Amharic (Ethiopia)


Amharic is the dominant and official language of Ethiopia, which is indicative of the political power that has been sustained by the Amhara group throughout history. English is the most widely spoken foreign language, and it is the language used in secondary schools and universities.

Amharic is a Semitic language that uses the Ge'ez alphabet.

A chart of the Ethiopic symbols.

Nasal m n ɲ (ñ)    
Plosivevoiceless p t   k ʔ (ʾ)
voiced b d   ɡ  
ejective  ()  ()    (q)  
Affricatevoiceless      (č)    
voiced      (ǧ)    
ejective   tsʼ () tʃʼ (č̣)    
Fricativevoiceless f s ʃ (š)   h
voiced v* z ʒ (ž)    
Approximant   l j (y) w  
Rhotic   r      



High i ɨ (ə) u
Mid e ə (ä) o
Low   a  

Information about the Amharic language, including sounds and grammar.

Basic points include:

  • Words can be distinguished by consonant length.
  • Verbs agree with subject, number, and gender.
  • Nouns can be masculine or feminine.
  • There are different endings for the pronoun “you,” depending on whether you are speaking to a male, a female, or a group.

    Original Contributer: Alison Baughman, Winter term 2009

    Resources and References