Monday, May 5, 2008

Learn Amharic

The below was copied from another blog listed below, which is a really informative ET travel blog. I hope if they find it here, they don't mind that I've used it because it is really good. This post is only about learning Amharic...so if you're not interested, just move on to the next post!

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Below is written by another author at...........

http://ethiopianadoptiontravelogue.wordpress.com/

Amharic has different letters. So, the words are written phonetically here. If you see Amharic words written differently with Roman letters, it’s just however the speaker sounds out the words. So, I wrote the word only phonetically. It probably will not match with how you will see it written other places. Example: I wrote “Eh-MY-ay” for mother. However, if you see it written down in other places, it will probably be written emaye.

All R sounds should be rolled. There are also other sounds that are not the same as in English. For instance, tenkahra or terths. The T sound is made by putting your tongue between your top and bottom front teeth and saying “T”. Don’t put the tongue behind your top teeth and say T like we do in English. (And make sure you still roll the R!) The K in Katell or Kai is a very hard K. It starts way back in your throat and sort of sound like you’re trying to get a hairball out. The best thing is to get someone to demonstrate the sound for you.

I tried to write phonetically, but I may have missed a few words. In general,

  • AH is pronounced like AH
  • A is short a.
  • AY is long a.
  • EE is long e.
  • E (or EH) is short e
  • I is long I
  • IH is short i.
  • O (or OH) is long o.
  • OU is like in ouch.
  • U (or OO) is ooo.
  • G is a hard G.
  • EW is eh followed by the consonant W sound (not oo).
  • R is rolled R (like in Spanish)
  • ñ is the Spanish N or like the French gn sound or ny (consonant Y) in English
  • OE is kind of like the U sound in PUT (or the oo sound in HOOF if you pronounce it the Wisconsin way).
  • SS just to emphasize the soft S sound. (Just because otherwise I might’ve read it with the hard S sound).
  • Y as a vowel by itself will be the long I sound otherwise it is the consonant Y
  • If a word ends with EHU (like Ewedehalehu), slur the eh and oo sounds together. They are not distinct syllables.
  • There are different words/word endings sometimes depending if you are talking to a male, female, plural or formal (important person).I also found some vocabulary at the AAI website. I didn’t retype those words here.Get ready to Learn Amharic (my ferengi version of Amharic, anyway). If there are other words and/or phrases you’d like to add to my mini Amharic-English Dictionary/Phrase Page, add your request to the comments section. You can be anonymous if you wish.The right-hand column may have M, F or Pl listed. This indicates the version you should use based on who you are speaking to (not yourself).Words in blue were added most recently.Also, if you go to this entry, there is a file of words that are typically used in the photo albums sent to the children (mom, dad, brother, sister, dog, house, etc.). The downloadable/printable file has the words in English and Amharic. The Amharic is written phonetically with Roman letters and with Amharic letters so the non-English speaking staff at your child’s Ethiopian care center/orphanage will be able to talk to your child about the photos).

Pronunciation

Meaning




THE ESSENTIALS (in my opinion)


Ah-woh (or OW!) Also, you can do a little intake of breath while you lift your eyebrows to “nod” yes. Yes
I-deh-LEHM (starts with long I sound) Also can say Iyyyy. No
Shin-TEH-BAYT? toilet?
Chigger yeh-LEM No problem.
GO behz Clever (or “Good Job!) Often said to a child who does something to please you or succeeds.
Seh-LAHM Hello (Peace) - standard greeting
chou (like ouch) Bye (just like in Italian)
AH-mah-say-guh-NAH-loh Thank you.
WOO hah Water












GREETINGS/PLEASANTRIES


Seh-LAHM Hello (Peace) - standard greeting
Seh-LAHM neh way? Are you in peace? (a greeting)

M

Seh-LAHM nesh way? Are you in peace? (a greeting)

F

in-DEM-min ah-DEHRK? How did you spend the night? (greeting)

M

in-DEM-min ah-DERSH? How did you spend the night? (greeting)

F

in-DEM-min walsh? How was the day?

F

in-DEM-min wahlk? How was the day?

M

in-DEM-min neh? How are you?

