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Amharic (ኣማርኛ)

Amharic is a Semitic language and the national language of Ethiopia (ኢትዮጵያ). The majority of the 25 million or so speakers of Amharic can be found in Ethiopia, but there are also speakers in a number of other countries, particularly Eritrea (ኤርትራ), Canada, the USA and Sweden.

The name Amharic (ኣማርኛ - amarəñña) comes from the district of Amhara (አማራ) in nortern Ethiopia, which is thought to be the historic centre of the language.

Writing system

Amharic is written with a version of the Ge'ez script known as ፊደል (Fidel). There are a number of ways to transliterate Amharic into the Latin alphabet, including one developed by Ernst Hammerschmidt, the EAE Transliteration system, developed by Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, and the BGN/PCGN* system, which was designed for use in romanizing names written in Amharic characters and adopted by the UN in 1967.

*BGN = Board on Geographic Names (USA)
PCGN = The Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use
More details:

Amharic abugida (ፊደል)

The BGN/PCGN Amharic romanization system and the EAE Transliteration system are shown on the left of each column. Where there are two transliterations, the one of the right is the EAE one. IPA transcriptions are given under each syllable.

The syllables with the vowel transliterated as (i) are pronounced [ə], except in final position when the vowel is not pronounced.

The Ge'ez (Ethiopic) script for Amharic

Hear a recording of the Amharic syllables

Note: each syllable is said twice, and the last row of the syllable chart (v) is not included.


Corrections by Josh S

Other syllables

Other Amharic syllables


Ethiopic punctuation


These numerals developed from the Greek alphabet, possibly via Coptic.

Amharic numerals

Download a spreadsheet containing the above charts

Sample text in Amharic

Sample text in Amharic

Transliteration (BGN/PCGN system)

yäsäw ləǧ hulu siwäläd näs'ana bäkəbərəna bämäbətəm ʾəkulənät yaläw näw yätäfäpəro yämasətäwaləna həlinaw səlaläw ʾänədu lelawən bäwänədəmamačənät mänəfəs mämäləkät yägäbawal.

Listen to a recording of this text by Zaynaba Nuru


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Amharic | Amharic phrases | Amharic numbers | Tower of Babel in Amharic | Amharic learning materials


Information about the Amharic language

Recording of all the Amharic syllables

Details of romanization systems for Amharic

Online Amharic lessons

Online Amharic dictionaries

Amharic phrases

Amharic / Ge'ez fonts

Encyclopaedia Aethiopica

Online news in Amharic

Online Amharic radio

Semitic languages

Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic (Algerian), Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Lebanese), Arabic (Modern Standard), Arabic (Moroccan), Arabic (Syrian), Aramaic, Argobba, Assyrian / Neo-Assyrian, Canaanite, Chaha, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Ge'ez, Hadhramautic, Hebrew, Himyaritic, Jewish Neo-Aramaic, Maltese, Mandaic, Nabataean, Neo-Mandaic, Phoenician, Punic, Qatabanic, Sabaean, Sabaic, Silt'e, Syriac, Tigre, Tigrinya, Turoyo, Ugaritic, Western Neo-Aramaic

Languages written with the Ethiopic (Ge'ez) script

Amharic, Argobba, Awngi, Blin, Chaha, Dizin, Ge'ez, Harari, Inor, Silt'e, Tigre, Tigrinya, Xamtanga