Ge’ez (also known as “fidel”) is the writing system used to write Amharic, Tigrinya, and several other Ethiopian (and Eritrean) languages. It’s technically an abugida (not an alphabet). While alphabets use one letter per sound, an abugida uses one character per consonant, which is modified according to the vowel sound which follows. The result is that there are a LOT of characters, but they follow a regular pattern, making them rather satisfying to learn!
Here are some resources you can use, made for adults (not children or younger students) looking to learn to read/write.
- So Many Fidels: This printable ebook has everything you need — pronunciation guides, handwriting practice, and even exercises to help you read and write Amharic words, in fidel. I wrote this book to be the reading/writing guide I wish I’d had when learning Amharic. Of course, I’ve got author bias, but it is truly one of the most user-friendly, detailed, practice-filled tools out there.
- Amharic Tutor: This is a website where you can click on the different fidels to hear them pronounced. It’s a great tool in the beginning to familiarize yourself with the sounds and patterns of the script.
- Amharic Beginnings: This is a printable review sheet, where you can practice re-writing the individual letters into the chart.
- T is for Timhirt: This workbook provides little explanation, but is another option for printouts if you’d like to practice writing and re-writing individual letters
There are also an abundance of Youtube videos to go over the sounds of each letter. Good luck with your language-learning!