Talk:Tigray-Tigrinya people

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please we have to Learn from Afar people we have Ethiopian Afar Eritrean Afar Djibouti Afar.

Tigray is not only the name of the please or the Region it is also the name of the Ethnic group Ethiopian Tigray and  Eritrean Tigray Just like Afar and Kunama .it is quit easy. 
 Belay HAile Selassie    

The history of this page was destroyed due to some unfortunate circumstances with the name disagreement, so here is the history of the page before Merhawie's move: History of Tigray people.

Name of the ethnicity[edit]

I believe "Tigray" is only used for the region, "Tigrean" or "Tigrayan" for the people. -- MikeGasser (talk) 03:58, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

I am by no means knowledgeable on this group of people. I simply created the article because the ragion and the language articles referred to an ethnic group of "Tigrays". Please move the content to a more correctly titled page. //Big Adamsky 04:41, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
As I mentioned at Talk:Tigrinya language, an earlier version of this article was called "Tigrawot," but the fact that no one could verify the use of the term (other than as a neologism) led to the article's deletion. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 06:12, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, let's keep at least one article — however minuscule — dedicated to focusing on the ethnic group (and/or speech community) until such a time as a more (politically) correct ethnonym can be agreed upon. =] //Big Adamsky 08:09, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
If you look at the following articles from Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins:
He states that the most correct title would be Tigray-Tigrinya. He also continues in another article to say:
The two groups are often referred to together under the combined name of Tigray-Tigrinya. They are often treated as two sub-groups of one ethnicity. The growing animosity and war of recent years has lead to a greater contrast in the two groups and has led to a greater distinction between their distinct ethnicities.
For these reasons I believe that this page name should be change to 'Tigray-Tigrinya'.
Merhawie 01:03, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Though it might be worded betterly, A search for "Tigray-Tigrinya" online only nets 138 results (with the quotations), some of which are actually "Tigray/Tigrinya" or "Tigray, Tigrinya," and others which are parts of larger words ("Tigray-Tigrinya-Beja" comes up). It seems to be a neologism, which Wikipedia avoids. Tegaru or Tegrawot would be more applicable, but the name is almost unknown in English. Tegaru gets 187 hits when searching in english pages (and -japan -japanese), but "Tigray people" gets over 21,000 (~21,300). I think the numbers speak for themselves. Wikipedia policy is to use the most common (in non-pedantic matters) English name.
Yom 03:33, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Response to Yom: "Tigray people" could be used for an article about the people of Tigray. It would be inaccurate and offensive to use "Tigray people" as a title for an article which includes the Tigrigna speaking people of Eritrea. If the purpose of generalizing a name is to be less offensive, then using "Tigray people" as a title would obviously defeat the purpose as it would prove offensive to an Eritrean. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 14:58, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

This issue is already solved. You need not discuss it anymore. — ዮም (Yom) | contribsTalkE 16:54, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Yom, I am going to have to disagree with you here about this being a Wiki Guideline. This issue deals quite specifically with a naming convention. There is indeed a naming convention specifically for this, [1] and in it it states:
Use the most specific terminology available...,
given the caveat,
If this is objectionable often a more general name is more neutral or more accurate.
However, in defense of your perspective, the guidline continues to say that :
Do not assume that any one term is the most inclusive or accurate.
I do believe though that one of the final guidelines given is,
On the other hand, generalizing a subject is often the least offensive way to deal with it.
Which, when applied specifically to this case, would lead us to use the most general term to refer to the ethnic group. This would most reasonably be by their language, "Tigrinya/Tigrigna", or to be more general, "Tigrayan-Tigrinya".
Because Yom and I have already gone back and forth over this subject, I think it is important to get further input from others.
Merhawie 16:42, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, the guidline you are quoting seems to support "Tigray people" a little more than "Tigray-Tigrinya." As you said, Use the most specific terminology available would support "Tigrinya-Tigray," but that generalizing a subject is often the least offensive way to deal with it supports "Tigray people," while the following policy supports neither:
Do not assume that any one term is the most inclusive or accurate.
The guidline seems to be unhelpful, but if you look at the larger guidline (the official wikipedia policy one, rather than the guidline subset), you'll see that it says to article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature. While linking isn't very difficult in either case, I have shown pretty definitively that "Tigray people" is much more often used than "Tigray-Tigrinya" or any of the other alternatives. Moreover, there is little more ambiguity involved in "Tigray people" vs. "Tigray-Tigrinya." While the latter says what groups are called in their respective countries, that can easily be explained in the larger article, and "Tigray people" cannot be confused for anything that it is not.
Yom 18:33, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I think much confusion arises from the often unappreciated fact that there is an entirely separate people and language in Eritrea known as Tigre ትግሬ while the name of the region associated with the people in this article is Tigray ትግራይ and their language is Tigrinya (sometimes spelled the Italianate way as Tigrigna, but always ትግርኛ in feedel); then the name for the people in Ethiopia is "Tigrawee" ትግራዊ, which in English would most properly be "Tigrayan" IMO. There is still more confusion arising from the fact that many English speakers might assume Tigre and Tigray are pronounced the same, but Tigray in Ethiopia is pronounced with a long dipthong, to rhyme with "RYE", as opposed to Tigre in Eritrea, pronounced to rhyme with "RAY". The Tigrinya language is also found on the Eritrean side of the border, but it is not inter-comprehensible with the Tigre language, indigenous to Eritrea: About half of the Tigre language is taken from Agew languages like Beja, making it far less Semitic. As for Tigrinya, this word is only properly applied to the language and not the people or region, since -inya is the suffix meaning a language. Now, as for the people of Tigray who speak Tigrinya, as I said they are called Tigrawee (singular or adjectival) or Tigrawyan (plural); these have the suffixes -awee and -awyan, but the best and most accurate spelling using English rules is "Tigrayan"; ie, "from Tigray" (noun or adjective). Note, this is also the spelling you see when you see TPLF spelled out correctly in English. So, my recommendation for the location of this article is at the title "Tigrayan people". ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:04, 31 March 2006 (UTC)]

