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Abyssinia-(Al Habasha) Origins and Language

*Introduction: Conducting a discourse on language in Eritrean context in dispassionate manner had proven next to impossible – if past experiences are any guide. But hope is not lost, as sheer coincidence would have it, recently, EMDHR sponsored seminar via PalTalk that took place earlier this month, and it was refreshing to hear Dr. Chefena’s approach on language in Eritrea’s context. Alas, his “historic cache of goods” confined itself to the contemporary sensibility, one that looks back in time only to the fifties; perhaps, considering EMDHR being the sponsor, both the presenter and the host could’ve had their young audiences with contemporary sensibilities in mind. Thusly, they chose to resort to the contemporary narrative than delving deep to the beginning of how and whence the Arabic and Tigrinya languages found home in our region. Of course, this is not to gloss over that Eritrea is endowed with myriad of languages that deserve their own specific historical narrative, albeit that will be left for our learned men and women to grapple and educate us similar to what’s being done here with the two languages at hand.

Well, at Global Eritrean Advocacy Network (GEAN), we are determined to push the envelope of history vis-a-vis language, because it is one of the most contentious issues facing Eritreans in diaspora, among several others, such as ethnicity, land, and refugees, which we firmly believe should be discussed with all the intensity and honesty it deserves. Of course, it goes without saying that we earnestly welcome any healthy debate that attempts to address these issues from their multifactorial angles.

Therefore, here is for the young and old – to all Eritreans, come one and come all – a historical narrative that traces the evolutionary process of Tigrinya & Arabic languages dispensation and disposition in our region. Savor it. Wallow in it. Absorb it. Above all, read it as archeological work of history, if you will. Layer by layer, pebble by pebble, dust by dust, dig deeper into the history with respect to the two specific languages, what you will find is a body of language being constructed one alphabet at a time. Ostensibly, the body of language will begin to emerge in its metaphorical and literal sense within you as you begin to imagine the inherent power of that richly woven field of vision that affirms our Eritreanity

History bereft of political posturing might for once allow us to see ourselves not in that politicized body politicking but as one people who have inhabited a body of history interwoven by countless narratives of coexistence. As you know historians are at their best when they unfurl for us the unblemished facts, and then it is up to us to make do with it what we will. Bury that political animal in you under your feet, and you will find yourself seeing in your mind’s eye our forefathers and foremothers living and coexisting under the same hamlets and villages – If you would only allow yourself to go there. The treatment given herewith is all about the history of the two languages. The next installment will be about the chauvinist sociopolitical culture that came to occupy Eritrean landscape. Suffice it to wrap this introductory note by quoting directly from the piece that you are about to indulge upon: 

“… those who stand negatively from the Arabic language in Eritrea from the Tigrinya speakers in particular, contradict the roots of their religious, cultural, and ethnic history that they neglect despite the fact that they cannot turn away from it. This is because the Arabic language is not strange to them, to their area, to their religious creed, to their origin and to their ethnicity. As much as it was the medium of transmitting the civilization of Hummerite Agazian to Axum with its first Sabayan Alphabet, it was also the medium of transmitting the Jacobite religious heritage that the Abyssinian church believes in from the books of the Alexandrian church in Egypt translated into Geez-the language of worship of the Abyssinian church. These books have become referential to the Christian creed in the churches and monasteries, and foundational to the priests and monks. There is no Abyssinian monk today…” 

*Introductory note above was penned by Beyan Negash and Dr. Jelal’s work below was translated by Saad Musa.

Abyssinia (Al Habasha): Origins and Language
By: Professor JalaLuddin M.Saleh, Ph.D.

Abyssinian history goes back to two Arabian tribes: Hibsht and Ag’az. Both are Hummerite tribes; their origin goes back to Hummeir, and Hummeir as is mentioned in Lisan Al Arab, Arabic Language Dictionary, by Ibn Manzur, is a patriarch of the tribe from Yemen. He is Hummeri Ibn Saba Ibn Yashjin, Ibn Yanibbn Khtan, and from them came all the kings the first epoch. (1)

Regarding the historical period in which these two tribes immigrated to Abyssinia, the Italian orientalist, Goydi, says: “we do not know for certain when the Semitic migration to Abyssinia started. But, for certain it was not prior to the 5th century B.C. Perhaps, it was concurrent with their migration to the North of the Arabian Peninsula. (2)

A.G. Drewes, The French orientalist, who made an analytical study of the Abyssinian inscriptions that he has found holds the opinion that (Hibsht) is an Arabian tribe that migrated long before the 5th century B.C. and first settled in the Eritrean coast of the Samhar plains. Gradually they went up inland to the highlands up to the region of Yeha and Axum where they blended with the native Kushites and were Africanized. And out of this blend came the civilization that preceded the civilization of the Kingdom of Axum.

The inscriptions that were discovered in Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) revealed the worshiping of South Arabian gods, especially, Al Magah, the moon god who is symbolized by a crescent, a disc, or a horn. The historian Jawad Ali, for instance, mentions that among the valuable archeological findings in Axum–a stone with Sabayan (4) inscriptions in a wall of an old church. Also, a remnant of pillars was found in the site of yeha, which is located North East of Adoa that indicate the existence of a Sabayan Temple. In addition, a Sabayan Altar dedicated to the god Sen or Sein is found, not to mention many other inscriptions that clearly indicate the existence of the Sabayans in Abyssinia.(5)

“The Designation of Habesh in Arab Genealogy”

There is an authenticity in Arab genealogy for the name Al Hebsh, regardless of however varied it is to pinpoint. We find it, for example, in the genealogical chain of the leader of the khuza’a tribe. As mentioned by the historian Ibn Katheer, he is Hulai bin Hubshia bin Salu bin Kaab bin Umaru bin Rabee Al Khuza’ee. (6)

Ibn Khaldoon, says, “To khuza’a belonged the custodianship of the house (ka’bah) before Quraish of beni Kaab bin Umaru bin Lahy, and it ended up to Halil bin Hibshea bin SaluL. (7)

Al Hamadany, an ancient Yemeni Historian of Hummeirorgin says, in his discussion of the tribal subdivisions of children of Rabeea bin Abd bin Alyan bin Arhab, who begets Al Hassan bin Tarig Aba Hebsh. (8)

From among the Hadramout tribes mentioned by the scholar Salim AL Kendy in his book. ‘History of Hadramout, the tribe of Al Ahmed bin Zain AL Habsh.’ (9) He also cites many names that belong to the tribe which I mentioned; Ahmed bin Jaafer Al Habashi, Abdullah bin Salim Al Habashi, Issa bin Muhammad Al Habashi. (10)

“The meaning of the word Hebsh”

Researchers say that the word Al Habasha came from Tahabush meaning congregation. And as of what this word entails in its Arabic conception, Abdeen, the Abyssinian language teacher at Faculty of Literature in the University of Fouad the 2nd, formerly, and the University of Cairo currently, says: “The term (Habsh) in the Arabic indicates to a congregation and alliance. The Arabs have widespread utterances out and this term; so we find Habashah a marketplace among the pre-Islamic marketplaces of the Arabs. When the tribe of Hebsht resided in Northern Abyssinia, the Northern region was attributed to them and was called by their name. Later on, the Arabs called the whole area Al Habasha and from that the Europeans coined “Abyssinia”. (11)

Al Hamadany says:” Al tahabsh means to come together as a negation to division (12) and to this meaning also, points out Glaser, the German researcher, who inquired into the archeological texts that contained the term hebsht in 1895. It was published by the Austrian scholar Muller in 1893.

These texts are seven inscriptions written in a propped Yemeni calligraphy discovered in Yeha–50kms east of Axum on the road that leads to the port of Adul (Adulis). Glassier came to conclude from his inquiry that Habsht is a common name for those who work in planting and harvesting gum not only in the Arabian peninsula but also in Somali peninsula and Abyssinia. (13)

Agazian are from Yahsib

It appears that the tribe of Ag’eez, Geez or Ag’azian, has a connection with Ga’ezan, an area located south of the Arabian Peninsula which currently know Jeezan or Jaizan. Recent archeological discoveries in Yemen has confirmed and particularly the inscriptions of Al Wa’qir that the name Ga’azan is the correct pronunciation, not Jeezan as it is pronounced today.

If we recall the utterance of some Hummerite tribes, such as, the Mahra, the Ain as hamza (soft a), then we know that Jaizan is from Ga’azan; so many towns took the names of the tribes or dignitaries that dwelled in them.

Al Hamadani clarifies the connection of the tribe of Ag’eez with Hummeri saying: I saw no one from the tribal subdivisions of Hummeir who composes their genealogy like Al Ag’az; from among them Hamad Al Ag’azi, the poet known for the Za’eya word. He also mentioned Yahya Ibn Kuleib, the judge of San’a whowas an expert in the subdivisions of Hummeir. He says Al Ag’eez are from Yahsib, but he does not mention to which of its subdivisions they belong. (15)

He says in another place: Al Ag’eez is a subdivision of Yahsib, form among them is Hamad Al Ag’azy known for the (za’eya) word. (16)

In Southern Yemen there’s a valley called the valley of Gez’a. This valley was the home of the Al Aga’eez tribe and is named after it. It is still known by this name to this date in the region of AlMihry or Mahra province. There are a group of Households in Jordan who trace back their ancestry to the tribe of gaz’a taga’zee. (17)

Some researchers say: the native home of the emigrating tribe of Hebsht is mount Habisha located in North East Hadramout. (18)

The Indigenous inhabitants of Abyssinia

Regarding the native people of Abyssinia before the Hummerites immigration to it, the Italian orientalist Goedy is of the opinion that they are the remote grandparents of the Kunama and Barya. Goedy continues to say;” there is no doubt that the rise of these state, i.e. the Axumite Kingdom, goes back to the southern Arabs gradual spread. As Rayan says: they immigrated to Abyssinia whose natives were of a different ethnicity than them. I am not going to extrapolate about those inhabitants whom we may call locals or Abyssinian nationals, who are the remote grandparents of the Kunama or Baria. It seems those people lived specifically in the area located in the Abyssinian plateau.(19)

The relations of Tigrait, Tigrinya and Amharic With Ge’ez Language

As it is traditionally known and incontestable among all experts of the Semitic languages, both Arabs and non-Arabs, the Bejian language (Tigrait) with the two Abyssinia languages (Tigrinya and Amharic), originate from Geez, which is the language of the Ag’azian tribe. From among the specialists, the German orientalist Karl Brokman says, “The closest language to the southern Arabic language is the language of the Semitic folks who migrated from southern Arabia to lands opposite to them which is the lands of Abyssinia. They colonized it and strongly blended with its native people. We do not know when these folks immigrated to it, but we know their language which is called Geez (Al gee’zia) is an eponym of the people of Geez. (20)

Broklman determines Tigrait to be the language that kept most of the Geez characteristics from among the other two languages, (Tigrinya and Amharic). He says, that dialect that has kept the old characteristics is spoken in the North, in the Italian colony of Eritrea, as well as in the Dahlak archipelago and is called locally Tigre. (21)

The same statement is also made by the known American anthropologist, Carlton S. Koan, in his comparison of Tigrinya and Amharic proximity to Geez. He says, “As for Tigrinya, it’s the language of the Axum region, and it is much closer to Geez than Amharic, but we shouldn’t confuse with the language of Tigre (Tigrait) which is derived from another south Arabian language and is spoken in Eritrea.

On the other hand, the Italian orientalist Goedy says, “The Geez language became extinct but the modern dialects that are spoken in the nNorthern region of Abyssinia, Tigrait and Tigrinya, [Amharic] replaced it at least in parts of the country. And these dialects come forth from the Geez language. (24)

The gist of the matter is that Tigrait, Tigrinya, and Amharic are Arabian languages in their origins and roots by virtue of their descendence from the mother Arabic language- the Geez language. Some may say, even if these languages were Arabic in their origin, they are not being used currently among the Arabs and they are not known to them. And for this reason, they lose their Arabic character. This is incorrect scientifically. It had nothing to do with scientific logic to deprive a language of its origin, characteristics, and identity simply because it’s spoken by a minority, and the majority to whom it belongs do not use it nor understand it. If we follow this logic then it would be incumbent upon is to say regarding the Mihreyeen’s language that it is not Arabic because contemporary Arabs do not understand nor use it. The same thing to the language of the Fifi’yeen, anArab tribe in the southern part of the Saudi Arabia.

These are Hummerite tongues however they seemed non-Arabic and complicated. They are of Arabic origins and roots, however they seemed strange, for instance, the Abyssinian folks turn the A’in into Hamza (Glottal stop) and they pronounce Ge’ez as Geez… Also, the Tuhama folks of Yemen do the same when they pronounce A’bd as Abd and just like them the Mahra who say ain not a’in. Ibn Manzoor, one of the earlier times outstanding scholars of the Arabic language, says in his well-known book, Lisan al Arab (Arabic language)” Hummeir is a noun and he is putatively the father of Yemeni kings and the tribe derive its origin from him. Hammara is said when one speaks in the language of Hummeir. They have phonations and languages that contrast all the languages of the Arabs. (25) When one of the earlier scholars of the Arabic language was asked about Hammeir’s language he said, “The tongue of Hammeir and some remote parts of Yemen is not ours nor their Arabic like ours. The king of Zufar have said,“our Arabic is not like yours; whoever enters Zufar has to speak the language of Hummeir. (27)The least we can understand from this statement is that these are two Arabic, the Arabic of Hummeir and that of the remote parts of Yemen and non-Hummerite Arabic which is the Arabic of the North. There is a difference and divergence between the two Arabic languages that almost makes them two different languages, not simply two dialects out of one language. For this reason, the Andullisian scholar Ibn Hazin said, “what we found and understood for certain is that the Assyrian, Hebrew, and the Arabic of Rabee’a and Madr, not the language of Hummeir, is one language spoken in different domiciles. (28)

Here we notice that Ibn Hazim, the Andullisian, distinguishes between the language Rabee’a and Madr on one hand and the language of Hummeir. He confirms for the former the common origin With Assyrian and Hebrew and negates it from the other without denying that it’s Arabic. He is explicit in his statement, ” the Arabic language of Rabee’a and madr, not that of Hummeir.”This means, the Arabic that has a common origin with Assyrian and Hebrew is the Arabic of Rabee’a and Madr not of Hummeir, for Hummeir’s Arabic is other than that of Rabee’a and Madr. Not only this, but also the Arabs had more than one language and each language differed from the other. Despite the fact that the word Arab is the name that brings them together, but their languages were far apart that one group doesn’t understand the language of the other.

The historian known by Al Tabari says,” the Arabs, though they all come under the name that they are Arabs were of different tongues in their diction and varied in their logic and speech. Their languages were too many to count. (29)

Ibn Jeni, an Arabic language scholar, says,” we’ve no doubt in the remoteness of the language of Hummeir and its like from the language of Nizar”.(30) And Abu Omer ibn A’la said, “Hummeir’s tongue is not our tongue nor their language is ours “(31)The known American anthropologist Carlton S. Kon says, ” extant are the Zafarian (Al Zafariah) tribes that speak old Arabic dialects that were spoken in the south (Southern Arabia) and are replaced by Arabic ( he means the Northern Arabic) in the Southern regions of Arabia.

Comparisons between Tigrait and Arabic, and Tigrigna and Arabic

First-Tigrait and Arabic:

In Tigrait, as well as, in Hummerite or Hummeriah comes the measure Af’ool to form the plural. In the ancient writings of Hummeir we find (Abklen) or (Abkool) which is bekil, and Ahmas meaning Ahmoos and Al Ahboosh the residents of Mt. Habshi (Mt. Zakhr) from Al Hujria and A’mal Ta’ez..Al Ahboosh is for the folks of Al Habasha. Also in the same manner, Axum, the old capital of Aabyssinia, is in the measure of (Af’ool) and it’s the plural form Kasmah, a city in the region of Reimah Yemen. It’s also a proper name for individuals, like Axum Ibn Suweid Ibn Hassan Al Manakhi. They say in Tigrait (Afroos) the plural of feres, (Agmool) the plural of Gamel, (Abqool) the plural of Baqal, (Ab’ur) the plural of Bee’raey, (Aw’oot) the plural of Wa’at, (As’hoon) the plural and Sahan, (Amoot) the plural Ama, (Abhoor) the plural of Bahr. From the Beejah tribes whose names come in the measure of (Afool): Agdoob, and Amoor. Both are subdivisions of the Almada and Bahdoor divisions; for family names in the same measure (AdIndool).

Al Ak’wa says this measure is present in Abyssinia and most likely, I think, it has transferred to Abyssinia among the cultural influences that was transferred from Yemen.

Second – Tigrigna and Arabic:

Here are some linguistic comparisons between Tigrinya and Arabic. Food in Tigrinia is (ekhli) which is al ma’kul. As for (A t’al) they use it for a wet thing. (telilu) ( Mai at Li lu wo) meaning wet with water. And (T’al) is water spray or fine rain as it has come in the Arabic language dictionary, Lisan Al Arab.

Friday is called (ar’bi) in Tigrinya, and this name is taken from its name in Jahillia before Islam when it was called (uru’ba) It’s an old Semetic name.

Tongue in Tigrinya is called (Melhas) and it’s from the verb (lahs) to lick and (Melhas) comes in the same Arabic measure as (maf’al) as a name of a device like (Mangab) drill or whatever device used to explore and (Mellhas) tongue is what the human uses to lick. They say; (MelhaskaHaz) meaning hold your tongue. .From among the meanings of (haz) in Arabic, is to cut. From haz–to cut off, yehiz–he cuts off as is in the Arabic dictionary. But it is used here tantamount to hold. They call illness Himam. In Tigrait they say Hamma and Tigrigna Hamimuw (loaded) or Hamimu( without loading) for one who’s infected by fever and is sick. In the Arabic language (Ardmuhammah) is fever land or land that has much fever.

The black color is called in Tigrignia and Tigrait “Himamat”. We find in the Arabic saying “al hammumesder al a’ham, (lava is the source of the hottest) and the plural is Al hammu and it means anything black and alhamamu is ash and charcoal and anything burned by fire. And Jariahumama is a slave girl who’s black.

