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General Thanks[edit]

To everyone who has helped put together this Wiki article. I've been trying to suss out some Amharic grammer rules for years. This discussion is helping me a LOT.


Don't those Abugida symbols have Unicode equivalents? I don not think we can ask every Wikipedia user to install the extra font to be able to read the fidels. On a sidenote, I have been adding the Noun and Adjective sections today (more is to come), using Latin transcription. mark 17:58, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The table does use the Unicode encoding. Perhaps I can additionally generate a graphics version. --Pjacobi 19:10, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It does indeed use the Unicode encoding, I asked the wrong question. What I mean is that people still have to download the GF Zemen font to be able to view the fidels, which I think is bad. If these symbols are not included in Arial Unicode or Lucida Unicode, the fonts most people have, then it would probably be a good idea to generate a graphics version. mark 22:43, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Not sure I'm interpreting the discussion correctly, but I do hope that the Unicode fidel table will remain in place, even if an alternative image-based version is added. I think it's a disservice to the language to propagate non-textual representations exclusively.

--babbage 05:01, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I concur. I should be an addition; the present table is very nice if you actually have installed the font. mark 11:52, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It is more than likely a more common font can be added in the table (style="font-family:XXX") to show them.
On a totally unrelated subject, can someboduy cross-check the sounds section with other sources? omniglot and Patterns of SOunds both list quite different phonemes than the article... --Circeus 22:40, Jan 10, 2005 (UTC)
I fixed the IPA symbols in the palatal series. These now agree with other sources (and with what I used on the Tigrinya page). By the way, there are many mistakes in the Omniglot Amharic text transcriptions. -- MikeGasser (talk) 22:10, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Ethiotrans - moved out for discussion[edit]

Recently, a whole paragraph on a supposedly significant translation company was added to the article:

Ethiotrans is the first Ethiopian company who is offering the localization and translation services in various African/Ethiopian languages. You can see the list of languages what Ethiotrans is offering by going its web site . Also Ethiotrans is the first company to sale an Amharic keyboard which allows the user to learn the Amharic letter while learning how to write. You can see the Amharic keyboard at this location

To me, it sounds too much like advertising paired with an attempt to Googlebomb (see also Ethiotrans). What do others think? — mark 10:49, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Deleted. --Golbez 01:23, May 19, 2005 (UTC)
Very good! — mark 08:27, 19 May 2005 (UTC)


Great news for all wikipedians who speak Amharic -- the Amharic wiki is now ready for development with a brand new Amharic language interface! If you haven't visited in a while, come check it!

Regards, Codex Sinaiticus 23:07, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Update - Amharic wiki had the fastest article growth rate of all 217 wikipedias for the month of August, jumping from 5 articles on Aug 1, to 35 on Sep 1. (See multilingual statistics).

September kind of slowed down considerably, looks like our count for Oct 1 is going to be 45.

If you write Amharic, come and contribute some articles, and if you know anyone else who does, get them to spread the word! Codex Sinaiticus 23:26, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

    • Update - Good news for all Amharic speakers! Someone has finally found the programs that solved the problem of how to type and edit ፊደል directly into the wiki edit box, instead of having to cut-and-paste it from another program like we've been doing! See the am:Help:Contents page for details (I am using Anykey with Firefox method)... This should speed things up considerably! We are cuurently at 284 encyclopedia articles... Spread the word! ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 18:07, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Traditional order[edit]

I don't understand why the fidäl chart is brought not under the traditional order. The grouping of similar consonant is already made (though, not ideally, IMO) in the consonants chart. Yhever 18:19, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Why doesn't anybody respond? I think that writing "not in tradition order" above the chart is still no explanation to the reasons of doing so. There is no point in grouping the letters "by manner of articulation", if that has already been done in the phonemic chart.
Should I change it myself? Yhever 23:06, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree that traditional (ha-pe) order would be infinitely more appropriate. I have been meaning to get around to changing it too, but haven't yet, so I just put "not in traditional order" for the time being! Codex Sinaiticus 23:26, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
I am glad to hear. I'll get to it shortly. Yhever 22:43, 8 October 2005 (UTC)


Well, I did as I promised and changed the chart to be "in traditional order".

Next thing I think should be changed is the transcription to be phonemic and according to common usage among éthiopisants; that is: č instead of c, ǧ instead of ɟ, y instead of j, š instead of ʃ, ž instead of ʒ and ň instead of ɲ. Nevertheless, the usage of an apostrophe instead of a subscript dot may be more convenient typographically. I think that ts' is neither clear for marking a single phoneme nor correct phonetically. This can be replaced by or s' . I am aware that the symbols I have suggested are not according to IPA, but they are more convenient and standard (as in the transcriptions of both Wolf Leslau and Thomas L. Kane's dictionaries; they also use q for k').

Please note that a similar decision was made in the transcription of vowels. The upper table shows the phonemic symbols whereas the lower table shows the symbols of several allophones. Yhever 13:04, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

