Amharic - ኣማርኛ Language
Outside of Ethiopia, Amharic is the language of 2.7 million emigrants, who live in Egypt, Israel and Sweden. It is also spoken in Eritrea by Eritrean deportees from Ethiopia and well known by Eritreans born before the mid 1980s, as it was the language of instruction in Eritrean schools until 1991.
It is the second Semitic language in terms of number of speakers, behind Arabic and ahead of languages such as Tigrinya and Hebrew. It is written using a syllabary called "fidel" or "abugida", adapted from the one used to write the extinct Ge'ez language. The Ethiopian abugida or syllabary has a total of 231 syllable signs, the result of combining the 7 vowel phonemes with the 33 consonantal phonemes of the Amharic language.
Amharic names may have a masculine or feminine gender. There are different means of expressing gender. An example is the old suffix -t to form the feminine, limited to certain models and certain isolated names. The names and adjectives that end in -awi are usually the feminine with the suffix -t: for example, ityop': eya- (a) wi, "Ethiopian" (m.), In front of ityop': eya-wi-t, "Ethiopian" (f.); sämay-awi, "celestial" (m.), versus sämay-awi-t, "celestial" (f.). This suffix is also used in names and adjectives based on the model k'et (t) ul, for example, nəgus, 'king', in front of nəgəs-t "queen", and k'əddus, "holy", in front of k'əddus-t, "holy".
Some names and adjectives form the feminine with -it' : lək, "boy" versus lək'-it, "girl"; bäg, "ram", versus bäg-it, "sheep"; s'əmagəlle, "old man", in front of s'əmagəll-it, "old woman"; t'ot'a, "monkey", in front of t'ot'-it, "mona". Other names have this feminine ending although there is no masculine opposite, it is the case of s'ärar-it, "spider", or azur-it, "swirl". There are, however, names that have the suffix -it and behave grammatically as masculine: säraw-it, "army"; nägar-it, "big drum".
The feminine gender is not used only to indicate the biological sex, but also to express small size. This happens in bet-it-u, "the house" (literally, house-FEM-ARTICLE). The feminine morpheme can also serve to express tenderness or sympathy.