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Soft drink bottles in Ethiopia often have their names written in Amharic. This Coca-Cola bottle demonstrates how each Amharic character corresponds to a consonant and vowel pair in English. ኮ="co" ካ="ca" ኮ="co" ላ="la".

Amharic (አማርኛ) is the main language of north central Ethiopia.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Consonants and vowels[edit]

ህ h as in hat

ል l as in lamp

ሕ h as in hat

ም m as in mat

ሥ s as in six

ረ r as in rabbit

ስ s as in six

ሽ sh as in ash

ቅ k pronounced at the back of the throat

ብ b as in bat

ት t as in track

ች ch as in chat

ኅ h as in hat

ን n as in night

ኝ as in spanish ñ

ክ k as in dock

ኽ h as in hat

ው w as in whale

ዕ i pronounced at the back of throat

ዝ z as in zebra

ዥ zh as in pleasure

ይ y as in yoke

ድ d as in dog

ጅ j as in jaguar

ግ g as in goat

ጥ t pronounced by stressing

ጭ ch pronounced by stressing

ጵ p pronounced by stressing

ጽ sound between t and s

ፅ sound between t and s

ፈ f as in fat

ፕ p as in pencil

ቭ v as in vase

are consonant sounds


ኧ e as in commander

ኡ u as in Uzbekh

ኢ i as in inject

አ a as in father

ኤ e as in beg

እ i pronounced at the back of throat

ኦ o as in orange

are vowel sounds


But as in Japanese or Arabic or Hebrew, Amharic vowels are not written separately; vowels are marks attached to consonants. See the Amharic letter table.

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice

Just for the sake of being "friendly," please do not use the informal greetings with the elderly, dignitaries or generally with people who are not your friends. Respect for elderly and people with authority is paramount in Ethiopia. Therefore, in order not to give your acquaintance a wrong impression of yourself, make sure you adjust your behaviour according to the circumstances.

Hello. (formal)
Tena yistilign. (ጤና ይስጥልኝ)
Hello. (informal)
Selam. (ሰላም)
Hello. (informal between friends)
Hi. (ሃይ)
How are you? (respectful to elder)
Dehina newot? (ደህና ነዎት?)
How are you (informal, to a man)
Endemin-neh? (እንደምን ነህ?)
How are you (informal, to a woman)
Endemin-nesh? (እንደምን ነሽ?)
Fine, thank you.
Dehna Negn. (ደህና ነኝ)
What is your name? (to a man)
Simeh man naw? (ስምህ ማን ነው?)
What is your name? (to a woman)
Simish man naw? (ስምሽ ማን ነው?)
My name is ______ .
Sime ______ yibalal. (ስሜ _____ ይባላል)
Pleased to meet you.
siletewaweqin dess bilognal . (ስለተዋወቅን ደስ ብሎኛል)
Please.
Ebakih. (to a man) (እባክህ)
Please.
Ebakish. (to a woman) (እባክሽ)
Thank you (very much).
(Betam) ahmesugenalew. ((በጣም) አመሰግናለሁ )
You're welcome.
Minem Aydelem. (meaning 'no problem' 'ምንም አይደለም)
Yes.
awo. (አዎ )
No.
aye; aydelem. (አይ አይደለም)
OK.
ishi (እሺ )
Excuse me. (getting attention)
Yiqirta. (ይቅርታ )
Excuse me. Do you have a minute
Yiqirta, anda gazay (ይቅርታ፣ አንድ ጊዜ)
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
Yiqirta. (ይቅርታ )
I'm sorry.
Yiqirta. (ይቅርታ )
Goodbye
Dehna hun. (to a man) (ደህና ሁን)
Goodbye
Dehna hugni. (to a woman) (ደህና ሁኚ)
Goodbye (informal)
Ciao. (Taken from Italian) (ቻው)
I can't speak Amharic [well].
[ ]. ( [ ])
Do you speak English?
Englizegna tichilaleh? (to a man) (እንግሊዘኛ ትችላለህ?)
Do you speak English?
Englizegna tichiyalesh? (to a woman) (እንግሊዘኛ ትችያለሽ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
Englizegna yemichel sew ale? (እንግሊዘኛ የሚችል ሰው አለ ?)
Help!
! ( !)
Look out!
! ( !)
Good morning.
Dehna aderk (to a young man) (ደህና አደርክ?): Dehna aderu (Elderly man/ more formal) (ደህና አደሩ?)
Good morning.
Dehna adersh (to a woman) (ደህና አደርሽ?):Dehna aderu (Elderly woman/ more formal) (ደህና አደሩ?)
Good morning.
Dehna aderachu ( more than one person) (ደህና አደራቹ?)
Good evening.
Dehna ameshachu ( more than one person) (ደህና አመሻቹ?)
Good night.
Dehna eder. (pronounced Denadur)(to a man) (ደህና እደር)
Good night.
Dehna ederee. (pronounced Denaduree)(to a woman) (ደህና እደሪ)
Good night (to sleep)
. ( )
I don't understand.
Algebagnem. (አልገባኝም)
Where is the toilet?
Metatebiya bet yet new? (መታጠቢያ ቤት የት ነው?)