They say in Tigrinya and Tigrait to uninterrupted beating that leads to fragmentation (ket’kit) and we find in the Arabic (altek’tit) meaning to cut something. They say to a teacher, (Memhr) in Arabic (Muksib Al Mahara) meaning one who teaches skills.They call in Tigrinya a school (Bet Timhrti) in Arabic (Beit A Taleem), (Beit iktisab Al Mahara) place where skills are learned. And to a student, in Tigrinya: (Tamaharay), learner- one who gains skill. In regard to learning they say in Tigrigna (Temahar) meaning learn, gain skills. All goes back to (Al Mahara) in the Arabic Language. They name their children Afwergi and the “Af” is that with which you say or utter (ma taeef bihi), and wargi is alwarq in Arabic, as Abdu Ubaida says in the Arabic dictionary is silver. They say to a cold weather in Tigrignia ‘Qurri’. This word was mentioned in the sermon of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, dispraising his companions from the Iraqis,” when I instructed you to go and face them in the winter time, you said this is (sabarrat ulqurri) severe cold, give us some time until the cold goes away; this is all fleeing from the heat and the (Qurri) the cold. If you are to flee from the heat and the qurri by Allah you’ll flee even more from the sword.’ In the demonstrative pronoun, they say, in Tigrgnia, to the near one is (ezzy) and (nizzy), and both words in the Arabic are (zee) – used to point to the near one and (za) to the one who’s far. In pointing out to the dual, in Tigrinya, they say (kilti’u)-(kilittesebeiti) meaning two women, (kilitteseb’ai) meaning two men, and this from (kelta) in the arabic for feminine dual ( keltalmar’atayn) and (kala) for the masculine dual (kala rajulain).

In the pronoun they say in Tigrinya (Ane) and in the Arabic (Anni). They say for the plural in tigrinia (Nihna) also for one when dignifying oneself, its (Nahnu) in the Arabic.

The Abyssinian Church Translates its Authorative Sources from moderen Arabic into ancient Arabic,

Gy’eez or Ge’ez

The author of “kebra Negest (judiciary code [Glory of the Kings]) who writes the history of the Solomonic dynasty, claiming its exclusive right to rule in Abyssinia by a Devine writ says, “he has translated (the book) from an Arabic copy found in Alexandria”. The transcriber of the book says at the conclusion of the book,” we copied it from a Coptic book written in Arabic from the throne of Morqs, the apostle the teacher, our father all. We published it in the year 409 A.d. in an Ethiopian city in the era of GebreMeskel, the king nicknamed Lali Bela, in the Era of father Gergis the good patriarch. (38) As such we come to understand that Arabic is the source of civilizational transfer into the Abyssinian culture, even the religious heritage of which an important part is translated from Arabic into Geez- which in origin is the mother of the modern Arabic language.

The Archbishop Salama the second, had contributed in transferring the religious revival in the Egyptian church to the Ethiopian church; he undertook the translation of many books from the Arabic into Ethiopian language that he was nicknamed by the Ethiopian Christians (terguami) meaning the translator for his contribution to Ethiopian literature. He undertook a vast movement in translating the religious books from the Arabic language into Ethiopian. He also revised what was copied in the eras before him and so verified the holy book to the Arabic text. He also translated ritual books (al mayamr), biographies of martyrs and saints and books of monasticism from Arabic into Ethiopic.

This movement of copying and translating continued after metropolitan Salama the second. The book of prayer known as (al Aj’beeya) which the Ethiopian Christians named (Sa’atat) was translated in the middle of the 4th century. Also, the books of funeral rituals, (metsihafeGinzet), Praise of the virgin and the life of the apostles was translated. But, translations was not limited to religious books. Other books of literature, such as, the ‘History of the Jews’, which the Ethiopian Christians consider as one of the three books attached to the Holy Bible, was translated. Also, the Coptic synaxorion, which contains the biographies of the saints, as well as, other collections of books on literature, theology etc. from the books written by Coptics in Egypt were translated.

By a writ from Zereyacob, the book of Apostles’ laws known in Egypt as (Adasqulia) and as (Disqlia) in Ethiopia, as well as, the collection known as (Al Sendos) were translated from Arabic.

An important book that was translated in the revival era is the book of Ibn As’sal titled Al Maj’mooAs’safwey.” This book deals in its second part on what grounds the relations among Christian individuals in their religious and secular affairs must be. The Ethiopian Christians became so fond of the book that they took it in later centuries not only as a foundation for religious and civil life, but also like a kind of conduct book or instructional work for their public and private life and renamed it ‘Fet’heNegest”.

Despite the old age of the book, its subjects never changed due to the changes of time and place. The book remained the same as it was originally, to this date. As such the book is the oldest legal collection in practice up to know.

The book in its second part, as mentioned above, deals with interpersonal matters taken from the Shafe’e jurisprudence and to be specific from the book of admonishment for Abi Ishaq Al Sheerazi according to the envoy of the Ottoman Calif, Sultan Abdul Hamid, Mr. Sadiq Pasha and other researchers. Among the books that were translated from the modern Arabic to ancient Arabic- Geez the Ethiopian language, ‘The history of Abu ShakrBoutrous Ibn Rahib’ which was written in the end of the 13th century, in which he chronicles from the beginning of creation until 657H. It was translated by AnbaKom in the reign of (Sertse Dingel) and also, the book titled, ‘History of Muslims’ By MekinIbn’Amid whom The Habashas call (weld A’mid) and that was in the reign of king LibneDingel, as well as, the ‘History of Yohana’ bishop of (Nakia) in which he summarizes the history of the world from the beginning of creation until year 640. Professor White acknowledges that it was translated from the original Arabic in the era of king Yacob (king of Sajd) and its translator was one of the bishops of (kalyoob) and it’s said that Jebreel al Masri is the one who translated it by an order from the mother of KingSerjaDingel -1563-1597c.

Among the compositions, the Abyssinian copy is of great value since the original Arabic copy is not yet found up to now. Many books were also translated into Geez in this era in defense of the Jacobite doctrine. Among these books (the precious pearls in Elucidating Religion) for Sa’weers Ibn Mukafa which the Habashas call (fikreMelokot) meaning the explanation of the divine. There’s also the book of Pauls Ibn Raja, (confessions of the fathers). The Habashas translated it from the Arabic and named it HaymanotAbboy (the faith of my father). The Habashas also translated from the Arabic many books that deal with religious rituals from among them,’The Book of Repentance’ (metshafeNesha), and ‘prayers of the lamp’ (Mezhaf qendil) and other books of religion (41).

Some priests of the Abyssinian church were proficiently able to command the Arabic Language. They were reading, writing, and speaking it proficiently by studying under the Coptic priests who were appointed by the church of Alexandria. Here comes the Yemeni scholar who had visited Abyssinia in a diplomatic mission to meet with king FassilidasBijender in the 16th century to tell us about one of those priests saying, “he’s a man with countenance of reciters and piety of worship and speaks in the Arabic because he was student of the Abun [Coptic Abun] It was easy for him to understand our speech and easy for us to understand his without a mediation of an interpreter. We found him to be the best person in that land his name was Betrous. As such, the Arabic language was not only the device of transmitting the Islamic heritage to Abyssinia, but also the medium of transmitting the Abyssinian Christian heritage. Besides, the language of worship in the church which is still considered in the Abyssinian doctrine as the language of divine discourse is the old Arabic that is known as Geez which is originally by unanimous consent of wall researchers, the language of Hummeir and Kahtan from the south of the Arabian Peninsula.

Summary and Result

Hence, those who stand negatively from the Arabic language in Eritrea from Tigrinya speakers in particular, contradict the roots of their religious, cultural, and ethnic history that they neglect despite the fact that they cannot turn away from it. This is because the Arabic language is not strange to them, to their area, to their religious creed, to their origin and to their ethnicity.

As much as it was the medium of transmitting the civilization of HummeriteAgazian to Axum with its first Sabayan Alphabet, it was also the medium of transmitting the Jacobite religious heritage that the Abyssinian church believes in from the books of the Alexandrian church in Egypt translated into Geez-the language of worship of the Abyssinian church. These books have become referential to the Christian creed in the churches and monasteries, and foundational to the priests and monks. There is no Abyssinian monk today but connected to these references, translated from the modern Arabic into the ancient Arabic- Geez, for knowledge and culture because of his mastery of the ancient Arabic letter- the Geez Alphabet.

About Beyan Negash

Activist, a writer and a doctoral candidate (ABD) in Language, Literacy, and Culture at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Beyan holds a bachelor of arts in English and a master of arts in TESOL from NMSU as well as a bachelor of arts in Anthropology from UCLA. His research interests are on colonial discourse and post-colonial theories and their hegemonic impact on patriarchy, cultural identity, literacy development, language acquisition as well as curriculum & citizenship. The geopolitics of the Horn of Africa interests Beyan greatly. His writings tend to focus on Eritrea and Ethiopia. Beyan has been writing opinion pieces at awate.com since its inception (1 September 2001).

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  • Michael Thomas

    Well there is a lot of similarities between the Semitic languages such as Ge’ez Aramaic arabic Hebrew and Syriac etc.. does anybody have any idea about this?
    The key thing is reading Bible and knowing it deeply! Perhaps you all should know that the Bible it self can be used as a historical data. Anyway here is the truth how many of you guys do u know about the book of Henok or Enoch.? Most Christian denominations and traditions may accept the Books of Henok/Enoch as having some historical or theological interest, but they generally regard the Books of Enoch as non-canonical or non-inspired. It is regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, but not by any other Christian groups. Guess who wrote this magnificent book? Henok/Enoch himself guess in what language he wrote It’s? I’m ge’ez

    • Abi

      Hi Michael
      Thank you. I googled “The book of Enoch” and pleasantly surprised to see “መፀሃፈ ሄኖክ”
      What is amazing about this website is you don’t know who will show up with what kind of information.
      Stay around. Next time don’t be four months late. Attendance is mandatory here.

    • Amde

      Hello Michael / Abi

      The Book of Enoch is a strange book.

      I am absolutely no expert of linguistics, literature, the bible or astronomy, so take what I say with extreme caution.

      In any case, one of the sections it has relates to astronomy and the length of days and their seasonal shift. It talks about a system where a complete day-night cycle is divided into 18 parts (as opposed to our 24), and where at some point in the year “14. On that day the day becomes longer than the night, and the day becomes double the night and the day becomes twelve parts, and the night is shortened and becomes six parts.” . On the other extreme you have a situation where the day and night time are equal: “20. On that day the day is equalized with the night, [and becomes of equal length], and the night amounts to nine parts and the day to nine parts.” I guess we are talking about the summer solstice and one of the equinoxes.

      There was never that discrepancy between daylight and night in our neck of the woods, i.e. a few degrees north of the equator. You have to be north of latitude 50 on summer solstice to see daylight twice as long as night. So I have to assume that at the very least the astronomy section was written by someone who experienced much more northerly latitudes – Siberia, northern Europe, Canada etc…

      It is doubtful then that – at least the astronomy section – was written by anyone who was a Semitic speaker. As far as I know Semitic is a strictly middle eastern/african phenomenon.


  • agapi

    Dear Beyan Negash,

    this interesting article deals with an important topic, which we all need to understand well. I see that the article includes several note numbers but it does not include the citations and the sources. Could you please include these so that whoever is interested on a serious research could use the article?
    Thanks a lot.
    Have a nice day!

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam agapi,

      Sources and authors are included within the article.

      • agapi

        Hello Hameed,

        thanks for your reply.

        Yes authors and titles have been included within the article, which clearly has been
        written after some research. However bibliographical references are
        missing and this is something essential if other persons would want to
        use all the information provided in the article for other research.
        Let me use one of the article’s sentence as an example:

        For this reason, the Andullisian scholar IbnHazin said, “what we found and
        understood for certain is that the Assyrian,Hebrew, and the Arabic of
        Rabee’a and Madr, not the language of Hummeir, is one language spoken in
        different domiciles. (28)

        Surely you would concur that there is something missing.

        The sentence mentions an Andalusian scholar but the reader cannot be sure
        who is being mentioned. Probably it could be Ibn Hazm, known also as
        al-Andalusi al-Ẓahiri, but without proper information we cannot know
        which one of his various works is being cited here, neither can we know
        the publisher etc.

        I am sure that Professor JalaLuddin M.Saleh has provided the complete
        bibliographical information in the original article and it was somehow
        not included in the translation above ( perhaps a glitch during posting
        on the web-site?).
        Have a nice evening!

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Salam agapi,

          You are right It would have been very clear if there was bibliographical references, but through the author name Ibn Hazm you can reach to Ibn Hazm books. Check the following link it may assist to some extent.


    • Asmare

      I agree in few of the literature. I know Ge’ez is not from Arab but from Abyssinia more specifically. It was in and migrate to Arab and come again. East Arab was part of Ethiopia. We have ample evidence.

  • Hameed Al-Arabi

    Selam to All Awate forum,

    DISCLAIMER: I advise all who suffer from severe Arab-phobia, immigrants from Mars to Asmara, and sectarians in their second-childhood to refrain opening this comment. I am not responsible in any form for any consequences ensue reading this material.

