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L2 speakers: 25,000,000
|Geʽez script (Amharic syllabary)|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Imperial Academy (former)|
Amharic (// or //; (Amharic: አማርኛ), Amarəñña, IPA: [amarɨɲːa] (listen)) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. It is spoken as a first language by the Amharas and as a lingua franca by other populations residing in major cities and towns of Ethiopia.
The Amharic language possibly originated as result of a pidginization process with a Cushitic substratum and a Semitic superstratum to enable communication between people who spoke a mix of different languages. The language serves as the working language of Ethiopia, and is also the working language of several of the states within the Ethiopian federal system. With 31,800,000 mother-tongue speakers as of 2018, plus another 25,100,000 second language speakers, Amharic is the second-most common language of Ethiopia (after Oromo) and second-most commonly spoken Semitic language in the world (after Arabic).
Amharic is written left-to-right using a system that grew out of the Geʽez script. The writing system is called fidäl (ፊደል) in Ethiopian Semitic languages. Fidäl means "script", "alphabet", "letter", or "character". The writing system is also called abugida (አቡጊዳ), from the first four symbols; from this the modern term abugida is derived.
There is no universally agreed way of romanising Amharic into Latin script. The Amharic examples in the sections below use one system that is common among linguists specialising in Ethiopian Semitic languages.