A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Abyssinian, Amarigna, Amarinya, Amhara, Ethiopian
ኣማርኛ‎ (Amarəñña)

25,600,000 in Ethiopia, all users. L1 users: 21,600,000 in Ethiopia (2016 World Factbook). L2 users: 4,000,000. 14,800,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 19,900,000 (2007 census). Total users in all countries: 25,880,630 (as L1: 21,880,630; as L2: 4,000,000).


Amhara region: north central; 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-marking (4 cases); verb suffixes show person, number, gender of subject and (optionally) object; passives including deponents; aspect; causatives; no comparatives; 27 consonant and 7 vowel phonemes; non-tonal; very weak stress.

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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