    1- ኮነ(kone) ………………… ካና(kana) كان ……………. become
    2- ቆመ(qome) …………….. ቃማ(qama) قامة ………….. stand
    3- ሓሰበ(hasebe) …………. ሓሳባ(hasaba) حسب ……. mean
    4- በከየ(bkeye) ………….. ባካ(baka) بكى ……………… cry
    5- ደፈአ(defeat) …………. ዳፋዓ(dafaA) دفع …………. split
    6- ጡፍ(tuf) ……………… ታፋ(tafa) تف ………………… spit
    7- ጠበቀ(tebeq) ……….. ጣባቃ(tabaqa) طبق …….. cling
    8- መጸ(metse) ……….. ማጣ(mata) مطا ………….. come
    9- ዘበጠ(zebete) …….. ዳባጣ(dabata) ضبط ……. strike
    10- መሃረ(mehare) ……… ማሃራ(mahara) مهر …….. teach
    11- ጎየየ(goyeye) …………. ጅያእ(jiya) جياء …………… run
    12- ሃበ(hiba) …………… ሂባ (haba) هبة …………. gift
    13- በቆለ(beqole) ……….. ባቃላ(baqla) بقل ………… grow
    14- ፈለጠ(felete) …………. ፋላጣ(falata) فلط ………. know
    15- ተንሰአ(tenseA) ………… ታንሳኣ(tansaA) تنسء ……. rise
    16- ዘመተ(zemete) …… ዱምቱ(dumtu) ضمت ……… steal
    17- ረኣየ(reAye)…………. ራኣ(raA) رأى ………………… see
    18- ኣርየ(areye) ………….. ኣራ(ara) أرى ……………. show
    19- ቃጨል(qachil) ………. ቃስል(qasil) قاصل ……… ring
    20- መጽሓፍ(metshaf) …….. ሙስሓፍ(mushaf) مصحف …. book
    21- ጻሓፊ(tsehafe) ………. ሳሓፊ(sahafe) صحفي …….. writer
    22- ከተበ(ketebe) ………….. ካታባ(kataba) كتب ……….. write
    23- ቀለም(qelem) ……….. ቃላም(qalam) قلم …………. pen
    24- ደብተር(debter) …………. ደፍተር(defter) دفتر ……… notebook
    25- ቀሺ(qeshi) …………… ቃስ(qas) قس ………………. priest
    26- መሓረ(mehare) ………….. ማሓውና(mahawna) محونة …. forgive
    27- ተቀበለ(teqebele) ……. ታቃባላ(taqabala) تقبلة ………. accept
    28- ቀደደ(qedede) ……….. ቃዳ(qada) قض ………………. tear
    29- ሓዘ(haze) …………… ሓዛ(haza) حاز ………………….. take
    30- ለበሰ(lebese) ………….. ላባሳ(labasa) لبسة …………. wear
    31- ኪዳን(kidan) ………… ቃጣን(qatan) قطان ………. clothe
    32- ኣልበሰ(albese) ……….. ኣልባሳ(albasa) ألبسة ……… clothe
    33- ወፈያ(wefiya) ……… ዋፋእ(wafaA) وفاء …….. bid
    34- ሰጎመ(segome) …… ሳጁሙ(sajumu) سجوم ….. stride
    35- ምስጋም(misigam) …. ምስጃሙ(misjamu) مسجام … stride
    36- ቀደደ(qedede) …….. ቃዳ(qada) قض ……… tear
    37- ሓዘ(haze) …………. ሓዛ(haza) حاز …………… keep
    38- ረገጸ(regese) ……….. ራፋሳ(rafasa) رفس ……. tread
    39- ነቀሐ(neqehe) …….. ናቃሓ(naqaha) نقح ……. wake
    40- ኣለመ(aleme) ……….. ላምያ(lamya) لمية …… weave
    41- ወሰን(wesen) ………… ስኑ(sinu) سن ………. tip
    42- ነኸሰ(nekhese) …… ናኻሳ(nakhasa) نخس ……. bite
    43- መሓዛ(mehaza) ……. ሙሓዛት(muhaziya) محظية … concubine
    44- ረጎመ(regome) ……. ራጅሙ(rajmu) رجم …….. curse
    45- መስመሰ(mesmese) …. ሙሽምስ(mushmis) مشمش …. shine
    46- ተኮሰ(tekuse) ……… ታኻ(takha) تخ …… shoot
    47- ተቀመጠ(teqemete) … ቱቁማጡ(tuqumatu) تقمط … sit
    48- ኮፍ(kuf) ……….. ኮፍ(kuf) كوف …………. sit
    49- ደቀሰ(deqese) …… ዳቃሳ(daqasa) دقس …. sleep
    50- ሸተት(shetet) …… ሻታት(shatat) شتت … slide
    51- ወንጭፍ(wenchif) ….. ያንስፍ(yansif) ينسف … sling
    52- ጨና(chena) …… ሰና(sena) صناء ……… smell
    53- ኣጥፈአ(atfeA) ……. ኣጥፋኣ(atfaA) أطفأ …. spend
    54- ገደፈ(gedefe) …….. ጃዳፋ(jadafa) جدف …… leave
    55- ደመረ(demere) …….. ጃማራ(jamara) جمرة …… add
    56- ተቀበለ(teqebele) …… ቃብላ(qabila) قبلة ………. accept
    57- ነኣደ(neAde) ……… ናኣዲ(naAdi) نآدي …… admire
    58- መዓደ(meAde) ……. ሙዒዳ(muEda) معدا …. advise
    59- ተወሃደ(wehade) …. ተዋሓዳ(wahada) تواحد ….. agree
    60- ንቁሕ(niquh) ……. ናቃሓ(naqaha) نقح ….. alert
    61- ኣስመዐ(asmeA) ….. ኣስማዓ(asmaA) أسمع …. announce
    62- ይቅረታ(yiqreta) …. ዩቅሩ(yuqiru) يقر …… apologize
    63- መሰለ(mesele) …. ማሳላሁ(masalahu) مثله …. appear
    64- ጸደቀ(tsedeqe) …… ሳዳቃ(sadaqa) صدق …. approve
    65- ኣሰረ(asere) …….. ኣሳራ(asara) أسر ………. arrest
    66- መጸ(metse) …… ማጣ(mata) مطا …….. arrive
    67- ሓተተ(hatete) …… ሃታታ(hatata) هتت ……. ask
    68- ለገበ(legebe) ……. ላቃባ(laqaba) لقبة …… attach
    69- ተካፈለ(tekafele) …. ታካፋላ(takafala) تكافل …. attend
    70- ወገደ(wegede) …… ዋቓዳ(waqada) وغض ….. avoid
    71- ተመለሰ(temelese) ….. ታማላሳ(tamalasa) تملص …. back
    72- ሚዛን(mizan) …… ሚዛን(mizan) ميزان …… balance
    73- ወግእ(wigiE) ……. ዋቓ(waqa) وغى …… battle
    74- ጩራ(chura) …….. ሻራር(sharer) شرر ……. beam
    75- ተኣደበ(teAdebe) … ታኣዳባ(taAdaba) تأدب …. behave
    76- ባረኸ(barekhe) ….. ባራካ(Baraka) بارك ….. bless
    77- ዕዉር(uwur) ……… ዓዋር(awar) عور ……… blind
    78- ተለቀሐ(teleqehe) … ታላቃሓ(talaqaha) تلقح …. borrow
    79- ሰገደ(segede) …….. ሳጃዳ(sajada) سجد …….. bow
    80- ሳንዱቅ(sanduq) …… ሳንዱቅ(sanduq) صندوق … box
    81- ቀይዲ(qeydi) ……… ቃይዱ(qaydu) قيد ……. brake
    82- በተኸ(betekhe) ….. ባታካ(bataka) بتك ….. cutoff
    83- ኣስተንፈሰ(astenfese) ….. ታናፋሳ(tanafas) تنفس … breathe
    84- ቀበሪ(qebere) ….. ቃባሩ(qabara) قبر …… bury
    85- ሓሰበ(hasebe) ….. ሓሳባ(hasaba) حسب …. calculate
    86- በደሀ(bedehe) …… ባዳሃ(badaha) بدها ….. challenge
    87- ቅያር(qiyar) ……. ቕያር(qiyar) غيار …….. change
    88- ሓነቐ(haneqe) …….. ሓናቃ(hanaqa) حنق ….. choke
    89- ከርተመ(kerteme) ……… ኻርታማ(khartama) خرتم ….. chop
    90- ንጹህ(nitsuh) ………. ናሳዓ(nasaA) نصع …. clear
    91- ሰረገላ(seregela) …….. ሰርጅ(serij) سرج ………… coach
    92- ቀረበ(qerebe) ……….. ቃሩባ(qaruba) قرب ……… close
    93- ሕብሪ(hibri) ………. ሕብሩ(hibru) حبر ………… colour
    94- መመሸጥ(memeshet) …. ምሽጡ(mishtu) مشط …… comb
    95- ኣመዛዘነ(amezazene) … ሙዋዛና(muwazana) موازنة … balance
    96- ምሉእ(miluA)…….. ማላኣ(malaA) ملئ ………… complete
    97- ተኣመነ(teAmene) ….. ታኣማና(taAmana) تأمن …. confess
    98- ሰዓለ(seal) ……….. ሱዓል(suAl) سعال ………….. cough
    99- ቑጸረ(qutsere) ……. ቃጣራ(qatara) قطر ……….. count
    100- ጎልበበ(golbebe) ………. ጅልባብ(jilbab) جلباب ……….. cover
    101- ሓወየ(haweye) ……….. ሓያ(haya) حياة ………………… cure
    102- ጠወየ(teweye) ………. ጣዋ(tawa) طوى …………….. curve
    103- ጸቀጠ(tseqete) ……….. ዳቓጣ(daqata) ضغط ……. press
    104- ሰተረ(setere) …………. ሳታራ(satara) ستر …………. hide
    105- በጥ(bet) ……………… ባጣሓ(bataha) بطح …….. lie
    106- ነዝነዘ(nezneze) ……. ናንዛዛ(nanzaza) ننزز …… shake
    107- ክራይ(kirai) …………. ክራእ(kirai) كراء ………….. rent
    108- መሪር(merir) ……… ማሪር(marir) مرير …………. Bitter
    109- ቀደሐ(qedehe) ……….. ቂድሒ(qidhi) قدح ………….. copy
    110- ቁኑዕ(qunuA) ………. ቃናዓ(qanaA) قنع …………. correct
    111- ዑደት(udet) ………….. ዓዳት(adat) عدت ………….. cycle
    112- ገደበ(gedebe) ……… ቃዳባ(qadaba) قضب …… dam
    113- ጎደአ(godeA) ……….. ቃዳኣ(qadaA) قضأ ………. damage
    114- ሳዕሰዐ(saAsaA) …….. ሳዕሳዕቱ(saAsaAtu) صعصعت ….. dance
    115- ቀንቀነ(qenqene) …… ቂንቂኑ(qinqinu) قنقن ………….. decay
    116- ወሰነ(wesene) …………. ዋሳና(wasana) وصن …………….. decide
    117- ቀበአ(qebeA) ………….. ቃባሁ(qabahu) قباه …………… decorate
    118- ፍስሃ(fisHa) ……………. ፉስሓ(fusHa) فصحة …………. delight
    119- ተመርኮሰ(temerkose) … ተመርከዝ(temerkez) تمركز .. depend
    120- ከደዐ(kedeA) ……….. ኻዳዓ(khadaA) خدعة ………. desert
    121- ተሰወረ(tesewere) … ታሳዋራ(tasawara) تسور …. disappear
    122- በቆለ(beqole) ……. ባቃላ(baqala) بقل …………….. develop
    123- ጸለአ(tseleA) ……………… ዛሊያ(zaliya) ظلي …………….. dislike
    124- ኣካፈለ(akafele) ………….. ታካፉል(takaful) تكافل ………. divide
    125- ዕጽፍ(Etsfi) ……………. ዓጥፉ(Atfu) عطف …………….. double
    126- ነቀጸ(neqetse) ……… ናቃሳ(naqasa) نقس ……………. dry
    127- ረበሐ(rebehe) ……… ራቢሓ(rabiha) ربح …………… earn
    128- መሃረ(mehare) ……. ማሃራ(mahara) مهر …………. educate
    129- ኣስረሐ(asrehe) ………… ኣስራሓ(asraha) أسرح …….. employ
    130- ኣደፋፈረ(adefafere) …… ታዳፋራ(tadafar) تضافر … encourage
    131- ኣተወ(atewe) ………… ኣታ(ata) أتى …………………….. enter
    132- መርመረ(mermere) ….. ማራና(marana) مرن ………. examine
    133- ኣለዓዓለ(aleAAle) ……… ዓላ(ala) على …………………… excite
    134- ተላመደ(telamede) … ታታልማዛ(tatalmaza) تتلمذ .. exercise
    135- ኣስፈሐ(asfehe) ………… ኣፍሳሓ(afsaha) أفسح……….. expand
    136- ኣብረሀ(abrehe) …………….. ባርና(barhana) برهن ……… explain
    137- ሃሰሰ(hasese) ……………… ሃሳ(hasa) هس ………………… fade
    138- ፈሸለ(feshele) ……………… ፋሻላ(fashala) فشل ……….. fail
    139- ሓጸረ(hatsare) ……………. ሓሳራ(hasara) حصر …….. fence
    140- ሕልሚ(hilmi) ………………. ሑልሙ(hulmu) حلم …….. fancy
    141- ኣሰረ(asere) ……………….. ኣሳራ(asara) أسر ………….. fasten
    142- መጠ(mete) ……………….. ማጣ(mata) مطا …………… extend
    143- መብረድ(mebred) …………. ሚብራድ(mibrad) مبرد … file
    144- መልአ(melA) …………. ማላኣ(malaA) ملئ …………. fill
    145- በረቀ(bereqe) ……………. ባራቃ(baraqa) برق …….. flash
    146- ሰፈፈ(sefefe) ……………….. ሳፋ(safa) صف …………….. float
    147- ዓጸፈ(atsefe) ………………… ዓጣፋ(atafa) عطف ……… fold
    148- ተኸተለ(tekhetele) ………… ታካቱል(takatul) تكتل ……. follow
    149- ዓጽሚ (Atsmi) ……….. ዓዙም(azum) عظم…… frame/bone
    150- ቀለወ(qelewe) ………….. ቃላ(qala) قلى ………………… fry
    151- ጠበቀ(tebeqe) ……………. ጣባቃ(tabaqa) طبق …….. glue
    152- ሰላም(selam) ………………. ሳላም(salam) سلام ………… greet
    153- ጨቢጡ(shebitu) ………….. ዳባጣ(dabata) ضبط ……. grip
    154- ገመተ(gemete) …………….. ኻማና(khamana) خمن … guess
    155- ሞደሽ(modesh) …………… መዳቅ(medaq) مدق … hammer
    156- ኣቀበለ(aqebele) ………………. ኣቃባላ(aqabala) أقبل …. hand
    157- ጠልጠል(teltel) ……………… ዳልዳል(daldal) دلدل ………….. hang
    158- ኮነ(kone) …………… ካና(kana) كان ………………… happen
    159- ሓወየ(haweye) ………. ሓያ(haya) حيا ……………….. heal
    160- ኮመረ(komere) …….. ካማራ(kamara) كمرة ……. heap
    161- ሃሩር(harur) ………. ሓሩር(harur) حرور ………. heat
    162- ተስፋ(tesfa) ……….. ታሳፋ(tasafa) تصف ………. hope
    163- ዕሸሽ(eshash) ……. ዕሸሽ(eshash) عشش ……… ignore
    164- ጽልዋ(tslwa) …….. ጣላ(tala) طلى …………… influence
    165- ኣሕረቀ(ahreqe) ……….. ሓራቃ(haraqa) حرق …. irritate
    166- ሓሰበ(hasebe) …………….. ሓሳባ(hasaba) حسب ……. imagine
    167- ፈገአ(fageA) …….. ፋቃኣ(faqaA) فقأ ………….. injure
    168- ኣርኣየ(arAye) …….. ኣራ(ara) أرى ………………. instruct
    169- ኮለፈ(kolefe) ……. ኻላፍ(khalaf) خالف …….. interfere
    170- ኣሰረ(asere) …….. ኣሳራ(asara) أسر …………. jail
    171- ፈረደ(freed) ……. ፋራዳ(farada) فرض ……. judge
    172- ዝላ(zila) ………. ዛላ(zala) زلة ……………….. jump
    173- ቀተለ(qetele) ……………………. ቃታላ(qatala) ……………… kill
    174- ለሓሰ(lehase) …………………… ላሒሳ(lahisa) لحس …….. lick
    175- ነደሐ(nedehe) ……………….. ናጣሓ(nataha) نطح ……. kick
    176- ምድሪ(midri) ………………… ማዳር(madar) مدر ………. land
    177- ተምበርከኸ(temberkekhe) ….. ያብሩክ(yabruk) يبرك …. kneel
    178- ቆነነ(qonene) …………….. ቅናኑ(qnanu) قنن ……….. knit
    179- ዝርዝር(zirzir) ……… ዛርዛርቱ(zarzartu) ذرذرت …….. list
    180- ሰምዐ(semA) ………………….. ሳሚዓ(samiA) سمع …….. listen
    181- ህይወት(heiwet) ………………. ሓያ(haya) حيا …………….. live
    182- ጸዓነ(tseAne) ……….. ታሳዓና(tasaAna) تسعن ……. load
    183- መፍትሕ(meftih) ………. ሙፍታሕ(muftah) مفتاح …… lock
    184- ነዊሕ(newih) ………. ታናዋሓ(tanawaha) تناوح …….. long
    185- መሰለ(mesele) ……… ማሳላ(masala) مثل ……………….. look
    186- ዘከረ(zekere) ………. ዛካራ(zakara) ذاكرة ………. memorize
    187- ማዕደን(maAden) ….. ማዕድን(maAdin) معدن ……….. mine
    188- ሓለበ(halebe) ………. ሓላባ(halaba) حلب ……………… milk
    189- ሓዘነ(hazene) …….. ሓዛና (hazana) حزن …………… mourn
    190- ኣሞተ(amote) ………. ኣማታ(amata) قتل ……………… murder
    191- ምስማር(mismar) …… ምስማር(mismar) مسمار …… nail
    192- ስም(sim) ………….. እስም(esim) اسم …………………. name
    193- መዘከሪ(mezekere) ….. ሙዛክራ(muzakira) مذكرة …… note
    194- ወፈየ(wefeye) ……. ዋፋእ(wafaA( وفاء ……………… offer
    195- ሰርዐ(sera) ………… ሻራዓ(sharaA) شرع ……………. order
    196- ጠመረ(temere) ….. ጣማራ(tamara) طمر …………. pack
    197- ሕብሪ(hibri) ……… ሒብሩ(hibru) حبر ……………… colour
    198- መኻን(mekhan) ………….. ማካን(makan) مكان ……………. place
    199- ታዕሊም(taAlim) ………….. ታዕሊም(taAlim) تعليم …….. practice
    200- ርባሕ(ribah) ……………….. ሪብሑ(ribhu) ربح ………… produce
    201- ሰሓበ(sehabe) …………………. ሳሓባ(sahaba) سحب ……….. pull
    202- ደፈአ(defeat) …………………… ዳፋዓ(dafaA) دفع …………….. push
    203- ነፈሐ(nefehe) …………………… ናፋኽ(nafakha) نفخ ……….. pump
    204- ቀደመ(qedeme) ……………….. ቃዳማ(qadama) قدم ………. precede
    205- ቀረፈ(qerefe) ……………………. ቃራፋ(qarafa) قرفة ………. peel
    206- ጸቀጠ(tseqete) …………………. ዳቓዳ(daqada) ضغط …….. press
    207- ለጠፈ(letefe) ……………………. ላሳፋ(lasafa) لصف ………… paste
    208- መጣበቂ(metabeqi) ………… ሚጣባቃ(mitabaqa) مطابقة … paste
    209- ኣግሰጠ(Aqsete) ……………….. ቅሽጡ(qshtu) قشط ……………. punch
    210- ዓቀበ(aqebe) …………………….. ዓቂባ(Aqiba) عقب ………… preserve
    211- ህሉው(hiluw) …………………… ሃላ(hala) هل ………………… present
    212- መላጥ(melat) …………………… ኣምለጥ(amrat) أمرط ……… bald
    213- ሓጸረ(hatsere) …………………. ኣጥሩ(atru) أطر ………….….. short
    214- ዘነበ(zenebe) ……………………. ሚዝናብ(miznab) مذنب ….. rain
    215- ደበና(debena) ………………….. ዳባና(dabana) ضبن ……….. cloud
    216- ግመ(gime) ……………………… ቓማም(qamam) غمام ………… cloud
    217- ዓሌት(Aleit) ……………………. ዓኢላ(Aela) عائلة ………………… race
    218- ለዓለ(leAle) …………………….. ዓላ(Ala) على ………………………. raise
    219- ተቀበለ(teqebele) …………… ቃባላ(qabala) قابل …………. receive
    220- ደብተረ(debtere) …………….. ዳፍታራ(daftara) دفتر …….. record
    221- ሓሰበ(hasebe) ………………….. ሓሳባ(hasaba) حسب ……….. reflect
    222- ፈትሐ(fethe) ……………………. ፋታሓ(fataha) فتح …………. release
    223- ኣመነ(Amene) ………………….. ኣሚና(amina) أمن ………… rely
    224- ዘከረ(zekere) ……………………. ዛካራ(zakara) ذكر……. remember
    225- ኣዘከረ(azekere) ……………….. ዛካራ(zakara) ذكرة …….. remind
    226- ጠለበ(telebe) ……………………. ጣላባ(talaba) طلب ……….. request
    227- ተመለስ(temelese) ……………. ታማላስ(tamalasa) تملص … return
    228- ክስራን(kisran) ………………….. ኹስራን(khusran)خسران … ruin
    229- ፈረደ(freed) ………………………. ፋራዳ(farada) فرض ………. rule
    230- ክሻ(kasha) …………………………. ኪስ(kis) كيس ………………….. sack
    231- መጋዝ(megaz) …………………… ማቃስ(maqas) مقص ……… saw
    232- ዛረወ(zarewe) ……………… ዛርዛርቱ(zarzartu) ذرذرت …. scatter
    233- ጻጸ(tsatse) ……………………… ዳዳ(dada) داد ………………………. mite
    234- ተስፋይ(tesfai) ………… ታስፉ(tasifu) تصف ….. dawn/daybreak
    235- ሰመረ(semere) ………………… ሳማራ(samara) صمر ……… repose

  • ‘Gheteb

    The Commonalities Of The Branches Of The Semitic Language Tree


    One can imagine that Tigrigna and Arabic, all the other Semitic languages for that matter, as mere branches of a tree. That is to say branches growing on the same tree and growing out of the same ROOT. Here I am referring to the ROOT being the PROTO-SEMITIC root that has given rise to many branches in the same tree that has evolved into different languages.

    It is absolutely ludicrous and utterly asinine for anyone to assert that Tigrigna or G’eez to have emerged from Arabic or to claim that the language Arabic gave rise to languages such as G’eez and Tigrigna. The panoply of similar words that is unceasingly paraded is NOT a testament to what is being alleged here that G’eez/Tigrigna emerged from Arabic. On the contrary what the similarities between these languages prove is the fact that they originated from a COMMON root that linguists refer as an ‘assumed or hypothetical’ linguistic ancestor commonly referred as a proto-language and in this case PROTO-SEMITIC.

    The fact that these language originated and grew out of the same language does NOT mean that they are interchangeable and mutually intelligible. For instance, a native Tigrigna speaker won’t actually understand a native Arabic speaker without first learning the language structure and vocabulary, and vice versa. Of course, languages influence other languages and are simultaneously influenced by other languages. A case in point is the influence of Arabic on other languages, be it English, French, Spanish or Portugese. What is more, is the fact that Arabic is also a source of words or vocabulary to many other languages beside Tigrigna.

    However, the fact remains the similarities and commonalities between Arabic and Tigrigna is more a result of sharing a common ROOT than anything else. Below find ten examples that may show the common and similar words/vocabulary of the Semitic branches of a language tree arising from a common root otherwise referred as PROTO-SEMITIC root.