To Sinaiticus: The Tigre language is derived mainly from Ge'ez, the greatest influence to Tigre is Arabic, thus making it probably the most Semitic of all languages which originated in Ge'ez. Agew languages contributed mostly to Amharic but also to the many Tigrigna dialects spoken in the areas close to the land of the Agews (southern Tigray). The Tigre who inhabit northern Eritea had very little contact with Agew related people with the exception of the Bilen in Keren. Their contacts were mainly with the Bejas but the extent of Beja vocabulary in the Tigre language is not what you claim it is and some would even claim that Tigre influenced the vocabulary of the Beja clans (Hedareb and Haddendoa specifically) more than vice versa. What is more, the Bejas are not an Agew related people, they are a North Cushitic people who mainly inhabit northern Sudan, Libya and Egypt as opposed to the Agew who are a Central Cushitic people.

WRT to Codex_Sinaiticus,
The name Tigray is the name used for this people group in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian province where they live is named Tigray after them. The people are called Tigrinya in Eritrea, so-called after the language they speak.
The Tigrinya of Eritrea are the same culturally and linguistically as the Tigray (sometimes spelled Tigrai) of Tigray (also sometimes spelled Tigrai) Province of Ethiopia. The Tigrinya people are one of Eritrea´s nine diverse people groups, each with its own distinct customs and language. In Ethiopia, they are one of more than 100 ethnic groups.
WRT to the issue of the Wikipedia naming conventions and guidlines, I disagree that " is not helpful. In fact, the suggestion that the more General Guideline should be used in this case is not correct because there is a specific Guideline that has been developed for dealing with the issue of IDENTITY (of which this discussion is certainly pertaining to). I do however, not think its relation to this particular discussion was made clear, and so I will clarify:
Do not assume that any one term is the most inclusive or accurate.
If we take a look at this quote from this Guideline we would note that 'Tigray' will not be anymore inclusive than 'Tigrinya' and therefore would suggest the use of 'Tigrinya speaking people' or 'Tigray/an-Tigrinya people'.
On the other hand, generalizing a subject is often the least offensive way to deal with it.
If we look at this line, the most general term would be 'Tigray/an-Tigrinya people' (referring to the peoples of both countries.
Use the most specific terminology available...,
given the caveat,
If this is objectionable often a more general name is more neutral or more accurate.
To call a 'Tigrinya' person a 'Tigrayan' is indeed objectionable and that is why the IDENTITY Guideline for Naming Conventions was made. To deal with issues like this.
Also, lets be clear if we are talking about Tigrinya speakers, they are best classified as such. However, especially in recent years, the cultures have begun to develop in different ways (much like the British and Americans). So when one refers to the 'Tigray people' it is obvious that s/he is talking about those from the Tigray Province of Ethiopia, while if one refers to the 'Tigrinya people' they are talking about the people of Eritrea. If you are talking about the two groups as a whole, you would be refererring to them as 'Tigrinya speakers' or by their names in union, 'Tigray-Tigrinya people'. This is all laid out quite clearly in the analysis/research of Dr. Orville. I implore you to reassess your perspective in light of this.
Therefore the only remaining dispute with 'Tigray people' will be either its name, or its continued inclusion of the people of Eritrea as they are 'Tigrinya people'.
Well the source you quoted is not quite correct, because the name of the province Tigray came first, and if the people are called "Tigray", that is an abbreviation of Tigrawee, which comes from the name of the province. This is all getting so easily confused, I am going to make a new section below with a chart to better show all the differences. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:20, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

To Sinaiticus: There is no such thing as "Tigrawee" whether in English or in Tigrigna. Someone from Tigray is called Tigraway (Tigra-why) as a male and Tigraweyti (Tigra-weighty) as a female and Tegaru in plural. In English perhaps one could use the term Tigrayan for both males and females and Tigrayans for plural.

