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.
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.
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
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)