    Number: 1
    Proto-Semitic: *ʔab-
    Meaning: ‘father’
    Akkadian: abu ‘father’
    Ugaritic: ʔab
    Phoenician: ʔb
    Hebrew: ʔāb id.
    Aramaic: ʔabbā
    Arabic: ʔab-
    G’eez : ʔab
    Tigre: ʔab
    Tigrigña): ʔabbo
    Amharic: abbat )
    Harari: āw
    East Ethiopic: ZWY ābu
    Mehri: ḥáyb
    Jibbali: ʔiy
    Harsusi: ḥayb
    Soqotri: ʔeʔǝb

    Number: 2
    Proto-Semitic: *ʔaḫ(ʷ)
    Meaning: ‘brother’ 1, ‘sister’ 2
    Akkadian: aḫu 1, aḫātu 2
    Ugaritic: ʔaḫ (also ʔiḫ, ʔuḫ)
    Phoenician: ʔḥ 1, ʔḥt 2
    Hebrew: ʔāḥ 1, ʔāḥōt 2
    Aramaic: ʔaḥā (ʔāḥā) 1, ʔăḥātā 2
    Arabic: ʔaḫ- 1, ʔuḫt- 2
    Epigraphic South Arabian: ʔḫ 1, ʔḫt 2
    G’eez : ʔǝḫǝw, ʔǝḫʷ 1, ʔǝḫǝt 2
    Tigre: ḥu 1, ḥǝt 2
    Tigrigña): ḥaw 1, ḥawti 2
    Amharic: ǝt, ǝhǝt 2
    Argobba: äḥ 1, ǝhǝd 2
    Harari: ǝḥ 1, ǝḥit 2
    East Ethiopic: ǝ̄t ‘sister’
    Mehri: Cf. ɣâ 1
    Soqotri: ʔaʕḥa 1, ʔǝʕḥǝt 2

    Number: 3
    Proto-Semitic: *baʕl-
    Meaning: ‘husband, master, owner’
    Akkadian: bēlu ‘master, ruler, owner’
    Ugaritic: bʕl ‘lord, owner’
    Phoenician: bʕl ‘citizen; husband; owner
    Hebrew: baʕal ‘owner, husband; citizen, landowner; partner of a community’ ; bʕl ‘rule over; take possession of a woman as bride or wife; marry’
    Aramaic: *bʕl ‘lord, chief, f. lady’ ; Sam bʕl ‘lord, owner’
    Arabic: baʕl- ‘Époux ou épouse, mari ou femme; Maître, propriétaire’; baʕala ‘Se marier, devenir mari, é
    Epigraphic South Arabian: Sab bʕl ‘owner; citizen; husband’ , Qat bʕl ‘(divine) lord; owner’ (Ricks, 31), Min bʕl ‘property owner’
    G’eez: baʕāl ‘owner, head of family, husband; festival, feast, banquet’; bǝʕla ‘be rich, wealthy; marry, take a wife’
    Tigre: bäʕal ‘master; festival’
    Tigrigña: bäʕal ‘master; festival’
    Amharic: bal ‘husband, master; festival’
    Argobba: bǝʔǝl ‘husband’ (LArg, 195); bal ‘festival
    Gafat: bal ‘mari’
    Gurage: bal ‘owner; holiday’
    Mehri: bâl/báyli, bǝʕēli ‘owner, possessor’; abɛ̄li ‘God’; Hobyot baāli, abēli
    Jibbali: baʕál ‘to own, marry’, báʕal/bʕéhl ‘person owning, connected with, in charge’, ʔɔ́ʕɔź ‘God’
    Harsusi: bāl, byāl, baʕl/bōl ‘master, lord, possessor’; abāli ‘my Lord, God’
    Soqotri: báʕal ‘se marier’; baʕl ‘propriétaire, mari’

    Number: 4
    Proto-Semitic: *sVrw(-ay)- ~ (?) *sVran-
    Meaning: ‘(military) chief, prince’
    Ugaritic: Cf. srn ‘prince’
    Hebrew: Cf. sǝrānīm
    Arabic: sarīr- ‘dignité royale, royauté’, sarw- ‘chef, prince’
    Epigraphic South Arabian: Sab s1rwyt ‘campaigning force’
    G’eez: sarwe ‘army, troops; military leader; virile
    Tigre: sǝrot, pl. särwat ‘relation, tribe, kind’
    Tigrigña: särawit ‘army’
    Amharic: särwe ‘leader’
    East Ethiopic: Zwy. ṭor särawit ‘army’
    Gurage: End ṭōr särawit, So sǝrayǝt ‘army’

    Number: 5
    Proto-Semitic: *gyŝ ~ *ngŝ
    Meaning: ‘collect tribesmen for battle or help’ ~ ‘to collect tribute; to rule’
    Hebrew: ngŝ ‘to collect (offerings); force to work (people)’; pt. ‘slave-driver; tyrant’, pl. ‘ruling body’
    Arabic: niǯāš- ‘ruler’; nǯš ‘ê.
    Epigraphic South Arabian: ngŝ ‘to impose tribute’, ngŝwn ‘king’s title’
    Geʕez (Ethiopian): nǝguŝ
    Tigre: nägsä ‘to be the king (negus)’
    Tigrigña: negus
    Amharic: gʷäsa, gosa ‘race, tribe, people’
    Harari: gīsti ‘mistress of the house
    Gurage: Cha gaše, Eža Muh Sod gašše form of address to an elder brother .’kinship, common ancestor, relatives, social class’ ; *gist ‘lady, respectable old lady; a fwm. spirit that possesses a person’
    Jibbali: s̃ǝ-gēŝ ‘collect (tribe for battle, etc.), s̃ǝ-gyéŝ ‘go and ask one’s fellow-tribesmen to come and help’

    Number: 6
    Proto-Semitic: *yamīn- ~ *yamān-
    Meaning: right, right hand
    Akkadian: imnu ‘right side, right hand’ (<*yamin-t-u)
    Ugaritic: ymn
    Hebrew: yāmīn 'right side' .
    Aramaic: yammīnā, yǝmīnā 'right side, right hand' ; yammīn
    Arabic: yamīn-, yaman-
    Epigraphic South Arabian: SAB ymn 'right hand'
    G'eez : yammān
    Tigre: 'right hand'(< *ʔǝd yäman)
    Tigrigña: yemman
    Amharic: yäman
    Jibbali: (?) iñ

    Number: 7
    Proto-Semitic: *nVpVš 1, *nap(i)š- 2
    Meaning: to breathe 1, soul; vitality, life; person, personality; self' 2
    Akkadian: napāšu (u/u) 'to breathe freely' ; napištu (napuštu, napaštu, napšatu) 'life, vigor, vitality; breath; throat, neck'
    Eblaitic: na-pu-uš-tu-um
    Ugaritic: npš
    Phoenician: npš 'self, desire, person
    Hebrew: npš (nipʕ) 'to breathe freely, recover' ; näpäš 'throat, neck; breath; soul; life; living being'
    Aramaic: nǝpaš, napšā 'soul; will' . npš 'rest'
    Arabic: nfs V 'respirer' ; nafs- 'a
    Epigraphic South Arabian: SAB nfs1 'soul, life, person, self, etc.', MIN nfs translated as 'sluice? settling basin' in and MIN mnfs1
    G'eez : nafsa (ǝ) 'to blow (wind, spirit)'; nafs 'soul, spirit, breath, life, etc.'
    Tigre: näfsä 'to blow (wind)', tǝnäffäsä 'to breathe, to have a soul' ; näfs 'soul, life'
    Tigrigña: näfäsä
    Amharic: näffäsä 'to blow (wind)' ; näfs 'soul, spirit, life'
    East Ethiopic: S näfäsä 'to blow (wind)'
    Mehri: (?) šǝnfūs 'to welcome' ; cf. also nǝfh 'to recover from a faint.nǝfsēt 'individual, soul'
    Jibbali: ǝnfés 'to sigh' ; nǝfsɛ́t 'soul'
    Harsusi: nefesét 'soul'
    Soqotri: néfoš 'respire',

    Number: 8
    Proto-Semitic: *dam-, *ʔa-dam-
    Meaning: blood
    Akkadian: damu
    Ugaritic: dm, /damu ?/
    Phoenician: dume ; ʔdmy
    Hebrew: dām ; ʔadmātō
    Aramaic: dm
    Arabic: dam-
    Epigraphic South Arabian: SAB dm
    G'eez : dam
    Tigre: däm, dämät (also 'blood-guiltiness')
    Tigrigña): däm
    Amharic: däm
    Gafat: dämʷä
    Harari: däm
    Gurage: däm
    Mehri: dǝm 'pus'
    Jibbali: dihm
    Soqotri: dīm

    Number: 9
    Proto-Semitic: *kʷaly-at-
    Meaning: kidney
    Akkadian: kalītu
    Ugaritic: klyt
    Canaanite: /*kalyā́ta/
    Hebrew: kilyā
    Aramaic: kulyā
    Arabic: kulyat-, kulwat-
    G'eez (Ethiopian): kʷǝlīt
    Tigre: pl. kälawǝʔ, kälawi, kälwät
    Tigrigña: Kulit
    Amharic: kulit, pl. kulalit
    Gafat: kullalit
    Mehri: kǝlyīt
    Jibbali: kuźɛ́t
    Harsusi: kelīt
    Soqotri: kǝlɔ̄́yǝt

    Number: 10
    Proto-Semitic: *ʕayn-
    Meaning: eye
    Akkadian: īnu
    Ugaritic: ʕn, /ʕēnu/ ; ʕn 'see'
    Canaanite: AMARNA h_e-na-ya
    Phoenician: ʕn, ʕyn (also 'sight')
    Hebrew: ʕayin
    Aramaic: suff. ʕēn-, pl. ʕaynīn
    Arabic: ʕayn-
    Epigraphic South Arabian: SAB ʕyn
    MIN ʕyn (n.), (v.) 'voir'
    QAT ʕyn 'sight' [Ricks 118]
    G'eez : ʕayn
    Tigre: ʕǝn (pl. ʕǝntat)
    Tigrigña: ayni
    Amharic: ayn
    Mehri: ʔāyn
    Jibbali: ʕíhn
    Soqotri: ʕain

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Selam gheteb,

      If “…… similarities and commonalities between Arabic and Tigrigna is more a result of sharing a common ROOT than anything else.”, then why is there severe phobia from Arabic that you suffer from it?

  • MS

    Selam aLL
    Semere Tesfai &Al-Arabi, Emma, Ismailo the great, and the veteran SG
    HAPPY VETERANS DAY TO ALL OF YOU: With all due respect no malice was intended on my part, but I miscalculated. Thanks for all the ማዕዳ፡ ተግሳጽ፡ ጸርፊ…there is always silver lining in any conversation. I have found plenty of them in your reactions. Gracias.
    Semere, and this is just an observation: Actually, things are much worse than I thought, you may have to wait for you proposal to have a corner for jokes. It seems humor is clinging to life support. Let us weed out, dismantle and bury the knuckle-heads of Nehnan Elamanan and their remnant fibers…..after that, yes, we can have a humor-corner some day, somewhere. And until that day, we will chase whatever nature bestows upon us.
    With all due respect, the only two standing humorous folks at this moment are Semere Tesfai and Al-Arabi ; Al-Arabi, your vocabulary list is impressive)

  • Hameed Al-Arabi

    Hi Semere Tesfai,

    I know the Jinni that dwelt in you for decades, mostly from childhood, will not divorce you easily. I am sure, you require more purification by powerful detergent that ever manufactured. Different kinds of purifiers will be utilized until you utter a clean “Ayai” without any stain.

    Today, I will excavate deep in the mind of Mr. Semere. In fact, I have found all of it composed of Arabic. I wonder, what the next step Semere will take? Is he going to behead himself, and remain headless. Let us wait and see the form of the new creature.

    A – ዘረባ(zereba) .. ዛራባ(zarabah) ذرابة اللسان: فصاحة اللسان .. eloquent

    B- ቓና(Qana) ቑና(Qunah) غنة ……… يتكلم من أنفه…. Snuffle

    1- ጭብጢ(chibti) …………. ደብጢ(dabti) ضبطي ………. Bet
    2- ህቦብላ(hibobila) …………. ሃቡብ(habub) هبوب ……… Burst
    3- ኣሕጸረ(ahtsare) ……………. ኣሓጣ(ahata) أحاط ………… Cut
    4- ትንቢት(tinbit) ………………. ታናቡእ(tanabu) تنبؤ ……….. forecast
    5- ወቀዐ(weqeA) ……………. ዋቃዓ(waqA) وقع ……………….. hit
    6- ኣቀስለ(Aqesele) …………….. ኣቅሰለ(Aqsala) أقصل …………… hurt
    7- ሓደገ(hadege) …………….. ሓጣካ(hataka) حطك …………….. let
    8- ኣጥፈአ(atfeA) ……………. ኣጥፋኣ(atfaA) أطفأ ……………….. put
    9- ነበበ(nebebe) …………….. ናብራ(nabra) نبرة ………… read
    10- ሰረዐ(sereA) ……………. ሸረዓ(sharaA) شرع ………….. set
    11- መጽለሊ(metsleli) …………. መዛላህ(mezalah) مظلة ……….. shed
    12- ፈንጨለ(fenchele) ……. ፈነጅሊ(fenejli) فنجلي ……………. split
    13- ሰጥሐ(seethe) …………….. ሰጣሓ(setaha) سطحا ……….. spread
    14- ጨወየ(cheweye) …………… ጣዋ(tawa) طوى ……………….. shut
    15- ወግአ(wegA) ………………… ዋጃዕ(wajaA) وجع ………….. thrust
    16- ሓረቀ(hareq) ……….. ሓራቃ(haraqa) حرق ………… anguished
    17- ተጨነቀ(techeneqe) ……… ታሽኑቅ(tashnuq) تشنق ……. halter
    18- ዓጸፈ(atsefe) ………………. ዓጣፋ(atafa) عطف …………. bend
    19- ጠመረ(temere) ………….. ጣማራ(tamara) طمر …………. bind
    20- ደመየ(demeye) ………. ዳማ(dama) دمى ……………….. bleed
    21- ቀረበ(qerebe) ………………. ቃሩባ(qaraba) قرب ……… bring
    22- ስርሒ(sirhi) …………….. ሳርሑ(sarhu) صرح ………. build
    23- ነደደ(nedede) ………. ናድ(nad) ند ………………. burn
    24- ሕልሚ(hilmi) …………… ሑልሙ(hulmu) حلم …….. dream
    25- ኣብለዐ (ableA)) ………….. ኣብላዓ (ablaA) بلع ……. feed
    26- ባእሲ(baEsi) ……………. ባኣስ(baAs) بأس ……………. fight
    27- ጠሓነ(tehane) …………. ጣሓና(tahana) طحن ……… grind
    28- ሓዘ(haze) ………………. ሓዛ(haza) حاز ………….. get
    29- ሃሰስ(hases) ………………. ሓሳስ(hasas) حساس ……….. feel
    30- ሰመዐ(semeA) ………….. ሳማዓ(samaA) سمع ……………… hear
    31- ሃሩር(harur) ……………… ሓሩር(harur) حرور ………… hear/hot
    32- ቁሪ(quri) ……………………. ቁር(qur) قر …………………….. cold
    33- ይግብአ(yegba)………… ያጅብ(yagib) يجب ………….. must

    • Solomon

      Mr. Hamid Al Arabi,

      Please keep ’em comming. I am willing to pay tuittion.


      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Selam Solomon,

        For you all classes will be free.

    • Semere Tesfai

      Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

      ሓሪራይ….ሓሪራይ…..ሓሪራይ……. هذه القائمة ليست. I mean nothing! እሊ ኩሉ ቦባር ዎ ዔሳስ for onlyثلاثة وثلاثين words? I pity you. Kiddo: let me LEARN you some list of words:

      Number…. Tigrigna ……. Arabic ………… English

      1 ………….. ሰላም ……….. سلام ሰላም ……………… peace
      2 ………….. ሰላም ……….. السلام عليكم ኣል-ሰላም …. greetings
      3 …………. ዓጽሚ………… عظم ዓድ(ዝ)ም ………….bone
      4 …………. ለይቲ ………… ليل ለይል……………….. night
      5 ………… ሕልሚ ……….. حلم ሕልም …………. dream
      6 ……….. መፍትሕ ………. مفتاح መፍታሕ ……….. key
      7 ……….. ለሚን …………. ليمون ለይሙን ……….. lemon
      8 ………… ቀረባ …………. قرب ቐረብ ………….. Near
      9 …………ዓሚቕ (ዉሽጢ) …عميق ዓሚቕ …….. Deep
      10 ………. ስሓቕ …………. ضحك ድሓቕ ……….. Laugh
      11 ………. ነብሪ …………. نمر ነምር …………… Tiger
      12 ……….. መሪር …………. مرارة መራራ ………. bitter
      13 ………. ቅዱስ …………. مقدس መቐደስ ……… holy
      14 ………. ተምሪ ………….تمر ተመር …………… Date fruit
      15 ………..ቐልቢ (ቐልበይ ኣጥፊአ) …. قلب ቐልብ … Heart
      16 ……….ምብራኽ …………بركة – በረካ ………… Blessing
      17 ………. ቀምሽ …………… قماش – ቐማሽ ………………….. Cloth
      18 ………. ጣውላ …………..الطاولة – ኣል-ጣውላ …………. Table
      19 ………. ሓምራ (ቀያሕ ላም) … حمراء – ሓምራ Red Cow
      20 ………. ገመል ………….. جمل ጀመል ………… Camel
      21 ……… ሓቂ ……………. حقّ ሓቕ ……………… Truth
      22 ……… ሞት ……………. الموت ኣል-ሞት ……… Death
      23 ………. ጠለብ ………….. الطلب – ኣል-ጠለብ …….. Demand
      24 ……… ፍንጃል …………. نجان – ፍንጃን ………….. Coffee-cup
      25 ……… ጅንጅቢል ………. زنجبيل – ዝንጅቢል ……. Ginger
      26 ……… ባሕሪ …………… بحر – በሓር …………… Sea
      27 ………. መስማር ……….. مسمار – መስማር ……….. Nail
      28 ……… ኣምዑት ………….. الأمعاء – ኣል-ኣምዓ …… Intestine
      29 …… ሴፍ ………………. سيف – ሰይፍ ………….. Sword
      30 …… ተፈንጂሩ (ቡምባ) تفجر – ተፈጀር ………….. Exploded
      31……. ኣቦ …………….. الآب – ኣል-ኣብ ……….. Father
      32 …… ኣጽፋር ………… الأظافر ኣል-ኣዛፍር …….. Fingernails
      33 …… ጽፍሪ ……………ظفر – ዝፍር ……….. Fingernail
      34 ……. ባባ ……………..بابا – ባባ ………….. Daddy
      35 ……. ማይ ………….. ماء ማእ ………….. Water
      36 ……. እዝኒ ………….. إذن – ኢዝን ……….. Ear
      37 ……. ምቕያር ………..تغيير – ተቕዪይር …… Change
      38 ……. ኣጻብዕ ……….. أصابع ኣሳብዕ ………. Fingers
      39 …….. ፋሽ …………. فأس – ፋኣስ ………… Ax
      40 ………ሰማይ ………. سماء – ሰማእ …….. Sky

      You see Al-Arabi, the similarity between Tigrigna and Arabic languages is very hard to enumerate. Why it is hard to enumerate you ask! Well let me tell you the story:

      The origin of the 7.5 billion people you see today on this planet, is the hot Danakil depression – which is located a little south of today’s Akeleguzai. Then, these first creatures of God came to the high plateaus of Akeleguzai, Seraye, and Hamassien (to my village Waki Hibey to be exact) to escape the 145 degree heat of Danakil depression.