Also, how is "Tigrayan" objectionable, and why? I've never heard anything like that before... If it really is for some reason, then Tigray (where it stands now) is probably the next best thing... But I'm positive the TPLF call themselves in English, "Tigrayan peoples liberation front"... ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:27, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

To add some more confusion into the mix, I have always called Tigrinya speakers Tigré (rhymes with "ray," not "rye"), and this is how my mother (whose mother is Tigray/Tigré/Tigrayan/Tigrean/whatever) has always referred to them. In fidel, the pronounciation would be written ትግሬ, though I'm not sure how she actually writes the word. Wrt to "Tigrayan," I can see how Eritreans might reject such a labeling since they want to differentiate themselves from Ethiopians.

As to the ትግሬ (Tigre in Eritrea), I've never heard that they have a lot of Beja words. I know there are a significant number (over 100,000, Orville says 206,000, and this might be where I got my information) of Beja who speak Tigre, but I've heard that Tigre is in fact just as close if not closer to Ge'ez than Tigrinya, varying from Tigrinya basically in endings (they don't have all the -i endings) and derivations from different Ge'ez roots (i.e. if there's two ways to say x, then Tigre kept way 1 only, and Tigrinya kept way 2 only). I know it has a lot of Arabic influence.

Yom 19:45, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

WRT to Sinaiticus, Tigrayan would be objectionable to an Eritrean 'Tigrinya' because we are different group from the Tigray of Tigray. Remember that Tigray the province has no existed as long as the language Tigrinya and they obviously cannot be used interchangably. Futhermore the Province of Tigray never encompassed an area that included all of the Tigrinya of Eritrea. For more than a century the destinies of the Eritrean Tigrinya and the Ethiopian Tigrayans have been separate. Also recall that the Tigrayan Liberation Front (TPLF) was fighting for the liberation of the province of Tigray with a vision for a Greater Tigray but this was not based on the Tigrinya speaking people of Eritrea who favored the Nationalist Eritrean People's Liberation Front and Eritrean Liberation Front.

As an Eritrean Tigrinya I have always referred to Eritrean Tigrinya as 'Tigrinya' and Ethiopian 'Tigrayans' as 'Tigrayans'. Both my father and mother are Eritrean Tigrinya. Merhawie 19:56, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I am just now beginning to realize that the Tigrinya speakers in Eritrea are using the word "Tigrinya" nowadays to refer to the people, and not just the language, I guess because "Tigray" is the name of a place in Ethiopia! This is getting confusing! Yes, the pronunciation Tigre for Tigray is common in Amharic, but it's already confusing enough, the Amharic pronunciation Tigre for Tigray shouldn't even be a consideration! I understand now why he might want to call the article Tigray-Tigrinya, because now I see the term Tigrinya is used on the Eritrean side for the same people... But since Tigrayan is more accurate than Tigray (<Tigrawee), maybe Tigrayan-Tigrinya would be better still? ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:57, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Tigray are Ethiopians from the northern Ethiopian province of Tigraya. Tigrinya is a language the people of Tigraya speak but it’s also used to refer to the Tigrinya speaking ethnic group in Eritrea. Nadeana 20:34, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I would question whether the combined term "Tigrayan-Tigrinya" is really used very often (and for that matter, whether Jenkins' website is very scholarly: "a greater distinction between their distinct ethnicities" is rather clumsy writing, to these eyes). However, I do agree that the combined term is more neutral. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 08:46, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I am wondering, though, if there is some root word "Tigr-" from which "Tigrinya" and "Tigray" are both derived (like "Amhara"->"Amharic," or "Angl-"->"Enlish," "England"). If so, then that root word seems the most neutral of all. Unless the root word is "Tigray" which, as pointed out, has other, Ethiopia-specific connotations. I'm not sure that hepled much -- Gyrofrog (talk) 16:05, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I think we have a case where there isn't any clear English convention, but we do have pretty good evidence after all of this discussion of what the conventions are within the Tigrinya-speaking communities themselves, with Tigrinya now being used in Eritrea for a people and not just a language. As Merhawie says, the word Tigray, whatever else it may sometimes mean in English, refers to a province in Ethiopia, which postdates the language and never encompassed the whole region where the language is spoken. I think this is a case where we should defer to the conventions within the community of speakers themselves; this would (hopefully) avoid offending anyone. And those conventions would lead us to refer to the ethnicity as Tigray/Tigrinya or Tigrayan/Tigrinya. Or (I hate to stir things up, but I guess we should be considering all possibilities), should there be separate articles for two different ethnicities that share a language? To take an extreme example, there is no Wikipedia article for the various English-speaking peoples around the world, even for those whose ancestors were English. -- MikeGasser (talk) 16:00, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I wondered about splitting the article, too. I notice that there are different articles for Arabic language dialects, but only one article, Arab, aout the people. There are no separate articles about, say, Moroccan Arabs and Syrian Arabs, though I am guessing that there may be more differences between those two than there are between Ethiopian Tigrayans and Eritrean Tigrinya. So, I'd still lean toward keeping the one article but maybe using the combined name. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 16:20, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree with your conclusion, but I'm not sure it has been conclusively shown that the name of the province Tigray "postdates the language". It still seems far more likely that Tigray is the oldest word, a name for the region where the people originated and subsequently spread out from. The name "Tigrinya" cannot be older than "Tigray", because it is formed from the word "Tigray" with a suffix -inya (normally used to denote a language). The other various nouns and adjective forms used to denote the ethnicity, like Tigrawee, Tigrawot, etc. are similarly formed by adding suffixes to "Tigray". ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 17:18, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Just to clarify: I didn't mean that the word Tigray postdated the language, only that the modern province itself did. I agree that the word Tigrinya must have come from Tigray (or some other similar word). In his book on the language, Leslau claims that the language name comes from the "region" name in fact (though he uses Tigré for this instead of Tigray). -- MikeGasser (talk) 19:53, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, the first known mention of a "Tigray" people is from an 8th-10th century manuscript explaining the Monumentum Adulitanum. According to Stuart Munro-Hay,

