1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. How to begin learning Amharic?


How to begin learning Amharic?

I'm interesting in learning the basics of Amharic, but because it's a non-indo-european language ( not to mention it uses an entirely different script ), everything about the language looks so foreign and I've no idea where to start. The lack of resources doesn't really help either.

Can anyone help by posting some links that can help me begin learning Amharic?

January 22, 2018



You can start off by up-voting Amharic's post from this page: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15014194 , AdamYoung's made many interesting posts on the language and has a site you could start off from :).

I've applied to contribute to a 'Amharic for English speakers' course but have not yet received a reply unfortunately.


A couple of introductory book PDFs in English for the language--the site is slow, so be patient. Do a YouTube search for "Amharic" (as was already suggested) to find some rudimentary audio. There's a 2-vol. FSI course here with audio and pdfs; these courses are usually very thorough but tedious. There are Amharic "courses" on Memrise.


Amharic has the same grammar as Arabic and Hebrew. If you know those languages, then it should be a bit easier. The sad thing is that almost all Semitic languages are not intelligible.


That's actually not fully true. It shares grammatical features, like consonant roots (that are usually triliteral), but the grammar itself differs a lot. Now, my Arabic and Hebrew are very basic, but I know enough to know that they do differ greatly.

Let's take an example phrase in Arabic and Amharic: "Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia with 25 million speakers".

In Arabic:

"الأمهرية هي اللغة الرئيسية من إثيوبيا، وعندها 25 مليون متحدث."

(Amharic it the-language the-official from Ethiopia, and it has 25 million speaker)

In Amharic:

"አማርኛ 25 ሚሊዮን ተናጋሪዎች ያሉት የኢትዮጵያ ዋናው ቋንቋ ነው"

(Amharic 25 million speakers that-it-has of-Ethiopia the-official language is)

Pardon the broad literal translation, and a disclaimer that my Arabic is very poor, so what I wrote may not be 100% grammatically correct. Even so, the two languages differ too much for one to help in learning the other. Arabic is more SVO, whereas Amharic is heavily SOV, for example.

Amharic also differs in vocabulary from Arabic and Hebrew not just because it's a South Semitic language (as opposed to them being two North Semitic ones), but also in that it borrowed a lot of words from the surrounding Cushitic languages. This causes words, and consonant roots, to be different. For example:


In Arabic: kalb
In Hebrew: kelev
In Amharic: wïšša

The root for "To write"

In Arabic: k-t-b
In Hebrew: k-t-v
In Amharic: sʼ-(H)-f

In case you're curious, here's an example of the SOV nature of Amharic:

ዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ወደ ኢትዮጵያ ለመጓዝ ላሰቡ አሜሪካውያን ዜጎቿ ቀደም ሲል አውጥታው የነበረውን የጉዞ ማስጠንቀቂያ አራዝማለች፡፡

"United States to Ethiopia to-travel to-those-who-thought American its-citizens before that-it-had-released(-it) of-travel warning it-has-lengthened"


I don't know any semitic languages, which is why I'm completely lost in studying Amharic.


You're actually right. I've been trying to find a website where i can learn amharic

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.