M

in-DEM-min nehsh? How are you?

F

in-DEM-min NAH-choo? How are you? This is used for plural casual OR plural formal.

Pl

in-DEM-min NOHT How are you? This is formal singular.
Deh-na-NEHSH? Are you fine? (greeting)

F

Deh-na-NEH? Are you fine? (greeting)

M

Deh-na-NAH-choo? Are you fine? (greeting)

Pl

Deh-na-ñAY I’m fine.
DEH-na Fine
If someone asks you How are you? (A sentence that starts with in-DEM-min) then answer Dehna. If they ask you Are you fine? (sentence starts with Dehna) then answer Dehna-ñay. Formal should be used with old people (grandparent age), people in any job that requires a college degree, politicians, priests, ferengi, etc. However, the “formal people” may tell you to go ahead and use casual with them.
chou (like ouch) Bye (just like in Italian)
NOHR-ee You arrived! It is a greeting said when you enter a room.

F

NOHR You arrived!

M

Bugs ear. Response to someone saying Noor. “By God” This is actually a contraction/slur of Exabier.
SIH may ___ My name is ___
SIH meh mah no? What is your name?

M

SIH mesh mahn no? What is your name?

F

Hah geh REH-heh yeht NO? Where do you come from?

M

Hah-geh REHSH yet no? Where do you come from?

F

In KWAHN deh-na meh TASH Welcome

F

In KWAHN deh-na meh TAH Welcome

M

Yah-YAY-roo hoo-NAY-tah in-DEHT-nehwoo? How is the weather?
AH-mah-say-guh-NAH-loh Thank you.
ih BAH kesh Please (to a female)
ih BAH keh Please (to a male)
AHZ nah lehu Sorry
YAH suh deh GEH Blessing said for a child that sneezes. (or just a general blessing)

M

YAH suh deh GEHSH Blessing said for a child that sneezes.

F

Yeh mah REH Blessing for an adult that sneezes

M

Yeh mah RESH Blessing for an adult that sneezes

F

AH-bit Said after someone calls your name. Kinda like “yes?” or “What?” or (in my house) “Hunh?”












PEOPLE


Bahl OR bah-lay Husband
Meest Wife
Wehn-DIHM Brother
uh-HEHT Sister
GAH-shay uncle (or a term for man whose name you don’t know)
Feh-REHN-jee Non-black Foreigner
tih-KOOR Black (used for a black foreigner)
AH-beh-shah Ethiopian (and maybe or maybe not the Eritreans)
AHN chee Hey You (don’t be surpised if you hear this yelled at you)

F

AHN teh Hey You!

M

AH kist aunt
ah GOHT uncle
Shih- MAH-geh-LAY Old man
Ah-roh-GEET (hard G) Old woman
YEH nay LEEJ my child
YEH nay WEHN deh LEEJ my son
YEH nay SEHT LEEJ my daughter
hih TSAHN LEEJ baby
lee JOHCH children
IN-nay Me
eh reh deht helper
Mah-no yeh-nay eh-reh-deht? Who is my helper?









PLACES

BAYT home
mehn yah TAH bayt bedroom
shihn teh bayt bathroom
KOO shihn uh kitchen
SAH lohn dining room
SAH lohn living room
yeh-MAHK-ee-nah BAYT garage (but if you say garage to an English speaker in ET, they will likely think you are referring to a auto repair place)
yeh-MAHK-ee-nah MUHN-gehd driveway
basement basement
tihn-nihsh meh-NAH-feh-SHAH backyard/grassy area (small park)
postah sah-TEHN mailbox
teh MEHR teh BAYT school
yeh-meh-GIHB mahg-JEE-yah-BOH-tah food store
yeh-lihbs mahg-JEE-yah-BOH-tah clothing store
MAH deh yeh (try to make the consonant y sound the last sound, kind of drop of the last eh) gas station
yeh-meh-GIHB BAYT restaurant
library library
sah-GOOR ahs-tah-kah-kY hair salon/barber
yeh-SIH-RAH BOH-tah work (job place)
meh-NAH-feh-SHAH park
meh-WAHN-yah BOH-tah swimming pool
BAYT-tah Christian church
meh KRAHB synagogue
mahs-GEEDT mosque
pohs tah BAYT post office
keh TAH meh city
geh TEHR countryside
yeh-ihn-seh-SAHT BAYT barn
tehl-ihk yeh-EHR-shah BOH-tah farm
MEHR cah doh open market
hah-KEEM BAYT hospital
SOOK local shop (small, small)



