Amharic

Authored by: Hudson Grover

The World’s Major Languages

Print publication date:  November  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415353397
eBook ISBN: 9780203301524
Adobe ISBN: 9781134261567

10.4324/9780203301524.ch35

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Abstract

Amharic is the second most populous Semitic language, after Arabic, with some 20 million speakers (16 million of the 1994 Ethiopian censusexpected growth rate to 2009). Amharic has long been the lingua franca of Ethiopia, and, despite recent movement toward local-language primary education, in most schools still the language of instruction in the early grades. (Since the late 1940s, English has been the language of secondary and higher education.) It is recognised in the 1994 constitution as the ‘working language’ of Ethiopian government.

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