What ….. Amharic???

Amharic is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken by over 30 million people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other parts of the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and has a rich history and culture behind it. In this post, we will explore the Amharic language, its origins, grammar, and unique features.

Origins of the Amharic Language

The Amharic language has its roots in the ancient Semitic languages of the Middle East and North Africa. It is a member of the Ethiopic branch of the Semitic family, which also includes languages such as Tigrinya, Tigre, and Ge’ez. Ge’ez was the language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and was used extensively for religious purposes, including writing religious texts and liturgy.

Over time, Ge’ez evolved into a more modern language, known as Classical Ethiopic, which was used for secular and religious purposes. From Classical Ethiopic, the modern Amharic language emerged, which has become the language of government, education, and media in Ethiopia.

Grammar of the Amharic Language

Amharic is a rich and complex language with a unique grammar system. It is an inflected language, meaning that the meaning of words changes based on the addition of affixes or changes to the root of the word. For example, the word “dəras” means “study” in Amharic, but by adding the prefix “m-” to the beginning, it becomes “mədras,” which means “school.”

Amharic also has a unique writing system, known as the Fidel. The Fidel is an abugida, which means that each symbol represents a consonant and a vowel sound. The symbols are arranged in a grid-like pattern, with each row representing a different vowel sound.

Unique Features of the Amharic Language

One of the unique features of the Amharic language is its use of honorifics. Honorifics are special titles or forms of address used to show respect or deference to someone. In Amharic, there are three levels of honorifics: formal, informal, and intimate. The level of honorific used depends on the relationship between the speaker and the person being addressed.

Another unique feature of the Amharic language is its use of proverbs and idioms. Proverbs are short, pithy sayings that express a truth or piece of wisdom. Idioms are expressions that have a figurative meaning different from the literal meaning of the words. Amharic is rich in proverbs and idioms, many of which have been passed down through generations.

Amharic is also known for its complex verb system. Verbs in Amharic change based on tense, aspect, and mood. For example, the verb “fətehe” means “open” in the present tense, but by adding the suffix “-əllə” to the end, it becomes “fətəhəllə,” which means “has opened” in the perfect tense.

Finally, Amharic is known for its rich musical tradition. Many traditional Amharic songs are based on the pentatonic scale, which consists of five notes. The lyrics of these songs often contain proverbs, idioms, and other poetic devices.


In conclusion, the Amharic language is a rich and complex language with a unique grammar system, writing system, and cultural heritage. It is spoken by millions of people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other parts of the Horn of Africa and is an important part of the region’s history and culture. Whether you are interested in learning the language for business, travel, or personal enrichment, there are many resources available to help you get started.

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