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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

Amharic Lesson 1: Personal Pronouns and Gemination

Reading Demon-Kiyomi's posts has inspired me to create my own Amharic course. For anyone that is interested, I will make sure I carry on uploading lessons as the days go by.

Due to the nature of the Amharic language, I thought I’d start off with something not usually covered in the “Basics” lessons of most trees, independent personal pronouns and gemination. What each transliterated letter means will be explained right at the bottom of the lesson.

Independent Personal Pronouns:

In the Amharic language, there are 10 independent personal pronouns. The reason that there are this many is because: the 2nd personal singular is dependent on gender and also, there are formal pronouns used too. On top of these, some of these have one extra way of saying them, although they are rarely used.

This table below shows the personal pronouns in Amharic: Imgur

Gemination:

Each character in the Amharic script shows a consonant-vowel pair, hence why the corresponding spelling in the Latin alphabet does not have the same number of letters as it. In this case, you can see that sometimes, two n’s and s’s such as in “ïnnässu” have been written. This is infact a long consonant and it is referred to as being geminated. Gemination is not shown in our writing so it is something you pick up as you get familiar with words. Some words in Amharic can be spelt the exact same way, but have a different meaning due to the gemination of a consonant. A common example is:

ገና gäna (still) vs. gänna (Christmas) The best way to imagine the consonant length is to think of both the first syllable ending with ’n’, but also the second syllable of the word starting with ’n’ for the example above. An example in English would be “midday”, said as, “mid-day”.

The letter č in the transliterated text refers to the sound 'ch' (e.g. church) in the English language. The letter ñ is a palatal nasal, like the gn sound in the Italian 'bagno'. It can be heard here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatal_nasal

For the vowels, I suggest watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDoKd4zECOI

A link to Demon-Kiyomi's Japanese course: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/7963862

Thanks, up for any suggestions and any questions on the Amharic language :).

August 23, 2016

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolyglotCiro

This is great! What a wonderful post!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

Thanks! :) Feel free to post any questions on my stream or here if you do ever consider learning/planning to learn the language :).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brittalexiswm

This is so great! I know three native Amharic speakers, and i would love to converse with them one day!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

I'm sure you will one day! I hope it does come on Duolingo! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Demon-Kiyomi

Good job! And Good luck to you in this journey, because teaching is very much a journey. It can be difficult, but also very rewarding. I hope you keep at it. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

Indeed, very rewarding! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grey236

I never really knew what Amharic looked like transliterated until now and it definitely looks interesting! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

Thank you! I hope you do consider learning it one day! :)


[deactivated user]

    Similarities with Arabic! Nice!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

    Thanks! I've noticed too :D.


    [deactivated user]

      You're welcome! Actually, a few months ago we (and another girl) had a long conversation about the similiarities betweeen Arabic, Amharic and Hebrew. There were quite a lot!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

      We did, I remember! :) There are a lot of similarities, and even more if you don't include the less obvious ones :).


      [deactivated user]

        But you don't understand when people speak Arabic, right? (MSA)


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

        Nope I don't. It's very hard to pick up words, even words such as antä in Arabic because my brain would simply not be expecting it. :)


        [deactivated user]

          I understand! I guess I feel the same way about many languages too ..


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KirilMladenov

          hey, thanks for the post! i have the following question: Do the personal pronouns change through different cases? (like he-him- to him in english) Generally how many cases are there in the language? Could you also put some thematic tasks after the lessons, i think it will be great. For example some words im amharic, which we have to transcribe in english at the beginning, and more complicated exercises in amharic after the first few lessons. Regards ( :


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

          By cases do you mean like, e.g. I/my,mine/me and we/our,ours/us etc? Essentially they don't really differ but it's almost impossible to have a case where they don't. We have an accusative marker. For example, I like her is እኔ እስዋን እወዳለሁ/ïne ïsswan ïwädallähu. Here I is simply እኔ/ïne as explained in the lesson, but her becomes እስዋን, which is just 'she' with the accusative marker ን at the end, to mark definiteness. Strictly speaking, different scenarios give rise to different suffixes and prefixes being attached.

          (Extra: The 'I' does not need to be included in the sentence as the verb changes depending on person. It's also a language in which subject pronouns can be dropped and indicated in the verb itself. That entire sentence can be said as እወዳታለሁ/ïwädatallähu which simply means "I like her". This is a far more common way of saying the sentence itself.)

          I will keep that suggestion in my mind. I was thinking of doing something like that however, because I was concentrating more on the grammar of the language, I thought it would be quite a while before I teach a lot of nouns. :)


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KirilMladenov

          Thanks for the explanations : ) It is very interesting. So, as far, as i understood, there are two sets of pronouns in amharic. They can be either a separate word or a suffix (like -ta in iwadatallahu). I hope that you will elaborate later more on this. Keep doing the great job! : )


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

          No problem. Note in እወዳታለሁ/ïwädatallähu, ta is not really a suffix, it's just how the verb is modified for the particular person. The suffix here indicates it's conjugated for 'I'. I'll probably go more in depth on this topic later on... I'll try and post more frequently too, as I do take time trying to think of a logical order :).


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swan84

          Hi AmharicYohan! I really, really appreciate your efforts to help Amharic language learners. I have been studying out of David Appleyard's "Colloquial Amharic" book for about four months. The language is complex, so it is very slow going. One question I have that the book is not clear about is, can ïrswo/ïsswo be used to address both individuals (singular) and groups (plural)? Or only to address individuals? Thank you/አመሰግናለው!


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

          Hi Swan84. ïrswo/ïsswo is just used for the singular. There's no plural polite form for 'you'. :)


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguafiqari

          If I may add on to what AmharicYohan said (as clarification), እናንተ is therefore used in every situation where there is a plural "You".

          Also, sorry for the self-advertising, but here is my website which you could try out:

          http://www.learn-amharic.com


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

          That's right Adam. I wasn't alerted about this reply. How is Amharic going?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguafiqari

          ጥሩ ነው። በአሁኑ ወቅት ድረ ገጼን እያዘመንኩት ነው፣ በተጨማሪ ተጠቃሚዎቹ ግብረ-መልስ ሊልኩልኝ እና መዋጮ ሊያደርጉ የሚችሉባቸው መስኮችን አካትቻለሁ። አንተ ደህና ነህ? ሳልረሳ አውዲዮ ላካተት ነው። አውዲዮውን ሊያደርግልኝ የሚፈልገው ቢተው አንተ ልታደርገው ትችል ነበር?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

          Oh I see. (Pronunciation= abbabal). I am thinking of making a Skype group chat in time for next week to help people more quickly, I'm sure you'd be interested in joining too :).


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

          Hi Adam. Sorry for the late replies, my notifications seem to be bugging out. Sorry if I keep replying in English, I'm on my phone and I've deleted the keyboard app because it was making my Viber work slow. That is good to hear, betam tiru new, getsihin iyetemeleku neber. ine betam dehna negn, siraye gin iyeaqatalegn new lol


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmharicYohan

          Also Adam I'm not sure about the audio thing, I don't know if I am not-so-shy enough to send my voice to the world hehe. Was this for exercise purposes?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguafiqari

          Haha ችግር የለውም። አዎ፣ ሰዎቹ የሐረጎቹ pronunciation ማዳመጥ እንዲችሉ። ለአሁን ግን የተመለሰ ይመስላል።

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