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Tigrinya (ትግርኛ; also spelled Tigrigna) is a Ethiopian Semitic language commonly spokenin Eritrea and in northern Ethiopia's Tigray Region. It is also spoken by the global diaspora of these regions. Indigenous people in the Eritrean highlands and in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia speak it as their first language.

Tigrinya
ትግርኛ tigriññā
Pronunciation
Native toEritrea, Tigray
EthnicityTigrayans, Tigrinya people
Native speakers
9.85 million (2020)
Geʽez script (Tigrinya alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Language codes
ISO 639-1ti
ISO 639-2tir
ISO 639-3tir
Glottologtigr1271
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see .
This article contains Ethiopic text. Without proper , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Ethiopic characters.
Tigrinya notices at an Eritrean Orthodox Church, Schiebroek, Rotterdam

Contents

Although it differs markedly from the Geʽez (Classical Ethiopic) language, for instance in having phrasal verbs, and in using a word order that places the main verb last instead of first in the sentence—there is a strong influence of Geʽez on Tigrinya literature, especially with terms relating to Christian life, Biblical names, and so on. Ge'ez, because of its status in Ethiopian culture, and possibly also its simple structure, acted as a literary medium until relatively recent times.

The earliest written example of Tigrinya is a text of local laws found in the district of Logosarda, Debub Region in Southern Eritrea, which dates from the 13th century.

In Eritrea, during British administration, the Ministry of Information put out a weekly newspaper in Tigrinya that cost 5 cents and sold 5,000 copies weekly. At the time, it was reported to be the first of its kind.

Tigrinya (along with Arabic) was one of Eritrea's official languages during its short-lived federation with Ethiopia; in 1958 it was replaced by the Southern Ethiopic language Amharic prior to its annexation. Upon Eritrea's independence in 1991, Tigrinya retained the status of working language in the country, the only state in the world, until changes were made in Ethiopia in 2020, to recognize Tigrinya on a national level.

There is no general name for the people who speak Tigrinya. In Eritrea, Tigrinya speakers are officially known as the Bihére-Tigrigna ("nation of Tigrinya speakers") or Tigrinya people. In Ethiopia, a Tigrayan, that is a native of Tigray, who also speaks the Tigrinya language, is referred to in Tigrinya as tigrāwāy (male), tigrāweytī (female), tigrāwōt or, more commonly, tegaru (plural). Bihér roughly means "nation" in the ethnic sense of the word in Tigrinya, Tigre, Amharic and Ge'ez. The Jeberti in Eritrea also speak Tigrinya.

Tigrinya is the most widely spoken language in Eritrea (see Demographics of Eritrea), and the fourth most spoken language in Ethiopia after Amharic, Oromo, and Somali. It is also spoken by large immigrant communities around the world, in countries including Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. In Australia, Tigrinya is one of the languages broadcast on public radio via the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service.

Tigrinya dialects differ phonetically, lexically, and grammatically. No dialect appears to be accepted as a standard.

For the representation of Tigrinya sounds, this article uses a modification of a system that is common (though not universal) among linguists who work on Ethiopian Semitic languages, but differs somewhat from the conventions of the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Consonant phonemes

Tigrinya has a fairly typical set of phonemes for an Ethiopian Semitic language. That is, there is a set of ejective consonants and the usual seven-vowel system. Unlike many of the modern Ethiopian Semitic languages, Tigrinya has preserved the two pharyngeal consonants which were apparently part of the ancient Geʽez language and which, along with [x'], voiceless velar ejective fricative or voiceless uvular ejective fricative, make it easy to distinguish spoken Tigrinya from related languages such as Amharic, though not from Tigre, which has also maintained the pharyngeal consonants.

The charts below show the phonemes of Tigrinya. The sounds are shown using the same system for representing the sounds as in the rest of the article. When the IPA symbol is different, the orthography is indicated in brackets.

Consonants
Labial Dental/
Alveolar
Postalveolar/
Palatal
Velar Pharyngeal Glottal
Plain Lab.
Nasal m n ɲ ⟨ñ⟩
Plosive voiceless p t ⟨č⟩ k ⟨c⟩ ⟨cw⟩ ʔ ⟨’⟩
voiced b d ⟨ǧ⟩ ɡ ⟨g⟩ ɡʷ ⟨gw⟩
ejective ⟨p'⟩ ⟨t'⟩ tʃʼ ⟨č'⟩ ⟨c'⟩ kʷʼ ⟨cw'⟩
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ ⟨š⟩ x ⟨xw⟩ ħ ⟨ḥ⟩ h
voiced v z ʒ ⟨ž⟩ ʕ ⟨‘⟩
ejective tsʼ ⟨ts'⟩ ⟨x'⟩ xʷʼ ⟨xw'⟩
Approximant l j ⟨y⟩ w
Rhotic r
  1. The fricative sounds[x],[xʷ],[xʼ] and[xʷʼ] occur as allophones.
  2. The consonant /v/ occurs only in recent borrowings from European languages.

Vowel phonemes

The sounds are shown using the same system for representing the sounds as in the rest of the article. When the IPA symbol is different, the orthography is indicated in brackets.

