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Amharic (ኣማርኛ)

Amharic is a Semitic language and the national language of Ethiopia (ኢትዮጵያ). The majority of the 25 million or so speakers of Amharic can be found in Ethiopia, but there are also speakers in a number of other countries, particularly Eritrea (ኤርትራ), Canada, the USA and Sweden.

The name Amharic (ኣማርኛ – amarəñña) comes from the district of Amhara (አማራ) in nortern Ethiopia, which is thought to be the historic centre of the language.

Writing system

Amharic is written with a version of the Ge’ez script known as ፊደል (Fidel). There are a number of ways to transliterate Amharic into the Latin alphabet, including one developed by Ernst Hammerschmidt, the EAE Transliteration system, developed by Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, and the BGN/PCGN* system, which was designed for use in romanizing names written in Amharic characters and adopted by the UN in 1967.

*BGN = Board on Geographic Names (USA)
PCGN = The Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use
More details:

Amharic abugida (ፊደል)

The BGN/PCGN Amharic romanization system and the EAE Transliteration system are shown on the left of each column. Where there are two transliterations, the one of the right is the EAE one. IPA transcriptions are given under each syllable.

The syllables with the vowel transliterated as (i) are pronounced [ə], except in final position when the vowel is not pronounced.