አማርኛ (Amarəñña)
Native toEthiopia
Native speakers
32,000,000[1] (2018)
L2 speakers: 25,000,000[1]
Geʽez script (Amharic syllabary)
Ge'ez Braille
Signed Amharic[2]
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byImperial Academy (former)
Language codes
ISO 639-1am
ISO 639-2amh
ISO 639-3amh
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Amharic (/æmˈhærɪk/[4][5][6] or /ɑːmˈhɑːrɪk/;[7] (Amharic: አማርኛ), Amarəñña, IPA: [amarɨɲːa] (About this soundlisten)) 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.[citation needed]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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).[10][11]

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.[12]

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.

  1. ^ a b Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2021). Amharic. Ethnologue: Languages of the World (Eighteenth ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  2. ^ Morgan, Mike (9 April 2010). "Complexities of Ethiopian Sign Language Contact Phenomena & Implications for AAU". l'Alliance française et le Centre Français des Études Éthiopiennes. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  3. ^ Shaban, Abdurahman. "One to five: Ethiopia gets four new federal working languages". Africa News.
  4. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh; Collins English Dictionary (2003), Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary (2010)
  5. ^ "Amharic". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  6. ^ "Amharic". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  7. ^ "Amharic". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  8. ^ Bender, M. Lionel and H. Fulass (1978). Amharic verb morphology. (Committee on Ethiopian Studies, monograph 7.) East Lansing: African Studies Center, Michigan State University.
  9. ^ Gebremichael, M. (2011). Federalism and conflict management in Ethiopia: case study of Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State (PhD). United Kingdom: University of Bradford. hdl:10454/5388.
  10. ^ "Amharic". Ethnologue. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  11. ^ "The world factbook".
  12. ^ "Amharic alphabet, pronunciation and language". Retrieved 26 July 2017.