A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Abyssinian, Amarigna, Amarinya, Amhara, Ethiopian

21,600,000 in Ethiopia (2007 census). Population total all countries: 21,811,600. 14,800,000 monolinguals. L2 users: 4,000,000 in Ethiopia.


North central, Amhara region; Addis Ababa.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1994, Constitution, Art 5(2)), also statutory provincial language.


SOV; prepositions, genitives, articles, and relatives precede noun heads; question word initial; case affixes; verb suffixes show person, number, gender of subject and (optionally) object; passives including deponents, causatives, CV, CVC, V, CVCC.

Language Use

All domains. Also use Eastern Oromo [hae], Standard Arabic [arb], Tigrigna [tir].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 28%. Taught as a major at the university level. Taught in primary schools as medium of instruction in grades 1–10. Taught in secondary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1840–2013.

Braille script [Brai]. Ethiopic script [Ethi], primary usage.

Other Comments

Christian, Jewish.

Also spoken in:

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