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Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the "official working" language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Amharic is written with a version of the Ge'ez script known as Fidel. There is no standard way to transliterate Amharic into the Latin alphabet.
The Amharic language uses seven vowels:
The Ethiopian script is not strictly speaking an alphabet, but what is called a syllabary. This means that each letter or symbol usually represents a whole syllable.
There are thirty three basic shapes. These generally represent the consonants followed by the vowel ä. The basic shapes are altered in various ways to indicate a different vowel following the base consonant.
The Amharic syllabary is usually presented as a grid with the vowels in the horizontal axis and the consonants in the vertical axis. Below is the syllabary in the most common ha-hu order:
You may notice that some consonants appear more than once in the alphabet, for example "h" appears four times. For these letters each word has a "preferred" spelling. Many other consonants have a "glottalized" or "explosive" version, indicated in the table with the ' suffix. These do not have an equivalent sound in English, they sound 'sharper' than their normal counterparts.