Language Learning: Amharic

This month we explore the Amharic language, also called Amarinya or Kuchumba, in our ongoing Language Learning series.

Amharic is one of the two main languages of Ethiopia (along with the Oromo language). It is mostly spoken in the northwest Highlands of Ethiopia and it is the official language of the country.

The language is also a major literary language for Ethiopia. The oldest extant records in Amharic are songs and poems dating from the 14th century. However, it was only in the 19th century that significant literature in Amharic was found.

Amharic is written using 33 basic characters in a slightly modified form of the alphabet used for writing the Geʿez language. There are about 32 million native speakers as of 2018. It is also estimated that approximately 2.4 million emigrants speak Amharic in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Amharic was one of the most recently added languages in our GSA contract for translation and interpretation services. Please contact us for more information on our translation and interpretation services.

Sources: Britannica (language); Britannica (image); UC Berkeley Library; and Boston College