      Then, after they stayed around my village for thousands of years, their population grew, and some went back to their ancestral land in Denkalia. And from there, they crossed the Red Sea and settled on the mountains of South Yemen using the farming skill they acquired from Eritrean Kebessa. And some went west towards today’s Sudan, and following the Nile river, they reached today’s Egypt. There in Egypt, using the Eritrean Kebessa skill they acquired – they made big farming lands, built the pyramids, and they introduced the Eritrean Kebessa (Tigrigna) numerals to the world as an Arabian numerals. To make long story short:

      That’s how the Arabs came to this world (from Eritrean Kebessa), that’s how they took the Tigrigna language with them to the Arabian Peninsula, and that is where they corrupted the Tigrigna language and called it Arabic Language.

      Thank you for engaging with respect and have a nice weekend.

      Semere Tesfai

      • Solomon

        ሰላማት ሰመረን ሓሚድን፥

        ን ስኹም ክልተ ሓራምዝ ኣብ ባአሲ ክትጸምዱ አንከሎኹም፡ አቲ ሳዕሪ ን ዕምበባትን ን ፈለማ ግዜ ብዘይማህሰይቲ ክሥሥንን ክቦቅልን ክዕምብብን ኣስተውዒለ ‘ብለኩም። ጻጸ ኽኣ ተደሲቱ ኣብ ትሕቴኹም የኹድድ።
        አዛ ባአሲ ክልቴኹም ገዘፍቲ ልቦና ዘይጎድለኩም ሓርማዝ ትቐንየልና። የቐንየልና ኣይትሰኣኑ ስከ ሰስኑ።

        ሰናይ የሰንብተና ኣሕዋት። ኣሜን።
        Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the LORD.

  • Mebrahtu Ateweberhan

    Dear Awatistas,

    I wanted to post my opinions on the subject of our Afro-Semitic languages before the forum gets completely swamped by the recent events in the USA.

    Interesting comments there, especially from Fessehaye Mebrahtu. My opinion is that this is an academic subject and I have found the analysis by the author a bit skewed aiming at a political statement as the conclusion (summary/results) indicates. Wolff Leslau who spent his entire life studying our Afro-Asiatic languages would be rolling in his grave over this article. However, I am glad to see that the article has generated a rich discussion.

    Some comments
    1. Recent investigations have indicated that like southern Arabic, the Afro-Semetic languages are direct descendants of the Proto-Sabean and not directly derived from Arabic.

    2. Ge’ez religious books were translated mainly from Greek, Coptic, Syriac and Arabic. Most of those in Arabic and Coptic are translations of translations from Greek and Syriac. Languages have no religion, people have, I’m not sure if religions have languages.

    3. According to the author, Tigrait is referred as Beja (Kushitic) and Tigrigna and Amharic as ‘Abyssinian’. Tigrait is clearly an Afro-Semitic language but it is widely spoken by Bejia peoples in Eritrea and to some extent Sudan.

    4. By claiming ‘Ge’ez has become extinct and replaced by Tigrigna and Tigrait’ the author reinforces the unproven but widely accepted notion that Ge’ez being the precursor of our two Afro-Semitic languages. This has long been challenged by linguists for the fact that the two extant they retain their Kushitic roots more than Ge’ez and show less ‘weakening’ over time (e.g. በልዐ (bel’Ae in Tigrigna, Bel’Aa in Tigrait, bel’aa በልኣ) in Ge’ez, በላ (Amharic) (Amharic has lost the glottal ዐ in both speaking and writing while Ge’ez has lost it in speaking only.

    5. Afro-Semitic language speaking peoples of the region still retain a lot of Kushitic way of life. Most historians agree that there was a great deal of assimilation contrary to some assertions that the local Cushitic peoples were driven out by the more advanced Sabeans. If that was the case, we would not have the complex mosaic of ethnicity in the region. The contribution of the Kushites of the region to animal and plant domestication (teff, barley, sorghum, donkey, cattle, goat, etc.) and production is well established, and the fact that we are still dependent on those for our livelihoods suggests that there was a significant transfer of information.

    Some anecdotes
    1. Abu Ahmad mentioned that in Sudan the word ‘baHar’, in addition to sea, refers to the direction where the wind blows from. This is true for Ge’ez as well where ባሕር (baHr) has two meanings – sea and the direction north-east. Similarly, ኣዜብ (Azeb) refers to the south-east. Local coastal communities in Eritrea call the wind that blows from the south-east (SE Monsoon = cold monsoon season) ‘azeb’.

    2. As mentioned by F. Mebrahtu, the letters ፐ and ቨ are recent additions to the Ge’ez alphabets. It is said that there was a ‘war of alphabets’ in the 1930 of alphabets between two catholic priests, Abba Jerome, the creator of the በ alike ቨ and Abba Yacob Ghebreyesus, the proponent of the now extinct ፈ looking ‘ve’ (why my Ge’ez programme doesn’t have it). No wonder ቨ won the war considering the feisty character of its proponent (Abba Jerome). It is said that during the Italian Colonial era, Abba Jerome went to the main cathedral in Asmara (Cattedrale) to say the mass along some Italian priests. One youngish Italian however was not happy that a black person was to stand in front of the altar next to the white masters and tried his best to stop that from happening. However, he had no choice but to obey the ruling of his superiors that Fr. Jerome would be leading prayer with them as originally intended. At the end of the ceremony when the public was dispersed, Fr. Jerome invited the young Italian priest to discuss the matter in private inside the sacristy. The Italian priest obliged and was soon to regret his decision for what downed on him was a barrage of fists from Abba Jerome.

    3. Unlike now, the University of Asmara had a tradition of organising monthly talks (mostly academic) through the now defunct Center of African Studies. I remember attending a lecture in the early 1990s on the subject of Eritrean Afro-Semitic languages by a German based Eritrean scholar who clearly concluded that Tigrait and Tigrigna are far older than Ge’ez. He suggested the first two were used by the commoner but later borrowed letters from Ge’ez (and added new ones to accommodate for words with letters of Kushitic roots as some mentioned by F. Mebrahtu) and some new additions, like the letter P. This has common parallels with the evolution of other languages, e.g. Latin originating as the language of elite Romans from the various local Greek and European dialects spoken around. That wonderful lecture left a bitter after-taste when the then vice-president of the university made some discouraging remarks on stage. He suggested that such discussions be discouraged as the stage was not yet set for all our local languages to be discussed on an equal footing. If not University of Asmara, where then for Eritrean languages? While the waiting goes on for our languages, Addis Ababa and Mekele University have now Department of Tigrigna (and other languages).


    Mebrahtu, London

    • Fessahaye Mebrahtu

      Selam Mebrahtu Ateweberhan,

      Your comment is well taken. Technically you are right, “Languages have no religion, people have…” in reality in our area Ge’ez has been associated with Christianity and Arabic with Islam. There might be an underlying issue tinted with religious tone. For example the author tries to explain stating, “Friday is called (ar’bi) in Tigrinya, and this name is taken from its name in Jahillia before Islam when it was called (uru’ba) It’s an old Semetic name.” The names of days in Hebrew, Ge’ez and Arabic are numerical unlike Greek and Latin names that are given celestial (gods/planets) names. In old Ge’ez Friday was called Sadus=6th. However, over time it became Arb (Arbi) in relationship to Senbet (Sabbath) to mean Sabbath-Eve (Drro-Senbet) of religious observance. This could predate the introduction of Christianity as it directly relates to the Sabbath observance of Judaism. Additional clarifications – Saturday in Ge’ez is called Qedamit Senbet (Senbete-Ayhud) in Tigrinya and Amharic we call it simply Qedam and Qdamie an incomplete word or phrase. In some areas of Ethiopia Saturday is called Senbet. In Amharic Sunday=Ehud is what we call Senbet (technically it should be called Senbete-Christian). Therefore, Arbi, Qedam and Senbet have morphed to accommodate religious practices and tradition. The author of the article then seemed to have missed looking at it from a different angle on how Arbi evolved from Sadus because he had only one point of reference. To an extent, languages are conditioned by religious usage.
      Finally, I do not mind the author’s approach because he contributed to us from the tradition he is familiar with. Other traditions should be also presented in a similar manner, for example, how each ethnic group in Eritrea narrates its genealogy or history. Sometimes it can sound mythical and exotic but there is always a kernel of truth in it that can be analyzed with a scientific eye. Ato Amanuel Hiddrat said that my response brings Anthropological History of Languages and I concur with is assessment. Bring it all in pot-luck fashion and we can feast on it enriching our minds and expanding our world view.

      • Saleh Johar

        Selam Fessahaye and Mebrahtu,

        Thank you for your valuable input to the topic. Both of you have added value to it.
        The name of Sembet reminded me of something, and here it is:

        In Tigrayit, Saturday is Sembet N’eesh, while Sunday is Sembet Abbay. Little Sunday and Big Sunday. That can only have been developed/borrowed in pre-Islamic era. In Arabic, Sunday is called Ahad, similar to the Amharic ‘Hud. The Tigrinya Qedam is odd, I can put my fingers on its origin.

        As both of you mentioned that language (and politics) has always been tied to religion, I believe its has since the advent of the Solomonic dynasty of Sahle Sellasie (The Jesuits, Portuguese and Turks) when it became confrontational. Before that, both the Abyssinian and Arabian cultures co-existed in a very peaceful and cooperative way. Trade and culture was thriving as in the Arabic input in Church literature–particularly in translations and morphing of different religious legacies. That confrontation and propaganda became worse and lehal in later times, particularly during Yohannes and Haile Sellasie’s rule in Ethiopia, and Mahdis rule in Sudan.

        But true, people have religion and politics and that has been the problem of our region, and we couldn’t let go of that destructive culture.

        One more addition, what Dr. Jelal mentioned as Jahlya, is used by all Muslims to refer to the pre-Islamic period of idolatry. It’s mainly used as a reference to a period even by many who are not aware its correct meaning. Therefore, we shouldn’t read too much into it.

        • Amde

          Selam Saleh,

          I have been told day names are basically derived from the number they represent in the week. (at least some of them)

          Day 1.. Ahadu… Ehud
          Day 2…kili’etu
          Day 3…selestu..Silus
          Day 4…arbaitu..Rebu’e… Erob
          Day 5…amishitu..Hamus…
          Day 6…sidistu.. Arb
          Day 7…sebatu..qedemit/q’dame

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Selam Amde,

            Thank you for drawing our attention to names of days are derived from numbers according their order in the week. I will add to list their equivalence in Arabic.

            Day 1.. Ahadu… Ehud ……..( Ahad) آحاد …… one
            Day 2…kili’etu ……..( Kilta) كلتا ………. two
            Day 3…selestu..Silus …… (Salasah) ثلاثة ……. three
            Day 4…arbaitu..Rebu’e… Erob …….. (ArbaA) أربع ….. four
            Day 5…amishitu..Hamus… (khamsa) خمسة ……….. five
            Day 6…sidistu.. Arb ……… (Sitah) ستة ……….. six
            Day 7…sebatu..qedemit/q’dame ……..(SebAh) سبعة ……. seven
            Qedam …….. (Taqadamt) تقدمت ……. before Sunday
            Senui ……… (Sani) ثاني ……… second

            This means names of days in Tigrinia have taken their names from Arabic numerals.

          • Amde

            Selam Hameed al-Arabi

            Maybe the Arabs took it from Tigrinya? I am joking haha..

            You know my view is, if the Arabian peninsula had remained Christian or the Ethiopians (today’s Amharic and Tigrinya speakers) had become Muslim, this would not be controversial.. more of an academic curiosity than a political issue.

            I really like reading this kind of discussion though.


          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Selam Mebrahtu Ateweberhan,

            ሰንበት(senbet) …….. ሳባታ(sabata) سبت …….. rest / sleep

          • Mebrahtu Ateweberhan

            Saturday is called qedamit senbet in Ge’ez (first, old as one would say qedameiti in Tigrigna). qedam is a contracted version used to separate it from the other senbet (Sunday) similar to n’ish and Abay as indicated by Gadi. The contradiction is age old and has to do with the fact that both days are official holidays in the Tewaho Church.

            It is true that recent history has politicized language and religion to a bad effect and such a forum and the proposal of A. Hidrat would help in creating a better understanding.

          • Solomon

            Selamat All,

            Just for the sake of chiming in:

            Weekend in Tigrigna I believe is the compound word:ቀዳመሰንበት።

            Happy Veterans Qedamesenbet.


          • Mebrahtu Ateweberhan

            Dear moderator,

            Thanks for the reminder on comments rules at Awate. I assure you I will heed to your advice in the future.

        • A.Osman

          Selamat Saleh,

          Once some friends who grew up in Saudi were invited for a marriage engagement for a Sunday…SENBET MIXU was the message….so they went on SEBT, which was a day before.

          I have wondered, while the Sabath in Hebrew and Sebt in Arabic mean Saturday as is the case with Latin and Greek, in Tigrigna the eqivalent Senbet means Sunday. I was not aware of the two Senbets with minor and major prefixes, which explains the naming dilemma with the shift. Any idea when the change occurred?


          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlam AOsman,
            I think Mebrahtu explained it… look for his comment and h has explained how the qedamit senbet overtime became qedam after the snbet was dropped, something like that.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Selamat A. Osman,

            From context as in Tigre Senbet NiEsh for Saturday and Senbet Abay for Sunday. I think in Tigrinia was also same Qedamit Senbet and Deharit Senbet; they dropped Senbet from Saturday and preserved Qedam and dropped Deharit from Sunday and preserved Senbet.

            In Tigre and Tigrinia doubled number Seven instead of naming the week according their numerical order Ahad, Sani, Salatha, ArbaA, Khamsa, Sitah(uru’ba), SebA.

          • saay7

            Dear Hameed:
            Chair, Department of Linguistics, Awate University:

            That’s very funny about the laziness of the Horn and not fair. Somebody from anthropology dept who has studied different cultures will have to tell us because our own self-perception (Eritreans) is that we are hard-working.

            I wonder if we can now move to advanced studies on linguistics (201): whether there are any commonalities in the languages of their Eritreans with close proximity like Tigre/ Bedawiet and Saho/Afar for example.


          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Saay7,

            Prof. Saleh, you are right that you are hard working people physically; but mentally you discuss a simple issue for decades. Though the regime in Eritrea from day one is criminal; but it took from you 25 years to understand their crimes. Don’t you think Prof. there is a problem in the minds?

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlan Hameed,

            Please correct me if I misread you, but your reply to Saay sounded a bit belligerent to me. Kindly read it again, I hope you will find where you have gone on attack. This what he wrote: “Sometimes we go all Trump and use superlatives and claim we are the most hard working although the work ethic of some of our migrants doesn’t seem to bear that out.”

            1. Please explain where you do not agree with the above quote by Saay?

            2. Also, please explain why refer to Eritreans in the third person, “They”. Don’t you think you should say “Us” and not “They”?

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Saleh Johar,

            Saay7 is from the highest caliber, rational and well versed person. His touches in our struggle for justice will definitely be remembered in the history of Eritrea. I think my comment coincide with what you have underlined. There is no difference between me and Prof. Saleh.

            I beg your pardon to allow me abstain from the rest of your questions.

          • saay7

            Ahlen Hamed:

            So you are saying we are all philosophers, and political scientists discussing simple issues like “What is a country? And how can you make it work” for years? But that’s not confined to East Africa or Eritrea only: none of our Arab neighbors have made much progress on governance either despite some being the most endowed. Hmam gorebet etc etc.

            Did you read cousin ghetebs contribution to the linguistic discourse? He is saying don’t confuse relation with causality.


          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Dear Saleh Y.,

            I hope gheteb to revise his information. I think we are speaking about people live in one region, thus we can not separate correlation and causality from each other . We are not speaking about peoples from far regions without common grounds among them. Please, gheteb don’t confuse people live in your region with people live in regions very far from you. When people live in different regions you may say don’t confuse correlation with causality.

          • saay7

            Well, Hameed:

            I am just a chegwar danga translating the pedantic work of cousin Gheteb, so let me see if I can make it simple.

            So, you gave us a picture of a people sharing a meal. (“ma’adi” in Tigrinya, “Al-Maidah” in Arabic, “ma’ad” in Amharic, etc etc.) And in this picture, you were trying to show us that the Arab was sitting at the head of the table and all of the rest of us (Ge’ez, tigrinya, Tigryait, Amharic) were the subservient children of this Arab Head.

            Now, what cousin Gheteb did is he zoomed out the image, and he showed that the Arab is just another dude: not sitting at the head of Al-Maidah, but sharing it with everyone including the Aramaic, the Harari, the Egyptian. The Arab is not the father but the sibling, and the guy sitting at the head of the table is some proto-semitic Haluma Jera.

            Now, honestly Hameed, I don’t really care anything about this. I always find it absurd when people take pride and get all quarelly and argumentative about something they didn’t earn, but just inherited. Really, why does and Ethiopian, an Arab, an Eritrean take pride in something that his ancestors did a 1,000 years ago for which he himself has zero responsibility?

            All I know is we are in 2016. And in this year, this century, this millenium, I see us (Tigrinya, Tigre, East African), walking slowly towards progress. Just ten steps ahead of us is the Arab, bragging about how great his civilization is and how 500 years ago, he was the one who taught the English-speaker some civiliation. Just one step ahead of us is the Agazian, bragging how 3000 years ago, he was ahead of the English speaker. Just 100 steps ahead of us is the Chinese, telling us how, 5000 years ago, he was way ahead of the English speaker.

            And really all of them are getting in our way. We don’t care. We just want to catch up to the English-speaker. You know: that dude he made us, you and me, to use his language to communicate with each other.


          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Ahlen Saleh Younis,

            East Africa, Middle East and North Africa are all one people. All the region is in the same wavelength. Please, Ustaz Saleh I respect you too much.

          • saay7

            Thank you very much Hameed

            We should advance the linguistics class from words to phrases and proverbs, idioms and other expressions.

            For example, I once read that the expression “it’s on the tip of my tongue”, used when we can remember something but can’t verbalize it, exists in every language in the world. Stunning huh?

            And if you get a book of Amharic proverbs, you soon realize all are translations from Tigrinya *


            * for the sole purpose of smoking out Abi from his hiding.

          • ‘Gheteb

            Howdy Cuz SAAY,

            “Advanc[ing] the linguistics class from words to phrases and proverbs, idioms and other expressions”, here is what I want to say.

            Rumor has it that the UAE may one day finance the construction of a shopping mall in Eritrea, say, somewhere in Weki,(ወኪ) in the burbs of Asmara. Now how does one go about naming this mall of Weki,(ወኪ). Many are of the opinion that it will be named as ” Weki Mall” (ወኪ ሞል). The reason being that the naming will be taken from the UAE’s Dubai Mall ( دبي مول‎‎ ), the major financier of the shopping mall in Eritrea.

