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Ethiopian Alphabet

The Semitic languages of Ethiopia are related to both Hebrew and Arabic. The Ethiopian languages of this family are derived from Ge'ez, the language of the ancient Axumite Kingdom, which was also the language of the country's literature prior to the mid-nineteenth century, as well as part of most present-day church services.

Ethiopia's Semitic languages are today spoken mainly in the north and centre of the country. The most important of them in the north is Tigrinya, which is used throughout the Tigray region.

The principal Semitic language of northwestern and centre of the country is Amharic, which is the language of Gondar and Gojjam, as well as much of Wollo and Shewa. Moreover, Amharic is also the official language of the modern state, the language of administration, and the language of much modern Ethiopian literature.

Two other Semitic languages are spoken to the south and east of Addis Ababa: Guraginya, used by the Gurage in a cluster of areas to the south of the capital, and Adarinya, a tongue current only within the old walled city of Harar and used by the Adare, also known as Harari people.

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