A Quick Amharic Lesson

This page is designed to provide a reader with a quick rundown of common and useful phrases/words in Amharic that they may use or overhear.

Some Background:

Vowels are never seen alone and are always combined with a consonant.

The typical word order is SOV (Subject-Object-Verb)

Amharic is a gendered language

Many Amharic words present with gemination. Gemination is when words are spelled alike, but their articulation differs from the other words with the same spelling. This causes for the same words to have different meanings!


Hello: Selam

Bye: Tschao (same as the Italian Ciao!)

Good Morning (M): Endemin Aderke

Good Morning (F): Endemin Adershe

Good Morning (P): Endemin Aderachu

Goodnight: Dehna Ideru


How Are You (M): Endet Neh

How Are You (F): Endet Nesh

Where Are You From (M): Kayet Ahger Neh

Where Are You From (F): Kayet Ahger Nesh


Fine/All Right: Dehna

I’m from ____: Inae Ke ____ Negn (For example: “Inae Ke Chicago Negn”)

Yes: Awo (one would respond with “Awo” if they were responding to a question”

Ok: Ischi (one would respond with “Ischi” if they being told something)

No: Aij

I’m Sorry: Yikirta

Thank You: Ameseginalow

What: Mn

Very: Betam

Chigirillum: No problem

Please (M): Ehbakih

Please (F): Ehbakish

A Little: Tinish (in order for this word to have significant meaning, it is typically said twice – “tinish, tinish”)


Here is a link for anyone looking to learn some words/phrases that aren’t on this list or are looking for an audio example on pronunciation!

Here is a link to an extensive list of Ethiopian names with written phonetic pronunciations and name meanings.


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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.