The 8th to 10th century manuscripts in which this inscription is preserved have some explanatory glosses about some of these names; thus Gaze apparently means the Aksumites, still called Agaze, the Siguene are the Suskinitai, the tribes near Adulis are called the Tigretes (the earliest mention of Tigray?)

I don't see how knowing this is helpful, however, seeing as the term is unused. It's obviously a triliteral t-g-r root, though.

To Yom: If the manuscript refers to a tribe living near Adulis then it was probably not referring to the "Tigray people" or to Tigray. The term "Tigretes" does not automatically translate into Tigray people or Tigray. It could have been ancestors of the Tigre, or even Tigrigna speaking peoples, not necessarily associated with the province of Tigray.

Yom 20:08, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Since no one has made any contributions to this page in a bit I thought that I would assess what has been said. Here is the list of people that have contributed to this conversation so far, and the way they seem to be leaning for the title:

  • Codex_Sinaiticus (combined)
  • Gyrofrog (combined)
  • Merhawie (separate/combined)
  • MikeGasser (separate/combined)
  • Nadeana (separate)
  • Yom (unified)

Its seems that the overriding preference is to maintain an article in reference to both groups (Tigrinya and Tigrayan) combined but to use a more neutral combined name such as Tigrayan-Tigrinya or Tigrinya-Tigrayan. So if there arent any concerns, I will change the name of this page to...."Tigrinya-Tigrayan" tomorrow afternoon.

Retrieved from ""

FOR some reason i find women from eritrea more beautiful than ethiopian women. maybe it's just me. anyone want to comment? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20:59, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

This talk page is for discussing improvements to the Tigray-Tigrinya people article. I suggest you find another forum for other types of discussion. Thanks, -- Gyrofrog (talk) 21:05, 20 April 2007 (UTC)


I. in Eritrea only

Region: Zoba Anseba, Eritrea and Zoba Gash-Barka, Eritrea (in general, spread throughout the country)
Language: Tigre
People: Tigre
Region: Zoba Ma'akel, Eritrea & Zoba Debub, Eritrea (in general, spread throughout the country)
Language: Tigrinya
People: "Tigrinya" in Eritrea

-Not to be confused with -

II - Ethiopia

Regions: Tigray, Ethiopia
Language: Tigrinya (or spelled Tigrigna)
People: "Tigrawee" (or Tigray) in Ethiopia

--ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:23, 31 March 2006 (UTC) Edited Merhawie 19:58, 31 March 2006 (UTC)


My understanding is that the Tigray are overwhelmingly Ethiopian Orthodox, with very few Muslims and very few converts to P'ent'ay among them (this may be completely different from Tigrinya speakers in Eritrea). However, this is based purely on hearsay. I am wondering if someone can cite a source that confirms or denies this, before we add such a statement to the article? -- Gyrofrog (talk) 18:04, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Probably 95% of all Tigré are Orthodox, with few Muslim (Jeberti in Eritrea) or P'en'tay converts. Someone just added it to their religion, though, but I'm not sure as to how many are Muslim in Eritrea (still very small, but not sure their extent), so I don't know whether to leave it or take it out. What's the usual cut-off % for including or excluding a religion in the info-box? (Yom, though I forgot to sign this)


I noticed this on accident, but when I copied and pasted the text from the old version of "Tigray people" to "Tigray-Tigrinya," the diff. of the two versions shows that Merhawie started changing the orders of Eritrea to come before Ethiopia. While I think alphabetical order and prominence should be more important (i.e. Eritrea, Ethiopia for popplace, but Ethio orthodox before Eri since more are members of the former), I don't want this to result in an edit war. The order it is in now seems to me to be fine, and I would posit that we simply leave it in this order and also the same order as when any additions are made, with the only exception where it clearly makes sense to put one in front of the other or in the case of a massive overhaul of the article, where it first explains Tigrays in Ethiopia and then Tigrinya in Eritrea (or vice-versa) and then the two groups as a whole. OTherwise, it would be best not to start an edit war over this and just leave the orders be.

