ትግርኛ (Tigrinya) Language-Learning Resources

Lately, it seems as though all search results for Tigray come back with “war,” but Tigray also has a rich history as a cultural, religious, and artistic hub (not to mention the gorgeous landscapes).

Here are a few resources for anyone interested in learning Tigrinya, the language of Tigray (the northern region of Ethiopia) and parts of Eritrea. Tigrinya is a Semitic language, closely related to Amharic, and is written using a script that is very, very similar to the Amharic script (with a few extra letters)

Basic Phrases/Phrasebooks

  • Omniglot has their standard phrasebook, which is often a good place to start (everything is written in English letters and Tigrinya’s script).
  • Eritrea.be has a solid set of basic phrases, questions, and vocabulary (albeit only transcribed into English, and not written in the Tirgrinya script).

Basic Vocabulary Sets

  • UCL’s website has the Tigrinya numbers, with audio recordings to help your pronunciation.
  • Geez Experience has a great collection of vocabulary sets, with audio recordings, available on their site. Some pages seem to still be under construction, but still a great resource.
  • Memhr also has a great collection of organised vocabulary sets, with some practice exercises as well.
  • This Tigrinya Picture Dictionary (PDF) is a great tool for beginners, and is easy to print to study offline.

Basic Grammar Guides

  • Memhr also has a good set of basic grammar lessons on their site, along with their vocabulary sets.
  • Swarthmore’s Wiki has a good run-down of some grammar topics for the experienced language-learner, but it’s not very intuitive for beginners.

Further Resources (Intermediate/Advanced)

  • Goethe-Verlag has an extensive collection of Tigrinya conversational situations on their website, with audio recordings.
  • u/dorinodino on Reddit has posted this Google Drive with some cool resources for listening in Tigrinya, as well as a document with a variety of sentences translated between English and Tigrinya.
  • Aethiopica has a cool article about using proverbs for language-learners. The second half of the article is full of Tigrinya proverbs organised to support different language-learning points, which is an amazing resource for the intermediate Tigrinya-learner.

As always, if you know of any other resources that should be added to this list, please let me know! Happy language-learning.

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