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Practice Workbook For

Amharic

A
Kim Hegerberg All Rights Reserved

Amharic Overview
You will see a ton of different way to transliterate Amharic. To make it simple I have come up with my own that is as close to English as possible to make it easy to understand how it is pronounced. So in my system the transliterated letter(s) for the Amharic letter are also the exact way you pronounce it. Each letter in Amharic has a base (consonant) and then 5 variations on that shape that constitute the vowels. The first base letter will be shown with its memory hint picture. The picture will help you memorize the shape of the letter and also represents an English word containing a similar sound to the Amharic letters pronunciation. If my transliteration spelling doesn't match the spelling in the English word I put the Amharic transliteration spelling in parenthesis within the word. The next 5 letters after that are the vowels. Remember those click sounds we talked about in Georgian? Amharic has something really similar. Any word where I show a after the letter means you basically smack your tongue against the roof of your mouth as you say it. Key To Understanding The Vowels: A circle extension. A line or circle that was in the previous vowel disappeared in this one. A straight line extension. The circle or line is rotated from its position in the previous vowel. Any arrow indicates something is pushed in from its position in the previous vowel or moved up or down. These two letters are mirror opposites of each other. I have purposely grouped the letters per series based on their vowel markings (not in their alphabetical order). Letters whose markings fall in a similar pattern are in the same series. However, if a letter is red and not blue in the series of letters following the base letter it means it doesnt follow a similar pattern to the others in that series. Note that Series 7 is made up of those letters that only have the first vowel in commonthe rest are irregular changes that dont match those of any other letters. Its the only case where there isnt a distinct pattern to help you memorize the shapes. The images you will see are printed Amharic like you would see in books. To handwrite these images is very simple. All circles and lines are exactly the same. The only difference between handwriting and print is this symbol marked in red

The following alphabet chart (in the true order of the Amharic alphabet). The yellow highlights indicate there are two different letters that have the same sound. The blue highlight indicates a letter with that click sound.

becomes just a straight line when handwritten.

Amharic Alphabet
ha le ha me se re se she k'e be te che ha ne nye aa ke he we hoo loo hoo moo soo roo soo shoo k'oo boo too choo hoo noo nyoo aoo koo hoo woo hee lee hee mee see ree see shee k'ee bee tee chee hee nee nyee aee kee hee wee hah lah hah mah sah rah sah shah k'ah bah tah chah hah nah nyah aah kah hah wah hay lay hay may say ray say shay k'ay bay tay chay hay nay nyay aay kay hay way hoo-ee loo-ee hoo-ee moo-ee soo-ee roo-ee soo-ee shoo-ee k'ee bee tee chee hoo-ee noo-ee nyoo-ee aoo-ee koo-ee hoo-ee woo-ee hoh loh hoh moh soh roh soh shoh k'oh boh toh choh hoh noh nyoh aoh koh hoh who

Amharic Alphabet
aa ze zhe ye de je ge t'e ch'e p'e s'e s'e fe pe ve aoo zoo zhoo yoo doo joo goo t'oo ch'oo p'oo s'oo s'oo foo poo voo aee zee zhee yee dee jee gee t'ee ch'ee p'ee s'ee s'ee fee pee vee aah zah zhah yah dah jah gah t'ah ch'ah p'ah s'ah s'ah fah pah vah aay zay zhay yay day jay gay t'ay ch'ay p'ay s'ay s'ay fay pay vay aoo-ee zoo-ee zhoo-ee yoo-ee doo-ee joo-ee goo-ee t'ee ch'ee p'ee s'ee s'ee fee pee vee aoh zoh zhoh yoh doh joh goh t'oh ch'oh p'oh s'oh s'oh foh poh voh

The yellow highlights indicate there are two different letters that have the same sound. The blue highlight indicates a letter with that click sound.

Series 1
Vowel Pattern Hint
Base Letter

x x
Base Ltr + OO

x
Base Ltr + OH

Vowel Sound Created By A Straight Line Or Circle In Letters 2-7 After The Base Letter Base Ltr + EE Base Ltr + AH Base Ltr + AY Base Ltr + OO-EE

(NOTE: The red circles/squares are to help emphasize where the vowel markings go what you would write is either straight line or a circle. The x means a mark in the previous letter has been deleted it is not something that is written. The arrow indicates that side of the

The Balance Effect


Heres a way to remember where the vowel markings are placed starting with the 2nd letter. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. You place a weight on the right scale. The weight makes the right scale go down The weight on the right scale makes the left scale move up. Then you remove the weight from the right scale. We start back with an even scale. I put a mirror next to the right scale so I can do the same thing again and watch it have the opposite effect! Opposite of #2. Opposite of #3.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Start here