Also, Merhawie, why did you remove the picture? You may object to it as he was the Emperor of Ethiopia, but he is a prominent Tigray-Tigrinya and an acceptable choice for a picture to represent the ethnic group (also it's very old so the copywright has expired).

On an unrelated note, should citations go outside of the period of the sentence or inside?

Yom 23:03, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Actually I looked at a few people articles (Kurds, Hausas, Igbos), and it seems that the popplace should be in order of population, so I'm going to put Ethiopia first again. Apparently it is the total number that is important and not the percentage, since Turkey comes before Iraq for Kurds, even though it's 15% of Iraq's population vs. 12.5% of Turkey's.

Yom 23:14, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I am the one who removed the picture, because Yohannes IV does NOT represent our ethnic group, he represents a political force which along with his chief cohort Alula Abanega committed genocide on our people in the late 19th century, like puttting up a picture of Hitler to represent German ethnicity, an absolutely disgusting choice. You couldn't find a better example of a picture like people wearing traditional costumes, playing krar and keboro and dancing around in a ring typical of the Tigrayan and Biher-Tigrigna? Even putting up an Axum monument would have been slightly inaccurate (since it is a legacy common to all Abyssinian peoples that predates the Biher-Tigrigna/Tigrayan ethnicity) but much less insensitive!

Do you have any evidence for this so called genocide against Tigrinya speaking peoples? If your referring to his persection of Jebertis, then I don't deny that, but there's a separate article for them, and it would very inappropriate to include a picture of him to represent Jebertis (since he was not Jeberti and persecuted them). Yohannes was, however, a prominent Tigray-Tigrinya being an Emperor. The picture box is for prominent members of the ethnic group, so people wearing traditional costumes and the like wouldn't do. More modern figures like Isayas and Meles are inappropriate by themselves as they don't represent both groups (whereas Yohannes lived before the separation of Eritrea, so can be said to represent the ethnic group as a whole). The ultimate goal is a composite image of famous people, however, so if you want to put Yohannes as the beginning of the list, followed by Meles and Isayas, then that's fine. Putting up a monument of Aksum is inappropriate for two reasons: one, it doesn't fulfill the purpose of the image box (to show a prominent member of the ethnic group), and two, it existed before Tigrinya existed as a language or Tigray/Tigrinya as an ethnic group (back when everyone spoke Ge'ez - the first mention of Tigray isn't until the 8th or 10th century as "Tigretes" – a tribe living near the coast). — ዮም (Yom) | contribsTalk 20:24, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Hitler did not committ genocide on Germans he committed genocide on Jews who are an unrelated people. So I guess using that kind of racist logic it would be entirely appropriate to put up Hitlers picture to represent Germans? "Emperor" Yohannes IV like many other "Emperors" before him CLAIMED to be ruler over many territories thereamong the areas populated by Tigrigna speakers in present day Eritrea. These territories were never effectively united under one Empire so the legitimacy of such a claim is in question. Precolonial Africa did not consist of nationstates with clear boundaries, it consisted of realms of influence which constantly changed. Resistance to Yohannes IV's rule was rife in many areas of his "Empire" thereamong the Tigrinya speaking region of present day Eritrea then known as Medri Bahri (in Abyssinia" Mereb Mellash or Bahr Negash), and this could be a possible explanation as to why he ended up betrayed in his own "Empire" to the Sudanese who decapitated his skull and still have it on display in the National Museum of Khartoum. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 14:16, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Who did Yohannes commit genocide on? Not on an ethnic group, though he certainly killed Muslims. Either way, he's the best example of a Tigrinya speaking person that we have, though I'm working on adding a couple more to make a horizontal picture reel. Who betrayed Yohannes to the Sudanese? No one did, he was just unlucky and hit by a lone sniper, otherwise the Battle of Metemma would have been won as the Sudanese were losing, it's just Yohannes's death that lead to the Ethiopian retreat. What does Yohannes's head have to do with anything, by the way? Eritrea has been a part of Ethiopia since time memorial, though, I don't know what you mean that it was never really under control. Rebellions have occurred in every part of the Empire before, but the time you're talking about, the Zemene Mesafint (1755-1855) is when the whole empire was weak and losely controlled by regents, while the Emperor was a figure head. Before and after the Empire was united. — ዮም (Yom) | contribsTalkE 16:54, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

"he's the best example of a Tigrinya speaking person that we have" you must be joking to say that,thats why berhanu chopped his head off,his old loyal jeberti commander till yohannes started butchering his fellow jeberti to please his fanatic priests.who ever said that only 5% of tigray are muslims are you people on drugs?just like tigrenya in eritrea is 50% of the population and are 100% christians.i cant believe some of you still get information from cia websites and produce it here claiming its the truth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yaya7 (talkcontribs) 05:09, 26 March 2008 (UTC)


1. A person from Tigray speaks Tigrigna (Tigrinya) and is a Tigrayan in English, or Tigraway (-way pronounced "why") for the masculine singular and Tigraweyti (-weyti pronounced as "weigh-tee") for the feminine singular or Tegaru ("tegah-roo" emphasis on "roo") for the plural in Tigrigna. I do not know where "Tigrawee" comes from (which language) but it is not a phonetic rendition of anything remotely Tigrigna nor does the suffix "-wee" make any sense in English.