FOOD/DRINK/EATING


Waht Stew
DOH-roh Chicken
SHEE-roh Yellow peas
Yeh-meh-SIR Lentils
SIH-guh Beef
DAH-boh Bread
Ah-NAH-nahs Pineapple (Fanta Ananas soda is tasty)
LOH-mee Lemon
BIR too kan orange (color and fruit and name)
Lohz Nuts
Oh choh LOH nee Nuts
KEE tah Flat crispy bread kinda like a pizza crust
WOO hah Water
MAH her ber AH wee Mixed platter (when you order a meal)
beh KOH loh corn
bah KAY lah beans
FAHN deh shah popcorn (or a nickname for a smiley girl)
shy tea
BOO nuh coffee
BIH lah EAT!

M

bee EAT!

F

SHOO kah fork
SOO kwahr sugar
SIHND eh Wheat
TAH-Fahch (try to emphasize syllables equally) sweet (or delicious - doro wat can be tafach)
meh RAHB hungry
eh REH boh hahl Are you hungry?

M

eh REH boh shahl Are you hungry?

F

eh REH boh AH cheh hwahl Are y’all hungry?

Pl

meh TEH maht thirsty
TEH-geh-kuñ I’m full.
koh loh roasted barley (a snack)
meh sah lunch









COLORS


BIR too kan orange (color and fruit and a girl’s name)
KI. Long I sound, you really need to force the K sound from your throat. Red
Seh-MY ah wee Blue
BEECH ah Yellow
Ah rahn GWAH day Green
Nehch White
boo NEE Brown
ti KOOR black
WAY ehn tehj purple






ANIMALS


AH-zoh Crocodile
AHN-behs-sah Lion
Goo MAH ray Hippo
lahm cow*
beh RAY beef (ox)
behg sheep
fee YEHL goat
fah RAHS horse
ah HEE yah donkey
behk LOH mule
DOH roh chicken
WOO shah dog
dih MEHT cat
WOEFF bird*









CLOTHING

Koh FEE yah cap
yeh shoo RAHB koh FEE yah hat (sweater cap)
mah nehs sir glasses
yeh tseHI mah nehs sir sunglasses
yahn get libs scarf
shirt shirt (t-shirt style)
sheh mees button up shirt
kah nah TEE rah short sleeve shirt
shoo RAHB sweater
yeh TOOTS mah see YAH zhah bra (boob holder)
yehj gwahnt gloves
moo TAHN tee underwear (girl or boy)
goord KEH mees skirt (half dress)
KEH mees dress
moo loo KEH mees long dress
soo ree trousers
goord soo ree shorts
jeans jeans
kahl see socks
NEH teh lah CHAH mah flip flops
adidas / sneaker athletic shoes
yeh SOOF CHAH mah dress shoes
kahr ah vaht tie
SOOF suit
yeh bah hel LIBS cultural clothes
yeh moh wah nyah LIBS swimsuit
ye suh HAHT wristwatch
kuh BAHT toh belt
yeh leh leet LIBS pajamas
yeh shint meh teh beh kee yah diapers
jacket jacket
mah lee yah soccer jersey
yeh zeh nah LIBS rain coat
KEES pocket
zih NAHB ring
yahn get necklace
zip zipper
yeh jeh BOHR sah purse
yeh JOH ROH get earrings
yeh KES LIBS priest clothing


















