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Amharic Alphabet

Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the "official working" language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Amharic is written with a version of the Ge'ez script known as Fidel. There is no standard way to transliterate Amharic into the Latin alphabet.


The Amharic language uses seven vowels:

Vowel Sounds like
ä again
u moon
i feet
a father
e way
ï pin
o war


The Ethiopian script is not strictly speaking an alphabet, but what is called a syllabary. This means that each letter or symbol usually represents a whole syllable.

There are thirty three basic shapes. These generally represent the consonants followed by the vowel ä. The basic shapes are altered in various ways to indicate a different vowel following the base consonant.

The Amharic syllabary is usually presented as a grid with the vowels in the horizontal axis and the consonants in the vertical axis. Below is the syllabary in the most common ha-hu order:

You may notice that some consonants appear more than once in the alphabet, for example "h" appears four times. For these letters each word has a "preferred" spelling. Many other consonants have a "glottalized" or "explosive" version, indicated in the table with the ' suffix. These do not have an equivalent sound in English, they sound 'sharper' than their normal counterparts.