Why learn Amharic? Interesting facts about Ethiopia!
Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia with some 26 million speakers - the second most spoken Semitic language in the world. To try and get more people interested in Amharic, here are some interesting facts about Ethiopia:
1. Ethiopia is roughly 7 and a half years behind other countries...
...due to a difference in the believed birth of Jesus. This means that Ethiopia is in 2007 while we are nearing the end of 2014. The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months; 12 of 30 days and 1 of either 5 days (regular year) or 6 days (leap year). New Year is also celebrated in our September, their መስከረም.
2. Ethiopians measure time from when the sun rises...
...and count time on the other side of the clock. Which means that when the sun rises at 6 o'clock it's 12 o'clock.
3. The oldest fossil skeleton of a human being was discovered in Ethiopia...
...as well as coffee. So not only did humans start there - but also many people's favourite morning wake-up drink.
4. Ethiopia is approximately as big as France & Spain...
...combined! The area of Ethiopia is 1,104,300 sq. km.
5. There are around 80 languages spoken in Ethiopia...
...of which the most spoken are Amharic and Oromo. English and Arabic are also among those spoken.
6. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa with its own script...
...which consists of 209 symbols. It is the Amharic fidel, which is an abugida.
7. The Great Rift Valley cuts through Ethiopia from the North-East to the South of the country...
...and is the most significant physical detail on the planet!
Here are some pictures of Ethiopia:
Wow the landscape pictures are beautiful. Another languages for me to look into. Thanks for posting this.
Very interesting facts. Thank you for sharing.
So... Ethiopians are somewhere around 93 months behind us. So about 93 years ago they were in sync with the western calendar? Is that when their calendar began, or was it before that out-of-sync in the other direction related to the western calendar?
If they always celebrate the New Year in our September, that presumably means that every year, according to the Ethiopian calendar, they celebrate New Year one month before they celebrated it in the previous year? That sounds a bit peculiar, so I'm wondering If there's something I didn't quite get.
Sorry, I didn't know all the reasons when I posted this; I've updated it now - it's to do with their belief of Jesus' birth time :)
Actually, their calendar is simply 7 years before ours. They disagree with the Catholic church (on a lot of questions, but especially) on the date.
Their calendar has 365 or 366 days, same as ours. They just have 12 months of 30 days each, and one remainder-month to hold the days left over before the new calendar begins. Some Ethiopians say it makes more sense than our system with every month of a different length.
Yeah, Ethiopia is great.
Two also interesting facts are that they were never colonized by European country and that they are one of the oldest Christians in the world. Most of them are following Orthodox Christianity.
They also fought off the Italians in WWII which is amazing in my opinion. Sure the Italians had A smaller force, but that force was enough to conquer Eritrea and Somalia ( Somaliland at the time ) Heres the Wiki page if you want to read up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Adwa
That was in the 1890s, actually. The Italians at the start of WWII were in fact able to defeat and occupy Ethiopia; that's why Haile Selassie went into exile in Europe and eventually assembled support to retake the country.
Point 6 is debatable. Arabic speaking countries have their own script and there are several in African and Ge'ez script is used in Eritrea as well, isn't it?
But I agree that Ethiopia is a fascinating country. Everyone who likes hiking owes it to himself to track the Simien Mountains at least once in his live. Not to speak of the incredible culture and delicious food.
You're right about Arabic-speaking countries having a different script as well, but that script is also used outside of Africa. In terms of the Ge'ez script; you're right that it is used in Eritrea too, however I think Ethiopia is known as having its own unique script because the Ge'ez script is used by Amharic, which is the sole official language, meanwhile Eritrea's official languages are English and Arabic, which use the Latin alphabet and Arabic abjad, as well as Tigrinya, which uses the Ge'ez fidel :)
as a Hebrew speaker i find it facaniting listening to other semetic langauges; they are so beautiful!
Beautiful pictures! And very interesting facts, it's great to hear about other countries and cultures.
I never knew Ethiopia was so beautiful. And that fact about them being years behind is fascinating! =) I may have to look into the language..
I would love to learn Amharic, or any Ethiopian language. Out of curiosity, how do you pronounce መስከረም?
For those wondering how that sounds, Amharic has 7 vowels, 5 basically the same as those in Spanish, and 2 more:
- አ or ዐ - ä - as in the English "let" or "beck"
- ኡ or ዑ - u - as in the English "chute" or "true"
- ኢ or ዒ - i - as in the English "piano" or "pique"
- ኣ or ዓ - a - as in the English "ah" or "ha"
- ኤ or ዔ - e - as in the English "weigh" or "fey"
- እ or ዕ - ə or ï - as in the English "lick" or "tough" (varies by dialect) - but often silent, depending on the word
- ኦ or ዖ - o - as in the English "low" or "❤❤❤"
Hmm, none of the vowels in Yohan's video sound anything like the a in apple to me. I think our "a" vowel is one of the many English ones that aren't common in many other languages. This may be a dialect difference... Do you really know people who pronounce "apple" to rhyme with "topple"?
I meant that it is pronounced as /ah/, like in the Spanish word "bandera"
i have wanted to learn amharic for a long time, one of my favourite singers is idan raichel, he is a hebrew-language singer but a lot of my fave songs by him (i.e. "bo'i" and "mima'amakim") have parts sung by amharic singers, they sound beautiful and it drives me crazy that i can't understand what they say!
Thank you for sharing the interesting facts of Ethiopia.
I love them very much!!!! :D
Regarding the scripts, there's also N'ko and Tifinagh, but they aren't very widely used.
Mhux problema!/ችግር የለም! Have I convinced you to learn il-lingwa Amħarika yet? ;)
It's squirming its way into my already bulging language list! That script is amazing.
Ethiopia was also the only African country to successfully defend itself from European colonization. Also, these photos of the mountains are amazing. I can't stop returning to gaze at them a little more.
wow..i have been ethiopia 13 core cities and 39 small cities.....almost everywhere....East African Great Rift Valley....the mountains should be in northwest part....the pic3 is in city gondar was the old capital of ethiopia!.....