We are proud to announce that Amara has added a new language available for subtitling: Tigrinya!

Now Amara users like you can add subtitles in Tigrinya by selecting it from the dropdown menu before you enter the Amara Subtitle Editor. We encourage native Tigrinya speakers to add subtitles to public videos in the Amara Public Workspace. Search “Tigrinya” or the language code “tir” to find it quickly in the language dropdown menu:

Amara's subtitle dropdown with the Tigrinya language item highlighted.

Writing System

Tigrinya is written from left to right in the Ethiopic script, which is an abugida. In abugida scripts, each symbol represents a pair of a consonant sound and a vowel sound. 

Tigrinya Speakers

There are an estimated 9 million Tigrinya speakers according to Ethnologue. Tigrinya is spoken in a global diaspora reaching from its origins in northeastern Africa all the way to Europe, North America, and Australia. In Eritrea, the “nation of Tigrinya speakers” is called the Bihére-Tigrigna. In Ethiopia, speakers of Tigrinya who are natives of the Tigray region are called tigrāwāy for males, tigrāweytī  for females, and tigrāwōt or tegaru as a group. There is no one name for Tigrinya speakers, and there is no standard dialect. Dialects of Tigrinya differ in sound, spelling, and grammar.

History of Tigrinya

According to ATLAS, or the “A Taste of Language at School” project of University College London, the earliest known artifact of written Tigrinya dates back to the 1200s. It comes from Southern Eritrea. Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service hosts Tigrinya radio as part of their “SBS Your Language” program.

Currently, Tigrinya’s language vitality status is both large and institutional, meaning that it has many speakers around the world and is used in national and official capacities. Both of these qualities support the ongoing vitality of the Tigrinya language. It is currently the official language of both the State of Eritrea and the Tigray region.

Borrowed Words

Like most languages, Tigrinya has borrowed words from other languages over its long history. Let’s check out a few of them from the ATLAS website. From Italian, the Tigrinya word for pasta is ፓሰታ (“pasta”). And from the English word “post,” the Tigrinya word is very similar: ፖሰታ (“posta”).

Explore Tigrinya

Curious about Tigrinya? Lexilogos is a site with a large library of online resources including in-browser keyboards, dictionaries, maps, and more. Check out the Tigrinya Keyboard with its consonant and vowel pairs arranged in clickable symbol matrix. Share it as a resource with your own community of linguaphiles or explore the more than 200 languages collected on Lexilogos!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.