Ethiopia/Amharic Posts Directory
እንኳን ደህና መጣችሁ! Can't see the text to the left? You can download a font here!
The language I really want on Duolingo is Amharic (አማርኛ). Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia with around 26 million speakers globally. This directory contains all my posts about Ethiopia and Amharic (any future ones will be added as they are written) plus my website, to try and get more people interested in both the country and the language so that the Duolingo team will hopefully get Amharic on here sooner!
Why do I want to learn Amharic?
Good question! I went to Zambia in 2014 from June 23 - July 6, and we flew with Ethiopian Airlines with a connecting flight from Addis Ababa Bole Airport. Before the trip I didn't know Amharic existed, so I was confused as to what language I was seeing on the plane. I asked the passenger next to me, and he told me it was Amharic. So, when I got back from Zambia I looked it up, as what I'd seen and heard on the plane and in the airport had really fascinated me. I then started to learn it and, seeing as it is the official language of Ethiopia, started to learn about Ethiopian culture, history, and cuisine - all three of which really intrigued me. I am also learning Amharic as it helps serve as a memento of my trip to Zambia, which was life-changing.
Why should you learn Amharic?
Ethiopia has an incredible history and culture. It is a beautiful country with many fascinating and distinct landmarks, lovely people, and (what I think to be) delicious food. Amharic is also a very interesting and beautiful language - it is a Semitic language, and therefore shares a few words with Arabic. However, it is for the most part very unique. For example, the script Amharic is written in is the Ge'ez script (in Amharic: ግዕዝ), a script unlike any other in the world. Ge'ez is the language from which Amharic is descended, and is no longer spoken in Ethiopia. Not yet convinced? Read the posts below and see if you change your mind...
“I'm interested in learning Amharic. What do I do?”
Firstly, you can try my website and the lessons below to start learning Amharic, join the Facebook group if you'd like, or join the Discord server. You can vote for Amharic in polls/mention Amharic as a language you are interested in learning. Please also upvote this post and tell any bilingual English & Amharic speakers about the incubator, and ask them to apply if they can!
My website - Learn Amharic!
Join the Facebook group - “Amharic on Duolingo“
Join the Discord server using this post
Amharic Vocab Lists/የአማርኛ የቃላት ዝርዝሮች (On Memrise, account needed to access them)
I liked the page before too, now I wanted to check it out again but now the link re-directs to some spam page, you should look into that, would suck if your website would be gone, love your work
You really have introduced me to the beauty of this country, I didn't know much about it before.
In addition, Ethiopia also has one of my favourite African flags!
Totally in favour of Amharic.
Additional Note: Soon enough, there's going to have to a 'directory directory'!
I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia and will go back within the next year while working on my masters, so I'd love for Amharic to be a more mainstream foreign language. I think Peace Corps may be a way to help get Amharic on Duolingo. Just like Duolingo partnered with Peace Corps Tanzania for getting it's Kiswahili course put together, Peace Corps Ethiopia would be a useful connection for Amharic. Also, Several major cities in the U.S. have very large Ethiopian diaspora communities who could also help put it together. The challenge is integrating all the fidel scripts, which requires Ge'ez software with specific key combinations. It can be done, though!
And FYI, if you are interested in a easy to carry around language book, a fellow Ethiopia RPCV published an Amharic language guide and another langaue guide for Tigrigna (the language I leanred that is the closest to Amharic). They're awesome books to help learn the most commonly used phrases.
What did you like about it and what were your favourite places in the country? :)
I lived in Maichew, Southern Tigray. I love and will forever love Raya. I actually have a tattoo that says ራያ ዓደይ. The mountains there are beautiful. But my favorite spot for vacation was Abiy Adi. I went there last year for Ashenda. And of course, shay bunna. Coffee there is amazing. My favorite place of all time, though is this village in the mountains a two hour walk from Maichew called ሰረንጋ. I have been to Addis about 15 times and I did my training in Aseela in the Arsi zone. I got to celebrate Meskel last year in Meskel Square. One of the most amazing public gatherings I have ever witnessed. There is much more I would like to see and I will go back soon enough. There are many people I love there. Where in the country are you from? Also, do you recommend a particular Ge'ez software? I'm not able to type in Amharic or Tigrinya.
