Discover the language

There are several dozen Ethiopian languages, the main ones being Amharic, Tigrigna, Guragué in the Semitic group, Oromo, Somali, Afar in the Cushitic group, Wolaytta in the Omotic group. The Gueze (or classical Ethiopian), an ancient Semitic language that has not been spoken since the 12th-13th century, remains the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and a source of enrichment for the Amharic language.

Studying Amharic at Inalco

The teaching of Amharic was inaugurated at the Ecole Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes in Paris (the former name of Inalco) in 1898. The official language of Ethiopia (population over 90 million), Amharic is the language of education, parliament, laws and official acts, the press and television. It is spoken by the vast majority of Ethiopians, either as their mother tongue, or as a second or lingua franca. It is rich in varied literature, both popular and scholarly, the earliest evidence of which dates back to the 13th century. Today, all genres are represented: poetry, song, essays, novels, short stories, theater and film. A large number of new works are printed in the country every year. Moreover, thanks to the development of computer tools adapted to Ethiopian fonts, Amharic has entered the era of the Internet revolution, where masses of information are regularly exchanged, constituting a substantial corpus.

Did you know?
Amharic is one of the optional languages, both in the baccalaureate exams and in the competitive exams for counsellors and secrétaire cadre d'orient at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Studying Tigrigna at Inalco

Another language of the Ethiopian Semitic group, tigrigna - also spelled tigrinya or tigriña -, spoken in both Ethiopia and Eritrea, is also taught at Inalco. Each of the two languages is written using the Guèze alphabet augmented by a few characters necessary for the specific needs of each.

Training courses

You can study these two languages thanks to our Langues O' passport. This allows you to establish a program according to your personal project, without having to follow the diploma models. You can also enroll simultaneously in civilization courses covering various geographical areas, or in training courses covering several languages; the passport allows you to do only language, or only civilization in a given area.