Vowels
Front Central Back
Close i ɨ ⟨ə⟩ u
Mid e ɐ ⟨ä⟩ o
Open a

Gemination

Gemination, the doubling of a consonantal sound, is meaningful in Tigrinya, i.e. it affects the meaning of words. While gemination plays an important role in the morphology of the Tigrinya verb, it is normally accompanied by other marks. But there is a small number of pairs of words which are only differentiable from each other by gemination, e.g./kʼɐrrɐbɐ/, ('he brought forth');/kʼɐrɐbɐ/, ('he came closer'). All the consonants, with the exception of the pharyngeal and glottal, can be geminated.

Allophones

The velar consonants/k/ and/kʼ/ are pronounced differently when they appear immediately after a vowel and are not geminated. In these circumstances,/k/ is pronounced as a velar fricative./kʼ/ is pronounced as a fricative, or sometimes as an affricate. This fricative or affricate is more often pronounced further back, in the uvular place of articulation (although it is represented in this article as[xʼ]). All of these possible realizations - velar ejective fricative, uvular ejective fricative, velar ejective affricate and uvular ejective affricate - are cross-linguistically very rare sounds.

Since these two sounds are completely conditioned by their environments, they can be considered allophones of/k/ and/kʼ/. This is especially clear from verb roots in which one consonant is realized as one or the other allophone depending on what precedes it. For example, for the verb meaning cry, which has the triconsonantal root |bky|, there are forms such asምብካይ/məbkaj/ ('to cry') andበኸየ/bɐxɐjɐ/ ('he cried'), and for the verb meaning 'steal', which has the triconsonantal root |srkʼ|, there are forms such asይሰርቁ/jəsɐrkʼu/ ('they steal') andይሰርቕ/jəsɐrrəxʼ/ ('he steals').

What is especially interesting about these pairs of phones is that they are distinguished in Tigrinya orthography. Because allophones are completely predictable, it is quite unusual for them to be represented with distinct symbols in the written form of a language.

Syllables

A Tigrinya syllable may consist of a consonant-vowel or a consonant-vowel-consonant sequence. When three consonants (or one geminated consonant and one simple consonant) come together within a word, the cluster is broken up with the introduction of an epenthetic vowel ə, and when two consonants (or one geminated consonant) would otherwise end a word, the vowel i appears after them, or (when this happens because of the presence of a suffix) ə is introduced before the suffix. For example,

  • ከብዲ käbdi 'stomach',ልቢ ləbbi 'heart'
  • -äy 'my',ከብደይ käbdäy 'my stomach',ልበይ ləbbäy 'my heart'
  • -ka 'your (masc.)',ከብድኻ käbdəxa 'your (masc.) stomach',ልብኻ ləbbəxa 'your (masc.) heart'
  • -n...-n 'and',ከብድን ልብን käbdən ləbbən 'stomach and heart'

Stress is neither contrastive nor particularly salient in Tigrinya. It seems to depend on gemination, but it has apparently not been systematically investigated.

Main article: Tigrinya grammar

Typical grammatical features

Grammatically, Tigrinya is a typical Ethiopian Semitic (ES) language in most ways:

  • A Tigrinya noun is treated as either masculine or feminine. However, most inanimate nouns do not have a fixed gender.
  • Tigrinya nouns have plural, as well as singular, forms, though the plural is not obligatory when the linguistic or pragmatic context makes the number clear. As in Tigre and Ge'ez (as well as Arabic), noun plurals may be formed through internal changes ("broken" plural) as well as through the addition of suffixes. For example,ፈረስ färäs 'horse',ኣፍራሰ ’afras 'horses'.
  • Adjectives behave in most ways like nouns. Most Tigrinya adjectives, like those in Tigre and Ge'ez, have feminine and plural (both genders) forms. For example,ጽቡቕ s'ǝbbux' 'good (m.sg.)',ጽብቕቲ s'ǝbbǝx'ti 'good (f.sg.)', ጽቡቓት s'ǝbbux'at 'good (pl.)'
  • Within personal pronouns and subject agreement inflections on verbs, gender is distinguished in second person as well as third. For example,ተዛረብ täzaräb 'speak! (m.sg.)',ተዛረቢ täzaräbi 'speak (f.sg.)'.
  • Possessive adjectives take the form of noun suffixes:ገዛ gäza 'house',ገዛይ gäza-y 'my house',ገዛኺ gäza-xi 'your (f.sg.) house'.
  • Verbs are based on consonantal roots, most consisting of three consonants: {sbr} 'break',ሰበረ säbärä 'he broke',ይሰብር yǝsäbbǝr 'he breaks',ምስባር mǝsbar 'to break'.
  • Within the tense system there is a basic distinction between the perfective form, conjugated with suffixes and denoting the past, and the imperfective form, conjugated with prefixes and in some cases suffixes, and denoting the present or future:ሰበሩ säbär-u 'they broke',ይሰብሩ yǝ-säbr-u 'they break'.
  • As in Ge'ez and Amharic, there is also a separate "gerundive" form of the verb, conjugated with suffixes and used to link verbs within a sentence:ገዲፍካ ተዛረብ gädifka täzaräb 'stop (that) and speak (m.sg.)'.
  • Verbs also have a separate jussive/imperative form, similar to the imperfective:ይስበሩ yǝ-sbär-u 'let them break'.
  • Through the addition of derivational morphology (internal changes to verb stems and/or prefixes), verbs may be made passive, reflexive, causative, frequentative, reciprocal, or reciprocal causative:ፈለጡ fälät'-u 'they knew',ተፈልጡ tä-fält'-u 'they were known',ኣፈልጡ ’a-fält'-u 'they caused to know (they introduced)',ተፋለጡ tä-falät'-u 'they knew each other',ኣፋለጡ ’a-f-falät'-u 'they caused to know each other'.
  • Verbs may take direct object and prepositional pronoun suffixes:ፈለጠኒ fälät'ä-nni 'he knew me',ፈለጠለይ fälät'ä-lläy 'he knew for me'.
  • Negation is expressed through the prefix ay- and, in independent clauses, the suffix -n:ኣይፈለጠን ay-fälät'ä-n 'he didn't know'.
  • The copula and the verb of existence in the present are irregular:ኣሎ ’allo 'there is, he exists',እዩ ǝyyu 'he is',የለን orየልቦን yällän or yälbon 'there isn't, he doesn't exist',ኣይኰነን aykʷänän 'he isn't',ነበረ näbärä 'he existed, he was, there was',ይኸውን yǝ-xäwwǝn 'he will be',ይነብር yǝ-näbbǝr 'he will exist, there will be'.
  • The verb of existence together with object suffixes for the possessor expresses possession ('have') and obligation ('must'):ኣሎኒ ’allo-nni 'I have, I must' (lit. 'there is (to) me').
  • Relative clauses are expressed by a prefix attached to the verb:ዝፈለጠ zǝ-fälät'ä 'who knew'
  • Cleft sentences, with relative clauses normally following the copula, are very common:መን እዩ ዝፈለጠ män ǝyyu zǝ-fälät'ä 'who knew?' (lit. 'who is he who knew?').
  • There is an accusative marker used on definite direct objects. In Tigrinya this is the prefix nǝ-. For example,ሓጐስ ንኣልማዝ ረኺቡዋ ḥagʷäs ’almaz räxibuwwa 'Hagos met Almaz'.
  • As in other modern Ethiopian Semitic languages, the default word order in clauses is subject–object–verb, and noun modifiers usually (though not always in Tigrinya) precede their head nouns.

Innovations

Tigrinya grammar is unique within the Ethiopian Semitic language family in several ways:

  • For second-person pronouns, there is a separate vocative form, used to get a person's attention:ንስኻ nǝssǝxa 'you (m.sg.)',ኣታ ’atta 'you! (m.sg.)'.
  • There is a definite article, related (as in English) to the demonstrative adjective meaning 'that':እታ ጓል ’ǝta gʷal 'the girl'.
  • The gerundive form is used for past tense, as well as for the linking function as in Ge'ez and Amharic:ተዛሪቡ täzaribu '(he) speaking, he spoke'.
  • Yes-no questions are marked by the particle do following the questioned word:ሓፍተይዶ ርኢኺ ḥaftäydo rǝ’ixi 'did you (f.sg.) see my sister?'.
  • The negative circumfix ay- -n may mark nouns, pronouns, and adjectives as well as verbs:ኣይኣነን ay-’anä-n 'not me',ኣይዓብይን ay‘abǝy-ǝn 'not big'
  • Tigrinya has an unusually complex tense–aspect–mood system, with many nuances achieved using combinations of the three basic aspectual forms (perfect, imperfect, gerundive) and various auxiliary verbs including the copula (እዩ ǝyyu, etc.), the verb of existence (ኣሎ ’allo, etc.), and the verbsነበረ näbärä 'exist, live',ኮነ konä 'become',ጸንሔ s'änḥe 'stay'.
  • Tigrinya has compound prepositions corresponding to the preposition–postposition compounds found in Amharic:ኣብ ልዕሊ ዓራት ab lǝ‘li ‘arat 'on (top of) the bed',ኣብ ትሕቲ ዓራት ab tǝḥti ‘arat 'under the bed'
  • Unlike most Ethiopian Semitic languages, Tigrinya has only one set of applicative suffixes, used both for the dative and benefactive and for locative and adversative senses:ተቐሚጣሉ täx'ämmit'a-llu 'she sat down for him' or 'she sat down on it' or 'she sat down to his detriment'.

Tigrinya is written in the Geʽez script, originally developed for Ge'ez. The Ethiopic script is an abugida: each symbol represents a consonant+vowel syllable, and the symbols are organized in groups of similar symbols on the basis of both the consonant and the vowel. In the table below the columns are assigned to the seven vowels of Tigrinya; they appear in the traditional order. The rows are assigned to the consonants, again in the traditional order.