Raya as in Oromo Raya I'm guessing? I didn't know they went as far north as Maychew! I thought they were around the Alamata area :) . I love the Raya Oromo people too, such a nice culture they have. You've done quite a lot though, and there is a lot more for you to see I agree! I'm from Hawassa but when I do visit the country I stay in Addis. There's a new popular Raya song in the country too- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXjJrGwvG7o they sure do dance at 3:40 onwards :D . What platform do you need a Ge'ez software on? Adam recommended me the Keyman app and it looks quite good :) .
What I've been told is that the Oromo migrated to Raya a couple hundred years ago and settled from Weldiya all the way up to Adigudom. And yes, Maichew is very, very Raya. In fact I learned and speak the Raya Tigriyna dialect. Very different from standard Tigrinya. It is funny. They're ancestry is Oromo, but they speak Amharic and Tigrinya. Maichew also has many from Himra Agew. The bakery next to my house was owned by an Agew family.
I just watched the video. I have a grey bofey like the one she has. Melaku Negus's music is big in Maichew. I heard the song Raya Rayuma all the time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozKIx5U5CpQ
I almost went to Awassa for the race, but when the protests broke out throughout Oromia we were required to stay in our towns.
And I have Windows 8 for my laptop and an Android phone.
Wow, that's great to know! This should help with you Windows 8 laptop- http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HowToAddAKeyboardAndWriteInYOURLanguageInWindowsForFree.aspx It uses Ge'ez in the example. :) Did you get to visit Mek'ele or any other cities/towns in Ethiopia :) ?
Yup. Been to Mek'ele tons of times. It's where our regional office is located. I've been to several places in Tigray and Oromia. There is till much more I need to see.
Thank you so much for the info!
Yeah, I hadn't thought about the use of the Peace Corps. Can you speak Amharic?
አማርኛ በዚህ ገጽ ላይ ለመማር አያስቸግርም ብዬ አስባለሁ፣ ምክንያቱም ኪቦርድ ማውረድ ይቻላል (እኔ Keyman የሚባለውን ኪቦርድ እጠቀማለሁ፣ ነጻ ነው)።
I also bought the Essential Guide, it's helpful and a good resource to use alongside Colloquial Amharic. Would you have a way of bringing this up with Peace Corps Ethiopia, or is there some way I could?
I need to get Ge'ez software. I speak an intermediate level, but I can hear all of it. I speak Tigrinya since I was in Tigray. I do have a way to bring it up with them. I know the language coordinators. We may need to ask how Duolingo approaches Peace Corps as well. I can definitely ask the PCV in the Kiswhaili team how they got started.
እሺ፣ የትኛውን ቋንቋ ትመርጣለህ? አማርኛ ወይንም ትግርኛ? ትግርኛ ከአማርኛ ቅርብ ወደ ሌሎች ሴማዊ ቋንቋዎች ይመስለኛል።
ስለ ክፍሉ ከPeace Corps ጋር ብትነጋግር በጣም ደስ ይለኛል።
I didn't choose. Before we were assigned to our regions, we all had two weeks of Amharic lessons, then when I was assigned to Tigray, they switched me to Tigrinya. They are very similar and knowing one language allows you to hear/ read some of the other. Like inside is ውሽጥ in Amharic and ውሽጢ in Tigrinya.
And I'm female so don't forget it's ትመርጣለሽ.
I'll ask Branden about the Duolingo/PCTanzania partnership and I will email a couple of third year PCVs in Ethiopia. PC Ethiopia may be interested in Duolingo if it can help incoming trainees get a head start on the language.
መምረጥ is also "To prefer"; I was asking "Do you prefer Amharic or Tigrinya?".
"Inside" in Amharic is ውስጥ
Also, the conjugation is ትመርጫለሽ (the ጥ becomes palatalised)
Thank you for offering to talk about it :)
One of the English Program Assistant Managers at Peace Corps Ethiopia is talking with the Head of Language and Training about pursuing a Duolingo Amharic. We will see what they have to say.
I would love to see this. I teach ESL in Washington DC, the city with the largest Amharic speaking population outside of the horn of Africa and have been desperate to learn some functional Amharic. Furthermore Amharic is an exciting language for several reasons:
- It is one of the very few native African languages with it's own alphabet and of those it is by far the most widely used.
- Having never been colonized by a European or Arabic power Ethiopia is unique in Africa in that it's language and culture have comparatively little outside influence. This is a source of pride for Ethiopians and in my opinion makes Amharic an excellent choice for Duolingo's first African language.
