Keep your t’at off my t’ut!

In two weeks I have my LPI (Language Proficiency Interview), and if you haven’t guessed from my previous posts, Amharic is ridiculously difficult. At the time of the interview we’re supposed to be at the novice-high level. Which means I have to be able to make simple statements about my family, age, address, weather, time, and daily activities: check. Be able to converse with someone using appropriate language for a café and marketplace setting: check.

Have a good grasp of the basic vocabulary for days, months, numbers, articles of clothing, body parts, and family relationships: umm no. These things may sound simple, but they are ridiculously difficult to remember. So sometimes we create songs to help us review : )

mäsïkäräm, t’ïk’ïmït, hïdar, tahïsas, t’ïr, yäkatit, megabit, miyaziya, gänbot, säne, hamle nähase, p’agume: the names of the months, set to the tune of Yesterday by the Beatles. Hard to believe, but it actually helped!

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Fidel Yoga

I need to start this post by letting everyone know I’ve had seven cups of tea today. Seven. One after breakfast, one with morning šay/buna, one after lunch, one with afternoon šay/buna, two at mäkïsäs (evening snack) at Joel’s house, and finally, one after dinner. I know that sounds like a lot of tea – because it is – but it tastes so good here!

Anyway, the amount of tea I drink here is not the purpose of this blog entry. I’m writing this to tell you all about the brilliant idea I had today: Fidel Yoga. Fidel is Amharic’s alphabet, but I feel like I’m in art class when I’m “writing” it. So I’ve had a few difficulties memorizing it.

One of the guys in my town came up with a song that begins “I can dance the two-legged letters” (because fidel is broken into four groups: legless, uni-legged, two-legged, and three-legged characters), and we were singing it in class today talking about how we should create a music video for it.

We were trying to figure out the logistics of actually dancing all of these symbols and I started to give some of them a shot. After trying a few I decided these would make awesome yoga poses (you should know I’ve done yoga twice in my life ha ha).

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Amharic Language Lessons

Here’s a general overview of the things I’ve learned in my Amharic language classes:

  • Siga albälam – I don’t eat meat.
  • English rhymes for Ethiopians, ex: Where are you going my little goat? I’m going to market to buy a new coat. A coat for a goat? Can a goat wear a coat? People would laugh at a goat with a coat.
  • When we’re writing fidel (their alphabet) I feel more like I’m in art class than language class.









  • Dähïna nä, dähïna adärk, dähïna walk, and dähïna amäšäh are all ways of greeting men. Now multiply that by four and those are your options for women, groups, and polite greetings. Then add t’ena yïstil ïñ, sälam näw, and tadïyas and you have most of the greetings I’ve learned so far.
  • It’s too difficult to explain my dad’s job to Ethiopians, so he’s been upgraded to a “hakim” aka a physician.
  • Innate Monica tïbalaläč means “My mother is called Monica,” but if you emphasize the “b” in tïbalaläč, it means “My mother ate Monica” – good to know.
  • We turned a phrase into a song: k’äsbäk’äs ïnk’ulal bäïgru yïhedal…just try singing it : ) It means slowly the egg walks on foot.

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