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I know very little about Amharic, but in the following religious song or hymn I clearly notice a voiceless uvular stop. I don't know if it's also ejective, but it's definitely uvular. Listen here at about 2:41 a word or sequence that sounds like qari or so: [1]. Which phoneme is that? And is this uvular pronunciation common? Thanks a lot.

PS: Ge'ez language also says that emphatic "velars" may be uvular. I don't know if this means a secondary articulation, i.e. that the ejective was pronounced more back than the plain consonant, or if it means an uncertainty about whether the phoneme was an ejective at all in Ge'ez.


The proportion of the original Semitic vocabulary still used in Amharic should be mentioned. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A00:23C0:FCF6:4801:E8F1:D1B:B2C2:46E7 (talk) 08:36, 16 March 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In general, this is lower in the Semitic part of Ethiopia than in the Middle East. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A00:23C0:FCF6:4801:E8F1:D1B:B2C2:46E7 (talk) 08:45, 16 March 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Paragraph in the lead[edit]

The lead currently has this paragraph:

Amharic language is conjecturally originated as result of a pidginization process to create a common means of communicating with an Amharic and Semitic to enable communication between people who spoke a mix of different languages .[clarification needed] This pidginization of the new language had enabled the soldiers to create communication means independent of the church which used the Geʽez language.

I was about to copyedit this (it's either from Google translate, or written by somebody without strong English skills), but I realised that I don't actually know what it is trying to say in "create a common means of communicating with an Amharic and Semitic". Has anybody got access to the reference and can check?

My suggestion would be

The Amharic language is conjectured to have originated as a pidgin ... to enable communication between people who spoke a mix of different languages

but I don't know what (if anything) should go in place of ... in the middle. (The second sentence is fine as it stands). --ColinFine (talk) 11:01, 18 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The second sentence of Background begins with "Amharic has been the official working language of Ethiopia..." and ends in "...since the late 12th century". The use of "official working language" as something that has started in the 12th century is a bit of an anachronism; the necessity of using such a bureaucratic-sounding term is related to the political turmoil of the recent years and decades. For more clarity, I suggest to change the two sencences:

  • Amharic has been the official working language of Ethiopia, language of the courts, the language of trade and everyday communications and of the military since the late 12th century. It is one of the official languages of Ethiopia, together with Oromo, Somali, Afar, and Tigrinya.

into something like:

  • Amharic has been the dominant language of Ethiopia since the late 12th century, as language of the courts, the language of trade and everyday communications and of the military. It was the sole official language at the national level until 2020, and is currently the working language of Ethiopia, sharing official language status with Oromo, Somali, Afar, and Tigrinya.

This would also mean to remove the sentence "Until 2020 Amharic was in fact the only other official Ethiopian language on the federal level, alongside English" (what's this about the status of English?).

The phrasing is probably not ideal yet; the word "dominant" carries a load we should better avoid here, but I can't think of a better adjective at the moment. I have taken "the working language of Ethiopia" from the lead, although it's not really clear from the sources whether Amharic has "primus inter pares" status. Thoughts? –Austronesier (talk) 14:41, 16 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Austronesier i agree with your sugesstion. ●As for the word dominant, it's accurate in the sense of what is described above of the courts, military, trade and everday communications(of the borders controlled by the Solomonic dynasty which were fluid under different emperors, the dynasty is also called a Amhara Dynasty and a Amharic dynasty). Maybe replace it with predominant? Don't known exactly why this carries a load. ●Amharic is the the working language of the Federal government, and federal institutions and military, because these are multi-ethnic institutions and Amharic is more widely spoken among other ethnic groups. It's also the working language of another 20% of population the SNNPR region and Gambela region. Don't know if that makes it primus inter parus.●English is not a offical language, but is for obvious reasons a popular language in school instruction especially oriented towards business, trade, tourism. Dawit S Gondaria (talk) 17:24, 16 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the de-facto status of being the most prominent among the official/working languages is clear, but I couldn't read from the sources if this is so de jure. These sources always mention that the four languages were "added" as official/working languages, which is ambiguous with regards to their status relative to Amharic. Maybe an official source (there should be one, no?) can bring more clarity here. –Austronesier (talk) 09:50, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Austronesier Not by de jure anymore. By law Amharic shares now equal status with four working languages on the federal/national level, but in practice only Amharic is used in the parliament, federal courts & military since the policy introduced is very recent, and they will have to figure when and where to use Afaan Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali & Afar. My attempts to get official source through the Ethiopian government portal failed, the website crashed several times today xd, don't they have this in webarchive or somewhere? Otherwise i would have to try again at a later date, tomorrow or next few days. ●Will this source do for now >> ? However this source is incorrect about English being a official language though you can occasionely find parliament members who are not strong in Amharic or forget words, they often supplement speeches with English. Who knows maybe in the future it will become a official language. Dawit S Gondaria (talk) 19:27, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
De facto English has been an official language for decades, as all federal laws are published by the Government in the official Negarit Gazeta in both Amharic and English, although it is also made clear that in case of conflict the Amharic version prevails.[1] LandLing 20:07, 17 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@LandLing You are right my mistake. Dawit S Gondaria (talk) 21:09, 18 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ FDRE. "Federal Negarit Gazeta Establishment Proclamation" (PDF). Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 November 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2021.


The lede says 'The language serves as the official working language of the Ethiopian federal government' (emphasis mine), but the background section says 'Until 2020 Amharic was in fact the only other official Ethiopian language on the federal level, alongside English'. This suggests that Amharic is no longer the official working language of the Ethiopian federal government, but just an official working language of the Ethiopian federal government (one of many). Or is the difference that the other 'official' languages aren't also 'working' languages? (talk) 21:52, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

De jure, Amharic was joined by four other languages as official languages, as the article correctly states, giving a source. But de facto, still things happen exclusively through Amharic on the federal level, and it may be some years until the new law takes effect in the sense that all federal functions happen equally in Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali and Afar. How to put that situation in words, particularly given the lack of sources, beats me. LandLing 20:35, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]