Semitic language of Ethiopia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Amharic (/æmˈhærɪk/ am-HARR-ik[4][5][6] or /ɑːmˈhɑːrɪk/ ahm-HAR-ik;[7] native name: አማርኛ, romanized: Amarəñña, IPA: [amarɨɲːa] i) 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 also serves as a lingua franca for all other populations residing in major cities and towns in Ethiopia.[8]

Quick facts: Amharic, Pronunciation, Native to, Ethni...
አማርኛ (Amarəñña)
Amharic script, fidäl, from Ge'ez script
Native toEthiopia
SpeakersL1: 32 million (2018)[1]
L2: 25 million (2018)[1] Total: 57 million (2019)[1]
Geʽez script (Amharic syllabary)
Ge'ez Braille
Signed Amharic[2]
Official status
Official language in
Flag_of_Ethiopia.svg Ethiopia[3]
Regulated byImperial Academy (former)
Language codes
ISO 639-1am
ISO 639-2amh
ISO 639-3amh
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The language serves as the official working language of the Ethiopian federal government, and is also the official or working language of several of Ethiopia's federal regions.[9] As of 2018, it has over 32,400,000 mother-tongue speakers and more than 25,100,000 second language speakers, making the total number of speakers over 57,500,000.[1] Amharic is the largest, most widely spoken language in Ethiopia, and the second most spoken mother-tongue in Ethiopia (after Oromo). Amharic is also the second most widely spoken Semitic language in the world (after Arabic).[1][10]

Amharic is written left-to-right using a system that grew out of the Geʽez script.[11] The segmental writing system in which consonant-vowel sequences are written as units is called an abugida (አቡጊዳ).[12] The graphemes are called fidäl (ፊደል), which means "script", "alphabet", "letter", or "character".

There is no universally agreed-upon Romanization of Amharic into Latin script. The Amharic examples in the sections below use one system that is common among linguists specialising in Ethiopian Semitic languages.