The Amharic language (አማርኛ āmariññā ), also known as the Ethiopian language , is a Semitic language on the trunk of Afro-Asian languages . It is the official language of Ethiopia , with about 21 million native and non-native speakers. The language serves as the official working language of the country, and is also the working language of several of the states within the federal system. It is spoken as a first language by the Amharas and as a lingua franca by other populations residing in Ethiopia. Amharic is the second most widely spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic. Amharic should not be confused with Aramaic , a language spoken in parts of theMiddle East , although both are languages of Semitic origin . [ 1 ]
Writing system [ edit | edit source code ]
Amharic is written from left to right using the Ge’ez writing system, called in the Semitic languages of Ethiopia, Fidäl (ፊደል), “writing system”, “letter”, “character” or abugada (አቡጊዳ), from first four symbols, which gave rise to the modern linguistic term abugada.
There is no agreement on how to transliterate Amharic into Latin characters. The examples shown in the table below represent a system that is common, but not universal, among linguists specializing in Ethio-Semitic languages . The amharic ejective consonants correspond to the proto-Semitic “emphatic consonants”, usually transcribed with a diacritic below the letter. [ 2 ]
The tables for consonants and vowels show these symbols in parentheses when they differ from the IPA symbols .
Palatal -alveolar Palatal
(p ‘, p̣)
(t ‘, ṭ )
(q, ḳ )
(č ‘, č̣)
|Flap / Trill||r|