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Amharic language

Amharic (አማርኛ) is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia, where it is the predominant official language. It is written using an abugida adapted from the one used for the now-extinct Ge'ez language.

Amharic Phonology

The chart below uses SAMPA symbols where feasible, with the exception that ejectives are marked by '’' (apostrophe/right-single-quote).

Consonants
  bilabial dental palatal velar glottal
stops voiceless p t c k 7
voiced b d J g  
ejective p’ t’ c’ k’  
affricate   ts      
fricatives voiceless f s S   h
voiced   z Z    
nasals m n ñ    
liquids w l j    
flap/trill   r      

Vowels
  front central back
high i   u
mid e @ o
low E a  

    

Amharic Abugida Symbols ("Fidels" ፊደል)

Please note that this chart is incomplete. Some phonemes have more than one series of possible symbols; only illustrative examples for /k/ and /h/ are shown (the latter has four series!). While the consonants have been grouped by manner of articulation (refer to the phoneme chart above), the vowels are listed in citation order. The citation form for each series is the consonant+/E/ form, i.e. the first column of fidels. You will need a font that supports Ethiopic, such as GF Zemen Unicode (available at ftp://ftp.ethiopic.org/pub/fonts/TrueType/gfzemenu.ttf ), in order to view the fidels.

Europeans are often disconcerted or astonished by the remarkable similarity of many of the symbols. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that like many Semitic languages, Amharic uses triconsonantal roots in its verb morphology. The upshot of this fact is that a fluent speaker of Amharic can decipher written text by observing which consonants are noted, with the vowel variants being supplemental detail. (T dmnstrt, "nglsh spkrs cn rd vwllss txt, t!)

Chart of Amharic Fidels
  E u i a e @ or
NONE
o
p
t
c
k
b
d
J
g
p’
t’
c’
k’
7
ts’
f
s
S
h
z
Z
m
n
ñ
w
l
j
r

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