NUMBERS


Ahndt 1
HOO let 2
Sohst 3
AH-raht 4
AH-mist 5
SIH dist 6
SAH Baht 7
SIH mint 8
zeh TEHñ (make up some crazy sound between the short e and the long i sound. I can’t figure out how to write it.) 9
AH sir 10
AH sir ah ANDT 11
AH sir ah HOO leht 12
AH sir ah SOHST (keep going for the rest of the teen numbers) 13
HI ah 20
HI ah ahndt 21
HI ah HOO leht 22
Seh LAHSS sah 30
Seh LAHSS sah AHNDT 31
ahr BAH 40
HAHM sah 50
SIHL sah 60
SAH bah 70
sah MAH nee yah 80
zeh TEH nah 90
MEH toh 100
HOO leht MEH toh 200
ahnd eh SHEECH (the CH sound is like the CH in German Ich liebe dich.) 1000
HOO leht SHEECH 2000






SIMPLE COMMANDS


Tew Stop it. (Like “don’t do that anymore”)

M

Tay Stop it.

F

Nah Come

M

Nay Come

F

TOH-loh na! Come quickly.
Tehn ya Sleep!
Ah tin KAHñ No touching me. (said to a male)

M

Ah tin KEEñ No touching me.

F

Ah tin KOU No touching him. male to male
In-eh-HEEDT Let’s go.
HEED TEHN yah Go to sleep!
heed go!
wu TAH get out!
Koom stop (like stop walking) - there is some difference between when to use Koom and when to use tew, but I can’t understand it.

M

KOO-mee stop

F

mah RAHM ehd Walk!

Pl

teh RAHM ehd Walk!

M

teh RAHM eh JEE Walk!

F

SAH-meñ Kiss me! (Use this at the orphanage!)
MEHM-taht Kick! (casual kick)

Pl

MIH-tah Kick! (the same word is used for kick and hit. somehow you are just supposed to know which one you are referring to)

M

MIH-chee Kick!

F

Kwahss MEHM-taht Kick the ball!
MAY-ahz Catch!

Pl

YAHZ catch

M

YAH-ZHJee catch

F

MEH-wehr-WEHR (don’t forget to roll all the Rs!) Throw!

Pl

wehr WEHR Throw!

M

wehr WEHR-EE Throw!

F

mahn-keh-bah-LEHL Roll!

Pl

AHN-keh-bah-LEHL Roll

M

AHN-keh-bah-YEE Roll

F

meh-ROHT Run!

Pl

eh-ROOT run!

M

eh-ROO-chee run!

F

Beh LOOT KICK! (power kick)

Pl

BEH-la-ohw (slur the last 2 sounds together, put the w sound at the end) KIck! (power kick)

M

beh LOO waht KICK (power kick)

F

Bell Say (Sort of like Speak Up!)
zihm Bell Don’t say (be quiet).
Sahk Smile!
Ah-tuh SAHK Don’t smile!
BIH lah eat! M
BEE eat! F









ENDEARMENTS


Lehb Heart
YEH-nay hae-waht my life (term of endearment)
Beh-teh-leh-ku Ewedehalehu I love you big

M

TAH-Fahch (try to emphasize syllables equally) sweet (or delicious - doro wat can be tafach)
yeh-nay tahfach My Sweet (term of endearment)
yeh-nay tseh-HI (long i) My Sunshine
FAHN deh shah popcorn (or a nickname for a smiley girl)
Meh CHEM Ahl rehs SAH shem I never forget about you.

F

Yeh-NAY woo-ehd My treasure
Beh TAHM Too much, a lot, very
AHN-chee yeh-NAY nehsh You are mine

F

AHN-teh yeh-NAY neh You are mine

M

AHN-chee NEHF-say nesh You are my soul.

F

AHN-tay NEHF-say neh You are my soul.

M

YEH-nay AHN-teh GOH-behz LEEJ-neh You are a smart boy.
eh wed eh HA lehoo (slur the last part together) I love you.

M

Eh wed eh SHAH lehu I love you.

F

ah FIHK er HAH lehu I love you - ROMANTIC! (Don’t say to your kids.)

M

ah FIHK er SHAH lehu I love you - ROMANTIC! (Don’t say to your kids.)