            Yes, the English word “mall” is MOL(مول) in Arabic, instead of مركز تجاري or something like مجمع تجاري or something else in Arabic, but just a mall or a MOL..

            Some will claim that is an apposite nomenclature because Eritrean languages such are Tigrigna, simply adopt and take words from Arabic.

            Speaking of malls, it is running through the grapevine that Ebabu Abi (እባቡ ኣቢ) is seen in the vicinities of Armacheho Mall ( ኣርማጨሆ ሞል ). Word is that Abi is still in the process of completing a crash course on how to become in what the Amhara call የጎበዝ ኣለቃ or what is commonly known as primus inter pares. If I am not mistaken, the Amhars use to call it የጎበዝ ጎበዜ and these days, it is የጎበዝ ኣለቃ .

          • saay7

            hey Gheteb:

            Weki is too close to wiki. and wiki is close to wikileaks so:

            ለሓዀ ወኪ?

            No? since butcher shop is “enda sga” and bakery shop is “enda bani”, how about enda weki?

            Of course the most logical place for the UAE mall is in Tessenei. It fits the macro-econ policy of PFDJ which is ” Contraband/Smuggle At Will” 🙂


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hey Saay,

            a little modification:

            Wikileaks = ልሕኮት ውኪ

            b/c ለሐኹ is verb and ልሕኮት is noun.

            leaks is noun.


          • Saleh Johar

            Saay and Hameed,

            I think what we are discussing (and maybe the author of the article also) is not linguistics per se, but its political ramification though it is not spelled clearly. The context of discussion on language was and is as a result of the xenophobic reaction of many Abyssinians. Therefore, those who feel affinity to Arabic have always been trying to explain that Arabic is not alien to their culture or their language, even to the culture, lineage, and language of those who are so anxious of Arabic and always rejecting any argument.

            Tha fact that the languages of the region developed from some root language is not the subject of debate as some tried to make it. Of course, even common human ancestry is attributed to Adam and Eve–and it doesn’t mean we can not talk of cousins and nephews and uncles without tracing all relations to Adam and Eve (our “proto-humanitos”, if there is such and expression). As I understood it, when one the context is the relations between Arabic and Geez, we do not necessarily have to go to Assyrian, Nebatian, Aramaic, and all ancient races just to dilute the topic that is specific: comparing Arabic and Geez its offspring languages.

            Proto-Semetic and other linguistic roots do not add much to the political reality of Arabic-Geez that many are suffering from. The attempt to skin away any relation with the Arabs is the core of the issue. To combat that position (or Arabphobia) many have been trying to educate and share their views, though I agree the efforts (and the reactions) were mostly aggressive and not encouraging a healthy debate.

            All I want to say is that intellectualizing everything we discuss is not helping our debates, just like the example of “Proto-Wikipedia”, including the signs for glottal and other specialized sounds, that expert linguistics use 🙂 I also agree that trying to find slight relations between Geez and Arabic and trying to prove a point sometime becomes ridiculous when over-used. For example, the holy Quran is also called MusHaf, which is originally the Geez MetsHaf. Does that establish the superiority of Geez over Arabic? It doesn’t, neither does words borrowed from the other side. The only truth is over time, some vocab is added, and become part of the borrowing language. It proves nothing but interaction between cultures.

            Of course you know this, but somehow I feel it is safer to reply to your comment and not other comments 🙂

      • A great article although I’d like to add a few things. The ‘Kushite’ natives of Abyssinia and Northeast Africa are not to be confused with the modern day ‘Cushitic’ people. The ancient ‘Kushites’ were indigenous Nilo-Saharan African people while the ‘Cushitic’ people are Afro-Asiatic just as the Semitic-speaking Arabian tribes that migrated to Abyssinia and Northeast Africa. In fact the designation ‘Cushitic’ was given to them and their language by 19th century Western scholars because they refused to believe a ‘Negroid’ people were even capable of building a civilization and Empire when in fact all their neighbors, especially the Arabs, mentioned them as not only the builders of civilizations and Empires in that region but also as the original inhabitants and founders of Egypt (Upper Egypt particularly). Thus these Western scholars ascribed that term to the Afro-Asiatic kinsmen of the Semitic-speaking tribes in the region and concluded wrongly and without evidence that these ‘Caucasian’ people must’ve been behind the Empire and Civilization of Kush. Unfortunately this ethnic term for these people that stems from a Western error based on denial and ignorance is being used and even propagated by nationalistic individuals among them to this very day. Cushitic people, particularly the Oromo and Somali, never mentioned any Cush or Kush as their ancestor but rather Iram. Iram and his descendants are said to be the first inhabitants of Arabia according to their and the Arabs oral and documented history. The Oromo and historically the Somali claimed patrilineal ancestry from Iram while the later Semitic speaking branch of Afro-Asiatic people that we nowadays call Arabs, Arabians or Semitic people claimed matrilineal lineage from him. Most of Iram’s patrilineal descendants left Arabia either for the Horn of Africa or the Fertile Crescent after the desertification of Arabia and natural desasters and constant wars and conflicts with Iram’s matrilineal descendants; the Qahtanites from whom Saba descends and from whom on the other hand the three main branches of Saba descend: Himyar, Kahlan and Jurhum. There is no consensual agreement among the historians and genealogists when the patrilineal descendants of Iram first migrated to the Horn or Africa, whether before these events when their civilization was at it’s peak or before that or after the catastrophic events that followed the demise and destruction of their civilization. But all agree that the majority left Arabia completely for the two regions I described before. The only remaining patrilineal tribe in Arabia are the Shahris, all of the rest of tribes in Arabia are matrilineal descendants through Saba. Some of the ones that migrated to the Horn migrated further South and Northwest to other parts of Africa while some remained there while the ones in the Fertile Crescent either were absorbed and assimilated, genocided or relocated to the Horn or other parts of Africa by their Qahtanite kinsmen that conquered them. All in all, the Sabeans were not the first Arabians to migrate to Africa. It were the Iremites, the patrilineal direct descendants of Iram. Iram on the other hand was a descendant of Sem. Cushitic and Semitic speaking people are one and the same people, only two different branches from the same nation. Both languages are closely related branches of Afro-Asiatic. Phenotypically and culturally they are closely related. This whole conflict between ‘Cushitic’ and ‘Semitic’ as two opposed distinct races is a fiction that only arose in the 20th century. No one in the Horn or the neighboring countries would’ve taken this stuff seriously before that.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi MeliH,
          It’s an interesting insight— connecting the genealogy to Iram. I agree about the Shehr people who still live in pockets in Zafat. Thank yiu

  • Dear All,
    The most unexpected thing happened in the US. This day will be remembered as the day on which the only world power elected a self-declared far-right, racist, misogynist and much more….president. We have yet to see an Ethiopian-American or Eritrean-American saying even a word about it.
    The rest of the world is shocked and dumbfounded. Over here, the far-right is rejoicing, and democratic forces are shocked by the outcome and bewildered at the American people.. Are you satisfied, bewildered, shocked or indifferent?

    • Berhan Mesfin

      Dear Horizon
      There was the 9/11 and this the 11/9 it is shocking, terrible and hard to belive

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Greetings Horizon,

      America is a country ruled by institutions not by a single person. Trump will not be able to change American policies 180 degrees. America is powerful by her relations with the world not by her economy only. The moment they isolate themselves and feud the world they will crumple like the Singapore of East Africa.

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Horizon,

      I loved the smile being wiped off the smug, corrupt and arrogant ruling liberal elite. Ordinary, hard working folk have become tired of millionaire, Champagne drinking socialists, who prescribe crumbs of welfare to the poor while they live on the lap of luxury. Now the people have spoken.

      How is possible that mediocre people like Obama, Bill Clinton, and Hillary who never had a proper and productive job and never have done an honest days work in their lives could hold sway for so long over so many people?

      I am eagerly awaiting for the first order of business in January 2017 which is to charge and arrest the Clintons, Lynch, Jarrett, Podesta and their various corrupt associates.

      • Dear Simon Kaleb,
        so, you say that people have spoken through the mouth of the right person who could represent them and care for them. if you are saying that these people are the above 65 white male, the less educated, the white supremacists, those who fear that they are becoming a minority in their own country and they want no immigrants and muslims in the US, etc, indeed they have spoken. and they have spoken loud, as the election results show. may be people are tired of liberal elites, but replacing them with a billionaire with a dubious past, arrogant and most probably unfit for the post, i do not think that this is the right solution. is it possible to say that they may have replaced mediocre individuals (as you said) with predators who will stop at nothing?

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Horizon,

          In his first victory speech, Trump said: “For those who did not vote for me, I will look for your guidance and help”.

          • Dear Simon Kaleab,
            words and actions, as you know very well, are two different things, especially when the winner is forced to wear the mask of magnanimity, and moreover, he knows very well that nobody is going to take him to court for what he has said. myself, i have never heard of a pm or president or even a dictator, who had not said on his victory-day that he will stand for all, irrespective of the fact if they have voted for him or not, or even opposed his ascent to power. just imagine how much society will be divided (an already divided society especially in this case), if he dare say he stands only for those who voted for him or supported him. he has to think about peace and stability in order to be able to rule, and may be even his second term in office. he will not dare burn his card right on day-one after his election or ascent to power. even dictatorial regimes are afraid to declare their inner feelings. they have to act it clever.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Horizon,

            Dr. Ben Carson should have been the first Black president of America. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is a clever, thinking, kind, easy to work with and morally guided man.

            I expect him to be given a post either in the Health or Education areas in Trump’s administration.

    • Solomon

      Selamat Horizon,

      I am an “average Joe” American even by the Forty Years to Citizenship Hggi enda Aba rule.

      You don’t know didly squat. If you contend that you do, please give a few examples on how you have helped to the success of U..S. President Elect Donald Trump. Even if you claim you are an Eritrean-European, you have still contributed. If you want do it, I would gladly do it for you, but do not hold your breath for it would not be amongst the high priority tasks. But you are more than welcomed to challenge me and I may utilize your kokel, otherwise silently challenge yourself.

      Here in the USA we respect the VOTE. And do not be jump on the Trump band wagon to tell us Eritrean-Americans and Ethiopian Americans that our say does not count, is not heard or will not be heard. The Audacity of some folks! “zTeHana THinensi…” Geina kheA ‘THina. “WuHatio entebelkuas melissaaaaa gusumo.”

      Hjikhe itii U-mmlass nabeyy getSu iyu khiTimit. U-TURN by the way is a miss nommer. Perhaps IA’s secret letter to The CHUMP-CHAMP USA President Elect Donald Trump should include the G’eez Fidel Be. The upside down U. MaygrmbiT nAAQeb. Instead of the U-Turn, we would have the Be-Turn. (See my edited)

    • Amde

      Selam Horizon,

      For some reason I thought you were in the US..apparently not … so let me give you my observation.

      Just for perspective I have worked in manufacturing in the US for over 15 years now including in the mid-west – which just emerged as a Trump stronghold. I feel like I really understand the Trump voters – especially the white ones. I would not say they are racists for the most part (there are some – maybe even many – that are), but the better phrase for me is “..oblivious of their white privilege..”.

      From their point of view, they are working hard but they are not able to meet the expectation of economic progress and lifestyle they grew up expecting when they themselves were children or young in the 60s and 70s. When they were young, they (or their parents’ generation) could get a factory job that paid well, with pensions, which – with just one parent working – allowed them to have a nice home, multiple cars, send their kids to college. Much of that is gone now due to a combination of cheap imports and automation. If you ask them they will add illegal immigration to the list of causes. In any case, pensions are gone. College for their kids has become so expensive it is becoming a luxury. No new equivalent investments were coming on board.

      It used to be that Democrats were for the working class and the Republicans for the rich, but especially in this election if you drove through white working class areas all you saw was Trump signs, whereas if you drove through the richer and upper middle class areas you saw mostly Hillary signs. The white working class felt they were hurting economically, and what was worse, nobody was listening to them. As far as they could tell, the Democrats were more concerned with the environment, gay rights, minority rights, immigrant rights, women’s rights etc.. They were not offering anything to these working class people and instead of even bothering to listen, they were insulting them by calling them racists and ignorants. So feeling ignored and desperate they latched on to Trump who talked about the things they wanted to hear, and expressed how they felt.

      It is fair to say that they should share some of the responsibility. It is also true, an average non-college educated white working class dude is in an infinitely better position than a non-college educated non-white. But you can’t tell a person who wants to tell you he is hurting that he should be ashamed for saying he is hurting and point to someone else who has it worse. That might work for a while but that’s it. He has his problems and he wants help to deal with them.

      In my workplace, as far as I could tell, there were only about 15% who voted for Hillary the rest was for Trump. Almost all the white women at work voted for Trump. The suburbs and small towns around my place of work went generally for Trump by about 65%. And guess what – I am not in the mid-west (Mid-west defined as areas like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania) any more – I am in New England, which actually went for Hillary. All the democrats have now at the Federal level is the power to impede in the Senate. In two years, many more of the Senate Democrats will be up for re-election than Republicans, and unless they make a dramatic change, even this slight hold could be wiped out.

      It is tragic because I can see Trump is not going to make a damn bit of difference for the people who elected him. But he is good at demagoguing – he has actually said he plans to do a lot of rallies since he already misses the adulation of crowds. I think he will just be bored of the day to day stuff, and let the Republicans do whatever they want as long as they don’t try to outshine him.

      So consider me not shocked, not bewildered but terrified.


      • Peace!

        Hi Amde,

        So are you saying they voted Trump for economic reason? If so, why only white working class? what about Latinos and Blacks working class who didnt vote for him?

        Actually it should not come as a surprise given the historical context that racial progress has almost always been igniting fierce whitelash for sometime: Hayes to Grant; Nixon to Lyndon; and now a white supremacist Trump to a black president Obama. Trump is simply recycling Nixons play book, nothing to do with working class, I think.


        • Amde

          Selam Peace and Horizon,

          I am not condoning the racist overtones but the fact is many of these people voted for Obama. He offered change.. he didnt deliver to their satisfaction. Yes he was blocked by Republicans. But that is too much detail for them.

          They dismissed his racist language as just electioneering and focused on the economic promise. Now for black immigrants like you and I we cannot afford to dismiss the rhetoric.

          The big story is the collapse of the Democratic party in the industrial heartland. I fear it is going to be worse in the next election in two years unless Democrats can have a message that attracts the working class irrespective of race.

          It really was a privileged life. I have worked in a plant in the automotive sector, strong union protection, and – get this – adult literacy classes being given to the workforce. It is hard to imagine but that was in the 90s in the USA. That is largely gone now. Nothing has really replaced it, and here comes Trump saying he will fix it all. So they voted to give him a chance.

          I am not defending or justifying, just telling you how I see it.


          • Peace!

            Selam Amde,

            Thank you, I agree with your point of view. But the thing is yes they voted for Obama, and he has delivered to the extent the system allows him, the current unemployment rate is now at solid 4.9, are they expecting for Trump to bring that down to zero, or just to focus only on white working class? That’s actually I am trying to understand. My understanding is there won’t be any change under trump either because he would’t dare to defy the corporate power.


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Amde,

            I think your points are valid. I think the liberals / democrats elite class are really out of touch with the reality. They are controlled by the bank and reading some of the leaked Hilary / Podeska emails, it’s really shame that the banks and the elite class has so much power over the politicians. It was a shock to me, the email from the current labor secretary / when he was an executive with City bank to the Hillary head of campaign / Podeska, he send a list of candidate for Obama cabinet using his work email…and that Obama obliged.


          • Dear Amde,
            Personally, i was not insinuating in the least that you are defending or justifying Trump. In actual fact, i was repeating what you said, simply in a different way, my way. Let us hope, Trump too, shall pass before he does great damage to the country and the whole world.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Horizon,
            Let me throw in my 2 cents to the topic. (I only have 2 cents anyway)
            In the year 2016 the two major political parties produced the two most unlikable candidates to choose from. Trump was presented as a non-political billionaire who is going to clean house. He talked like the average Joe and made promises about fixing the broken border and “stolen” jobs.
            Hillary Clinton came in with extensive political experience accompanied by her entourage of the world elites, mass media and intellectuals. They came in complete with put downs and insults.
            There was also revelations that showed how corrupt the Clintons were in their operations of amassing wealth.
            The media and the elites supporters of Hillary tried to drown Trump with sexual innuendos from his past at the last moment, some stories from 35 years ago. They thought they finished him off like they have done in the past with others. They were bragging that he was done days before the election.
            Nov. 8, 2016 surprised everyone.
            More Blacks and Latinos voted for Trump than Mitt Romney of prior 4 years ago. Whites in mid west that voted for Obama voted for Trump this time around.
            So the moral of the story is don’t accept the media and elites who paint individuals as Racists, Sexists etc. at face value. They do that to advance their own agenda, whatever that is.
            In fact, when they bring in these terms, it means they are loosing the argument. That is their final attempt to shut up their opponent.
            Have you noticed the majority of those who call others Racists are themselves white. That is now the blunt instrument in the arsenal of the weak individuals to get ahead.
            Am I happy that we have elected Trump as President of the U. S? God NO!
            Mr. K.H

          • Dear K.H.
            If i may ask you a question:
            Do you think that Americans have chosen the lesser of the two evils, or is the last election a lost election for the US and the world?
            Do you think that Trump will make the US great again as he says, or could the Trump era be the beginning of the decline of a world power?
            Thank you.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Horizon,
            The two major political parties vetted and elected their representative. In my opinion, The Republican rank and file members revolted and voted for Trump, who is unqualified. He has no experience or clarity of thought about the administration of the country.
            The Democrats elected in a crooked way, Hillary Clinton, who disqualified herself by her actions and deeds of her past.
            Your last question, however, is something to ponder with all the moving parts. At the moment I am completely not in the know. I might have an inkling 4 years from now.
            I told you that I have only 2 cents in this, I cross my heart that is all I have.
            Mr. K.H
            I appreciate the moderator for the tech. assistance it is very much appreciated. I will try to learn. Paste sounds so much like swamp I am concerned, but I will try.

  • Abu Ahmad

    Correction: frequent wars in North Africa should be read as, frequent wars in Yemen to North Africa and Syria.

