Amharic: The Official Language of Ethiopia
Amharic is the statutory national language of Ethiopia. While it has been recognized as the official language since the 14th century, it became statutory in 1994 when it was added to Ethiopia’s constitution.
Approximately 26 million Ethiopians speak Amharic as their primary language, and 28% of Ethiopians (about 7 million people) can read and write in Amharic.
Within Ethiopia, Amharic is concentrated in the North Central region. It is also spoken in Djibouti and Eritrea, which both border Ethiopia to the east.
The earliest Amharic texts were written in 14th century. Amharic is written in Ge’ez, or Ethiopic script.
Ge’ez text (The first sentence of the book of Enoch)
Amharic text (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
The the vocabulary and grammar of Amharic is influenced by Cushitic languages also spoken in Ethiopia and the surrounding countries.
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