F

yeh-nay FIHK-er My Love
yeh-nay MAHR my Honey
wair -AYN-yah Chatterbox (Ok, not really an endearment but it is a nickname.)
yeh-NAY nih-gist My Queen
yeh-NAY nih-gooss My King
OUTDOORS

tseh HI sun
DAH mehn nah cloud
koh KOHB star
CHAH rah KAH moon
seh MY sky
sahr grass
zahf tree
ah behb bah flower
ze nahb rain
wehnz river
HYK (long I) lake
tah rah rah mountain
ah fir dirt
beh reh HAH desert
mahn get road
CHAH kah forest
koot kwah toh bush
yah til kilt boh tah garden
beh reh doh snow



HOLIDAYS/CELEBRATION

ah dees ah met New Year’s
en koo tah tahsh New Year’s
fah see kah Christian - Easter
geh nah Christian - Christmas
yeh lih deht kehn Birthday
mehl kahm lih deht Happy Birthday
tim kaht Orthodox - baptism
may day Liberation from Italians (May 23 - ET calendar)
gehn BOHT hI ah first day of new governmental regime (ehadige)/ end of Dergue
mes kel Orthodox cross was found Day
eid al adha Muslim - Festival of the Sacrifice
eid al fitr Muslim - end of Ramadan






























ADJECTIVES/DESCRIPTIONS


Tin-nish Small (a little)
Tell-ick Big (a lot)
MEHT-foh Bad
ehbdt-deh-SOU Crazy (psychiatrically) Don’t use jokingly!
Tehr OO Good
Tehr OO Beh-TAHM Very good!
TOH-loh Quick/ly
Mook Hot
MAH zihn sad
meh KOH taht mad
dih KAHM tired
HI lehn yah wide awake (have strength)
I nah fahr shy
KOO roo proud
meht-FOH SHIT-tah stinky (Bad smell)
MAH fer embarrassed
KAHZ kah zah cold (temperature)
Tehn-KAH-rah Strong
Dess TEHN ya Funny or Happy
DEHS tah Happy or funny
Kuhss Slowly (Patiently)
KOHN-joh Beautiful
GO behz Clever (or “Good Job!)
ah HOON now!















BODY PARTS


tsah GOOR hair
RAHS head
I-n (long I) Eye
Ah FENCH uh Nose
CUHM for Lips
ahf Mouth
Terths Teeth
Goonch Cheek
JOH-roh Ear
ahn GEHT neck (front)
ehj arm
meh DAHF palm
yehj eh TAHT fingers
Lehb Heart
Hoed Stomach
jahr BEH back
KU lah Circumcised penls (adult)
KEET butt
eh GIHR leg (includes leg and foot)
eh GROHCH legs
yeh gihr TAHT foot
TAH tohch toes
Hoed ayn ah meh MEHñ My stomach hurts.
_____ ayn ah meh MEHñ My ______ hurts (is sick).
yeh TOOTS b00bs
KOH dah skin
ahn GOHL brain
meh LAHSS tongue
mahn JEH RAHT neck (back side)
ahn JET intestine
gool beht knee
ehmss girl privates
















MISCELLANEOUS


ZAHR ay Today
NEH geh Tomorrow
teh LAHN teh nah yesterday
Kan (short a) Day
ah HOON now
Kah -tell-OH Next
Ehn-DEHG-uh-nah Again
ChAH mer More
BECK ah Finished (enough)
eh REHF Drop it/Leave it/It’s over (used when having a conversation that you want to be finished)
In NUH And
Kayss Orthodox priest
Soft Toilet paper (even in English it is called “Soft”)
ah-MOHN-yahl I feel sick.
BIHCH uh Only
Yet? Where?

If you are playing the Battleship:
AHL-tah meh TAHM He was Missed.
Tem-meh-TWAH He got Hit (actually Kick)
YAHN-tah-TEH-rah Your turn
Tah-kah-TAH-tah-yaht Watch her (if she is cheating!)
Tah-kah-TAH-tah-yewu Watch him!
LIB-dahsh F.U. (male to female) Apparently this can only be used in the mode of actual physical command for the specific action, (someone will F you, not a general “sod off”)

F

Menalsh? What did you say?

F

Menalk? What did you say?