I suggest dropping (x) from the transcription for letter ኸ because in modern Amharic it is pronounced identical to, and indeed in spelling is interchangeable with, the sounds represented by ሀ, ሐ, and ኀ. These four letters may have been distinguished once in the distant past, cf. Arabic and Hebrew; but in modern Amharic, all four have quite the same consonantal sound, and may all be interchanged in spelling.
On another note, I have trouble seeing some "phonetic" letters on my computer, they look like little squares; this includes these letters in the above paragraph (copying and pasting, they all look like squares to me): ǧ ɟ ʃ ʒ ɲ ṣ ... I have this pronblem with a lot of articles that use phonetic transcriptions... Whereas these ones show up just fine: č š ž ň Anyone know a remedy? Cheers, Codex Sinaiticus 13:21, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Is this better? : ǧ ɟ ʃ ʒ ɲ ṣ . You're probably using Internet Explorer, which is not completely Unicode compliant. Alternatively, you lack a proper Unicode font like Arial Unicode MS. The solution is often to use the {{IPA}} template for phonetic transcriptions that make use of IPA (hit edit to see what I did to the sequence you gave). The ones that show up just fine are encoded in a lower, more common Unicode range and hence are displayed without problems on most systems. — mark 13:35, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I am using IE... They all show up now, except for the last one, that one now looks like a slightly smaller square... But now I know what to do to fix the problem on articles with IPA I can't read! Thank you thank you! Codex Sinaiticus 14:37, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Back to Codex Siniaticus' point about 'x', you're right about the fact that the 'h' letters are interchangeable with ኸ (as for the pronunciation, I'm not sure). On the other hand, I think that there is a phonemic difference between x and h.
h is not compatible with the first order vowel (ä) which is pronounced the same as the fourth order vowel (a) after it (e.g. halafi "responsible" and not hälafi). This 'h' is sometimes in variation with nothing, as in: həlm/əlm "dream", hamsa/amsa "fifty", etc.
'x', on the contrary, is compatible with the first order vowel: e.g. ayyäxäw (which might be pronounced [ayyähäw]) "you saw him", and is related to the phoneme k as in: honä "he was, became" vs. akkwahwan "manner of being, condition". The syllable / can only be written with ኸ, since the first order of the other 'h' letters has the vowel a. Yhever 17:47, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
You're right in that when the following vowel is ä, only ኸ can be used, as in አየኸው "you saw him", because the first form in all the other h's happens to share the vowel of the fourth form. But I would disagree that this indicates any different consonant "x" as opposed to "h". If you take off the "him" part, you have "'ayyeh" (Did you see?) which is normally written አየህ, but could conceivably even appear as አየሕ or አየኅ alongside አየኽ, and still be correct. No matter what letter is used, the "h" can always be pronounced more roughly aspirated, or not - I presume that's what the "x" is supposed to indicate. But the only thing different about ኸ is the fact that it is the only H letter that can be used to write with the -ä vowel. The consonantal value is identical to ሀ, ሐ, and ኀ, all of which can range anywhere from normal h, to a more aspirate x. If anything, it is ሐ that tends to be read more aspirate than the others, not ኸ, but it's really a matter of personal affectation how much to aspirate or not aspirate the h sound, and has little to do with which letter is used in spelling. And you're right, often enough initial h- can coexist alongside another spelling with initial ' , as in hagär / 'agär. With regards, Codex Sinaiticus 22:15, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, I didn't intend to make such a big deal out of it, though it is probably my fault. You're absolutely right about orthographical conventions in Amharic, but I was referring not to the way things are written (or pronounced, for that matter), but to the phonological analysis of the phonemes represented by the four different 'h' letters. The 2nd person suffix of the verb is made of such a phoneme that when followed by the vowel 'ä' appears as ኸ, whereas the first syllable of the word halafi which is in the same pattern as säbari apears as ሃ/ሀ/ሐ/ሓ/ኀ/ኃ (and probably not with ኻ) i.e. 'ha'. My point was that the different behaviour of these 'h'-s (out of which only the second varies with nothing as in: ሀገር/አገር ሀምሳ/አምሳ, etc.) points to two different elements; The first I mark with 'x' (as it is historically related to 'k', and also interchanges with 'k' in the current language, as in the example I gave of: hedä : askedä; käbbädä : yä-häbbädä in some dialects, etc.) and the second one I mark with 'h'. Only the first one has to be written with ኸ when followed by the vowel 'ä'.
Nevertheless, it may be convenient to leave out this whole issue from the presentation of the letters... Yhever 00:48, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
As a matter of fact, you certainly can write halafi as ኻላፊ alongside the other six variants, because it is precisely the same sound. The only way ኸ is "historically related" to k, is in the fact that it is indeed really just the letter for k (ከ) with a bar added to the top. Aside from that, as you seem to agree that it makes no difference in either pronunciation or spelling fronm the other h's, I don't think it's particularly enlightening to present that letter as representing "x" (which most people apart from linguists would misunderstand anyway) on the basis of "phonology" (whatever that is - I mean if it's not relevant to spelling or pronunciation, what exactly is it anyway?) I know we are belabouring a very petty point here, but I look forward to the day when the learning of Amharic will not purposefully be made to appear so much more intimidating than it really is, with just this kind of thing... With regards, Codex Sinaiticus 01:17, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
You are persistently avoiding the evidence. I never said that halafi cannot be written with ኻ, I only mentioned that it is not the normal way of writing it (which is what I meant by: "probably not"). If you wish you can look at the examples I gave you and see that there are two kinds of 'h'-s even though they are pronounced the same and written mostly the same. The difference comes from the behaviour of surrounding vowels, and the interchangeability with nothing for one 'h' and with 'k' for the other one.
I agree that this whole issue may be too complicated, and not in place in the chart of letters, so let's delete this 'x'.
And back to my original question: The transcription right now is not consistent throughout the article. Now, what do you think about my suggestion to change it to be the same as in Wolf Leslau's dictionary and in Thomas L. Kane's dictionary? Yhever 17:51, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I just added the correspondences between IPA and the transcription conventions. I think the IPA symbols should remain in the phoneme charts, whatever system of transcription is used elsewhere in the article. By the way, the transcription is still not consistent (there are two different palatal nasal consonants used, for example). Personally, I'd be in favor of switching completely from Leslau's system (adopted unfortunately by Kane), with its cumbersome use of non-standard characters for the two most common vowels (not to mention confusing use of schwa) to one more like the standard adopted by the mapping authorities in Ethiopia. And not all éthiopisants use this system either. Just my preference. But I'm new here... Mike 03:59, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with how things are handled by the mapping authorities in Ethiopia, so could you elaborate? Among linguists, Leslau's system is the most common and that is why it is used here at present. But I think it's a good idea to give other systems some consideration. — mark 10:05, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
It's true that Leslau's system is the most common among linguists (as much as I dislike it, I used it myself once in a paper, bowing to convention), but it's not familiar at all to native-speaking non-linguists, and the question is what will be the most useful for Wikipedia users, many of whom will not be linguists (let alone Ethiopianists). I'm not sure when this actually happened, but at some point the mapping authorities in Ethiopia adopted a system by which the vowels (in traditional order) were represented by /e/, /u/, /ī/, /a/, /ē/, /i/, /o/. This has the advantage that diacritics are not needed for the most common vowels. In any case, I think the important thing is to agree on a single convention for this page which can be used for other Ethio-Semitic languages. I'd like to start working on the Tigrinya page, for example (it's just a stub now). Oh, by the way, the IPA symbols for the "palatal plosives" are not right. Like the corresponding English consonants, these are really post-alveolar or alveo-palatal affricates, and the symbols should be /ʧ/, /ʤ/, and something like /ʧˈ/ for the ejective. Note that I'm not arguing these symbols (or the other IPA symbols) be used throughout the article, just fixed in the table. Mike Gasser 15:22, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, I just came across Mustafaa's excellent page for Soddo, which also uses Leslau's system. (Soddo phonetics/phonology is very close to Amharic.) So I give up. I'll use this for the Tigrinya page as well. But should we use ň or ñ (as currently in amarəñña at the top of the page) for the palatal n? Even though it's not strictly part of Leslau's system, the latter has the advantage that it's more likely to be familiar to people from Spanish. — Mike Gasser 19:00, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree, it should be changed to ñ throughout since it's the exact same sound and a much more familiar sign, instead of the funny looking sign that looks like a n with a long tail on the left end, that if I didn't know better, might assume was -ng- ... ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 19:13, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

There are still several mistakes and inconsistencies left in the transcription of words. Just to name a few: əgr-äɲɲa (əgr-äñña; I assume this one is agreed), ŝəmagəlle (šəmagəlle), ŝärär-it (šärär-it), c'əkkan-e (č'əkkan-e), etc. I also think that it is better to write geminated consonants doubled and not with ":" as in: bärr-äɲ:a (bärr-äñña) -- anyhow, the system should be consistent. Is it ok for me to correct these errors? yhever 22:24, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with all those changes. By the way, sorry to mess with your post, but I had to see what symbols were being used, as they won't show up on this browser otherwise... Cheers, ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 22:33, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I have made these changes. I'm sorry for messing up this talk page... I mistakenly saved the changes I've made to the main article in the talk page, but I've reverted the changes. Anyhow, I'm glad that's over -- now I can move on to some aspects of the grammatical description that I hope to improve. yhever 03:55, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Someone named Dbachmann has changed the transcription of ሐ from h to , and the transcription of ኀ from h to . We have had earlier an argument over h and x, but I assume that everyone here agrees that ሀ, ሐ and ኀ are pronounced the same in Amharic. It may be added that historically these letters had different values in Ge'ez, and add a pointer to Ge'ez alphabet. Is it OK for me to revert these changes? yhever 15:21, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Please revert. Thanks. -- MikeGasser (talk) 17:14, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

inconsistent transcription?[edit]