- Amharic is in the Semitic language family. While many other widely spoken African languages would likely take a very long time to prepare courses for as they are from language families that have not been adapted to duolingo yet, Amharic has in theory a leg up. It is in the same family as Hebrew and Arabic, both of which are either in development or have "English for speakers of..." courses available. Using the existing framework for Hebrew and Arabic, Amharic should be easier to develop than say Yoruba, Wolof or Swahili.
As someone who lives in Israel, which has a pretty big Ethiopian immigrant population, I would love to learn it.
Also from Israel, I've started learning from Memrise, I know almost the entire alphabet, starting words soon.
So far all I can say is tarat tarat? lam barat... and some expressions that should not be repeated in polite society.
That's great that you nearly know the entire alphabet! It'll really help you once Amharic does make it on Duolingo... I have applied to contribute for the course. :)
Have you checked out my website and the vocab lists I made on Memrise?
(Sorry for the self-advertisement...)
I would absolutely love to learn Amharic!! Im british but my parents are sudanese and my arabic isn't really quite up to scratch. Would love to see Amharic and Arabic on here so I can learn them in conjuction with one another!
Amharic and Arabic would be good to learn together, and although they are fairly different, you will come across similarities. Some I've noticed are:
- ቤት (bayt) & بيت (bayt) - House
- ሐሙስ (hamus) & الخميس (al-khamiis) - Thursday
- አንተ (an-teh) & أنت (an-ta) - You (masculine)
- ቅርብ (Quh-rb) & قرب (quurb) - Near
- ሰላም (seh-lam) & سلام (salaam) - Peace
Numbers are also similar but in a weird way: some of the tens in Amharic correspond with some of the units in Arabic:
- ሰላሳ (seh-lah-sa) is 30, whereas ثلاثة (theh-leh-theh) is 3
- አርባ (ar-ba) is 40, whereas أربعة (er-baa) is 4.
- ኃምሳ (ham-sa) is 50, whereas خمسة (kham-sa) is 5
- ሰባ (se-ba) is 70, whereas سبعة (se-baa) is 7
- ሰማንያ (se-man-ya) is 80, whereas ثمانية (theh-mah-ni-ya) is 8
Wow that last point about numbers is really interesting. It seems like such a fascinating and beautifully unique language. The script looks amazing too, visually-speaking
My parents are Ethiopian immigrants and we all live in America. The US has a very large Ethiopian diaspora and many of us 1st generation kids need to feel connected with our homeland. Duolingo is a spectacular application and when I plan on learning Amharic I would love to learn efficiently and comfortably with this! Thank you!
You could try out my website for now, if you'd like. I hope Amharic gets added soon.
i agree the largest centralize population is in washington dc metro area , infact i live 1000 ft from a Ethiopian bakery in northern va and a lot of the signs around here are in Amharic. plus alot of my customers are from ethiopia. I could talk alot of them in to comtributing if this became incubation.
That would be great! You could tell them about the incubator and about Duolingo, and see if any of them want to apply.
I have an Ethiopian English student who would greatly benefit from using Duolingo, but needs to be able to learn from the perspective of an Amharic speaker. I hope that Amharic will be added as a foundation language in Duolingo soon
I have some Amharic-speaking students, and it would be great to know a little of their language. I hope to see this language on Duolingo!
That's great! Do you know if any of them would be able to apply to help create the course? I hope it's added sometime soon :)
Well, the requirements to help include fluency in both English and Amharic, so as their ESL teacher, I can tell you no, at least not yet. Unfortunately, there tend to be literacy issues with students from that part of the word, so finding people with the collection of skills necessary to get a project like this off the ground may be difficult. Hopefully one day.
I've actually got more Tigrinya and Oromo speakers than Amharic speakers. I'd be happy for any of the Horn's languages to make an appearance here. Do you think Amharic is the best bet?
To start, yes, as it's the official language of Ethiopia. Oromo would probably be next best, because it's actually got a few million more speakers than Amharic, due to the large amount of Oromos in Ethiopia. Tigrinya would probably have the least priority simply due to having less speakers, although it does have official status in Eritrea, I believe.
I'd like to see Oromo myself on Duolingo. It uses the Latin script so it's more likely to be accepted than Amharic, I just don't think it has enough applications just yet. I'd also love to see Tigrinya, have you ever thought about studying it?
