Amharic language

Semitic language of Ethiopia.

Amharic is spoken by more than 18 million people as a first language and is used as a lingua franca throughout much of central highland Ethiopia. Its status as a de facto national language is largely due to the long dominance of the Ethiopian monarchy by Amhara sovereigns. Amharic is written in a modified form of the partly syllabic, partly alphabetic script used to write Geʽez, the classical language of Christian Ethiopian civilization (see Ethiopic languages). Though manuscripts in Amharic are known from the 14th century, the language has only recently been used as a general medium for literature, journalism, and education.

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also called  Amarinya  or  Kuchumba,  Amarinya also spelled  Amharinya  and  Amarigna,  

      one of the two main languages of Ethiopia (along with the Oromo language). It is spoken principally in the central highlands of the country. Amharic is an Afro-Asiatic language (Afro-Asiatic languages) of the Southwest Semitic (Semitic languages) group and is related to Geʿez (Geʿez language), or Ethiopic, the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox church; it also has affinities with Tigré (Tigré language), Tigrinya (Tigrinya language), and the South Arabic (South Arabic language) dialects.

      Although the oldest extant records in Amharic are songs and poems dating from the 14th century CE, significant literature in any quantity did not begin until the 19th century.

      Amharic is written in a slightly modified form of the alphabet used for writing the Geʿez language. There are 33 basic characters, each of which has seven forms depending on which vowel is to be pronounced in the syllable. Amharic has been strongly influenced by the Cushitic languages, especially Oromo and the Agaw languages. The dialects of Amharic are not strongly differentiated from one another. Some 18.7 million people spoke Amharic in the early 21st century.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Amharic — Am*har ic, a. Of or pertaining to Amhara, a division of Abyssinia; as, the Amharic language is closely allied to the Ethiopic. n. The Amharic language (now the chief language of Abyssinia). [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Amharic — Infobox Language name=Amharic nativename=አማርኛ amarəñña pronunciation=/amarɨɲɲa/ states=Ethiopia, Israel |speakers=17,000,000+ total, 14,000,000+ monolinguals (1998) familycolor=Afro Asiatic fam2=Semitic fam3=South Semitic fam4=Ethiopian… …   Wikipedia

  • Amharic Wikipedia — Infobox website name = Amharic Wikipedia caption = url = http://am.wikipedia.org/ commercial = No location = Miami, Florida type = Internet encyclopedia project language = Amharic registration = Optional owner = Wikimedia Foundation author = The… …   Wikipedia

  • Amharic — n. official language of Ethiopia adj. pertaining to the Amharic language (language of Ethiopia); written in Amharic …   English contemporary dictionary

  • language — /lang gwij/, n. 1. a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition: the two languages of Belgium; a Bantu language; the French… …   Universalium

  • Amharic — principal language of Ethiopia, 1813, from Amhara, name of a central province in Ethiopia …   Etymology dictionary

  • Amharic — [am har′ik, äm här′ik] n. the official language of Ethiopia, in the Ethiopic subfamily of the Semitic family of languages …   English World dictionary

  • Amharic-Argobba languages — Infobox Language family name=Amharic Argobba region=Ethiopia familycolor=Afro Asiatic fam2=Semitic fam3=South Semitic fam4=Western fam5=Ethiopian Semitic fam6=South fam7=Transversal child1=Amharic child2=ArgobbaAmharic Argobba is a group of group …   Wikipedia

  • Amharic — noun Etymology: part translation of Amharic amarəñña, from Amara region of highland Ethiopia Date: 1813 a Semitic language that is an official language of Ethiopia • Amharic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Language — This article is about the properties of language in general. For other uses, see Language (disambiguation). Cuneiform is one of the first known forms of written language, but spoken language is believed to predate writing by tens of thousands of… …   Wikipedia

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