The trascription throughout the article seems non-consistent, if I understand correctly, the "Consonant and vowel phonemes" paragraph present an IPA table, where alternative symbols are presented in parathesis (such as: " j (y), tʃ (č), ə (ä) " ), but then the article goes on using these symbols: making the examples unclear: ie: Liju tegn-tual. is the 'j' here the IPA /j/ ? otherwise it's undefined in the table then, 'əgr-äñña' is presented as 'pedestrian' which transcript system is used in the article are where is it stated / defined? thanks.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:01, 29 December 2011 (UTC)


Is there a good academic Amharic-English dictionary? On amazon.con i only find one paperback dictionary and it is out-of-print ... Isn't there some serious dictionary, like "Oxford's Amharic" or something like that?--Amir E. Aharoni 22:13, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

The most extensive one, coming in at a good 2300 pages in two volumes, is Thomas L. Kane's (1990) Amharic-English Dictionary. A lot of it, however, consists of a compilation of various older dictionaries (including Guidi's 1901 Amarico-Italiano, a French one, and Armbruster's 1908 E-A and A-E vocabularies). It may be the most complete, but it includes many archaisms and neologisms. The best one, to me at least, is still Wolf Leslau's (1976) Concise Amharic Dictionary. Both A-E and E-A in 538 pages, in the same transcription as his Reference Grammar. The lemmas are concise, but reliable. As for the pocket version, you may have been looking at Amsalu & Mosback (1973), only English-Amharic. The back cover says that they have been teaching Amharic for about twenty years, yet they didn't consider it necessary to include sample sentences, which makes it virtually unusable unless you already know Amharic in which case you wouldn't need it anyway. Hope this helps! — mark 13:04, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
Amsalu also did a Amharic-English companion volume, but it may be harder to find... my copy is so weathered, I can't even tell you the date, but I can tell you that Dr. Amsalu is still perhaps the world's foremost authority! Codex Sinaiticus 15:17, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
I probably got carried away; that particular dictionary just isn't very helpful but I didn't mean that as a comment on Amsalu's expertise. Though Leslau, I think, also qualifies for the title of foremost authority. — mark 20:19, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Amharic Input[edit]

Is it possible to input Amharic using the keyboard on Windows XP or Linux? I'm starting to study Amharic in the university soon. I'm already able to read it on-screen using GF Zemen, but it would be nice to have the option to print out my homework.--Amir E. Aharoni 08:04, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

For Windows you can use Tavultesoft's Keyman Desktop Ethiopic keyboards (the Ethiopic keyboard layouts are in: [1]). In Linux, you can use SCIM. They are both based on an input method in which you press the consonant and then the vowel and get the corresponding Ethiopic letter. Yhever 18:04, 1 November 2005 (UTC)


Does anyone know where I can download a font that will let me see the Amharic characters in the article?

Theshibboleth 07:19, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

i got this file and put into the font folder. windows XP said "installing...". internet explorer 7 still doesn't show the letters on the article (ecoding unicode-utf8) what am i doing wrong? (that is except of not using capital letters) --itaj 01:11, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I have the identical issue. I am trying to learn Amharic and would fine these articles much more useful if I could see the font correctly. One thing I noticed is that when I open the gfzemenu.ttf file, I get a bunch of rows of "The quick brown fox..." in english letters. I see no Ge'ez text. -- Roger S. 19:39, 31, January 2007 (CST)
You're not supposed to open the file. You're supposed to put it in your fonts folder. I.e., if you use windows, in C:\Windows\Fonts\. Putting it there will instantly install it, and you should be able to see the font on your web browser. It may require a restart of the browser, however. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 02:57, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
i did that, at the time, it didn't work. i got some answers here talk:ge'ez alphabet#font nonsense, but none helped either. finally, in internet options (windows XP control panel), there's a "fonts" button, had to change the etheiopic font to "gf zemen" (choosing ethiopic in the language, then gf zemen font). this should be explained somewhere for miserable users not to go through what i have. --itaj 02:47, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
[2] has a nice UTF-8 codeset which shows Amharic nicely (TTF). Just download and install (windows: ctrl-panel/fonts) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:30, 17 May 2008 (UTC)


"ch" is not a plosive[edit]

It may be misleading to put [ʧ](č) in the plosive row. It's not a plosive, it's an affricate. --Adolar von Csobánka (Talk) 23:11, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

There are two types of "ch"s in Amharic, a non-plosive ቸ, and a plosive (explosive) version, ጨ. I'm not sure if that's the correct terminology to refer to the second word, but it's definitely similar to the other plosives. Yom 23:34, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
I see it from the table that there are two ʧ-s, one normal and one ejective, but the IPA-symbols suggest that only the airstream mechanism is different, and they are both affricates. The voiceless palatal plosive has a different IPA-symbol ([c]). Sound sample (voiceless palatal plosive)
Of course it's possible that someone had mixed up the IPA-symbols. I can't speak Amharic so I can't tell you whether they are correct (or not). --Adolar von Csobánka (Talk) 00:47, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Both are affricates. There is no palatal plosive [c] in the language. I'll fix it in the table (I forgot to move the non-ejective symbols out of plosive when I edited this awhile back). -- MikeG (talk) 02:33, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Wikijunior Wikibook[edit]

Hi, Wikibooks:Wikijunior_Languages is the current collaboration. In order to round it out and reduce systemic bias, it would be nice to cover at least one common African language. Can someone go there and add Amharic? It would take probably 10 minutes, as it is meant as an overview for children. Sound samples would be icing on the cake. Thanks a lot. - Taxman Talk 01:03, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Fidel and Abugida[edit]

The second paragraph says the writing system is _called_ fidel or abugida. It's called Amharic, Ethiopic, or Ge'ez. It's an example of an abugida. I hadn't heard "fidel" before. (I don't feel qualified to make this change myself, in terms of keeping the article in Wikipedia format, because "fidel" shows up later in the article too.)

Isn't A-Bu-Gi-Da... just a system to sort the characters? The other one would be Ha-Le-Ha... The writing system is called "fidel" in Amharic. I don't know if this is true for the other languages using it. --Tiqur Anbessa 22:09, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
This is a typical problem caused by modern linguists stealing an Ethiopian word meaning "ABC" (Abugida). and applying it to a whole class of writing systems including Brahmic, then they seem to forget where they stole the word from, and question whether Ge'ez (the original to be called "Abugida") has any real right to be called this, according to their new definition, which has by now become confused. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 12:45, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for this piece of information! I've found this out just rather recently... --Tiqur Anbessa 16:56, 1 December 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone know the history of the Amharic language--specifically, when it replaced Ge'ez as the primary language in Ethiopia? nmw 22:13, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Wow i just came here to add this same question. Amharic was a royal language which replace Ge'ez. The language filtered and became the lingua franca of the people. but because i only know this from oral sources i cant add it. I cant recal when this happened I mean the fading of Ge'ez. Ask Yom he knows many things.--Halaqah 03:33, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