    “they emigrated due to drought, climate change, frequent wars in Yemen to North Africa and Syria, through Abyssinia and Egypt. They settled in North Africa, and exactly in the west of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, northern Sudan, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Canary Islands, Andalusia, and the islands of Sicily (Italy). “

  • Abu Ahmad

    Hi Sara,
    Regarding to the Berber which is the other name of the Amaziq, a group of researchers stated that the Berbers are Himitic (the offspring of Ham the son of Noah) of Arab origins. Osman Alkaak discloses in his book (Berbers), they emigrated due to drought, climate change, frequent wars in Yemen to Africa and Syria through Abyssinia and Egypt. They settled in North Africa, and exactly in the west of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, northern Sudan, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Canary Islands, Andalusia, and the islands of Sicily (Italy). Ibn Khaldoon also stated that the Amaziq are the sons of Kanaan, however most of the researchers indicated that the Amaziq are the sons of Sam son of Noah. Arabian Peninsula was home of the Semites was covered with snow in the north (Yemen) and it was the cradle of the sons of Sam mixed with their uncles children Ham. The effects of the receding snow left the country with a level of intensified heat, drier climate which forced the dispersion of the population. A large mass of the Berbers, Nubia, Abyssinia and the ancient Egyptians escaped to Africa. The Berber resided in North Africa, the Abyssinia in East Africa, Sudan, East and Central Africa. That could be the reason why we see the similarity between the Abyssinian and Amaziq music. Please check out this links and enjoy some of them.

  • Abu Ahmad

    Hi Sara,
    Regarding to the Berber which is the other name of the Amaziq, a group of researchers stated that the Berbers are Himitic (the offspring of Ham the son of Noah) of Arab origins. Osman Alkaak discloses in his book (Berbers), they emigrated due to drought, climate change, frequent wars in North Africa, Yemen and Syria, through Abyssinia and Egypt. They settled in North Africa, and exactly in the west of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, northern Sudan, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Canary Islands, Andalusia, and the islands of Sicily (Italy). Ibn Khaldoon also stated that the Amaziq are the sons of Kanaan, however most of the researchers indicated that the Amaziq are the sons of Sam son of Noah. Arabian Peninsula was home of the Semites was covered with snow in the north (Yemen) and it was the cradle of the sons of Sam mixed with their uncles children Ham. The effects of the receding snow left the country with a level of intensified heat, drier climate which forced the dispersion of the population. A large mass of the Berbers, Nubia, Abyssinia and the ancient Egyptians escaped to Africa. The Berber resided in North Africa, the Abyssinia in East Africa, Sudan, East and Central Africa. That could be the reason why we see the similarity between the Abyssinian and Amaziq music. Please check out this links and enjoy some of them.

    • sara

      Dear Abu Ahmed,
      thank you for your input, and it is OK-the link was deleted by moda for i don’t know why.
      i do have few of their traditional songs given to me by an acquaintance from Algeria.

  • Abu Ahmad

    Hi Sara,

    Regarding to the Berber which is the other name of the Amaziq, a group of researchers stated that the Berbers are Himitic (the offspring of Ham the son of Noah) of Arab origins. Osman Alkaak discloses in his book (Berbers), they emigrated due to drought, climate change, frequent wars in North Africa, Yemen and Syria, through Abyssinia and Egypt. They settled in North Africa, and exactly in the west of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, northern Sudan, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Canary Islands, Andalusia, and the islands of Sicily (Italy). Ibn Khaldoon also stated that the Amaziq are the sons of Kanaan, however most of the researchers indicated that the Amaziq are the sons of Sam son of Noah. Arabian Peninsula was home of the Semites was covered with snow in the north (Yemen) and it was the cradle of the sons of Sam mixed with their uncles children Ham. The effects of the receding snow left the country with a level of intensified heat, drier climate which forced the dispersion of the population. A large mass of the Berbers, Nubia, Abyssinia and the ancient Egyptians escaped to Africa. The Berber resided in North Africa, the Abyssinia in East Africa, Sudan, East and Central Africa. That could be the reason why we see the similarity between the Abyssinian and Amaziq music. Please check out this links and enjoy some of them.


  • Abu Ahmad

    Dear bro. and Sisters:

    It is a legitimate question why the Northern Arabic alphabets are not similar to the Southern Arabs alphabets?. The Southern Arab alphabets (Geez) are called “Al Ahruf alsamiya al murabaA” which means the Semitic quadratic alphabets. And as you know, Semitic came from Sam the son of Noah. In addition, these Semitic quadratic alphabets did not have vowels to start with, like other alphabets such as Arabic. These Semitic alphabets have been changing including the language itself from the time it was invented until today. For example, as it is evident today, the sound of ሐ and ዐ has been eliminated from Amharic language. It is also valid to other languages. For example, there are about 10 different ways of writing Arabic alphabets (Kufi, Nasikh, althuluth, maqribi, farsy, alruqAA, Diwani, jail Diwani, alshkstat, alEjazat). I indicated in one of my comments, that there are Arabic languages called Mahara and Al faif in (the Rub’ al Khali (Arabic: الربع الخالي‎‎ ar-Rubʿ al-Ḫālī, “Empty Quarter”) is the largest contiguous sand desert in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula) which are different from the Arabic that we know however today but they are Arabic languages. Geez or as they called it then, Al Ahruf alsamiya al murabaA alphabet was used primarily in the Sabaean and Minaean kingoms in the Southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. It is thought to have diverged from the Semitic alphabet as early as 1300 BCE, and a developing form appeared in Babylonia and near Elath of the Gulf of Aqaba around the 8th/7th centuries BCE. The South Arabian proper appears around 500 BCE, and continued to be used until around 600 CE (at which time, of course, the entire Arabian Peninsula was converted to Islam and Arabic became the most important language). In the contrary, even though the Geez language is completely out of use in Eritrea today, the alphabets are still in use because there were no other choices however, the Muslims in Eritrea as the Muslims of Southern Arabia, switched to the Northern Arabia Arabic due to the daily use in their religious rituals.
    Geez before improvement:


  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Ahlen Younis H.,

    The good thing of your article is, it generate A good debate on anthropological history of languages. Somehow you should deserve appreciation just for genetating a very fruitiful and educating debates.


  • Fessahaye Mebrahtu

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    In my earlier response to
    the article, I had stated this will be a good point of discussion and many
    interesting issues have surfaced, mostly issues of identity. Eritreans in order
    to forge a national identity have been shying away from some foundational questions
    of identity. In a multi-ethnic society such questions are inevitable. For example,
    the former Yugoslavia under the rule of Tito, there was forced national identity
    which disastrously unraveled in the mid-1990s. Having an open discussion of
    this sort will be helpful distinguishing between national identity which is of
    recent phenomena, while cultural and ethnic identities run deep into our
    history interwoven through time, place and events. We should not underestimate
    the corridor of the Red Sea, where for millennia the transverse powerful
    kingdoms, civilizations, vibrant trade exchanges took place. Each entity has
    left its marks but also received curtained marks of influence from the region.
    In midst of all this, the influence of ancient Egypt in the region is not fully
    appreciated or properly understood. A few things about Egyptian civilization are
    overlooked in our area: first, we do not pay attention geographical proximity,
    second, Egyptian civilization moved from south to north with the flow of the
    Nile (ancient Egyptians pointed south for their ancestral lineage), third, we
    have not looked into the ancient Egyptian language affinity with our area languages
    (at least language roots), etc. Many years ago a prominent African American
    knowing from what part of Africa I was, asked me, “Brother, why is the Egyptian
    civilization depicted as a white civilization?” My instant response was, “Because
    Egyptian history was not written by you and I.” I am very pleased by the
    current discussion because I see the status quo being challenged. The status
    quo was that the civilization of our area came from across the Red Sea and
    dominated the local indigenous people creating the Abyssinian civilization as
    we know it. This was a 19th century colonial mentality that have taken
    Egypt out of Africa as if there was no influence to the people to its south and

    It was in 1970s when Dr.
    Diop of Senegal who turned upside down the old paradigm Africa as the dark
    continent, if there is any light of civilization was a mere reflection of
    outsiders, Asia or Europe; like the moon can only reflect the light of the sun.
    A nuclear scientist who turned historian, Dr. Diop was the first African to have
    challenged the status quo; writing many books affirming the ownership of African
    civilization; influencing Europe through Greece. What does this has to do with
    our area? The Greek alphabets, which are the basis for Latin alphabets were
    borrowed from the Phoenicians (Canaanites) which were also influenced by the
    proto-Ge’ez or Sabean scripts. Therefore, some of the letters (ፀ) (ደ) that have similarity with Ge’ez should be seen from
    such angle not simply assuming it must have borrowed from Greek alphabets. For
    a full disclosure, the early Ge’ez Christian liturgy was translated from Greek,
    predating translations from Coptic but the similarity of some Greek letters to
    Ge’ez should not be confused with this. As some raised the questions of similarity
    of Semitic alphabets – though I am not familiar with Arabic the only one I know
    is ሠ exists in Arabic and Hebrew scripts. As for Hebrew
    and Ge’ez there are a few that are similar to Ge’ez.

    Finally, I would like to
    bring to your attention some keen observations of language similarities, for
    example, the Afro-Asiatic language group as the superfamily of the languages
    share same roots. The word Asiatic is misplaced because only a fraction of the
    Semitic languages are in the Asia (Arabian peninsula – Arabic (various
    dialects), Hebrew (Aramaic/Syriac) and the older Akkadian (predating Arabic and
    Hebrew). Except for these the rest of the Semitic languages are found in
    Eritrea and Ethiopia. Ge’ez, Tigre, Tigrinya, Amharic, Hareri, Gurage, Gafat,
    Argobba, etc. The rest of Afro-Asiatic languages are all Africans, none of them
    in Asia and they are:

    Egyptian of
    various stages including Coptic, though they say it has been heavily influenced
    by Greek; Berber, covering the whole
    of north Africa from western Egypt to Western Sahara; Chadic from western Sudan to Senegal in the west; Cushitic languages (Beja, Oromo, Bilin,
    Saho, Afar, Somali, etc.); and Omitic,
    mostly spoken in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia. Some linguist include Omitic as
    the oldest of the Afro-Asiatic languages others see it as a prototype and more
    archaic. Regardless where this particular ancient language is placed, the
    geographic location of the aforementioned family of languages, challenges the
    claim of the overwhelming influence of Semitic culture, as if it was not an
    extension of the African language family and culture. We cannot underestimate
    the influence of Ge’ez, Arabic and Hebrew as scripted languages, associated
    with Holy Scriptures. Yes, if we look at them from a religious angle, their
    influence goes far from our the confines of our area. But the two was street
    approach should not be missed. What do the Afro-Asiatic languages have in
    common – Tri-Consonant construction of words, guttural sounds by and large, share
    of common words. For example, the Kushitic Sidamo language uses word bieto to
    mean daughter, Arabic uses the word binti and Hebrew bat while this word does
    not exist in Ge’ez, Tigrinya or Amharic. Ancient Egypt uses the workd aHa for
    cattle like in Tigrinya but it call LAHM (LAM) for cow, etc. These are some of
    the anecdotal examples but there are many more could high light the similarities
    and influence of the languages and cultures. Finally, I would leave you with a
    Ge’ez saying, “በስመ
    ሓዳሪ ይጸዋዕ ማሕደር ወበስመ ማሕደር ይጸዋዕ ሓደሪ። a dwell is named after the dweller and a dweller
    is named after the dwell.” Though naming might signify power over the named –
    but in our area the society is interwoven, one cannot claim dominance over the
    other without being entangled in the mesh of cultural, linguistic and religious
    identities. Yet, it is in our area that we should be comfortable claiming
    multiple identities as individuals or as groups

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Fessahaye,

      Thank you for your expanded, and very informative, contribution to the discussion on this very important issue, specially to us Eritreans, who have been engaging for a long time in pursuit national consensus based settlement of the languages as mediums for nation building in unity. You have added a broader perspective to the discussion.

      Moreover, I agree with you that we do not have the luxury of shying away from debating and settling this crucial matter, which is bound to determine which way our nation’s future shall go. The call is on the elites, with the experts and the learned at the forefront.

      Thanks again,

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Fessahaye,

      Very intetesting comment on anthropological history. Could you write it in an article form for the front page of awate.com. Thank you .

      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Fessahaye Mebrahtu

        Dear Amanuel,
        Thanks for the suggestions; the possibility is there if it is not for a lack of time.
        Take care,

    • Haile Zeru

      Hi Fissehaye Mebrahtu,

      You said:

      “Ancient Egypt uses the word aHa for cattle like in Tigrinya but it call
      LAHM (LAM) for cow, etc…”

      In Tigrayit the word aHa (ኣሓ), in Tigrinya translates to ከብቲ (pl.). In English the word translates to cattle.

      While the singular ላም in Tigrinya and LAHAM in arabic in Tigrayit it is translated ወአት (We Et) (sing.)

      I am wondering how were you able to find what the word “ aHa” means in ancient Egyptian?

      I do not know if it is simple coincidence or there are some indications to follow here.

      As for the alphabet I have the following observations:

      letters ጰ ፐ ቨ look like the authors of Geez alphabet were trying to accommodate the ancient Greek
      language. In Tigrayit, Tigrinya and Amharic root words I do not know any word that uses them.

      On the other hand the letters ጐ ቈ ኰ and similar characters –which my keyboard is
      not producing- seem to try to accommodate the African languages, like for example Bilin. I do not know Bilin but when I hear them speak they make lots of sounds that could be written with those characters.

      The similarity with Greek alphabet is mentioned below.


      • Solomon

        Selamat Haile ZerUu,

        Speaking of coincidences…. Along with your three letters above picture the g’eez characters HA and MA for example and next visualize your mouth, tongue and vocal organs as you sound all five or all g’eez characters.

        The field of linguistics maybe “it’s all Greek to me” but I think g’eez accommodating ancient Greek languages is rather jumping to the conclusion without exhaustive scientific data testing.

        Do the sounding out all G’eez alphabets while simultaneously visualizing pencil sketches of your vocal mechanics can one argue with regards to TIME: Greek < coincidence < G'eez?

        TugTug is what I call a motorcycle in my Tigrigna language communications. Baburrrrr Baburai,…

        Indo China Seas via the Indian Ocean easy access of Black Skinned Africa arguments we may be lacking as of yet.

        I have a great app and guarantee Billion Dollar generator! Fund us with a serious inquiries and check with amount signed. No leaches and or time wasters. Self respecting entrepreneurs only…. The we as in fund us tbd tba.


        • Haile Zeru

          Hi Solomon,
          Please cut the crap and state what you want to say in short, clear, crispy and concise form.
          Thank you

        • Fessahaye Mebrahtu

          Dear Solomon,

          “The field of linguistics maybe “it’s all Greek to me” but I think g’eez accommodating ancient Greek languages is rather jumping to the conclusion without exhaustive scientific data testing.” It is historical fact that the bible and some of the liturgical books were translated from Greek into Ge’ez; therefore, there are several words incorporated into Ge’ez as well as the letter ጰ to accommodate letter P. The few Greek words loaned from Greek used extensively in ecclesial and spiritual environment in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are: Eucharist= ኣኰቴት, monk= መነኮስ, Paraclete= ጰራቅሊጦስ, ጴጥሮስ=Peteros, ጳውሎስ=Paulos ኢትዮጵያ=Ethiopia even the word Jesus=ኢየሱስ is Greek transliteration if it was directly translated from Hebrew or Aramaic it would have pronounced Yashu’A=ያሹዓ and would have been closer to the Arabic Issa=ዒሳ.
          Therefore, if you were looking for some other evidences of Greek words assimilation in Ge’ez liturgy there are plenty more. The early Christian Church used Greek as a medium but around the time Christianity came to our area, new converts were using their indigenous languages. Ge’ez having its own scripts to became convenient. By the way Ge’ez was the first Semitic langauge to incorporate vowels into its consonants way before Arabic and Hebrew.

          • Solomon

            Selamat Fessehay Mebrahtu,

            I am not questioning the Greek influence on the Bible and liturgical books. My query is on the G’eez alphabets’ possibility predating the Greeks. It may very well be true that the alphabets could have adapted some from the Greek’s and vice versa. My evidence you can try out for yourself and perhaps share your thoughts. I don’t think I am offending the Greeks or affecting other’s current diplomatic relationships?

          • Fessahaye Mebrahtu

            Hello Solomon,
            There is no argument here; we all agree that Ge’ez scripts developed out of the Sabean scripts, which predates the adaptation of Greeks letters from the Phoenicians. Sabean and Phoenocian scripts come from the same roots, let’s call it proto-semitic. Therefore, Ge’ez and Greek might have borrowed or developed their respective letters from Sabean and Phoenician, who had common roots. What I am trying to address is that Ge’ez might have depended on Greek for Scriptures but not on the alphabets.

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Haile Zeru

        “In Tigrayit the word aHa (ኣሓ), translates to ከብቲ (pl.) in Tigrinya and cattle in English.”

        In Tigrigna:

        Cow – ላም (ላሕሚ)
        Cows – ኣሓ
        Cattle (cow, ox (bull), calf) – ከብቲ

        • Haile Zeru

          Selam ST

          In Tigrigna/Tigrayit:

          Cow – ላም (ላሕሚ) /In Tigrayit ወኣት. I never heard a Tigrayit speaker refer to a cow laham or lahmi. At least not in the area I grew up on. I am just stating my observation.I am not saying you said so.

          Cows – ኣሓ /In Tigrayit if all are cows, no Oxen, and you want to be specific you would say ኣሓ ኣንሳት

          Cattle (cow, ox (bull), calf) – ከብቲ / in Tigrayit ኣሓ

          Same for ምራኽ; ምራኹት (probably gender neutral) / in Tigrayit እጋል for one (gender neutral), እግል ኣንሳት for many females.

          Actually when I was hearing a Tigrinya speaker saying ኣሓ I was thinking s/he was using the Tigrayit version for ከብቲ. I never though it is a proper Tigrinya word.

          IF some one has a different take, on the Tigrayit part, I like to hear.

      • Fessahaye Mebrahtu

        Dear Haile Zeru,

        “Ancient Egypt uses the word aHa for cattle like in Tigrinya but it call LAHM (LAM) for cow, etc…” In Tigrayit the word aHa (ኣሓ), translates to ከብቲ (pl.) in Tigrinya and cattle in English. While the singular ላም in Tigrinya and LAHAM in arabic in Tigrayit it is translated ወአት (We Et) (sing.) I am wondering how were you able to find what the word “aHa” means in ancient Egyptian? I do not know if it is simple coincidence or there are some indications to follow here.

