Amharic language

Semitic language of Ethiopia

Amharic (አማርኛ āmariññā) is a Semitic language spoken in North Central Ethiopia by the Amhara. It is the second most spoken Semitic language after Arabic, and the official language of Ethiopia. Amharic is also the official or working language of several of the states, including Amhara Region and the multi-ethnic Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region.[4]Amharic has been spoken in Ethiopia since the late 12th century in various industries including the legal system, commerce, communications, the military and religion.[5]

አማርኛ (Amarəñña)
Native toEthiopia
Native speakers
22,000,000[1][2] (2007 Population and Housing Census)
Ge'ez script (Amharic syllabary)
Amharic Braille
Signed Amharic[3]
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byImperial Academy (former)
Language codes
ISO 639-1am
ISO 639-2amh
ISO 639-3amh
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Also known as Amarigna, Amarinya, there are 25 million plus speakers of Amharic in various countries of the world, mainly in Ethiopia, & also in Eritrea.

Amharic uses a script which originated from the Ge'ez alphabet. It has 33 basic characters with each having 7 forms or variations for each consonant-vowel combination. Unlike the North Semitic languages such as Arabic, Hebrew or Syrian, the language is written from left to right.

Amharic is considered a Holy Language for the Rastafari religion, whose name itself comes from Amharic words Ras, literally signifying ‘head’, and having a similar meaning to the title ‘Duke’, and Täfäri, the name used by Haile Selassie I prior to his reign as Ethiopian regent and emperor until 1974. The religion uses Amharic in music and as a second language for many of its followers.[6]


  1. Central Statistical Agency. 2010. "Population and Housing Census 2007 Report, National". Accessed 13 December 2016].
  2. Lewis, Lewis M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D. (2015). Amharic Ethnologue: Languages of the World. SIL International. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  3. Morgan, Mike (9 April 2010). "Complexities of Ethiopian Sign Language Contact Phenomena; Implications for AAU". L'Alliance française et le Centre Français des Etudes Ethiopiennes. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  4. "Amharic Language - Dialects & Structure - MustGo". Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  5. Adugna, Gabe. "Research: Language Learning - Amharic: Home". Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  6. "Amharic in the Wider World". Ethiopia Online Visa. 2018-12-04. Archived from the original on 2021-06-24. Retrieved 2021-06-22.