Problems[edit]

Numbers[edit]

0 = Zero (ዜሮ)
1 = And (አንድ)
2 = Hoolet (ሁለት)
3 = Sost (ሶስት)
4 = Arat (አራት)
5 = Amest (አምስት)
6 = Sidist (ስድስት)
7 = Sebat (ሰባት)
8 = Sement (ስምንት)
9 = ZeTegn (ዘጠኝ)
10 = Aser (አስር)
11 = Asra-and (አስራ አንድ)
12 = Asra-hoolet (አስራ ሁለት)
20 = Haya (ሀያ)
21 = Haya-and (ሀያ አንድ)
30 = Selasa (ሰላሳ)
40 = Arba (አርባ)
50 = Hamsa (ሀምሳ)
60 = Silsa (ስልሳ)
70 = Seba (ሰባ)
80 = Semanya (ሰማንያ)
90 = ZeTena (ዘጠና)
100 = Meto (መቶ)
200 = Hoolet-meto (ሁለት መቶ)
300 = Sost-meto (ሶስት መቶ)
1000 = Shee (ሺህ)
2000 = Hoolet-shee (ሁለት ሺህ)

Time[edit]

Clock time[edit]

The day starts at 1 se'at ke tewatu(o'clock in the morning) (አንድ ሰዓት ከጠዋቱ) = 7am
2 se'at = 8am
3 se'at = 9am
4 se'at = 10am
5 se'at = 11am
6 se'at = 12pm
7 se'at = 1pm
8 se'at = 2pm
9 se'at = 3pm
10 se'at = 4pm
11 se'at = 5pm
12 se'at = 6pm
1 se'at ke'mishitu (o'clock in the evening) (አንድ ሰዓት ከምሽቱ) = 7pm
2 se'at = 8pm
3 se'at = 9pm
4 se'at = 10pm
5 se'at = 11pm
6 se'at ke'lelitu (o'clock in the night) (ስድስት ሰዓት ከለሊቱ) = 12am
7 se'at = 1am
8 se'at = 2am
9 se'at = 3am
10 se'at = 4am
11 se'at = 5am
12 se'at = 6am

Duration[edit]

Days[edit]

Sunday = Ehood (እሁድ)
Monday = Segno (ሰኞ)
Tuesday = Maksegno (ማክሰኞ)
Wednesday = Erob (እሮብ)
Thursday = Hamoos (ሐሙስ)
Friday = Arb (አርብ)
Saturday = Qdame (ቅዳሜ)

Months[edit]

September = Meskerem (መስከረም)
October = Tikimt (ጥቅምት)
November = Hidar (ህዳር)
December = Tahisas (ታኅሣሥ)
January = Tir (ጥር)
February = Yekatit (የካቲት)
March = Megabit (መጋቢት)
April = Miyaziya (ሚያዚያ)
May = Ginbot (ግንቦት)
June = Senay (ሰኔ)
July = Hamle (ሐምሌ)
August = Nehasie (ነሐሴ)

Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

Black = Tiqoor (ጥቁር)
White = NeCH (ነጭ)
Red = Qey (ቀይ)
Blue = Semayawi (ሰማያዊ)
Green = Arengwade (አረንጓዴ)
Yellow = BiCHa (ቢጫ)
Brown = Buna'aynet/Buna'ma (ቡና ዓይነት/ቡናማ)
Purple = WeynTej (ወይንጠጅ)
Pink = Rose (ሮዝ)
Orange = Bertukan (ብርቱካን)
Baby blue = Wuhama semayawi (ውሃማ ሰማያዊ)
Dark blue = DemaQ semayawi (ደማቅ ሰማያዊ)

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train (አውቶቢስ እና ባቡር)[edit]

Directions (አቅጣጫ)[edit]

Right = Qegn (ቀኝ)
Left = G'ra (ግራ)
Straight ahead = QeTita menged (ቀጥታ መንገድ)
Opposite = TeQarani/Feet'lefeet (ተቃራኒ/ፊት ለፊት)
Adjacent = ATegeb/Gon (አጠገብ/ጎን)
Turn left = wede g'ra taTef(to a guy)/taTefi(to a girl)/taTefu (to more than one person or to an elderly) (ወደ ግራ ታጠፍ/ታጠፊ/ታጠፉ)
Turn right = wede Qegn taTef(to a guy)/taTefi(to a girl)/taTefu (to more than one person or to an elderly) (ወደ ቀኝ ታጠፍ/ታጠፊ/ታጠፉ)

Taxi (ታክሲ)[edit]

Lodging[edit]

Money[edit]

How much?
Sint new? (ስንት ነው)

fifty cents: hamsa santim (ሀምሳ ሳንቲም)

money: genzeb (ገንዘብ)

Eating[edit]

Bread (Ethiopian)
dabo (ዳቦ)
Curry
wet (ወጥ)
Meat (red)
siga (ስጋ)
Chicken
doro (ዶሮ)
Vegetable
ataklt (አታክልት)
Spicy
qmemama kemem (ቅመማማ ቅመም)
Mild
aletcha (አልጫ)
Coffee shop
bunna bet (ቡና ቤት)
I am a vegetarian
Siga albuelam (literally, "I don't eat meat") (ስጋ አልበላም)
coffee with milk
Buna b'Wetet (ቡና በወተት)

Bars[edit]

Shopping[edit]

Driving[edit]

Authority[edit]

This Amharic phrasebook is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!