For each consonant in an abugida, there is an unmarked symbol representing that consonant followed by a canonical or inherent vowel. For the Ethiopic abugida, this canonical vowel is ä, the first column in the table. However, since the pharyngeal and glottal consonants of Tigrinya (and other Ethiopian Semitic languages) cannot be followed by this vowel, the symbols in the first column in the rows for those consonants are pronounced with the vowel a, exactly as in the fourth row. These redundant symbols are falling into disuse in Tigrinya and are shown with a dark gray background in the table. When it is necessary to represent a consonant with no following vowel, the consonant+ə form is used (the symbol in the sixth column). For example, the word ’ǝntay 'what?' is writtenእንታይ, literally ’ǝ-nǝ-ta-yǝ.

Since some of the distinctions that were apparently made in Ge'ez have been lost in Tigrinya, there are two rows of symbols each for the consonants/ħ/,/s/, and/sʼ/. In Eritrea, for/s/ and/sʼ/, at least, one of these has fallen into disuse in Tigrinya and is now considered old-fashioned. These less-used series are shown with a dark gray background in the chart.

The orthography does not mark gemination, so the pair of words k'ärräbä 'he approached', k'äräbä 'he was near' are both writtenቀረበ. Since such minimal pairs are very rare, this presents no problem to readers of the language.

Tigrinya writing system
ä u i a e (ə) o wi wa we
h
l
m
ś
r
s
š
ḳʰ
b
v
t
č
n
ñ
ʾ
k
x
w
ʿ
z
ž
y
d
ǧ
g
č̣
ṣ́
f
p
ä u i a e (ə) o wi wa we
  1. Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D. (2021). "Tigrinya". Ethnologue, 24th ed. SIL International. RetrievedMarch 4, 2021.
  2. "Tigrinya language". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  3. The Bible in Tigrinya, United Bible society, 1997
  4. Edward Ullendorff, The Ethiopians, Oxford University Press, 1960
  5. Ministry of Information (1944) The First to be Freed—The record of British military administration in Eritrea and Somalia, 1941-1943. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office.
  6. "ቀንዲ ገጽ ትግርኛ". SBS Your Language.
  7. Leslau, Wolf (1941) Documents Tigrigna (Éthiopien Septentrional): Grammaire et Textes. Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck.
  8. Buckley, E. (1994). Tigrinya vowel features and vowel coalescence. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 1(1), 2.
  9. Rehman, Abdel. English Tigrigna Dictionary: A Dictionary of the Tigrinya Language: (Asmara) Simon Wallenberg Press. Introduction Pages to the Tigrinya Language
  • Amanuel Sahle (1998) Säwasäsǝw Tǝgrǝñña bǝsäfiḥ. Lawrencevill, NJ, USA: Red Sea Press. ISBN 1-56902-096-5
  • Dan'el Täxlu Räda (1996, Eth. Cal.) Zäbänawi säwasəw kʷ'ankʷ'a Təgrəñña. Mäx'älä
  • Rehman, Abdel. English Tigrigna Dictionary: A Dictionary of the Tigrinya Language: (Asmara) Simon Wallenberg Press. Introduction Pages to the Tigrinya Language ISBN 1-84356-006-2
  • Eritrean People's Liberation Front (1985) Dictionary, English-Tigrigna-Arabic. Rome: EPLF.
  • ----- (1986) Dictionary, Tigrigna-English, mesgebe qalat tigrinya englizenya. Rome: EPLF.
  • Kane, Thomas L. (2000) Tigrinya-English Dictionary (2 vols). Springfield, VA: Dunwoody Press. ISBN 1-881265-68-4
  • Leslau, Wolf (1941) Documents tigrigna: grammaire et textes. Paris: Libraire C. Klincksieck.
  • Mason, John (Ed.) (1996) Säwasǝw Tǝgrǝñña, Tigrinya Grammar. Lawrenceville, NJ, USA: Red Sea Press. ISBN 0-932415-20-2 (ISBN 0-932415-21-0, paperback)
  • Praetorius, F. (1871) Grammatik der Tigriñasprache in Abessinien. Halle. ISBN 3-487-05191-5 (1974 reprint)
  • Täxästä Täxlä et al. (1989, Eth. Cal.) Mäzgäbä k'alat Təgrəñña bə-Təgrəñña. Addis Ababa: Nəgd matämiya dərəǧǧət.
  • Ullendorff, E. (1985) A Tigrinya Chrestomathy. Stuttgart: F. Steiner. ISBN 3-515-04314-4
  • Ze'im Girma (1983) Lǝsanä Ag’azi. Asmara: Government Printing Press.
Tigrinya edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Tigrinya.