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Start here

Series 2
Vowel Pattern Hint
Base Letter

x
Base Ltr + OO

Exception to the pattern

x
Base Ltr + OH

Vowel Sound Created By A Straight Line Or Circle In Letters 2-7 After The Base Letter Base Ltr + EE Base Ltr + AH Base Ltr + AY Base Ltr + OO-EE

Dog Playing Catch


This Series works exactly the same as Series 1 with the 5th letter being the only difference. Heres another series of clues to help you beginning with the 2nd letter. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The dog is wagging its tail ready to play. When he thinks you dont notice him he gets upset and the tail goes down to the ground. Suddenly you throw a ball for him to catch but he cant figure out where it went. He looks under his left paw. He doesnt realize the ball is behind him. Note: The 6th letter in this series does not follow a distinctive pattern they are exceptions that is why they are marked in red. He looks under his right paw but still doesnt see the ball.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Series 3
Vowel Pattern Hint

Base Letter CHe

The Hair Roller Effect


Im using one of the letters from the series this time to best illustrate the pattern beginning with the 2nd letter. 1. Ive got a hair roller on the right side of my head. 2. I take the roller out. 3. Note: The 3rd letters in this series do not follow the same patternthey are exceptions that is why they are marked in red. 4. Now that the roller is out I have a curl on the right side of my head. 5. I decide I dont like it so I brush it out. I want the middle curl to be longer so I take a hair clip and pin an extension to that middle piece. 6. I decide I dont like the extension so I take that out and pull down the first curl a little more.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Series 4
Vowel Pattern Hint
Base Letter Ke

Trying To Avoid Eating Vegetables


Again the best way to memorize the vowel placements in this series are the see them at work in one of the letters. Here is your pattern hints starting with the 2nd letter. 1. The little boy doesnt like to eat green beans so he moves them to the middle of his plate. 2. His mother still sees them so he moves them right to the bottom of the plate. 3. No luck she still sees them so he moves them to the left side of the plate. 4. That didnt work so now he hides them under a lump of potatoes. 5. Opposite of #3. 6. Opposite of #4.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Series 5
Vowel Pattern Hint
Base Letter

x
Base Ltr + OO

Exception to the pattern

Vowel Sound Created By A Straight Line Or Circle In Letters 2-7 After The Base Letter Base Ltr + EE Base Ltr + AH Base Ltr + AY Base Ltr + OO-EE

Base Ltr + OH

Picking Apples
Heres a way to remember where the vowel markings are placed starting with the 2nd letter. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. I see an apple Id like to eat. I pull down the branch so I can reach the apple. I pluck the apple off. I put the apple in my basket. This letter does not follow the same pattern as the rest of the seriesit is an exception that is why it is marked in red. I pull down the center branch to see if there are any more apples I can pick.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Series 6
Vowel Pattern Hint
Base Letter

x x
Base Ltr + OH

x
Base Ltr + OO

Vowel Sound Created By A Straight Line Or Circle In Letters 2-7 After The Base Letter Base Ltr + EE Base Ltr + AH Base Ltr + AY Base Ltr + OO-EE

A Childs With A Balloon


Heres a way to remember where the vowel markings are placed starting with the 2nd letter. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. A child is holding a balloon. You tie a string to the end of the balloon and give it back to the child to hold. The child lets go of the balloon. The string appears to get wrapped around a tree limb. You cannot see the string anymore but you can see the tree limb sticking just above the balloon. A strong wind comes along and the balloon and string a freed from the tree limb. The wind is so strong that as it floats through the air the string is leaning to the left side.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Series 7
Vowel Pattern Hint
Base Letter Re

Playing Baseball
This is one of our most difficult patterns. Here is a set of clues to help you remember it. 1. Im approaching the plate where Ill take a swing. 2. Home plate disappears in a cloud of dust as I run for 1st base. 3. I start moving to the side of 1st base so I can get a head start running for 2nd base. 4. Back at the home plate the umpire has a glove wide open to catch the next pitch. 5. There is a runner on 2nd and a hitter at home plate. 6. The pitcher opens his glove wide as he prepares to throw the next ball.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Series 8
Vowel Patterns
This section is our irregular series of letters. Unfortunately except for the very first letter after the base letter each one in this series do not follow a similar pattern.

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

Base Letter

Handwriting Steps

This brings us to the end of our Amharic lessons. If youd like to learn more about Amharic here are what I consider to be the best three resources: I want to know the basics: www.africanlanguage.com has several good computer programs for learning the basics of Amharic and also has some intermediate materials as well. I want to be able to type in Amharic: This was tricky there are not a lot of resources. After a lot of research I found the best site for downloading fonts and keyboard instructions for free was www.ethiosys.com. I used the 4.0 version. Are there other on-line resources? For Amharic there are still not a ton of options out there but amazon.com is always a good place to start. Ive always enjoyed the Talk Now! software series. It is approx. $30(US) and gives you a lot of basic words and phrases. Colloquial Amharic by D. Appleyard is also part of a good series of language instructional books.