2. As an Eritrean of the Tigrigna-speaking ethnicity I would like to inform you that our official definition as a people is Biher-Tigrigna NOT simply "Tigrigna". Biher-Tigrigna means roughly -the Tigrigna ethnicity-, Biher meaning ethnicity. Eritrea is home to nine "Biherat" (plural of Biher), nine ethnicities, one of which is the Biher-Tigrigna.

3. The prefix or title Biher is important when denoting Tigrigna speakers as opposed to our language because of the nature of the word Tigrigna itself. Since this word is taken directly from Tigrigna (the language) and is not an anglicised construct, it carries its own exact meaning according to the Tigrigna grammar which can not be confused with English words or constructs that apply equally to nation-states and languages (like the word "English" for example). Tigrigna is specifically a language not a people. To denote the Eritrean people who are its native speakers, start with the Tigrigna word for ethnicity which is "Biher".

Ex. I am Biher-Tigrigna and I speak Tigrigna.

4. Biher-Tigrigna is both a noun and an adjective, both singular and plural (but like "people" or "hair") is a singlar word which can denote plurality as well as singularity and it is applicable to both sexes: I am Biher-Tigrigna and so is she hence we belong to the Biher-Tigrigna which numbers about 2 million (my own guesstimate).

5. No other Eritrean ethnicities need to be adressed "Biher" other than for formalities sake, since their names do correspond with the name of their language. The Tigre people speak Tigre for example. The Tigre and the Beja contributed vicabulary to eachother's languages while Arabic influenced them both. But the Beja language is NOT an Agew language. Infact Beja is in an entirely different branch of the Cushitic language family than Agew. Beja is a North Cushitic language while Agew is Central Cushitic, just like Bilen (with whom you must have either the Tigre or Bilen mixed up).

I removed your comments from the top. One copy on the page is enough (if you want, you can move specific comments up there, too, but there's no need to reduplicate the whole commoent). I don't have time to comment on this fully right now, but let me say that I have an Eritrean friend who refers to his ethnicity as just Tigrinya and not Biher Tigrinya. Furthermore, keep in mind that this is an English article. We have to choose the name that is most used in English, and the name that we found most used (that identified the Biher Tigrinya component, instead of just "Tigray/Tigré") was "Tigray-Tigrinya people." Again, I'll respond in full in a few hours. — ዮም (Yom) | contribsTalk 16:53, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
For starters, no one disagrees with #1 or #5 (Codex Sinaiticus/Feqade was mistaken). With regards to #s 2 and 3, the official definition isn't what determines what we use for the English article. If you can find a citation of Biher Tigrinya instead of just "Tigrinya," then we can add that to the article for the Eritrean name for the ethnic group, but as I said before, my Eritrean friend didn't say anything about "Biher" when saying that the ethnic group in Eritrea was called Tigrinya. Biher means more "nation" than ethnicity, though. That's why you would say "biher" for land in Ge'ez (e.g. John ze-Bihere Doe - John of the land of Doe). It certainly makes more sense to have some sort of description in front of Tigrinya to distinguish between the language and ethnicity, though (btw, when was this ethnonym created? Why don't Tigrinya-speaking peoples in Eritrea refer to themselves as Tigraway/weyti or Tigaru?). Either way, you need a citation to show that "Biher" is used in conjunction. Still, it shouldn't go at the top of the infobox. I believe it's simply for the English name (or perhaps the native name, in which case it would say "Tigraway/Tigraweyti/Tegaru-Biher Tigrinya" or something like that - maybe "Tigaru-Biher Tigrinya"???) — ዮም (Yom) | contribsTalk 20:15, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

If official definitions do not determine what you use for the English article, what does? What your Eritrean friend told you? No offense to him or her or you but this "criteria" of yours seems a little flimsy at best. No one says "Ane Tigrigna iye" in Eritrea it is absurd, the correct way to refer to oneself is "ane biher Tigrigna iye". Indeed "Biher" is derived from the Ge'ez word for nation, and the original meaning of nation is not state, but an ethnically homogenous population (as in the Zulu nation who inhabit six states all in all). I am not sure when the term "Biher Tigrigna" was coined, but it was taught in school while under Ethiopian occupation (the nine ethnicities of Eritrea). I admit it is very "academical" and seldom used in an everyday context where expressions like "Hamasienai", "Seroetai" or "deqi khebesa" abound. This brings me to why the Biher-Tigrigna do not call ourselves Tegaru or Tigraway. It would be as inaccurate as calling someone from Tembien "Hamassienai". To be a "Tigraway" doesn't mean ethnicity or tribe to us, it means geography: to be a citizen of the province of Tigray, which we thankfully are not! {{subst:untitled2:15:46, 5 July 2006|}}

