Amharic love poem
በመስታወቱ ውስጥ ገፅታሽን
ለኔ ምርጥ ግጥሜ ነው
ግን ለመጥፋት ፈጠነ
Bämäsətawätu wəsət'ə gäs'ətašənə
Läne mərət'ə gət'əme näwə
Gənə lämät'əfatə fät'änä
→ Poem the mirror ←
Ethiopian woman's eyes
The Amharic, official language in Ethiopia is since 1270 the language of the administration and the state. Nowadays, a quarter of the population speaks it, especially in the provinces of Begamedern Choa and Godjam. It is the mother tong of about 20 million people, living mostly in the vicinity of Adis Ababa and in the north. About 30 million others speak it as a second language.
Amharic is one of the semitic languages, which form a branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. The semitic languages were brought to Ethiopia perhaps as early as 1000 BC. Speakers of a south Arabian dialect from the kingdom of Saba in southwest Arabia crossed the Red Sea and settled in the highlands of Ethiopia. From the 4th century AD onward the principal language of the country was Ge'ez, the forerunner of all Ethiopic languages. The ahmaric developed from a speech close to the Gueze, but underwent strong influences of the Cushitic languages, especially the galla. It thus presents significant divergences compared to the Gueze, and the Semitic substratum. These divergences affected the phonetics (disappearance of the laryngales, and appearance of many prepalatales).
Its written tradition is relatively recent: if it possesses a few poetic songs of the 14th century, it is only from the 19th century, that develops a literature, especially didactic. This language, is also spoken in other countries, Egypt, Israel etc.