|Addis Ababa; WikiCommons|
We don't have any ancient writings in Amharic, with our earliest extant Amharic texts possibly coming out of the 14th century. So in a sense it might be an odd language to feature on this blog. Nevertheless, there are several good reasons to learn some Amharic:
- It's a fascinating and beautiful language spoken by over 20 million people.
- As a Semitic language it is relevant for those with an interest in comparative semitics.
- It is relevant for those who work with Ge'ez, as we can identify Amharic influences on the Ge'ez language and literature.
- For those, like myself, who have interest in the history of scriptural interpretation in the Ethiopian tradition, Amharic is significant as the language of the andemta commentaries.
- It's way more interesting than learning French.
Unfortunately it is not easy to find courses in Amharic. CARLA lists the following institutions that offer Amharic in North America: Foreign Service Institute, Harvard U, Michigan State U, U of Florida, Boston U, National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Stanford U, U of Kansas, U of Pennsylvania, New School University, and World Mentoring Academy.
As far as scholarship goes, there is a plethora of resources on Amharic. Here I just offer a few resources that might be helpful:
OLAC Resources in and about the Amharic Language.
Selected Annotated Bibliography on Amharic from Grover Hudson (MSU).
Isenberg, Charles William. Dictionary of the Amharic Language. [downloadable]
Amharic course from the Foreign Service Institute. [follow the link to Indiana University for the remaining audio files. The audio files can be found a few other places on the web too].
Appleyard, David. Colloquial Amharic. [the audio files can be downloaded for free]
Amharic at Deutsche Welle.
National Bibliography of Ethiopia.
Meyer, Ronny. "Amharic." Pages 1178-1211 in The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook. Edited by Stegan Weninger et al.
Writing the Amharic Script.