This beginner’s manual is an excellent source for traveling and basic conversation. This is a collection of colloquial phrases and words that were learned on my trips to Ethiopia.
What makes this manual great for beginners is that I have input understandable phonetics for those that cannot read the alphabet yet; along with all the English translations from the most common and critical words and phrases.
- Hello/Hi- Salam; Salam aleh/salam alesh/selamta
- How is life/how have you been?- Endemin alesh (f)/aleh (m) /alacho (plural)
- How are you- Endet Nesh (f)/Endet Neh (m) Endet nachu (plural)
- I’m fine- dehna neyn
- Hey/What’s up? / What’s going on? – Min mata/ Tadiyas
- Hi hello/ May god grand you good health- Taena Yistilin
- How are you (generic for anyone)? - Dehna neh/nesh?
- How are you? (female)- Antus endemin nesh?
- How are you? (male)- Antis endemin neh?
- Everything ok? - Hulu nagar salam naw?
- Praise be to Allah everything is ok- Alhamdulillah hulu nagar salam naw.
- You good?/ Are you ok?/ It is fine- Salam naw Salam neh (m), salam nesh(f)
- You doing good?- Dehna ney/Dehna nesh?
- My Amharic is limited/little- Boonee amarigna tenish naw
- My name is …..-Sime……
- What is your name? -Simesh mano (f) Sime Mano (m)?
- Good- Dehna/ Tiru
- I’m not Good/well- Dehna Aydelehum
- Nice to meet you- Seletewaweken des boloneyal
- A little- Tenish Tenish
- You know Amharic? Amarigna ichilaloo?
- I can't speak amharic but I will learn- Amarigna al chillam gin alemdalo
- Inae amarignya at enalehu- I study amharic
- I speak a little Amharic- Inae tenish amarigna
- I don’t understand- Inae algabanyam
- I understand- gabanyam
- I- Inae
- am- neyn
- You- Anta (m) /anchee (f)
- Thank you- Ameseginalew
- Thank you very much- Bet’am ameseginalew
- Yes- Awo (If your name is called then instead of awo you say abeht)
- No- Ayi/Embi (both have same meaning or ayi can be nope and embi no)
- Ok- Ishi
- Excuse me- Yiquirta (loosely used as sorry)
- Sorry- Aznalo (yiquirta also used loosely as sorry)
- Bye- Chow/Dehna hoon (m)/ Dehna Hooni (f)/ Dehna Hunoo (pl)
- That is nice/It is good- Tiru naw (pronounced: teh roo know)
- Conjoe naw- used to say ”beautiful” for male and things
- Conjoe- beautiful
- Conjonach- she is beautiful
- Conjee- my beauty
- You are pretty- Tam randesh
- Can I get your phone number?- Silk cooteresh sitchin
- I am New York boy- New York lidj neyn
- Endeht Nebber- How was it?
- Yaaskall- Amusing
- Q’elldeyn now I’m joking/ making sport of
- Tech’awette- Keep talking/ to chat/ engaging in convo (small talk)
- Entewawek- Let’s talk/small talk
- Bowinet- Truly/ affirmed/ Really
- Minalbatt- Maybe/ Probably/ By chance
- Yi’gerrmal- Surprising/astounding
- Wishet now- It’s a lie/ false/fraudulent
- Ewinet now- It’s True
- Gobezz- Brilliant/smart/intelligent
- How was your day? Endeht nebber wulosh
- Did you sleep well? Endal bisham bidem tanyash wey
- What did you eat? Min bilah (m)/Min bilash (f)?
- Eat- Bilah (m) biyi (f) Biloo (p)/yibloo (for elderly)
- Where are you going? - Yet eyayhet k’know?/ yet know metehjoo?
- What will you do there? - Ezamin tadergaleh
- Where is the bathroom? - Shinta bet yet know? / Masadaja bet falidalow?
- Where are you? Yet nesh/ yet nek?
- I’m sleepy- Yetefen metwalo
- I’m on break- Ruftalyneyn
- I’m at home- Inae bet neyn
- I’m at work- Inae seraneyn
- Kabas alem- If it’s cooked