Tigrinya language Article Talk Language Watch Edit Tigrinya ትግርኛ also spelled Tigrigna is a Ethiopian Semitic language commonly spoken in Eritrea and in northern Ethiopia s Tigray Region 2 It is also spoken by the global diaspora of these regions Indigenous people in the Eritrean highlands and in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia speak it as their first language Tigrinyaትግርኛ tigrinnaPronunciation tɨɡrɨɲa Native toEritrea TigrayEthnicityTigrayans Tigrinya peopleNative speakers9 85 million 2020 1 Language familyAfro Asiatic SemiticWest SemiticSouth SemiticEthiopicNorth EthiopicTigrinyaWriting systemGeʽez script Tigrinya alphabet Official statusOfficial language in Eritrea EthiopiaLanguage codesISO 639 1 span class plainlinks a rel nofollow class external text href https www loc gov standards iso639 2 php langcodes name php iso 639 1 ti ti a span ISO 639 2 span class plainlinks a rel nofollow class external text href https www loc gov standards iso639 2 php langcodes name php code ID 449 tir a span ISO 639 3 a href https iso639 3 sil org code tir class extiw title iso639 3 tir tir a Glottolog a rel nofollow class external text href http glottolog org resource languoid id tigr1271 tigr1271 a This article contains IPA phonetic symbols Without proper rendering support you may see question marks boxes or other symbols instead of Unicode characters For an introductory guide on IPA symbols see Help IPA The template Contains special characters is being considered for merging This article contains Ethiopic text Without proper rendering support you may see question marks boxes or other symbols instead of Ethiopic characters Tigrinya notices at an Eritrean Orthodox Church Schiebroek Rotterdam Contents 1 History and literature 2 Speakers 3 Phonology 3 1 Consonant phonemes 3 2 Vowel phonemes 3 3 Gemination 3 4 Allophones 3 5 Syllables 4 Grammar 4 1 Typical grammatical features 4 2 Innovations 5 Writing system 6 See also 7 References 8 Bibliography 9 External linksHistory and literature EditAlthough it differs markedly from the Geʽez Classical Ethiopic language for instance in having phrasal verbs and in using a word order that places the main verb last instead of first in the sentence there is a strong influence of Geʽez on Tigrinya literature especially with terms relating to Christian life Biblical names and so on 3 Ge ez because of its status in Ethiopian culture and possibly also its simple structure acted as a literary medium until relatively recent times 4 The earliest written example of Tigrinya is a text of local laws found in the district of Logosarda Debub Region in Southern Eritrea which dates from the 13th century In Eritrea during British administration the Ministry of Information put out a weekly newspaper in Tigrinya that cost 5 cents and sold 5 000 copies weekly At the time it was reported to be the first of its kind 5 Tigrinya along with Arabic was one of Eritrea s official languages during its short lived federation with Ethiopia in 1958 it was replaced by the Southern Ethiopic language Amharic prior to its annexation Upon Eritrea s independence in 1991 Tigrinya retained the status of working language in the country the only state in the world until changes were made in Ethiopia in 2020 to recognize Tigrinya on a national level Speakers EditThere is no general name for the people who speak Tigrinya In Eritrea Tigrinya speakers are officially known as the Bihere Tigrigna nation of Tigrinya speakers or Tigrinya people In Ethiopia a Tigrayan that is a native of Tigray who also speaks the Tigrinya language is referred to in Tigrinya as tigraway male tigraweyti female tigrawōt or more commonly tegaru plural Biher roughly means nation in the ethnic sense of the word in Tigrinya Tigre Amharic and Ge ez The Jeberti in Eritrea also speak Tigrinya Tigrinya is the most widely spoken language in Eritrea see Demographics of Eritrea and the fourth most spoken language in Ethiopia after Amharic Oromo and Somali It is also spoken by large immigrant communities around the world in countries including Sudan Saudi Arabia Israel Denmark Germany Italy Sweden the United Kingdom Canada and the United States In Australia Tigrinya is one of the languages broadcast on public radio via the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service 6 Tigrinya dialects differ phonetically lexically and grammatically 7 No dialect appears to be accepted as a standard Phonology EditFor the representation of Tigrinya sounds this article uses a modification of a system that is common though not universal among linguists who work on Ethiopian Semitic languages but differs somewhat from the conventions of the International Phonetic Alphabet Consonant phonemes Edit Tigrinya has a fairly typical set of phonemes for an Ethiopian Semitic language That is there is a set of ejective consonants and the usual seven vowel