That is exactly what I have heard consistently from oral sources too. I know I have also seen it in written sources; I believe it may be documented in Wax and Gold by Donald Levine, if you can find it. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 12:41, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Ge'ez was the official language basically until the 19th century. The language of the court was basically Amharic for most of the Solomonic dynasty, but it was always Ge'ez that was written. In the 18th century the court language became Oromo with Iyoas I, and remained Oromo during the hegemony of the Yejju (1779-1855; not sure if it was Tigrinya during Mikael Sehul's regency of the 18th c.). Ge'ez probably ceased to be spoken in the 6th-9th century, though. Amharic is putatively a descendent of Ge'ez, but more likely split around the 4th century from Ge'ez by way of a sister language or some dialect(s) of Ge'ez. Of course, the date at which you define the language as Amharic and no longer Ge'ez is also arbitrary, so the dates can vary. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 17:26, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
You just contradicted yourself. It is correct that the slide from Ge'ez into Amharic is imperceptible and gradual, and very well documented much like Anglo-Saxon into English. The "sister language" thing is a theory of some modern day revisionists for which there is no shred of documentation or evidence, and I'm rather surprised to see you giving it any mention. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 17:31, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Where's the contradiction? The change from one language to another is almost always gradual (excepting pidginization/creolization), but the usual date for considering the dialect/cluster of dialects being a separate language from Ge'ez is generally in Late antiquity or the early medieval period. This time period is not at all well-documented, actually. We have very few inscriptions and texts, limited to those of Kaleb of the 6th c., Hatsani Dani'el of the 7-9th century (probably 9th c. but uncertain), and a few biblical texts from Abba Gerima (Garima) dating to the early medieval or late Aksumite period (with a mention in the colophons of Armaho - probably Armah) and a few small short inscriptions. All of these texts are unequivocally Ge'ez and do not show the evolution into Amharic that you claim. In fact, we don't find any clearly Amharic words until the 14th century, with the Soldiers' Songs of Amda Seyon I, which are in fully developed Old Amharic. We don't, however, have any evidence of the evolution of Amharic between it and earlier Ge'ez texts. Old Amharic words and names continue to appear throughout the years, especially in soldiers' songses (fully in Old Amharic), colophons, and magic scrolls. If it is this gradual increased usage of Amharic that you are referring to when you say that the "slide from Ge'ez into Amharic is [...] very well documented," then you are mistaken, as the Soldiers' Songs of Amda Seyon are clearly those of a full-developed (Old) Amharic language. As for the sister language theory vs. dialects, vs. multiple dialects, what is called a language is arbitrary. I was simply noting it as a possibility since linguists have considered it. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 01:11, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
If you can get a chance, please look at the info in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article "Semitic languages", it describes a gradual transition of texts in the yearly chronicles and other government and court records over the centuries, being written in a mixture of Geez and increasingly Amharic words. From what I have seen of the language of the Fetha Negest, this indeed seems to be accurate. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 01:41, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm aware of the increased usage of Amharic words over the years in Ge'ez chronicles, but it's not the evolution of Ge'ez into Amharic right before our eyes. I'd guess it was a result of an increasingly smaller population that fully spoke and understood Ge'ez, but whatever the reason, Old Amharic was a fully developed language separate from Ge'ez by the 14th century and almost certainly earlier. The Amharic used in the 4 Solders' Songs from Amda Seyon's time were not mixes of Amharic and Ge'ez but pure Old Amharic. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 02:06, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
The reason why you find so many Amharic words in Ge'ez texts of the Middle Ages is the fact that a) Ge'ez wasn't any more a spoken language at that time but the language of scholarship (it had a role may be comparable to that of Latin in Europe); b) the authors of those texts were in most cases Amharic mother tounge speakers and especially in the chronicles they had to use Amharic words for items, offices etc. which originate in the language of the court, which was Amharic (lesane negus) (cf. Manfred Kropp.1986. Arabisch-äthiopische Übersetzungstechniken am Beispiel der Zena Ayhud (Yosippom) und des Terikä Wäldä-‘Amid. In: ZDMG 136. 314-346.). Driss 09:47, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

I heard first hand from Entoto Musuem that Amharic was a royal language only used by the court, as a political leverage to seperate royal from everyday people. Is there any validity to this?--HalaTruth(ሀላካሕ) 19:05, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Isn't Amharic one of the oldest languages in the world that is still in use? I believe there should be a more thorough section on the history of this language. This article deals only with the mechanics of the language. (talk) 19:35, 16 February 2009 (UTC)


Is Amharic written left to right like most languages? Or right to left like Arabic and Hebrew? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:19, 21 December 2006 (UTC).

Left to right. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 00:55, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Number of speakers[edit]

I wonder where the number of 27 million mother tongue speakers do come from? Both Ethnologue and the data of the census don’t give that number. Driss 20:22, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

It's from the approximately 24-5 million speakers in Ethiopia (~32% of the population from 1994 census) plus the 2 million speakers in the diaspora (I found this in another article and can't speak as to its veracity). We should be getting new numbers in the next couple months as a new census has just gotten underway. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 21:16, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Help with translation[edit]

I'm currently working on a system intended to create short articles on political parties on a variety of wikipedias simultaneously. However, in order for the technique to work I need help with translations to various languages. If you know Amharic, please help me by filling out blanks at User:Soman/Lang-Help-am. Thanks, --Soman 21:36, 1 July 2007 (UTC)


What is the stress assignment in Amharic? Specifically, I'm wondering where the stress is in abugida, but this is something that should be covered here in any case. — kwami (talk) 07:07, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

From glancing at the literature, it seems like no one has this figured out. Leslau's (1995) grammar says it's "almost even distribution of stress on each syllable", but also notes that final syllables aren't usually stressed & that stress placement depends on number of syllables and the positioning of geminates. Rose & King (2007; available at say speakers consistently stress the 1st syllable in 4-syllable nonsense strings, so there's probably some pattern there.--WmGB (talk) 21:05, 21 March 2010 (UTC)


I have been writing the Dutch article on the singer/dancer Minyeshu Kifle Tedla. Would someone be able to write her name in Amharic letters? Thank you, LeRoc (talk) 21:08, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

According to her website ( it is written like this: ምንይሹ. So you should change the second letter from ነ to ን.Driss (talk) 16:39, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Needed in article[edit]

Very important: where did the Amharic language come from, from which earlier languages was it derived, how and when (and from where) did Semitic languages come to Africa (as most Semitic languages are from West Asia), and when was it first spoken in Ethiopia? And which earlier languages did it displace? Badagnani (talk) 22:48, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Actually, most Semitic languages are in Ethiopia and its not entirely certain whether Semitic languages moved from Asia to Africa or from Africa to Asia. After all, all the other Afro-Asiatic language families are in North Africa and not in Asia. At some point, Semitic had to have moved into Asia, not out of Asia. (Taivo (talk) 23:41, 9 December 2008 (UTC))

I see:

Badagnani (talk) 23:44, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

What is " Chuchan" in english?  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:29, 30 June 2009 (UTC) 

how to speak amharic lanuague —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:14, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Transliteration of Amharic[edit]

I think that, beside the Amharic alphabet, also some words about its transliteration is necessary. Maybe somebody can integrate article on Amharic language with this information. There is no official transliteration of Amharic. The most widely accepted —from the phonological point of view— is the EAE Transliteration system, developed by ENCYCLOPAEDIA AETHIOPICA ( It is the most appropriate for the written text. It almost superseded the transliteration system developed by the German scholar Ernst Hammerschmidt. It is more appropriate for the spoken text by enhancing its phonetic aspects. There is also a transliteration system developed by the Imperial Ethiopian Mapping and Geography Institute quoted on page I hope that this note maybe useful. ˜˜˜˜ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Geobulga (talkcontribs) 18:45, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Number of speakers[edit]

The article used to say that the number of speakers is "speakers=25,000,000+ total, 15,000,000+ monolinguals (1998)" and there was no source for it. Ethnologue says "17,400,000 in Ethiopia (1994 census). 14,743,556 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 17,528,500.", so i changed the article to say that. It sounds a little strange, considering that over 80 million people live in Ethiopia, but that's the best source i see now.