You haven't explained your recent changes. Until you find a better picture than Yohannes's it should stay up. "Biher-Tigrinya" isn't the name of the ethnic group in English or the ethnic group in Ethiopia, so it shouldn't be used. "Tigray-Tigrinya" is the most widely used name for the two peoples, aside from just Tigray/Tigrayan/Tigrean, which others have deemed offensive. I'll leave the "Biher-Tigrinya" for the name in Eritrea, but it still needs a site and a "fact" tag on it. The title of the page is not "Biher-Tigrinya," though, as that would simply be about Eritrean Tigrinya speakers. Why did you remove the part about traditionally descending from Menilek and Solomon? I'm pretty certain that exists in Eritrea too, as Menilek was supposed to have been born in Hamasien in Eritrea. Don't change the name of everything without getting consensus. As you see above, there has been a consensus for the current name. I'm not simply using what my Eritrean friend told me, but what I've also seen online and elsewhere. If you guys don't call yourself Tigraway, then I'll edit the article to show that only Tigrinya speakers in Tigray do that, but that doesn't mean that the whole article should be called Biher-Tigrinya. It's not what the official term in Eritrea is that matters, but what the most common English use is. Of course, the Eritrean official term should be noted, but not used throughout unless it is also the most common English term (Amarinya is the official term for the Amharic language in Ethiopia, but the name of the article here is Amharic language since that's the most common term in English). — ዮም (Yom) | contribsTalkE 16:54, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The language of Tigrinya and Tigray[edit]

Yom, you may know the answer but anyone else should go ahead if they know. How do the modern boundaries of the Tigray region of Ethiopia relate to the current distribution of Tigrinya speakers. Similarly how do the current boundaries of Tigray relate to the historical boundaries of Tigray. This may or may not clarify a sentence in the article text. --Merhawie 15:56, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, Tigray generally contains all of the Tigrinya speakers, but in the Northwest, like Welqayt, Tsegede, and Tselemti, the people are generally Amharic speakers and consider themselves Gonderes. The very far southern part of Tigray Region today includes some areas of Wello with Amharic speakers as well. Other than that, it's accurate. Historically, in the 20th century, the province excluded these lands, but included Afar lands to the east. In medieval times, the province size varied. It could include Seraye and Akkele Guzay (and rarely Hamasien), or not, but it never included Bur along the coast, or the Mitsiwa coast region (first Ma'ikele Bahr, later Bahr Negash lands). It really depends, because for some of the provinces mentioned, it's hard to tell if they were sub-regions of the province or separate provinces, like with Inderta, Seraye, etc. Bahr Negash/Ma'ikele Bahr was generally centered in Hamasien to the coast, but I think it might have included Seraye and Akkele Guzay, it's really hard to tell. It might have included Marya to the north (north of the Bilen), but I think that was a separate province in the 14th century. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 19:10, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Misconceptions about Jeberti[edit]

I've removed the two statements below regarding the Jebertis, as both are factually false. First off, Muslim Tigrinya speakers (whatever that means) aren't called Biher-Tigrinya as that is insulting to their heritage. Plus they aren't unofficially known as Jebertis. They have ALWAYS been known as Jebertis; and have a long and distinct history that began with the arrival of the companions of Prophet Muhammad to Abyssinia. They were named Jebertis by the Prophet himself (see main Jeberti article) and remained so for more than 1400+ years. There are many Jebertis who lived throughout this time and were known distinctly as Jebertis. One such example of this is the great Egyptian historian Al-Jabarti (meaning the one who is a Jeberti), who was of Jeberti descent. The inclusion of Jebertis is a conspiracy by the government of Eritrea (GOE) to boost the number of Tigrinya Christians. The Tigrinya has always been used to identify Tigrinya-speaking Christians. By adding the Jebertis into the fold, the GOE is then able to maintain the religious balance of 50% Muslims-50% Christians in the country. By count the Jebertis as Muslim on the sole basis of linguistical affiliation, the government is able to claim clamp down on the Muslims and deny them their rights (such as the right to learn their OTHER LANGUAGE Arabic)! The two statements that I removed are:

"In Eritrea, officially, any ethnic Tigrinya is known as Bihér-Tigrinya regardless of their religion."

"In Eritrea, Muslim speakers of Tigrinya are known unofficially as Jebertis."