system Unlike many of the modern Ethiopian Semitic languages Tigrinya has preserved the two pharyngeal consonants which were apparently part of the ancient Geʽez language and which along with x voiceless velar ejective fricative or voiceless uvular ejective fricative make it easy to distinguish spoken Tigrinya from related languages such as Amharic though not from Tigre which has also maintained the pharyngeal consonants The charts below show the phonemes of Tigrinya The sounds are shown using the same system for representing the sounds as in the rest of the article When the IPA symbol is different the orthography is indicated in brackets Consonants Labial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Pharyngeal GlottalPlain Lab Nasal m n ɲ n Plosive voiceless p t tʃ c k c kʷ cw ʔ voiced b d dʒ ǧ ɡ g ɡʷ gw ejective pʼ p tʼ t tʃʼ c kʼ c kʷʼ cw Fricative voiceless f s ʃ s x a xʷ xw a ħ ḥ hvoiced v b z ʒ z ʕ ejective tsʼ ts xʼ x a xʷʼ xw a Approximant l j y wRhotic r a b c d The fricative sounds x xʷ xʼ and xʷʼ occur as allophones The consonant v occurs only in recent borrowings from European languages Vowel phonemes Edit The sounds are shown using the same system for representing the sounds as in the rest of the article When the IPA symbol is different the orthography is indicated in brackets Vowels 8 Front Central BackClose i ɨ e uMid e ɐ a oOpen aGemination Edit Gemination the doubling of a consonantal sound is meaningful in Tigrinya i e it affects the meaning of words While gemination plays an important role in the morphology of the Tigrinya verb it is normally accompanied by other marks But there is a small number of pairs of words which are only differentiable from each other by gemination e g kʼɐrrɐbɐ he brought forth kʼɐrɐbɐ he came closer All the consonants with the exception of the pharyngeal and glottal can be geminated 9 Allophones Edit The velar consonants k and kʼ are pronounced differently when they appear immediately after a vowel and are not geminated In these circumstances k is pronounced as a velar fricative kʼ is pronounced as a fricative or sometimes as an affricate This fricative or affricate is more often pronounced further back in the uvular place of articulation although it is represented in this article as xʼ All of these possible realizations velar ejective fricative uvular ejective fricative velar ejective affricate and uvular ejective affricate are cross linguistically very rare sounds Since these two sounds are completely conditioned by their environments they can be considered allophones of k and kʼ This is especially clear from verb roots in which one consonant is realized as one or the other allophone depending on what precedes it For example for the verb meaning cry which has the triconsonantal root bky there are forms such as ምብካይ mebkaj to cry and በኸየ bɐxɐjɐ he cried and for the verb meaning steal which has the triconsonantal root srkʼ there are forms such as ይሰርቁ jesɐrkʼu they steal and ይሰርቕ jesɐrrexʼ he steals What is especially interesting about these pairs of phones is that they are distinguished in Tigrinya orthography Because allophones are completely predictable it is quite unusual for them to be represented with distinct symbols in the written form of a language Syllables Edit A Tigrinya syllable may consist of a consonant vowel or a consonant vowel consonant sequence When three consonants or one geminated consonant and one simple consonant come together within a word the cluster is broken up with the introduction of an epenthetic vowel e and when two consonants or one geminated consonant would otherwise end a word the vowel i appears after them or when this happens because of the presence of a suffix e is introduced before the suffix For example ከብዲ kabdi stomach ልቢ lebbi heart ay my ከብደይ kabday my stomach ልበይ lebbay my heart ka your masc ከብድኻ kabdexa your masc stomach ልብኻ lebbexa your masc heart n n and ከብድን ልብን kabden lebben stomach and heart Stress is neither contrastive nor particularly salient in Tigrinya It seems to depend on gemination but it has apparently not been systematically investigated Grammar EditMain article Tigrinya grammar Typical grammatical features Edit Grammatically Tigrinya is a typical Ethiopian Semitic ES language in most ways A Tigrinya noun is treated as either masculine or feminine However most inanimate nouns do not have a fixed gender Tigrinya nouns have plural as well as singular forms though the plural is not obligatory when the linguistic or pragmatic context makes the number clear As in Tigre and Ge ez as well as Arabic noun plurals may be formed through internal changes broken plural as well as through the addition of suffixes For example ፈረስ faras horse ኣፍራሰ afras horses Adjectives behave in most ways like nouns Most Tigrinya adjectives like those in Tigre and Ge ez have feminine and plural both genders forms For example