Basic Conversational Amharic for Beginners

 

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Preface

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.


Enjoy!

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Amharic Greetings and Common 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
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Description words

  • Shy-aynafar

  • Bald-melata

  • Beard-seem

  • Adult-awakee

  • Old man-shimagoolay

  • Old woman-aroogeet

  • Short person-archer

  • Tall person-regim

  • Thin person-catchim

  • Thicker person-werferam

  • Jealous person-Kenatenya

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Foods/Drinks

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Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How

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Dimensions of time

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Day of the week

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Conjugating Verb "To Eat"

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Terms of endearment

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Travel phrases

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Places - Botawoche

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Family members

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Conjugating Verb "To Give"

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Articles of Speech

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Shopping/Marketplace

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Home and househould items/terms

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Jobs/Job Titles

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Nature (outdoor terms)

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Food Phrases

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Common Ethiopian foods

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Verbs & Conjugations

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Conjugating Verb "To Like"

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Question and Answer phrases

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Conjugating Verb "To Say"

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Conjugating Verb "To do"

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Common household phrases

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More Question and Answer phrases

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Conjugating "To know"

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Conjugating Verb "To Want / To Need"

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Conjugating Verb "To Have"

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Conjugating Verb "To Not Have"

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Conjugating Verb "To go"

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Conjugating Verb "To be"

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Conjugating Verb "To Not Be"

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Conjugating Verb "To Not Want"

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"Who" Phrases

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"Where" Phrases

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More Common Phrases

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Conjugating Verb "To Come"

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