Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Endemen wallachiu!

I'm learning Amharic for my research in Ethiopia. There are over 80 languages spoken in Ethiopia, but Amharic, though a minority language, is the "lingua franca"--as they say. The language is semetic, menaing it is in the same language grouping as Hebrew and Arabic, though it is read from left to right. In the above picture you can see the language. Each letter represents a consonant and vowel. For example, the little girl is pointing at "zhe".

My Amharic tutor is pretty lovely and she always tells me I have great hair(Tsugure betam conjo nwo) even when I think it looks like crap. For this I am eternally grateful. I also get to learn fun things like how to say "I hate monkeys!" T'ot'a alwudem! or "I like beer" Bira ewudallho. I wish I knew someone else who was learning this language, but alas, I haven't found anyone.

Anyhow, maybe if I provide a list of useful Amharic words I might lure someone...or at least help you out if you ever want to travel to Ethiopia someday--which, incidentally, is something everyone should try to do, if they have the means. It's an amazing country. I've written these out phonetically (the way I think they sound--I hope it makes sense to you!). The capital letters indicate stress:

TEH-na yost AH-len: hello!
tah-DIH-yas: hi!
chow: bye!
in-deh-min-AH-leh: how are you? (when speaking to a man)
in-deh-min-AH-lesh: how are you? (when speaking to a woman)
deh-NEH-neng: I am fine.
HA-beh-sha: Ethiopian
fuh-REN-je: Foreigner (white person).
YEH-kir-tah: excuse me
EK-ah-bah-LAH-lo: you're welcome
EH-shi: ok (very, very useful word!)
ay: no
ow: yes (also pronounced as a sharp intake of breath--it sounds a little weird at first)
BEH-te: house
GOH-roh-BEH-te: neighbour
tsai: sun
ZAH-nab: rain
chack-LAH: brick, chacklawuch: bricks
KO-sha-sha: dirty
tsra: work
tan-KAH-rah: strong
TOH-low TOH-low: faster!
tat-ANG-kak: be careful!
ah-BAK-ah: please (to a man)
ah-BAK-esh: please (to a woman)
AH-meh-sah-gen-AH-lu: thank-you
san-YO: Monday
MAK-san-YO: Tuesday
eh-RUBE: Wednesday
ah-MUS: Thursday
ahr-BE: Friday
gah-DAH-may: Saturday
eh-HUD: Sunday
an: 1
ou-LETTE: 2
sost: 3
ar-RAT: 4
ah-MIST: 5
seh-DIST: 6
sah-BAHT: 7
sih-MENT: 8
zeh-TANG: 9
ah-SARH: 10
gwa-DENG-yah: friend

1 comment:

Aurora said...

I'm not going to learn Amharic with you but I'll go out for Ethiopian food anytime. Where do you find these adorable children? Is Ethiopia just overrun with adorable children?