The thing is the Amharic script doesn't cause too many difficulties, it's almost the same as having a script like Russian or Greek and easier than Arabic, and those are all on here already.
I might learn Tigrinya sometime, but probably only once I've mastered (or to the best I can) Amharic.
True. It's a very logical script and words are spelt exactly how they are pronounced. The only problem would be teaching every single letter. If I was to have an input, I'd only teach a couple versions of each letter and the rest could be learnt through new words down the course or an outside course, maybe on Tinycards.
And that's nice :). I managed to check with a native Tigrinya speaker too about the phonology of the sound ቐ. It isn't in fact the same as the Arabic ق. It corresponds to this sound, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velar_ejective_fricative he said. :)
አሪፍ :) አዎ፣ የአማርኛ ፊደላቱን ለመማር ከባድ የሚመስል ሲሆን አይደለም ብዬ አስባለሁ። እንደ ሁሉም ነገር ጊዜ ብቻ ነው የሚያስፈልገው።
Amharic would be a fantastic addition! If I'm not wrong, Swahili is currently the only African language under development for English speakers
You're right. I hope that Amharic is added after Swahili.
ትክክል ነህ። ስዋሂሊ ቀጥሎ አማርኛ እንደሚጨምሩ ተስፋ አለኝ።
Amharic is #1 on my wishlist for Duolingo languages.
I don't see it happening before Arabic is launched, which is #2 on my wishlist.
Awesome! I'm hoping that in terms of African languages it's one of the next (but who knows when another African language will come...)
Yes, as I've said, Amharic is #1 for me but there are many African languages I'd love to see on Duo as well... Wolof, Bambara, Oromo, Somali, Tigrinye... Do you speak any other African languages?
What do you do in Ethiopia?
Oromo and Tigrinya would be cool too, they're interesting to me as well. I only know Amharic. And I actually live in England, not Ethiopia.
Ohh, I thought I read in a coment elswhere that you lived in Ethiopia, but maybe it was someone else's comment and I got confused. Anyhow, good to know that there are people all over trying to learn Amharic =)
That's not how it works. Duolingo adds courses to the incubator depending on:
- Available contributors
- Systematic factors (e.g. script; grammar)
I, as a user, have no way of "putting" it in the incubator.
And I've been informed that Duolingo has a partnership with Peace Corps Headquarters. Once a post expresses interest, then steps can be taken for language contributors working for that posts can start working on the material.
Hola! Not sure this is the place to say it but I totally support Amharic on Duolingo, and am willing to contribute as much as possible. I live in Bahir Dar and have many colleagues and friends who love to contribute as well. Let us know what we can do to get it in the incubator! (that's such a hilarious term).
I want Amharic on DuoLingo! and honestly I want both Amharic-English and English-Amharic. Let's make this happen!
Can't wait to study Amharic on duolingo. Ethiopia is an incredible country and the Ge'ez script is so beautiful, Duolingo really should add more African languages.
I am VERY interested in learning Amharic. I hope it will soon be a choice on Duolingo.
Thanks for the post! It would be extremely helpful for the others, if Ethiopian people could record their voices while pronouncing words, e.g. here: https://forvo.com/pronounce/am/ . It's not an advertisement, but the website is helpful for learners, because native speakers pronounce words and sentences and post in there. Unfortunately, there is no Amharic words, which are able to listen to.
Do we have any update on where this is at in the pipeline of getting this added?
Hi Adam, Sounds great! I can't wait! But, I just tried to find the Ethiopia/Amharic keyboard on my iphone. No luck. It is so helpful to have the keyboard layout such as Greek and Russian to use on Duolingo lessons. Can you also push Apple and Microsoft for Ethiopia/Amharic keyboard options for iphone's and other systems like Windows and MAC? Thanks!
WOW!!! Es excelente el posteo y el blog ¿No te interesa postularte para crear el curso de amárico para hablantes de español?
So, do we need to learn the alphabet and how to write them before learning the language? Isn't there a form of transliteration that can be developed so that one can learn how to enunciate and use the terms correctly?
how can we vote to have amharic added to duolingo? is there a way to vote so duolingo knows people are interested? thanks.
The incubator is not a place to try and influence the decision makers but it's a way to contribute and get involved in new projects: https://incubator.duolingo.com/
There's this thread but I'm not sure it's relevant any longer: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/28146379/RE-POLL-Languages-to-be-added-to-duolingo-incubator-for-2019