If you have a reliable source for a different number, please update the article with it. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 18:52, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

History of the language etc[edit]

Don't these sort of (language) pages usually have a history section? This one seems strictly technical, ie focused on the actual workings of the language not how it came to be (how it evolved, how it came to be used where it is, a bit on demographics ...). The only part referring to any "story" of the language seems to be the Rasta section. It's possible I've missed something really obvious*. Anyway I look forward to reading it!

  • yes I missed it being raised above me in talk Harshmustard (talk) 03:30, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Transliteration to Arabic, Hebrew[edit]

I am curious if Amharic transliterates better into other Semitic languages i.e. Arabic and Hebrew. If it does it may be nice to add these languages characters to the current Amharic table. Menachemsdavis (talk) 13:22, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

I think the answer to that would necessarily involve a subjective judgement or pov; many Ethiopian scholars see it the other way around, and feel Arabic and Hebrew "transliterate better" into the Amharic alphabet. Either way there is no precedent to do such a thing for the English language wikipedia.Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 15:38, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Possibly purposeful vandalism[edit]

I have just reverted a couple of bits of vandalism by an IP where they replaced the name of Amharic by Oromo in two places. I believe I have previously (a few months back) reverted a number of disruptive edits here and in related articles which appeared to be pushing a pro-Oromo or anti-Amhara POV. I'm just raising this here as a think to be watched for. --ColinFine (talk) 12:42, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

It does seem familiar, though I didn't see anything similar in the page's recent history. Thanks for keeping an eye out, though. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 20:35, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Prescriptivist pronunciation of "Amharic": Bold, revert, discuss[edit]

Let's avoid listing any prescriptivist pronunciation of the English word "Amharic". One may easily find a dictionary giving the pronunciation using the vowel "a" as in "father" alongside the vowel æ as in cat, which is generally employed by those less familiar with the subject. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 15:51, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

To clarify what I mean by "prescriptivist", I mean "prescribing" one of the two pronunciations that are given as valid in dictionaries, while ignoring the other one. My position is that we do not need to prescribe any pronunciation; if we seriously need wikipedia to tell readers how they should say the word "Amharic" in English, something is wrong. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:09, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

If you wish to add a second, sourced pronunciation, then please do so. Perhaps this is a US vs. UK thing. But don't delete verified info just because you personally don't like it. WP is not about you.
One of the sources is an introductory textbook on linguistics. Not everyone is familiar with the language like you are; if they were, we wouldn't need this article at all. You need to recognize that WP articles are intended for the general public, not for your colleagues. — kwami (talk) 23:58, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
That's crazy. These are the plain facts: English dictionaries state that the word "Amharic" can be pronounced either with /a/ as in father or /ae/ as in cat. People who actually know something about the language tend to use the former. But you who are not an Amharic speaker are arrogantly twisting things around so that only the pronunciation used by those more ignorant of the subject is prescribed by wikipedia, and the correct one as also found in dictionaries is not given at all. This is not increasing actual knowledge in any way. This is just wrong, and unacceptable. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:20, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
This seems to favor some accent, maybe somewhere in Scotland or Oxford or Oklahoma the word is pronounced æm-hær-ic. What about an Ethiopian English accent? One can hardly hear the H, it sounds like Ah-mah-ric. What about Jamaican English? With the H pronounced it sounds more like Ahm-HA-ric. That's also the way people who realize what they are saying pronounce it. But according to all the regular English dictionaries I have both pronuciations are given with a as in father, or æ as in cat. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:39, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
We can't accommodate Scottish and Jamaican. Following the IPA link should clarify our conventions for representing English.
As for your other comments, it appears that you don't read answers to your arguments. Perhaps if you did this would be resolved. — kwami (talk) 01:58, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Well at least including both dictionary pronunciations is better than including just one. እርስዎ በጣም እንደ ሊቃውንት ይናገራሉ Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 02:12, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Or it would, if you actually had a source. But the Webster's site you linked to has the same CAT vowel as the OED and the British intro to linguistics. Personally, I use the BRA/CAR vowel for both aes in the name, and would hardly be surprised if that is a widespread pronunciation, but so far it's 3:0 against. — kwami (talk) 05:57, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Ah, gives both. That'll do. — kwami (talk) 06:01, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
(ec) I didn't link that source, someone else did. But the hard copy of Merriam Webster's New World Dictionary I have by my desk indeed lists both pronunciations. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 06:03, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Okay, and it looks like my web connection messed up, because only the first of several pronunciations displayed at the Webster's link. There were four when I went back, including the two from — kwami (talk) 06:11, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
'r' falls onto the next syllable, 2nd 'a' should be marked long as well. — Lfdder (talk) 08:19, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
We don't do it that way for other entries, so for consistency's sake we might want to propose that at the IPA chart it links to. — kwami (talk) 19:52, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Here's a hint: it is derived from the name of the people who speak the language, known in English as the "Amhara". My English dictionaries only give one pronunciation for "Amhara", viz. Am-HA-ra with all long a's. None of them purport to represent it as Am-HAIR-a or Am-Haerra. That's why calling the language Am-HAIR-ic or Aem-HAER-ric sounds jarring to those who know the speakers as Am-HA-ra. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:58, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
NODE has /amˈhɑːrə/ for Amhara and /amˈharɪk/ for Amharic, which is quite odd, to be fair. But, it seems that the TRAP vowel pronunciation is widespread, so if we were to omit it, we'd be the ones prescribing language. — Lfdder (talk) 21:14, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Rastafarianism, Latin and Plato's Cave[edit]

Whoever wrote the section on Rastafarianism has completely missed the point. Did it ever occur to the editor (I accept that more than one editor may have had a hand in this but for sake of argument lets presume only one) who wrote this that Latin is not promoted as a form of study anymore in the UK except in public schools or for entry into specific occupations. First of all you've presumed that everyone has access to Wheelock's Latin Primer or a similar lauded book for learning the rules of grammar (then and now) and if not that people at least have a basic knowledge about the grammar of their own language. I can prove this assumption to be wrong simply by asking anyone who speaks English where the name England comes from - since as speakers of English it is only "natural" that everyone should know (as you imply in the tone of writing) the etymology of the word and all its forms. I know its derived from the name of a tribe: the Angles and hence Land of the Angles therefore Angleland and we ended up with England.