ጽቡቕ s ǝbbux good m sg ጽብቕቲ s ǝbbǝx ti good f sg ጽቡቓት s ǝbbux at good pl Within personal pronouns and subject agreement inflections on verbs gender is distinguished in second person as well as third For example ተዛረብ tazarab speak m sg ተዛረቢ tazarabi speak f sg Possessive adjectives take the form of noun suffixes ገዛ gaza house ገዛይ gaza y my house ገዛኺ gaza xi your f sg house Verbs are based on consonantal roots most consisting of three consonants sbr break ሰበረ sabara he broke ይሰብር yǝsabbǝr he breaks ምስባር mǝsbar to break Within the tense system there is a basic distinction between the perfective form conjugated with suffixes and denoting the past and the imperfective form conjugated with prefixes and in some cases suffixes and denoting the present or future ሰበሩ sabar u they broke ይሰብሩ yǝ sabr u they break As in Ge ez and Amharic there is also a separate gerundive form of the verb conjugated with suffixes and used to link verbs within a sentence ገዲፍካ ተዛረብ gadifka tazarab stop that and speak m sg Verbs also have a separate jussive imperative form similar to the imperfective ይስበሩ yǝ sbar u let them break Through the addition of derivational morphology internal changes to verb stems and or prefixes verbs may be made passive reflexive causative frequentative reciprocal or reciprocal causative ፈለጡ falat u they knew ተፈልጡ ta falt u they were known ኣፈልጡ a falt u they caused to know they introduced ተፋለጡ ta falat u they knew each other ኣፋለጡ a f falat u they caused to know each other Verbs may take direct object and prepositional pronoun suffixes ፈለጠኒ falat a nni he knew me ፈለጠለይ falat a llay he knew for me Negation is expressed through the prefix ay and in independent clauses the suffix n ኣይፈለጠን ay falat a n he didn t know The copula and the verb of existence in the present are irregular ኣሎ allo there is he exists እዩ ǝyyu he is የለን or የልቦን yallan or yalbon there isn t he doesn t exist ኣይኰነን aykʷanan he isn t ነበረ nabara he existed he was there was ይኸውን yǝ xawwǝn he will be ይነብር yǝ nabbǝr he will exist there will be The verb of existence together with object suffixes for the possessor expresses possession have and obligation must ኣሎኒ allo nni I have I must lit there is to me Relative clauses are expressed by a prefix attached to the verb ዝፈለጠ zǝ falat a who knew Cleft sentences with relative clauses normally following the copula are very common መን እዩ ዝፈለጠ man ǝyyu zǝ falat a who knew lit who is he who knew There is an accusative marker used on definite direct objects In Tigrinya this is the prefix nǝ For example ሓጐስ ንኣልማዝ ረኺቡዋ ḥagʷas nǝ almaz raxibuwwa Hagos met Almaz As in other modern Ethiopian Semitic languages the default word order in clauses is subject object verb and noun modifiers usually though not always in Tigrinya precede their head nouns Innovations Edit Tigrinya grammar is unique within the Ethiopian Semitic language family in several ways For second person pronouns there is a separate vocative form used to get a person s attention ንስኻ nǝssǝxa you m sg ኣታ atta you m sg There is a definite article related as in English to the demonstrative adjective meaning that እታ ጓል ǝta gʷal the girl The gerundive form is used for past tense as well as for the linking function as in Ge ez and Amharic ተዛሪቡ tazaribu he speaking he spoke Yes no questions are marked by the particle ዶ do following the questioned word ሓፍተይዶ ርኢኺ ḥaftaydo rǝ ixi did you f sg see my sister The negative circumfix ay n may mark nouns pronouns and adjectives as well as verbs ኣይኣነን ay ana n not me ኣይዓብይን ay abǝy ǝn not big Tigrinya has an unusually complex tense aspect mood system with many nuances achieved using combinations of the three basic aspectual forms perfect imperfect gerundive and various auxiliary verbs including the copula እዩ ǝyyu etc the verb of existence ኣሎ allo etc and the verbs ነበረ nabara exist live ኮነ kona become ጸንሔ s anḥe stay Tigrinya has compound prepositions corresponding to the preposition postposition compounds found in Amharic ኣብ ልዕሊ ዓራት ab lǝ li arat on top of the bed ኣብ ትሕቲ ዓራት ab tǝḥti arat under the bed Unlike most Ethiopian Semitic languages Tigrinya has only one set of applicative suffixes used both for the dative and benefactive and for locative and adversative senses ተቐሚጣሉ tax ammit a llu she sat down for him or she sat down on it or she sat down to his detriment Writing system EditTigrinya is written in the Geʽez script originally developed for Ge ez The Ethiopic script is an abugida each symbol represents a consonant vowel syllable and the symbols are organized in groups of similar symbols on the basis of both the consonant and the vowel 9 In the table below the columns are assigned to the seven vowels of Tigrinya they appear in the traditional order The rows are assigned to the consonants again in the traditional order For each consonant in an abugida there is an unmarked symbol representing that consonant followed