M

Chigger yeh-LEM No problem.
Chigger AH-leh There is a problem.
en DEHT How?
AHL geh-BAHN yehm I don’t understand
HOO loom all
MAH-kee-nah Car
gih deh GIH dah Wall
teh MER teh bayt school
OW toh boos bus
dih BOOL bool circle
ahr rah toom gohn eh kool yeh hoh nah (OR you can just say SQUARE) square
sost mah EH zehn triangle
guhn ZEHB money
kwahss ball (but everybody knows this refers to a soccer ball or toy ball - but not volleyball or tennis ball)

balloon
eh-GEHR Kwahss chah-WAH-tah Soccer (directly translated it means Feet-Ball-Play)



WAY-yah Ah-beh-sha neh-gehr Oh, the ways of the Abesha!!
WAY-yah Ferengi neh-gehr Oh, the ways of the foreigners!
EH shee OK (you’ll hear this a lot)
EHM bee Not OK
LEH mehn tah lihk SAH leh (exhale a heavy H sound at the end) Why are you crying?

M

LEH mehn tah lihk SHAH lesh Why are you crying?

F

IN-nay ih-FEHL-ih-gah-loh… I want…
mihn tih-FEHL-ih-gah-leh What do you want?

M

mihn tih-FEHL-ih-gee-ah-lesh What do you want?

F

MIHN ihm Nothing.
GO behz Clever (or “Good Job!)
eh-nih-GEH-nah-ñAH-lehn We will meet.
MEHL-kahm GOO-zoh yeh-HOON-eh-lih Have a good trip.

M

MEHL-kahm GOO-zoh yeh-HOON-eh-lesh Have a good trip.

F

beh AH mah REEN yah in Amharic
geh neht heaven






SCHOOL

teh-MAIR-teh-BAYT school
ahss TAH mah REE teacher
keh fill class
teh MAH ree students
hee sahp math
ehn glee zee ñAH English
science science
tah reek history
ah mah reen yah Amharic
hah bah rah TEH seb geography
moo zeek ah music
sport sports/gym
eh rehft break (recess)
keh fill gee zee class period
black-board chalkboard
chalk chalk
meh seh hahf text book
err sahss pencil
eh skrih bee toh (sounds like Spanish to me!!) pen
shahn tah backpack
mahss-tah-wah-shah dehb-ter notebook
yeh BAYT seh RAH homework
yeh dehm beh libs uniform
ah leh kah monitor
gwah dehn yah friend
gwah dehn yohch friends
meh geh rehf beating with a stick after making a mistake



QUESTION WORDS

Mah no? Who is that?
Mah no goh-behz/tehn-kah-rah/kohn-joh?Start with Mah-no and fill in an adjective afterwards. Who is clever/strong/beautiful? substitute whatever adjective you want after who is



Yeht no? Where is it/he? (male or objects) M
Yeh TAH lah? Where is it/he? (I can’t figure out the difference of when to use yet no or yet tahla. They seem to be interchangeable. If you want to ask about a person, start with his name or position first. e.g. M
Abaye yeht no? Where is Dad? M
yeh-nay mah-KEE-nah yet no? Where is my car?
Yeh TAH lehch? Where is she? F
Mommy yeh-TAH-lehch? Where is Mommy?
Yeht neh? Where are you? (Like if you are talking to a person on a cell phone) M
Yeht nesh? Where are you? F
mah chay When?
leh mehn Why?
sint no? How much?
yeh-HAY min-deh-NO What is this?
YAH min-deh-NO What is that?



















































5 comments:

Julie said...

Hi Lisa- I hope you don't mind, but I posted your video on my Et Adoption blog today. It made me cry like a baby. What a sweet family you have. Good luck with the rest of your journey.

Lisa & David said...

Julie,
Absolutely you can post the video. I too was amazed at our boy's reaction to our news. I had NO idea they would be THAT happy. And you know what....they are still THAT happy. I hope more people adopt in the future!

Debbie said...

WOWOWOW thanks!!! This is a great list of words in Amharic!!!
I printed them!! What a great help!!

Debbie

Lisa & David said...

Debbie,
I know, isn't that list great? This person's blog site is very informative.

Anonymous said...

"MY Ethiopian girls", what an interesting phrase. It gives me great pride on this family.
God bless your family.

Haile
Netherlands