My point is this - to say in a condescending way that the term "satta massagana" was mistakenly believed to mean something by someone who didn't have the knowledge of Amharic grammar is to imply that the knowledge was accessible to them at the point of study. Taking Latin as an example - even if the materials for the study of Latin are available that doesn't mean that anyone is aware of its importance and relationship to English. The so-called "ignorance" of millions of Americans, English, Australians, Canadians, Kenyans, South Africans, Indians and about any other group who has English as a first or second language that doesn't know about the etymology of the term "England" does not imply lack of ability or no desire to know such a thing. It just means that they are not aware of the question to be asked (or even if it needs to be asked) and even if they were aware of the question and accepted that it needed to be asked, it doesn't mean that they know where the answer lies or even if they did know where the answer lies and sought it out it doesn't mean they would be allowed access to the tools or material to help them reach the answer.

As far as I'm concerned you've also implied that access to an Amharic dictionary should have led to the discovery of the rules of grammar. Lets face it - you know and I know that Latin is the root of the languages of Europe. In my opinion it is also a language that should be studied by every single speaker of English regardless of whether they are in the West Indies, America or England. It would also make it easier to learn the rules of grammar for other languages including Amharic. Why don't you try shining the light rather than sealing the cave.

I'm going to change the tone so that readers will not be discouraged in any mental pursuit which at first will obviously involve discovering what it is to be studied. It then takes time to find the right material pertaining to the study of any subject and as far as I'm concerned you cannot grasp the whole when you only have a fraction.

Please note I'm sure there are thousands of fully-qualified lawyers (also historians, linguists, etc) with an African heritage whether in America, the West Indies, Africa and Europe that do know the rules of grammar and are aware of the importance of Latin to English and yet would tell you that they have no interest in studying Amharic. Knowledge itself is not in question it is simply a question of what "is to be studied" and whether the person interested in studying the subject has the right material. I very much doubt that this article can suffice for a course in Amharic and all the online sources are worth but a fraction of the value of a conversation with a Professor of Languages who specializes in the language let alone three years study under that Professor's guidance at a university. Maybe there's some YouTube videos on the subject. Not interested in Amharic myself but I know that one mistake in a song hardly qualifies for the weight of disapproval that the tone suggests.

Sluffs (talk) 13:28, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm sure you are quite the linguistics expert, but were you aware of the hostility of many Rastafari toward the movement being called "Rastarianism", when you chose to call them that? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 13:33, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

No thats too quick a reply - within a minute of me posting. Too quick for my slow mind. Not an expert in anything really but knowledgeable enough to see what you are "up to". Find someone else to practice your games on. I'm not interested and its boring. Consider the post closed.

Sluffs (talk) 13:50, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I do apologize. One of my biggest dreams has always been to teach Amharic in a classroom, but I guess the time for that hasn't come for me yet, and perhaps some people find my style a little too stern... Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 15:58, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

No you're lying. I don't why you're lying but you are lying. I'm coloured and I don't need to tip-toe around any subject (education, rastafarianism, Robert Mugabe, Obama or any colour related subject you wish to think of) in case I get called a racist. The tone of the section was implying that the artists and the Rastafari movement had made a mistake based on poor study habits of the Amharic language which they then imported into general use in its faulty form. It was also unreferenced and had words like "Ironically" starting sentences as well as other informal remarks. So I corrected the tone to a more "neutral" viewpoint and then came here to tell other people that the mistake in "Satta Massagana" could not be held up as proof of anything other than a lack of resources, instruction or whatever else it is that led to the mistake being made. I used the very obvious example that mistakes like this are absolutely fine since the search for the question and answer had been started which is a lot better than having never asked oneself what it is that one should be investigating for which I provided the non-colour cross-cultural example of Americans (of all persuasions) and English people (including the hundreds of English born Muslims, Rastas, Hindus, Sikhs, Polish, Italians, English, etc) and West Indians and Indians all of which have never bothered to look up the etymology of the word "England". People are interested in what their interested in but if you speak English then you owe it to yourself to at least spend ten minutes online reading about the Angles. If that's considered arrogance, condescension or sterness by people then we are surely doing a poor job as editors on this open encyclopedia. Always shine the light and let another's light guide you. If it wasn't for the reggae music of the 70s and its strong message I imagine as a coloured kid (not of African descent) growing up in the UK my life wouldn't have been informed on certain matters as it has been. Rasta music is universal in its message and a lot of what it says appeals to all sorts of people not just coloured people.

Sluffs (talk) 17:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I saw your edits and they seem like an improvement as far as I can tell. Aside from that, I confess I'm not sure what your point is, or what you think I'm lying about, but I think we should try to stay on topic without getting too FORUM-like. In Ethiopia there are 80 different languages spoken by 100 different tribes. They had no choice but to learn some respect for one another's history, and to see past complexion, as being ultimately no more significant than eye color, a good role model for race relations in the rest of the world if you ask me. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 18:00, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Boring - we can go around in circles which I imagine is going to happen. Did I fall for this - knowingly - I must be as bored as you are to want to carry this on.

I think I'll have a look for an article to do there must be a spelling mistake or two to fix. Sometimes doing article involves at least three and a half weeks of torture. lol

Sluffs (talk) 21:37, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

If you just want to chew the fat, feel free to continue this on my user talk page anytime - if we continue here, someone might reasonably object since we aren't strictly speaking suggesting any article improvement! Cheers, Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:33, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
All this discussion about a misunderstood adaptation of Amharic seems marginal to this article. What about removing this from here and moving it to a Rastafari-focused article? Pete unseth (talk) 01:32, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
No, I don't think use of Amharic in the west is marginal to this article at all, I think it belongs here and should not be censored. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 01:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Not trying to "censor" anything, just put material in relevant articles. Should the German language article include how it is studied in the USA and is ungrammatically used to name a restaurant chain "Der Wienerschnitzel"? My point is that outsiders' marginal use of a language is hardly relevant to a language article.Pete unseth (talk) 23:08, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
And I still think the Rastafari usage is notable and important, so still no consensus. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 23:35, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Rastafari movement arose in Jamaica. Especially the vowels in Jamaican English is not pronounced as in Standard English. Then we have the Jamaican patois, a rapidly changing language, in different dialects spoken in Kingston and the countryside. But Rastafari has grown its own sociolect by mixing theology/philosophy with Jamaican English and Patois. Reason: They neither wanted to speak like Babylonians (UK English) nor ex-slaves (Jamaican Patois). So "we" became "I-and-I", "Brothers" became "Idren", "heights" "Ites", etc This happened in Jamaica mostly in the 1960s and 1970s at the same time as the (especially in USA) black power-movement was emphasizing racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests and advance black values. So far I have not mentioned Amharic, OK. It was the religious Rastafarian Jamaican reggae group The Abyssinians who wrote and recorded the song known as "Satta Masagana" or "Satta-a-Massagana" or "Satta Massagana" or... Yes, you can find numerous of spellings. Ethiopia is Zion or the holy, perfect version of Africa for most Rastafarians. Most Rastafarians came from very poor conditions with few years in school. But it happened that Jamaicans with more money joined study circles in Amharic in Kingston and Spanish Town. More songs came, like "Igziabeher, Let Jah Be Praised". The ones who advanced to learn quite good Amharic got two problems. In reggae songs and psalms they wanted to use a mix of English and Amharic words. They needed to write the Amharic words with the English alphabet (in Latin letters). Problem 2 was the general problem with English (Standard English as well as Jamaican English), that it's not pronounced as it is spelled, and not spelled as it is pronounced. A spelling reform where English is spelled like in the Finnish or Estonian languages would be wonderful, because then spoken and written words would have a 100% correlation. It should be "mäsägäänö". It is almost impossible to spell any other language in English. --Caspiax 14:06, 15 June 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Caspiax (talkcontribs)