by a canonical or inherent vowel For the Ethiopic abugida this canonical vowel is a the first column in the table However since the pharyngeal and glottal consonants of Tigrinya and other Ethiopian Semitic languages cannot be followed by this vowel the symbols in the first column in the rows for those consonants are pronounced with the vowel a exactly as in the fourth row These redundant symbols are falling into disuse in Tigrinya and are shown with a dark gray background in the table When it is necessary to represent a consonant with no following vowel the consonant e form is used the symbol in the sixth column For example the word ǝntay what is written እንታይ literally ǝ nǝ ta yǝ Since some of the distinctions that were apparently made in Ge ez have been lost in Tigrinya there are two rows of symbols each for the consonants ħ s and sʼ In Eritrea for s and sʼ at least one of these has fallen into disuse in Tigrinya and is now considered old fashioned These less used series are shown with a dark gray background in the chart The orthography does not mark gemination so the pair of words k arraba he approached k araba he was near are both written ቀረበ Since such minimal pairs are very rare this presents no problem to readers of the language Tigrinya writing system a u i a e e o wa wi wa we weh ሀ ሁ ሂ ሃ ሄ ህ ሆ l ለ ሉ ሊ ላ ሌ ል ሎ ḥ ሐ ሑ ሒ ሓ ሔ ሕ ሖ m መ ሙ ሚ ማ ሜ ም ሞ s ሠ ሡ ሢ ሣ ሤ ሥ ሦ r ረ ሩ ሪ ራ ሬ ር ሮ s ሰ ሱ ሲ ሳ ሴ ስ ሶ s ሸ ሹ ሺ ሻ ሼ ሽ ሾ ḳ ቀ ቁ ቂ ቃ ቄ ቅ ቆ ቈ ቊ ቋ ቌ ቍḳʰ ቐ ቑ ቒ ቓ ቔ ቕ ቖ ቘ ቚ ቛ ቜ ቝb በ ቡ ቢ ባ ቤ ብ ቦ v ቨ ቩ ቪ ቫ ቬ ቭ ቮ t ተ ቱ ቲ ታ ቴ ት ቶ c ቸ ቹ ቺ ቻ ቼ ች ቾ ḫ ኀ ኁ ኂ ኃ ኄ ኅ ኆ ኈ ኊ ኋ ኌ ኍn ነ ኑ ኒ ና ኔ ን ኖ n ኘ ኙ ኚ ኛ ኜ ኝ ኞ ʾ አ ኡ ኢ ኣ ኤ እ ኦ k ከ ኩ ኪ ካ ኬ ክ ኮ ኰ ኲ ኳ ኴ ኵx ኸ ኹ ኺ ኻ ኼ ኽ ኾ ዀ ዂ ዃ ዄ ዅw ወ ዉ ዊ ዋ ዌ ው ዎ ʿ ዐ ዑ ዒ ዓ ዔ ዕ ዖ z ዘ ዙ ዚ ዛ ዜ ዝ ዞ z ዠ ዡ ዢ ዣ ዤ ዥ ዦ y የ ዩ ዪ ያ ዬ ይ ዮ d ደ ዱ ዲ ዳ ዴ ድ ዶ ǧ ጀ ጁ ጂ ጃ ጄ ጅ ጆ g ገ ጉ ጊ ጋ ጌ ግ ጎ ጐ ጒ ጓ ጔ ጕṭ ጠ ጡ ጢ ጣ ጤ ጥ ጦ c ጨ ጩ ጪ ጫ ጬ ጭ ጮ p ጰ ጱ ጲ ጳ ጴ ጵ ጶ ṣ ጸ ጹ ጺ ጻ ጼ ጽ ጾ ṣ ፀ ፁ ፂ ፃ ፄ ፅ ፆ f ፈ ፉ ፊ ፋ ፌ ፍ ፎ p ፐ ፑ ፒ ፓ ፔ ፕ ፖ a u i a e e o wa wi wa we weSee also EditUCLA Language Materials ProjectReferences Edit Eberhard David M Simons Gary F Fennig Charles D 2021 Tigrinya Ethnologue 24th ed SIL International Retrieved March 4 2021 Tigrinya language Encyclopaedia Britannica The Bible in Tigrinya United Bible society 1997 Edward Ullendorff The Ethiopians Oxford University Press 1960 Ministry of Information 1944 The First to be Freed The record of British military administration in Eritrea and Somalia 1941 1943 London His Majesty s Stationery Office ቀንዲ ገጽ ትግርኛ SBS Your Language Leslau Wolf 1941 Documents Tigrigna Ethiopien Septentrional Grammaire et Textes Paris Librairie C Klincksieck Buckley E 1994 Tigrinya vowel features and vowel coalescence University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 1 1 2 a b Rehman Abdel English Tigrigna Dictionary A Dictionary of the Tigrinya Language Asmara Simon Wallenberg Press Introduction Pages to the Tigrinya LanguageBibliography EditAmanuel Sahle 1998 Sawasasǝw Tǝgrǝnna bǝsafiḥ Lawrencevill NJ USA Red Sea Press ISBN 1 56902 096 5 Dan el Taxlu Rada 1996 Eth Cal Zabanawi sawasew kʷ ankʷ a Tegrenna Max ala Rehman Abdel English Tigrigna Dictionary A Dictionary of the Tigrinya Language Asmara Simon Wallenberg Press Introduction Pages to the Tigrinya Language ISBN 1 84356 006 2 Eritrean People s Liberation Front 1985 Dictionary English Tigrigna Arabic Rome EPLF 1986 Dictionary Tigrigna English mesgebe qalat tigrinya englizenya Rome EPLF Kane Thomas L 2000 Tigrinya English Dictionary 2 vols Springfield VA Dunwoody Press ISBN 1 881265 68 4 Leslau Wolf 1941 Documents tigrigna grammaire et textes Paris Libraire C Klincksieck Mason John Ed 1996 Sawasǝw Tǝgrǝnna Tigrinya Grammar Lawrenceville NJ USA Red Sea Press ISBN 0 932415 20 2 ISBN 0 932415 21 0 paperback Praetorius F 1871 Grammatik der Tigrinasprache in Abessinien Halle ISBN 3 487 05191 5 1974 reprint Taxasta Taxla et al 1989 Eth Cal Mazgaba k alat Tegrenna be Tegrenna Addis Ababa Negd matamiya dereǧǧet Ullendorff E 1985 A Tigrinya Chrestomathy Stuttgart F Steiner ISBN 3 515 04314 4 Ze im Girma 1983 Lǝsana Ag azi Asmara Government Printing Press External links EditFonts for Geʽez script Noto Serif Ethiopic multiple weights and widths Abyssinica SIL Character set support Tigrinya edition of Wikipedia the free encyclopediaWikivoyage has a phrasebook for Tigrinya Tigrigna online includes an online English Tigrinya dictionary Tigrinya Wikipedia Tigrinya Translate Beta Version Sites with Tigrinya text or sound files all require a Ge ez Unicode font Christian recordings in Tigrinya Global Recordings website Tigrina Learning and Playing Game Board ጸወታ ፍልጠት It provides for playful learning of the Ge ez script and all languages which are written with it 1 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Tigrinya language amp oldid 1093870165, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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