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Amharic language

አማርኛ (Amharic)


Amharic Fidel.png
"ye’ītiyop’iya k’wanik’wa" ("Ethiopian Language") in Amharic Fidel.
Pronunciation [amarɨɲɲa]
Native to Ethiopia
Ethnicity Amharas Ethiopian
Native speakers
36,434,396  (2007 Population and Housing Census)
Ge'ez (Amharic syllabary)
Amharic Braille
Signed Amharic
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by Imperial Academy (former)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 am
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3
Glottolog amha1245
Linguasphere 12-ACB-a
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.


Amharic (አማርኛ) (/æmˈhærɪk/ or /ɑːmˈhɑːrɪk/; Amharic: Amarəñña, IPA: [amarɨɲːa]) is an Afro-Asiatic language of the Semitic branch. It is spoken as a mother tongue by the Amhara in Ethiopia. The language serves as the official working language of Ethiopia, and is also the official or working language of several of the states within the federal system. Amharic is the second-most widely spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic.

The language and the culture of the imperial court was Amharic, from the time of the reign of Yekuno Amlak (ይኩኖ አምላክ) in 1270 and the ‘Solomonic line’ (ሰሎሞናዊ ሥርወ - መንግሥት) of kings emanating from the historical Shoa province. It has been the working language of courts, language of trade and everyday communications, the military, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church since the late 12th century and remains the Official language of Ethiopia today. Amharic is spoken by 22 million native speakers in Ethiopia. Additionally 3 million emigrant outside of Ethiopia speak the language. Most of the Ethiopian Jewish communities in Ethiopia and Israel speak Amharic. In Washington DC, Amharic became one of the six non-English languages in the Language Access Act of 2004, which allows government services and education in Amharic. Furthermore, Amharic is considered as a holy language by the Rastafari (ራስ ተፈሪ) religion and it is widely used among its followers worldwide. It is the most widely spoken language in the Horn of Africa. It is written (left-to-right) using Amharic Fidel, ፊደል, which grew out of the Ge'ez abugida—called, in Ethiopian Semitic languages, ፊደል fidel ("writing system", "letter", or "character") and አቡ ጊዳ abugida (from the first four Ethiopic letters, which gave rise to the modern linguistic term abugida).