Language Direction?[edit]

I'm guessing that Amharic is written Left-to-right, but shouldn't this information be written somewhere in the article? As with many things, perhaps it's so obvious that we've forgotten to put it in there... Gavinio (talk) 02:22, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

That info belongs with the script, not the language. — kwami (talk) 05:56, 24 June 2013 (UTC)


I'm not certain, but I think the information about gemination is partially correct. The alä 'he said', allä 'there is' comparison is correct, but as for yǝmätall 'he hits', yǝmmättall 'he is hit', one would have ታ for the "t" sound and the other would have ጣ. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 01:38, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

No, it takes ታ in both cases for "hit". It's different verb root altogether with the ጣ - ይመጣል, he comes. ትጋበት፣ Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 01:47, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Signed Amharic??[edit]

Is this different than "Ethiopian Sign Language"? Best to cite a source that shows if this really belongs in the article on a spoken language. People often equate a spoken and a signed language, but such linkages are usually spurious. Pete unseth (talk) 23:01, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

It was taken from the linked article, Manually coded language. At least one of the editors there clearly understands the difference, but that article could be better sourced, as most of the refs are for cued speech. Other wikipedias have articles on some of the MCL's, though (French, German, etc), so those would appear to be justified. — kwami (talk) 23:13, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
The list, including Amharic, was created by User:Ntennis, who is no longer active but who did understand the diff. No email to ask for refs, though. — kwami (talk) 23:39, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Quality of the open vowel[edit]

What is the quality of the open vowel and does it have a front allophone? I'm commenting about that by @Pete unseth:. Nowhere in the article that it claims the open vowel has an allophone. Languages which have a dedicated IPA help page (as for Hebrew) may use the plain a for the open central or the front vowel, but Amharic does not have any dedicated help page, therefore the vowels should be precisely written in IPA: [ä] for the open central unrounded vowel, not [a]. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 14:10, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

The vowels at the beginning and end of the word in question are not central, but low. The article does have a problem, though, with the IPA. Though the symbol <ä> is standard and conventionalized among writers who describe Amharic, it is NOT the appropriate IPA symbol. Pete unseth (talk) 22:30, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
I only mention the IPA, not the spelling transliterations... The file attached to the pronunciation has pronounced the word like that: [ämärɨɲɲä], not [amärɨɲɲa]. Is it a matter of regional accents/dialects? --Mahmudmasri (talk) 13:01, 28 July 2014
Probably more like not distinguishing the two since either is intelligible, and both would be represented with the same letters so they are considered the same sound. Binghi Dad (talk) 18:29, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
That's very unlikely. IPA is extremely precise. @Pete unseth:'s answer? --Mahmudmasri (talk) 08:24, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
In this case, IPA is more precise than Amharic, since Amharic does not distinguish between these sounds and the distinction is considered artificial for purposes of communicating in Amharic. But don't take it from a speaker, better ask your "expert" non speaker Binghi Dad (talk) 13:19, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Reading this discussion thread, it seems that my earlier post was not clear. The vowel at the end of the word for "Amharic" is the "4th form" vowel (for those who read the Ethiopic script) and it is spelled and pronounced with the low vowel [a], the same as the vowel at the beginning of the word. There is a big functional and phonetic difference between the sounds [a] and [ä] in Amharic. I hope I am clearer than last time. Pete unseth (talk) 21:53, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
All of the vowels within the abugidas have one value for /a/, which is [ä]. Are there allophonic cases that the article missed? @Pete unseth:. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 07:40, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, not all of the consonants in the first column have the same vowel. The consonant "h" and the zero consonant (or glottal stop) both have the vowel /a/ in the first column, as well as in the 4th column. Not intuitive to non-speakers, but true. Pete unseth (talk) 12:06, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I agree with Beestra's reduction of the external links. Under WP:ELNO we should not be listing language teaching resources - that's acting as a directory - and the issue is being discussed at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject as external link for language learning in connection with persistent addition of links to World Mentoring Academy, which is a MOOC. That one had already been reverted here. I also concur that we have no reason to promote Christian literature in Amharic. Readers should be able to seek out and select their own choice of what to read or listen to in Amharic; they don't need us promoting particular sites. Yngvadottir (talk) 17:07, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

There are indeed, too many links. The link to the Amharic Bible can be deleted because there are too many links, but it should not be deleted on religious grounds. It is one of the only sites that has good Amharic audio, and the Bible is widely respected among Amharic-speaking society. Wikipedia does not require freedom from religious material. But it may be deleted because there are too many links of minor relevance. Pete unseth (talk) 17:59, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I was going to say someone does not seem too familiar with the Amharic language since anyone who is knows that a distinction is scarcely drawn between "Amharic literature" and "Christian literature" -- but nothing like that view from the armchair on another continent when you are crusading against the fact of what people believe Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:39, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

I brought this to Wikipedia:External_links/Noticeboard#Learning_a_language as an example.

Regarding the 'Christian literature' and 'Amharic literature' - but this page is NOT about Amharic literature, this page is about the 'Amharic language'. Linking to an bible in the Amharic language does not make you understand better what the language is about - the text in the Amharic bible is the same as in a Dutch or English bible, it does not help understanding how Amharic came about, what Amharic is, as linking to a Dutch bible does not make you understand what the Dutch language is about. The external links section is for getting more understanding about a language, not about understanding the language or how to learn it. Linking to a dictionary for translations/meanings and/or to a text with grammar rules are already on the edge of the links that an external links section should provide. 'that view from the armchair on another continent'? I live closer to the roots of Amharic language than people on the other continent, and remember, we are not writing this encyclopedia for someone in one continent or for the people of one specific religious view. Those links are inappropriate per our guidelines and policies, in any continent. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:02, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