More info can be found on this site [

Jeberti as an ethnic group] 05:52, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Strictly speaking to be a "nationality" you must have a different history. Both Christian and Muslim Tigrinya have the same history. To be a separate ethnic group their ethnicity must be different (e.g. Tigre and Tigrinya), however, as far as all my research shows, they do not fit this definition. In short, a different religion is not enough to be recognized as a separate ethnic or national group (e.g. there are both Christian and Muslim Tigre).
As to your statement about the government of Eritrea, it is important to note that there is no religious classification given to each ethnic group. Finally, the last approximation of religious groups in Eritrea I have seen said something to the effect that neither major religious grouping (Muslim or Chrisitan) accounts for 50% of the population, both are at least 5% shy. Merhawie 17:38, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Anyway there should be a subsection about Muslim Tigray-Tigrinya...Merhawie 23:40, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

"MPlease it is time for as Tigreans and Eritreans to come together like our glorious ancestors of Axum and Adulis! What would Aste Yohanes, Alula Aba Nega, Ras Weldemicheal and Bahri Negash say when their sons and daughters of Tigray-Tigrigna fighting over worthless things. This entire problem has arisen from the mistakes of Amhara War lords who sold Eritrea to Italians dividing the mighty People of Tigray-Tigrigna in to two. Badme belongs to both people of Tigray and Eritrea.[(Tigreans=Eritreans)- --->Tigray-Tigrigna] Alitena, Tesorona, Zalambesa and the HOLE OF TIGRAY AND ERITREA BELONG TO THE PEOPLE OF TIGRAY-TIGRIGNA!!! So please it is time for us to come to realize our past that we are one people and join hand with hand to unite our divided people in to one! Peace to the People of Tigray and Eritrea! We are one! Let's stop the hatred for we are hating ourselves and our great ancestors of Axum and Adulis. This message is directed to both peoples of Tigray and Eritrea (That is to Tigray-Tigrigna for we are the same! The time has come to realize our destiny as one people.LONG LIVE PEOPLE OF TIGRAY-TIGRIGNA!!!" —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 00:46, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

You have got to be kidding me. Mesfin 13:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

"related groups" info removed from infobox[edit]

For dedicated editors of this page: The "Related Groups" info was removed from all {{Infobox Ethnic group}} infoboxes. Comments may be left on the Ethnic groups talk page. Ling.Nut 17:00, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

image of Tigrinya woman[edit]

Would you say the image at the bottom right of this page: represents correctly a typical Tigrinya woman?

No, that woman is Bilen (you can tell b/c she has a nose ring and is from Keren), or perhaps Tigre. If you mean physically, though, then there isn't really much difference between a Tigrinya, Tigre, or Bilen woman. Culturally, though, a Tigrinya woman won't have any nose piercing and may have Christian tattoos on her face or neck. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 01:00, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Moved comments from article[edit]

I have moved the following comments from the article space. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 16:32, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

"It looks there are alot of wrong information on this content about TIGRAY. So readers should check the information on other related sites befor they tack this info as a reference"—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:24, 5 February 2008

Ancient Axumite rulers spoke Geez and fled to Shoa-Amhara in 900 AD[edit]

Axum, or Aksum, is a city in northern Ethiopia named after the Kingdom of Aksum, a naval and trading power that ruled from the region ca. 1000 BC into the 10th century. The kingdom was occasionally referred to in medieval writings as "Ethiopia".

Located in the Mehakelegnaw Zone of the Tigray Region near the base of the Adwa mountains, the city has an elevation of 2,130 metres. It was the centre of the (eventual) Christian marine trading power the Aksumite Kingdom, which predated the earliest mentions in Roman era writings (around the time of the birth of Jesus) in good correlation to the expansion of Rome into northern Africa, and later when it developed into the Christian kingdom, was a quasi-ally of Byzantium against the day's Persian Empire. The historical record is unclear, primary sources being in the main limited to ancient church records. There are no evidences that Axumites considered themselves as Tigres or Tigreans. They spoke the ancient language of Ethiopia and Eritrea called "Ge'ez" and also Classical Greek. Therefore we must realize that Axum was an independent State which was certainly culturally and ethnically not "Tigrean" but rather cosmopolitic.

It is believed it began a long slow decline after the 7th century due partly to Islamic groups contesting trade routes. Eventually Aksum was cut off from its principal markets in Alexandria, Byzantium and Southern Europe and its trade share was captured by Arab traders of the era. The Kingdom of Aksum also quarreled with Islamic groups over religion. Eventually the people of Aksum were forced south into Shoa and their civilization declined. As the kingdom's power declined so did the influence of the city, which is believed to have lost population in the decline similar to Rome and other cities thrust away from the flow of world events. The last known (nominal) king to reign was crowned ca. 10th century, but the kingdom's influence and power ended long before that.

Its decline in population and trade then contributed to the shift of the power centre of the Ethiopian Empire so that it moved further inland and bequeathed its alternative place name (Ethiopia) to the region, and eventually, the modern state. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Infobox Images for Ethnic Groups[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ethnic groups#Infobox Images for Ethnic Groups. Gyrofrog (talk) 18:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC) (Using {{Please see}}) -- Gyrofrog (talk) 18:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC)