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[NATLANG] Amharic and Irish help

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Thursday, December 2, 2004, 4:23
I'm trying to learn some Amharic, since I found out our neighborhood
convenience store owner is Ethiopian (educated in Moscow, however, so I
already got to practice my all-but-completely-forgotten Russian on him...)
Any pointers to resources would be appreciated.  Books are fine,
although I'd prefer a reference grammar type; something that tries to
describe the pronunciation in terms of faux-English spelling, and/or
assumes I know nothing about linguistics, would not be a worthwhile
investment IMHO.

On the web, resources seem to be lacking.  I did find a guide to the
phonology (using SAMPA, even), but the mapping is only to the Amharic
abugida, and there seem to be a variety of Roman transcription systems in
use which I'm somewhat at a loss to decipher.

For instance, the Basic Words list gives
"Amessagganalehugn" for "Thank you".   Are the doubled consonants
geminate?  What am I to do with final "gn" - is that /gn=/ or a
Romancish transcription of /J/?

I also looked at the names of the months in the Ethiopic Calendar
according to _Calendrical_Calculations_, even though those are
presumably Ge'ez rather than Amharic.   The names are full of odd
diacritical marks, reminiscent of Indic transliteration schemes.  At a
guess, |ś| (s with acute) represents [C], and the underdot represents
ejectiveness, but then I don't know what it's doing on an |h|.  Both |a|
and |e| appear with macrons; did Ge'ez have phonemic length?  Perhaps
an |a| with macron is [a], vs unmacronned [6], while macronned |e| is [e], vs
unmacronned [@]?

Well, anyway, any assistance/pointers are appreciated.

On another topic, nobody has yet replied to my earlier message asking
for help with Irish Gaelige for a wake.  The wake is this coming Sunday,
and I would really appreciate any guidance anyone could offer.

Thanks in advance.



Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>
Keith Gaughan <kmgaughan@...>