How exactly does working in Riyadh, Arabia qualify you as knowing anything about the "roots of Amharic language"? It sounds like you have a special hostility to linking the Amharic language Bible here or making it available, which just makes me sad for you. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:22, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
It is impossible to "understand how Amharic came about, what Amharic is" while ignoring the Amharic Bible, what you are missing is that it is very culturally different from Dutch. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:25, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
"the text in the Amharic bible is the same as in a Dutch or English bible" - Absolutely NOT true Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:32, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Hey, you started with the argument that living on another continent and sitting in an armchair is needed to the understanding. Perfectly in line with the remark that I am on a crusade against the bible in specific. Fine. But can you now come with a policy/guideline based argument in stead of trying to guess what a person knows or on which crusade a person is. My stance, since the beginning, is still that these links plainly fail our policies and guidelines (and not only the link to the bible). --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:08, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Moreover, the bible is discussed in the text, with an ISBN link. That makes an external link superfluous per "Some acceptable links include those ... that could not be added to the article ..." - it is already there. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:41, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Repeatedly writing "bible" instead of "Bible" is an ignorant error, some people have the weird mistaken idea that it is a special unique exception to the rule in English that we capitalize names of books (eg Quran, Talmud, Bhagavad-Gita etc). These links are not superfluous, I oppose your ill-informed reasoning to delete them, and suggest you find something else to do. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 12:03, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I believe the discussion has drifted from main points to personal opinions. I believe that the link to the audio version of the Amharic Bible is relevant for Wikipedia because it allows people to listen to high quality recordings of Amharic. The Bible is also a text that is closely linked to Amharic traditions. I think we have discussed this enough. Pete unseth (talk) 12:23, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Instead of the constant remarks about ignorance, sitting in armchairs on other continents, and crusading, maybe try to argue why this link, and the others that were removed and you simply reverted back in without discussion, are detrimental to the understanding of the concept of Amharic language would be more constructive, indeed. I have yet to see such arguments, while it is on those who want a link to be included to give that burden of proof. --Dirk Beetstra T C 12:59, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
This discussion must return to discussing how to improve the Amharic article. I will repeat my earlier argument that the link to the audio of a person reading the Amharic Bible is relevant to an article on the Amharic language. It is a high quality recording of a person reading Amharic so that people can find out what Amharic sounds like. That is enough reason for including it. But it is also relevant in that people can listen to the text while reading the same text with their eyes. Since the Amharic Bible is available online, this is a good opportunity for non-native speakers to improve their ability with the Amharic language. From books, we read about Amharic consonant gemination and ejective consonants, but with this link, people can hear these being pronounced. I think these are adequate reasons to maintain the external link. If the link was to an audio version of the classic Amharic novel Fiqir Iske Meqabir, instead of to the Amharic Bible, I would also say that the link should be maintained. I hope that this gentle explanation is acceptable. Pete unseth (talk) 13:33, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
It sounds perfectly well-reasoned to me, and I can tell you are familiar with this topic and know what you are talking about. Regards, Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 14:18, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If this article could use audio examples of the language at all, those examples should be specific to understanding the language rather than a reading of anything. --Ronz (talk) 16:50, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Here we have wikipedia editors who cannot read the first word of Amharic and know nothing about it, standing against all reason on enforcement of some questionable or obscure rule that is never applied to say, the Baltic languages (all of which include Christian catechisms etc. as reading material because that is indeed the history of the language) and this is being justified with arguments like "well, Amharic is just the same as Dutch" when the Amharic state of mind / thought process couldn't be more unlike Dutch. If you don;t know anything about the history if the language, which clearly yuou do not, you may not want to come barging in sweeping useful links under the carpet and not expect any resistance. Seriously? This is the centerpiece of Amharic, if you dont like that fact that is your problem, that is your problem. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 17:28, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
And again, a non-content and non-policy/guideline based argument, but 'If you don't like that fact that is your problem'. Fact. Can you please give me some reliable sources stating that the Amharic bible is the centerpiece of Amharic? I do believe that we are making progress here. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:09, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Let me be clear, I have removed 7 external links which I found inappropriate. If I get a good, policy/guideline/content based argument why one or more of those links are detrimental to understanding, that link can be re-inserted. I do not get any of that, I am just being told to go away because I am too stupid too understand. The only argument I get from you, User:Til Eulenspiegel, is basically a WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS-like argument (and actually, you have clearly not read my further comments on this subject elsewhere). --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:22, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Since Beetsra insists on showing of his literacy skills by continuing to write "bible" for "Bible" and since he has not got a clue about tnis article topic and is here only to militate, I believe his viewpoints and interpretations of policy should be discounted here. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:20, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
I see that after I mentioned Baltic languages list Christian literature as language history, he just strode into those articles deleting links as if he owns those articles and doesn't want them on his property! I've heard of "bold" but... Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:23, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm finding numerous sources on Ethiopia and Amharas that state that the term "Amhara" (speaker of Amharic) is considered virtually synonymous with "Christian", using that very word, "synonymous"... Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:35, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
As I said, other crap exists (actually, just one page, really). I also mentioned another page elsewhere where there are inappropriate external links.
That sounds like good encyclopedic information to be included in the article then. Still not an argument for inclusion of the Amharic bible or the other links I removed (or should we change WP:EL?). --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:16, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
You still demonstrate your contempt by wrongly insisting on writing "bible", you are arguing with fluent Amharic speakers when I doubt you can say "Where is the toilet", all of which points out your extreme ignorance here of what you are doing, your hatred for Christianity (I for one never "assume good faith:" after you have already pushed it out the window) and my conclusion is that you are WP:NOTHERE for anything but to make a disruptive WP:POINT about your point of view of Ethiopian culture and religion, and therefore you should be simply ignored by the editors of this page henceforth. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 11:17, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Let's stop, take a deep breath, and let this topic sit for 24 hours. I will ask other editors of the Amharic language page to gently give their opinions in the mantime. I am disappointed with the current exchanges here. I hope we can slow down and discuss this gently, and I think that the current discussants should take a 24 hour break. Pete unseth (talk) 12:38, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
I have brought this to WP:AN/I. I am not accepting these (repeated) unfounded accusations in any form. --Dirk Beetstra T C 13:32, 10 September 2014‎

bätəhətənna sənnəmmäkakkər sälamawi mäftəhe annat'am Pete unseth (talk) 20:34, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

አዎ ልክ ነው he said 'when we confer in humility we won't fail to find a peaceful solution' and in that spirit thank you for adding Good Amharic Books, it is an excellent site for Amharic language and should have been listed here all along, I'm surprised it wasn't. It has a good selection of Amharic dictionaries there as well as Bible and much more. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 21:29, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
So much for conferring in humility to find a peaceful resolution, he instead is still trying to have me blocked for disagreeing with him. So you see that does not always work, unless everyone is willing to make it work. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 21:49, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

I removed the link to the reference book website per WP:ELNEVER. The site contains scanned books with the publication and copyright information removed. This is a copyright violation.

I also removed the link to This "dictionary" appears to be some sort of collaborative project to create a dictionary. If someone can find information about this dictionary that demonstrates it is stable and accurate, then it should be restored. --Ronz (talk) 16:04, 11 September 2014 (UTC) seems to be the same type of "dictionary". It might be easier to find information demonstrating it is stable and accurate. --Ronz (talk) 16:13, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

In response to the concerns that we're trying to do something different with this language article versus similar articles: It just seems that way because language articles tend to have very poor External links sections. If there exist any WP:GA language articles, I'm sure they will be different and helpful in determining what we should do here. --Ronz (talk) 16:21, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Or so I hoped: Biblical Hebrew (could use some work), Central Atlas Tamazight, Erromintxela language, Greenlandic language (looks bad), Mongolian language (bad - started a discussion on its talk), Ottawa dialect, and Proto-Indo-European root are good articles that are similar. --Ronz (talk) 16:31, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Possible resource[edit]

The Origin of Amharic, Girma Awgichew Demeke, reviewed at the Centre français des études éthiopiennes website [3]. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 14:01, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

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I know very little about Amharic, but in the following religious song or hymn I clearly notice a voiceless uvular stop. I don't know if it's also ejective, but it's definitely uvular. Listen here at about 2:41 a word or sequence that sounds like qari or so: [4]. Which phoneme is that? And is this uvular pronunciation common? Thanks a lot.

PS: Ge'ez language also says that emphatic "velars" may be uvular. I don't know if this means a secondary articulation, i.e. that the ejective was pronounced more back than the plain consonant, or if it means an uncertainty about whether the phoneme was an ejective at all in Ge'ez.