Amharic Language Lessons

Here’s a general overview of the things I’ve learned in my Amharic language classes:

  • Siga albälam – I don’t eat meat.
  • English rhymes for Ethiopians, ex: Where are you going my little goat? I’m going to market to buy a new coat. A coat for a goat? Can a goat wear a coat? People would laugh at a goat with a coat.
  • When we’re writing fidel (their alphabet) I feel more like I’m in art class than language class.









  • Dähïna nä, dähïna adärk, dähïna walk, and dähïna amäšäh are all ways of greeting men. Now multiply that by four and those are your options for women, groups, and polite greetings. Then add t’ena yïstil ïñ, sälam näw, and tadïyas and you have most of the greetings I’ve learned so far.
  • It’s too difficult to explain my dad’s job to Ethiopians, so he’s been upgraded to a “hakim” aka a physician.
  • Innate Monica tïbalaläč means “My mother is called Monica,” but if you emphasize the “b” in tïbalaläč, it means “My mother ate Monica” – good to know.
  • We turned a phrase into a song: k’äsbäk’äs ïnk’ulal bäïgru yïhedal…just try singing it : ) It means slowly the egg walks on foot.

It may not sound like it, but we’ve learned A LOT. And it’s not always easy. Some days we have seven hours of language lessons, which is pretty intense. In 27 months I want to be fairly fluent in Amharic…we’ll see.

Because of the intensity of our lessons, we seriously need comedic relief during our šay/buna breaks. Which is why we have 50 Shades of Grey read-alouds. The reactions from our LCFs are priceless.

I’m so excited to be finished with these classes in seven weeks, but I’m going to miss everything we do to keep ourselves going. It’s Real World Sagure style.

June 27, 2012

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