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Dec 23, 2021 | Guide to Language

Tigrinya Language Facts You Must Know

Tigrinya is an Afro-Asiatic language and part of the Semitic languages. Semitic languages occur in the written form in West Asia’s very early historical date. The East Semitic Akkadian and Eblaite texts were written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform. These branches of languages appeared from the 30th century BCE and the 25th century BCE in Mesopotamia and the northeastern Levant, respectively.

The word “Semitic” comes from the Biblical “Shem.” The modern languages belonging to this group include Tigrinya, Tigre, Amharic, Arabic, Hebrew, Aramic, and Maltese from Malta. Presently seven million people speak Tigrinya around the world. About fifty percent of the population in Eritrea and the northern part of Ethiopia speak the Afro-Asiatic language – Tigrinya.

Many immigrant communities also speak Tigrinya all over the world in various countries. Some of them are Canada, Australia, Uganda, Sweden, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, the USA, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Here we will discuss some of the interesting Tigrinya language facts. You can also explore interesting facts about Australia here in this post. 

Before moving to that, let us discuss some other important aspects of the Tigrinya!

What Is The Origin Of Tigrinya Language?

What is the Origin of Tigrinya Language?

Tigrinya originated from the ancient language of Ge’ez. It is believed that Ge’ez is the common ancestor of modern Ethiopian Semitic languages. Tigrinya alphabet comprises 32 letters, which are adopted from Ge’ez.

However, it is markedly different from the Ge’ez, the classical Ethiopic language. For instance, in Tigrinya phrases and verbs, and while using Tigrinya words, the order places the main verb at last instead of the first in the sentence. Here, there is a strong influence of Geʽez on Tigrinya literature, especially with terms relating to Christian life, Biblical names, etc. 

Ge’ez has historical status in Ethiopian culture, possibly because of its simple structure. That’s why it acted as a literary medium until relatively recent times.

How Old Is The Tigrinya Language?

How Old Is The Tigrinya Language?

The first written example of the Tigrinya text of local customary laws was found in the 13th century in Logo Sarda, Akele Guzai in Eritrea. And the first literary text in Tigrinya was published in Europe.

The first known written composition in the Tigrinya language is the text of local law, which was thought to be written in the 13th century. And the first literary work in the Tigrinya was published in Italy in 1895 by the scholar Feseha Giyorgis and described his journey to Italy.

Interestingly, Giyorgis may not be aware of his role to be known as “Father of Tigrinya Literature.”

The first known novels to be published in Tigrinya were written in 1927 and published in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, in 1950.  The tale of a Conscript, by Ghebreyesus Hailu, was translated and published in English in 2013 as The Conscript, receiving international recognition.

Contemporary writers in Tigrinya include Beyene Haile from 1941 to 2012, Alemseged Tesfai,  Ribka Sibhatu, Reesom Haile, Saba Kidane, and Abraham Tesfalul Zere.

Explore the Italian Language History And Interesting Facts You Must Know.

What Country Speaks Tigrinya?

What Country Speaks Tigrinya?

There are about 7 million people around the world who speak Tigrinya currently. However, the language is widely spoken in Eritrea and the northern part of Ethiopia. In Eritrea, it is an official language along with Arabic.

Tigrinya is also spoken by many immigrant communities worldwide, such as Italy, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany,   Uganda, the United Kingdom, Canada,  Australia, and Sweden. Your search for the best Naati Certified Tigrinya Translator ends here!

Is Tigrinya Similar to Arabic?

Tigrinya is also known as Tigrinya, Tigray, or Tigriññā. As we mentioned earlier, it is a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Many people think Tigrinya is similar to Arabic. However, it is closely related to Ge’ez, Amharic, and Tigre. All three are extinct languages but are still used in religious practices. Tigrinya is distantly related to Arabic and Hebrew.

Interesting Tigrinya Language Facts

Interesting Tigrinya Language Facts

1. The Facts About Tigrinya and Ge’ez

The Ge’ez oldest inscription dates back to the 3rd and 4th centuries, and the Bible was translated into Ge’ez in the 5th and 7th centuries. However, the Ge’ez eloped as a spoken language between 900 and 1200. While few orthodox catholic churches in Eritrea and Ethiopia still use the language. 

2. Tigrinya Phonology and Writing System

Tigrinya words comprise a set of ejective consonants, including seven vowels. A Tigrinya grammar may have a consonant-vowel or a consonant-vowel-consonant sequence. Tigrinya is written in the Ge’ez script or Ethiopic script. Ethiopian language Tigrinya was originally developed for the Ge’ez language having the abugida script. And each symbol represents a consonant plus vowel syllable. Hire NAATI-certified English to Maltese translator at affordable rates.

3. Interact Kids in Tigrinya

When you talk with children who speak Tigrinya or are learning the language, you get some of the best suggestions from bilingual children’s books. One is the “Living in Harmony” series, through which you can discuss universal themes of kindness and learn the new culture.

4. Basic Conversation in Tigrinya

You can “Hello” to Tigrinya-speaking individuals by saying “Selam.” The capital city Asmara got its name from “Arbate Asmara.” Which means the “four women made them unite.” This phrase got roots in the local legend about four different tribes who needed to unify to defend their land from outsiders.

5. Tigrinya Refer Ethnic Group in Eritrea Until 8th Century

While Tigrinya is a language, You can use the term “Tigrinya” to refer to an ethnic group in Eritrea. It was believed that the Tigrinya, Tigre, and Tigrayans originated from the same group until the 8th century.

6. Tigrinya Speakers

Tigrinya is the 4th most spoken language in Ethiopia after Amharic, Somali and Oromo. However, it’s the most widely spoken language in Eritrea. Immigrants around the world talk to Tigrinya. The best part is Tigrinya is broadcast on the public radio on the Special Broadcasting Service in Australia.

7. Interesting Tigrinya Past

Tigrinya was one of Eritrea’s official languages when it was part of Ethiopia. In 1958 it was replaced with the Amharic language. During the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie (1930-1974), Tigrinya publications were banned. When Selassie lost power, Amharic remained the standard language. In 1991, Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia, and Tigrinya was the “working language” in Eritrea.

8. Tigrinya Language Pronunciation

In phonetics, Gemination, or consonant lengthening, articulates a consonant for a longer period than a singleton consonant. Gemination is meaningful in Tigrinya, i.e., it affects the meaning of words. While Gemination plays an essential role in the morphology of the Tigrinya verb, it is usually accompanied by other marks.

But there are a small number of pairs of words that are only differentiable from each other by Gemination. Except for the pharyngeal and glottal, all the consonants can be germinated. 

You can also Explore the Mandarin Language: Its History, Influence and Description here.

Last Few Words

We hope you enjoyed the Tigrinya language facts presented here. Many Tigrinya-speaking people have migrated to Australia. The process continues as Tigrinya-speaking individuals find some connections in the country. However, the Australian government officials and immigration authorities accept all the documents in English.

So if you want to translate all your Tigrinya language immigration-related documents into English, AustralianTranslationServices.com.au is the best platform. The platform is happy to help Tigrinya-speaking individuals in their immigration process. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Tigrinya language difficult?

The Tigrinya language has 32 sets of characters. Ge’ez writing initially seems challenging, but learning to understand Tigrinya does not take very long. The pronunciation is very easy to understand.

How popular is the Tigrinya language?

The Afro-Asiatic language family is the origin of the Tigrinya language. The Tigrinya language has the most significant frequency in Ethiopia, with 7.10 million native users. The most crucial portion of the people, or roughly 49 per cent, is in Eritrea.

What are the other names of Tigrinya?

The Biher-Tigrinya or “Kebessa” people, which refers to the Eritrean mountains, are other names for the Tigrinya people in Eritrea. The Eritrean clans of Tigrinya and Tigre are both closely related to the Tigrayans of Tigray, Ethiopia.

David Lee

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