examples: täbat t'əǧa 'calf (m. )'; awra doro 'cock (rooster)'; set doro 'hen'.
The plural suffix -očč is used to express plurality of nouns. Some morphophonological alternations occur depending on the final consonant or vowel. Morphophonology (also morphophonemics, morphonology) is a branch of Linguistics which studies The phonological structure For nouns ending in a consonant, plain -očč is used: bet 'house' becomes bet-očč 'houses'. For nouns ending in a back vowel (-a, -o, -u), the suffix takes the form -wočč, e. A back vowel is a type of Vowel sound used in some spoken Languages The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as g. wəšša 'dog', wəšša-wočč 'dogs'; käbäro 'drum', käbäro-wočč 'drums'. Nouns that end in a front vowel pluralize using -wočč or -yočč, e. A front vowel is a type of Vowel sound used in some spoken Languages The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far forward g. s'ähafi 'scholar', s'ähafi-wočč or s'ähafi-yočč 'scholars'. Another possibility for nouns ending in a vowel is to delete the vowel and use plain očč, as in wəšš-očč 'dogs'.
Besides using the normal external plural (-očč), nouns and adjectives can be pluralized by way of reduplicating one of the radicals. Reduplication, in Linguistics, is a morphological Process by which the root or stem of a Word, or part of it is repeated For example, wäyzäro 'lady' can take the normal plural, yielding wäyzär-očč, but wäyzazər 'ladies' is also found.
Some kinship-terms have two plural forms with a slightly different meaning. Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin through either biological cultural or historical descent For example, wändəmm 'brother' can be pluralized as wändəmm-očč 'brothers' but also as wändəmmam-ač 'brothers of each other'. Likewise, əhət 'sister' can be pluralized as əhət-očč ('sisters'), but also as ətəmm-am-ač 'sisters of each other'.
In compound words, the plural marker is suffixed to the second noun: betä krəstiyan 'church' (lit. In Linguistics, a compound is a Lexeme (less precisely a Word) that consists of more than one stem. house of Christian) becomes betä krəstiyan-očč 'churches'.
Amsalu Aklilu has pointed out that Amharic has inherited a large number of old plural forms directly from Classical Ethiopic (Ge'ez). Ge'ez (ግዕዝ, ɡɨʕɨz also transliterated Gi'iz, and referred to as Ethiopic) is an ancient South Semitic Language There are two archaic pluralizing 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 not productive anymore, which means that they can not be used to form new plurals.
If a noun is definite or specified, this is expressed by a suffix, the article. In singular forms, this article distinguishes between the male and female gender; in plural forms this distinction is absent. As in the plural, morphophonological alternations occur depending on the final consonant or vowel. Morphophonology (also morphophonemics, morphonology) is a branch of Linguistics which studies The phonological structure
Amharic has various ways to derive nouns from other words or other nouns. One way of nominalizing consists of a form of vowel agreement (similar vowels on similar places) inside the three-radical structures typical of Semitic languages. The Semitic languages are a Language family whose living representatives are spoken by more than 467 million people across much of the Middle East, For example:
There are also several nominalizing suffixes.
Along with the infinitive and the present participle, the gerund is one of three non-finite verb forms. In Linguistics, a non-finite verb (or a verbal) is a Verb form that is not limited by a subject and more generally is not fully inflected by The infinitive is a nominalized verb, the present participle expresses incomplete action, and the gerund expresses completed action, e. g. ali məsa 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.
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:
The gerund can be used as an adverb: alfo alfo yəsəqall 'Sometimes he laughs'. əne dägmo mämt'at əfälləgallähu 'I also want to come'.
Adjectives are words or constructions used to qualify nouns. In Grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a Noun or Pronoun, giving more information about the 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 (አማርኛ amarəñña) is a Semitic language spoken in North Central Ethiopia by the Amhara. Amharic has few primary adjectives. Some examples are dägg 'kind, generous', dəda 'mute, dumb, silent', bič'a 'yellow'.
In the same way, a relative perfectum or imperfectum can be used as an adjective by prefixing yä:
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. kəfu geta 'a bad master'; təlləq 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. In grammatical theory, definiteness is a feature of Noun phrases distinguishing between entities which are specific and identifiable in a given context (definite noun g. təlləq-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. təlləq-u bet-e (lit. big-def house-my) 'my big house'.
When enumerating adjectives using -nna 'and', both adjectives take the definite article: qonǧo-wa-nna astäway-wa ləǧ mät't'ačč (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 təgu tämariwočč (lit. diligent student-PLUR) or təguwočč tämariwočč (lit. diligent-PLUR student-PLUR).
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, technical manuals, medical topics, etc. The Holy Bible was first translated into Amharic by Abu Rumi in the early 19th century, but has been retranslated a number of times since. Abu Rumi (about 1750 - 1819 is the name recorded as being the translator for the first entire Bible in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia. The most famous Amharic novel is Fiqir Iske Meqabir (transliterated various ways) by Haddis Alemayehu (1909-2003), recently translated into English by Sisay Ayenew with the title Love unto Crypt.
Because of the rapid growth of Ethiopian communities in Europe, the United States and Canada, several public service organizations started to offer Amharic language translation and interpretation services.
Many Rastafarians learn Amharic as a second language because they consider it to be a sacred language, and even the original language. The Rastafari movement (also known as Rastafari, Rastafarianism or simply Rasta) is a monotheistic, Abrahamic, New Testament Various roots reggae musicians including Lincoln Thompson and Misty-in-Roots have written songs in Amharic, thus bringing the sound of this relatively unknown language to a wider audience. Roots reggae is a subgenre of Reggae that concerns itself with the life of the ghetto sufferer and the rural poor Reggae is a Music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s Music is an Art form in which the medium is Sound organized in Time. Prince Lincoln Thompson, known as Sax, was a Jamaican Singer, musician and Songwriter with the Reggae band the Royal Rasses and a member of Misty in Roots began life as a Southall based British roots Reggae band in the early 1970s
A notable early attempt to use Amharic in reggae was the anthem Satta Amassagana, mistakenly believed to mean "Give thanks". However, this "Amharic" phrase seems to have been derived from looking in a bilingual dictionary and finding the entries säţţä for "give" (actually "he gave") and 'amässägänä for "thank" or "praise" (actually "he thanked" or "he praised"), by those unaware of the correct inflections of these verbs, the convention of always listing verbs in the past tense third person, or the pronunciation of the diacritical marks. The actual way to say "give thanks" is a related word, misgana. Ironically, owing to the vast popularity of this song, "to satta" has even entered modern Rastafarian vocabulary as a verb meaning "to sit down and partake". Rastafarian vocabulary, or Iyaric, is part of a created dialect of English
Almost all Amharic characters have a Unicode representation. Now people can post in forums and blogs, send e-mail, or publish Web sites in Amharic. The Amharic script is included in Unicode. In Computing, Unicode is an Industry standard allowing Computers to consistently represent and manipulate text expressed in most of the world's There are several free software programs, and also some commercial ones, for writing in Amharic. Some such software packages are: Keyman, GeezEdit, Hewan Amharic Software, AbeshaSoft and PowerGe'ez. Hewan Amharic Software is a software company based in Ethiopia.