        In Tigrinya there is regional variations for example word ኣሓ=ከብቲ are used interchangeably in many Tigrinya speaking areas. When this word is used by Tigrayit it reinforces my point because the pastoralist
        northern and southwester Eritrean would have more direct contact with ancient Egyptians assuming there was no major population overhaul. The word ኣሓ (aHa) in ancient Egypt according to Martin Bernal, author of the volumes of Black Athena indicates has points out to the word ወርሒ= ሓዳስ ወርሒ ቀርኒ ከብቲ ትመስል-crescent moon resembling horned cow. Here we came even into more interesting discovery – the root word
        for werHi in Tigrinya and Ge’ez also related to ancient Egyptian language, which also true in Hebrew=YRH. On the other hand the word ላሕም=ላሕሚ=ላም derives from Ge’ez ላሕም=ኣልሕምት in our colloquial usage of Tigrinya the plural of ላ(ሕ)ም ኣላሕም is mostly in Tigrai and some parts of Eritrea but some people
        use ላማት, which technically is not correct. For some strange reason in some areas we shift from ላም (noun singular) to ከብቲ (kebti) or ኣሓ (aHa) collective noun for plural. Let us go back to ላሕም=ላሕሚ=ላም Ge’ez, Tigrinya and Amharic means cow. In Hebrew LHM means bread; though I do not speak Arabic from my inquiries LAHAM means meat. What all have in common = sustenance or food. The word ወአት in Tigrayit needs further comparison with neighboring languages and I will also check Ge’ez dictionaries if there is any archaic word not commonly used.

        As for the alphabet I have the following observations: letters ጰ ፐ ቨ look like the authors of Geez alphabet were trying to accommodate the ancient Greek language. In Tigrayit, Tigrinya and Amharic root
        words I do not know any word that uses them.

        Your observation of the three letters is correct. As I mentioned in my response posting Liturgical
        Books and even earlier the Bible was translated from the Greek Septuagint (mostly used by Catholics and Orthodox Churches) as the basis. During that time our ancestors were wise enough to adapt a local sound ጰ from Kushitic languages namely in Sidaminya and Ormiya. If you notice the letter ፐ is the last letter in our alphabets indicating it was added later. In my opinion, this letter is redundant the letter ጰ would have been enough to accommodate the loan European words that have P. For example, those of are of old school prefer to use ኤሮጳ for Europe instead of ዩሮፕ or ኤሮፓ. Again ቨ was added to accommodate our encounter with other languages the have V sounds. Initially the letter ፈ with a line over it was accommodating for V but after the fall of federation ቨ replaced it.Incidentally, the person who created ቨ in Ethiopia happened to be an Eritrean too. This accommodation shows the dynamism of Ge’ez alphabets that can be adapted by other languages instead of abandoning it in favor or Latin or Arabic scripts.

        On the other hand the letters ጐ ቈ ኰ and similar characters –which my keyboard is not producing- seem to try to accommodate the African languages, like for example Bilin. I do not know Bilin but when I hear them speak they make lots of sounds that could be written with those characters.

        This odd letters are created to accommodate mostly Kushitic languages and some Tigrinya and Amharic words; therefore, your observation is correct. For example, ቋንቋ instead of ቁዋንቁዋ; ጓንጓ፡ ጐይታ፡ ዓንቋ ጓሂ ወዘተ…። There are some Kushitic words or sounds that cannot precisely pinned down by Ge’ez alphabets but with creativity I have no doubt these could be achieved as our ancestors were able to do it with: ሰ=ሸ, ቀ=ቐ, ተ=ቸ, ጠ=ጨ, ደ=ጀ, ዘ=ዠ, ነ=ኘ. The late Dr. Kidanemariam Zerezgi, in his book ፊደላት ብሓዲሽ ብልሓት correctly calls theme ሰረጽቲ ፊደላት derivative letters. Finally, I am very strong proponent on not reducing our alphabets by eliminating the so duplicate letter such as ሰ vs. ሠ, ጸ vs. ፀ, ሐ vs.ኀ. The words used by each letter direct us to their historical roots and their association with other languages.

        I hope this answers some of your questions.

        • Haile Zeru

          Hi Fissehaye,
          Thank you for the clarification. It is great to read your exposition of the subject matter

        • Abraham H.

          Selam Fessahaye M.,
          Thanks for your educational and interesting comments. You wrote “If you notice the letter ፐ is the last letter in our alphabets indicating it was added later. In my opinion, this letter is redundant the letter ጰ would have been enough to accommodate the loan European words that have P”. In my view these two Geez alfabets represent two distinctive sounds, hence ፐ is not reduntant:
          Examples: ኢትዮጵያ not አትዮፕያ፣ ስጳኛ not ስፓኛ፣ ጴጥሮስ not ፔትሮስ፣ ጰንጤ not ፐንቴ፣ ፊሊጶስ not ፊሊፖስ፣ ጳውሎስ not ፓውሎስ፣ ጳጉመን(?) not ፓጉመን

      • Haile Zeru

        Selam all


        “LAHAM in Arabic”, this should be LAHM in Geez, not in Arabic.

  • sara

    Dear Awtistas
    I thank the commentators for the contents/information they are bringing to the forum and their way of discussion
    very cordial – educational and helpful to many of us who had no chance to read stories and history of the region.
    may i also ask about an entity who are in north Africa , the Amazigs– their scripts ( even their music) have similarities to those mentioned in this discussion. could this people also moved from this part of the world, because there is similar discussion going on now in the Maghreb countries.

  • Semere


    Just because there are some similar words between Arabic and Tigriyna/Amharic it does not make Arabic as the original language. Trade and migration may contributed to the exchange of words. The biggest question that needs to be answered is that why there is no similarities between the Arabic and Ge’ez Alphabets? Please give us some light regarding this matter.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Greetings Semere Tesfai,

      Semere Tesfai says:

      “Just because there are some similar words between Arabic and Tigriyna/Amharic it does not make Arabic as the original language. Trade and migration may contributed to the exchange of words.”

      Today I will give some medical prescription to Semere Tesfai who is notorious for his severe Arabphobia and Islamphobia. You always get him out of breath when he hears Arabs or Islam. It is natural for a kid exposed to wide propaganda to feel so, but will be unnatural for a matured person in advanced age. Semere aspires to live in a world clean of every human being except his sect that speaks Tigrinia.

      He also says:

      “The biggest question that needs to be answered is that why there is no similarities between the Arabic and Ge’ez Alphabets? Please give us some light regarding this matter.”

      Semere poses a big question. It is the first time to face such a brainstorming question. Any how I will try to answer his question. Geez was the South Arabian alphabets and the alphabets used today is Northern Arabia alphabets. You may ask why did they drop Geez? The answer is simple, the Northern Arabia alphabets were more simple and functional.

      The numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 are Arabic numerals. Nowadays, they are used by the West. The West dropped their Roman numerals and utilized the Arabic numerals, because they are more functional than I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X. There is no zero in these numbers therefore they became very difficult to use them. The Arabs left their numerals and are using Indian numerals. I hope now you understood why there is no similarities between Arabic and Geez alphabets. There is always a continual move of cultures and people. The world is not stagnant as you think.

      The digits (the main drive) utilized in computers and mobiles are Arabic numerals. (Semere Tezemitka mobile Derbiyo, keyboard Sibero, Arab Hawisomilka Ab’u Alawu). You are still raw (Chuw Zibele Hagre Seb). Please don’t tell people I live in America; but tell them I am from Waki Hibey.

      Tigrinia = Arabic = English
      ኣቦ (Abo) = ኣብ (Ab) أب = Father
      ኣሞ (Amo) = ኡም (Um) أم = mother
      ኣንስተይቲ (Anisteity) = ኡንሳ (Unsa) أنثى = female
      ተብዓታይ (TebAtai) = ተብዓታይ (TebAtai) تبعتاي / عاشق = male
      ሰብኣይ (SebAi) = ሳቢይ (Sabei) صبي = man
      ሰበይቲ (Sebeiti) = ሳብያ (Sabeiyah) صبية = maid / woman
      ኣኮ (Ako) = ኣኹ (Akhu) أخ = brother
      ሓማት (Hamat) = ሓማ (Hamah) حماة = mother-in-law
      ወዲ (Wadi) = ዋላድ (Walad) ولد = boy
      ጋል (Gal) = ቓሊ (Gali) غالية / محبوبة = girl
      ቁማል (Qumal) = ቁማል (Qumal) قمل = lice

      I think these are enough for today. I wonder, what was Semere calling his father before he imports the word “Abu”? Secondly, I ask Mr. Semere: Did you imported or exported lice “Qumal” in your trade?

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam Hameed,

        This is not Semere Tesfai, it is a different Semere.

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Selam Simon Kaleab,

          He is the likes of Semere Tesfai. It works for both. I think, I didn’t miss my trigger.

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

        From proud Chuw Zibele Hagre Seb from Waki Hibey to my dear friend Hameed Al-Arabi

        Tigrignia Arabic English

        ርእሲ رئيس (ራኣስ) Head
        ልሳን لسان (ልሳን) Tongue
        የማን يمين (የሚን) Right
        ዓይኒ عين (ዕይን) Eye
        ሽዀር سكر (ሱዀር) Sugar
        ታሕቲ تحت (ተሓት) Under
        ሩሕ روح (ሩሕ) Soul
        ዓለም العالم (ኣል-ዓለም) world)
        ዕምሪ عمر (ዕምር) Age
        እዝኒ إذن (እዝን) Ear


        Let me know if you need some more

        Semere Tesfai

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Selam Semere Tesfai,

          Brother Semere says:
          “If calling me “Chuw Zibele Hagre Seb”, “Qumal”, “fara”, Waki Hibey…….. – does make you fell important, civilized, educated, intelligent, smart, neat, well groomed, elegant…… – please fell free any time to call me all those names and some more. And trust me, I really mean it!!!.”

          Brother, I don’t feel important, civilized, ….. etc. at the expense of your proudness. I think you misunderstood me. What I am doing is just high-lightening your irrationalities. My endeavor is to pick you up from the mire; for I believe a single person can make a country lag hundred years behind. Since you failed short to learn from the well-cultivated medium you work and reside, you deserve “Weki Hibei” of the Stone Age. All your master plans led Eritrea to where you live actually, the Primitive Age. After all your “Hashawiye to Hell” you request us to call you the smart Semere; really it is “Zemene Grenbit, Mai NiAqib”.

          UNBELIEVABLE, say it again Mr. Semere: “Almost all Tigrigna words that are used at – tea/coffee-shops (እንዳ ሻሂታትን ጋህዋታትን), restaurant (መጥዓም), corner stores (ድኳናት), and street talks (ዘረባ ጽርግያ) are almost all Arabic words.” By saying this you have covered a lot of the mission. After sometime (Senih Elki Ayai Kitibli Ekhi) you will acknowledge the rest.

          All of your list words are good but I think there are words outside restaurants. I think (Eta Silsi Gle Qmemat Grkala) anyhow it was very tasty. Please, don’t forget “Shahin Banin”. Did Isaias leave in it “Shahin Banin”? Cry My Beloved Country!!!

          Now let me go back to the list of Semere Tesfai BODY PARTS:

          Tigrinia ……………… Arabic ……………… English

          1- ሕቆይ (Hiqoi) ……. ሓቅዋይ (Haqwai)حقوي /خاصرة …. loin
          2- ክሳድ(Kisad)……………….. ካሳድ(Kasad) موقف ……………… neck
          3- ጩግሪ(Chogri)……… ሻጃሪ(Shajari)شجري ………………………. treelike
          4- መዓንጣ(MaAnta) …………… ማዓ(MaAh) معى …………. intestine
          5- መንኩብ(Minkub) …………… መንከብ(Menkub)منكب …………. shoulder
          6- ኣንቀር(Anqar) ……………………. ኣንቀር(Anqar) أنقر جوف …… cavity
          7- ጭሕሚ(Chihmi) ……………….. ስሕሚ(Sihmi) سحمي ……… beard
          8- ጎሮሮ(Gororo) …………………… ቃርቃራ(Gargara) قرقرة ……. throat
          9- ማህጸን(Mahsan)v………………… ምሕደን(Mihdan) محضن ……….. womb
          10- ምዕጉርቲ(MiAgurti) ……………. ሙቃዓር(MugaAr) مقعر …… cheek
          11- ቅልጽም(Qulsim)………………… ያልጥም(Yaltim) يلطم ……. forearm
          12- ከብዲ(Kebdi) ……………………….. ከብድ(Kebid) كبد ………. liver
          13- ኩሊት(Kulit) …………………… ክላ(Kila) كلى …………… kidney
          14- ቆርበት(Qorbet) ……………………. ቅርባ(Qirba) قربة ………. skin
          15- ኣፍንጫ(Afincha) ……………………. ኣፍንሻ(Afinsha) أفنشا …… nose
          16- ኣፍ(Af) …………………………………….. ኣፉ(Afu) أفو …………… mouth
          17- መልሓስ(Melhas) ……………………. ማልሓስ(Malhas) ملحس ….. tongue
          18- ኣስናን(Asnan) ………………………… ኣስናን(Asnan) أسنان ……………. teeth
          19- ስኒ(Sini) ……………………………….. ስን(Sin) سن …………………………. tooth
          20- ኣዕቃብ(AAgab) ………… ኣዕቃብ(AAgab) أعقاب … heel bone
          21- ኣጫብዕ(Achabe) ……….. ኣሳብዕ(AsabeA) أصابع ….. fingers
          22- ኣጻፍር(Asafir) …………. ኣዛፍር(Azafir) أظافر ………………. nails
          23- እዝኒ(Ezni) ………………… ኡዝን(Uzin) أذن …………………… ear
          24- እግሪ(Egri) …………………. ኣጅሪ(Ajri) أجري ……………………. leg
          25- ሳንዱቅ ኣፍልቢ ……. ሳንዱቅ ኣፍ ሉብ ቀልብ ……. chest
          26- ልብ(Lib) ………………………. ሉብ(Lub) لب …………….. heart
          27- ብርኪ(Birki) ………………….. ባራክ(Barak) برك ………………….. knee
          28- ጡብ(Tub) …………….. ጡብ(Tub) طوب لبن مستدير …….. breast
          29- ከርሽ(Kerish) ……………….. ከርሽ(Kerish) كرش ………….. stomach
          30- ርእሲ(RiEsi) …………………. ራኣስ(RaAs) رأس ……………… head

          I think it is enough upto here; no need to take out Semere pants to name that decency prevents.

          • Thomas

            Hi Hameed,

            There is no one who understands me like you do:) Hit this hagereseb wahid, he is really a weed to our society. I have for so long told everyone here that this hagereseb is insane. You see there is nothing wrong for being hagereseb grown up, but this guy has refused to think of outside of his stupid village wherever that might be:)

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Hameed Al-Arabi

            “After sometime (Senih Elki Ayai Kitibli Ekhi) you will acknowledge the rest.”

            Abu Humed: I did say “Ayai” already. I did concede defeat already. How could I possibly have a winning idea, when I’m against the best ideas Eritrea has even seen: ideas of Hameed Al-Arabi and that of Thomas the great – both obliterating the same target.

            You two sure – won in intelligence, in style, in elegance…… And you Hameed Al-Arabi decisively won in the proficiency and mastery of the English language, the Arabic language and the Tigrigna language – which I envy you in a positive way.

            Al-Arabi: You’re winning so much, I’m sure you’re tired of winning by now.

            But, but, but….لكن, لكن, لكن… With all your mastery and proficiency of the Arabic, English, and Tigrigna languages, حتى الآن – ትግራይትካ ሓዋኒት ‘ታ

            And one last thing: Please, please, please explain the word-origins of the Tigrigna laguage and the meaning of the words of أجزاء جسم الإنسان to صديقك በዓል ደብር: الحبشي Thomas. I’m glad you two are getting alone very well. Who said – ንኺድ ጥራይ – ብርሃን ዩ ቅድሜና is not real!!!!

            Thank you for engaging with respect, and thank you for showing me the humorous and the very humble side of you. Next – I hope ኣብዛ ኦለም ከለኹ I see the humorous and the loving side of Thomas 🙂

            Semere Tesfai

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Sela Semere Tesfay,

            Are you trying to tell us you are humorist? Even if we are not humorist we know what is humor and isn’t. Semere we know you that you are a straight shooter what ever is whether it is consequential or not. Unfortunately, like many in this forum when they are caught red handed with their mistakes they try to find refugee behind humor. So Semere it is good to learn from your mistakes. A guy who loves cultural intramural war can not be a humorist. Your comments reflects and support your articles, your articles reflect your conscious views (bad or good), and ultimately you will be judged your sociopolitical views by them.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • MS

            Haderka Emma tsaEda
            Semere Andom says Semere Tesfai oozes with humor. With that, Semere Tesfai could be thought of as the man showcasing Jabha Abbay’s humor side, that it was not not only Haradit, but a place where humor found some space. And who called it Haradit anyway? OK, Emma, calm down. I can see you boiling. It’s a joke/humor.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Mahmuday,

            It is okay to convey your message with jokes. Am I right? Is that what you are trying to tell me? ነገሩ ሰው አብሎ: ቆብ ከብሎ ስለዝኾነ: ቆብ አቢለዮ አለኹ ግደየብልካን ማሕሙዳይ ዓርከይ:: This was one of the phrases in the brainwash manual of your organization. We got it, and we lived with it for decades. It was an instrument for killing each other. You could joke with anything but not with the “cause” of death of many of our brothers and sisters. This is not boiling but a reminder to you.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Emma,

            You have to sympathize with Mahmouday and his colleagues, they are traumatized after believing the agitation message propagated by Isaias’ Nehnan Elamanan. But they know who is the champion of Haredti–they loved him so much they put him on a throne for life, now he the guy is lording over Eritrea with a few of his colleagues? They know he (and his colleagues) eliminated scores of known characters, not imaginary ones with no names? Otherwise, how is it difficult to discern and sift propaganda from real events after so many decades? I guess there is no hindsight. Too partisan for many I might add. If one could not come up with the names of the claimed victims, that qualifies “Amma” as Haradit, the best thing is not to provoke people. Ezzam bet essat alle say the Amhara, but who needs such diatribe that I wrongly thought is behind us> Who thought!!!

            But honestly, some people have a long way to walk (to arrive at 2016 rather) before they divorce ideas they espoused in the struggle era. Such statements cannot pass the test of humor. After all, even humor is the product of what is in the heart (in the mind, rather). The Arabs say, “menn shebba alaa Shei’in, shaaba Aleihi” (old habits die hard) with you Amanuel Haradi, maybe you still have your daggers and knives hidden somewhere and God save us if you get urge to slaughter “Mudadda” anew 🙂

            Dear Mahmuday, provoking people using old, tired, and archaic partisan jabs has become your hallmark, your emblem and slogan. Please come out of it. It’s not not wise.

          • Ismail AA

            Dears Aman And SJ,
            Well said brothers.

            I agree that those who carry on with venomous propaganda of decades back inculcated deep in their minds would never understand spouting them serves no purpose in this precarious times our people are living through.

            I would like to share with you a brief story to underscore the depth of damage those toxic falsehood spread among our innocent citizens. After the signing of the failed unity agreement between the ELF and the EPLF in October 1977, directives were issued to branch offices of the two organizations to organize exchange of visits. In our in the ELF information office in Beirut, Lebanon, we invited the EPLF office there to encourage some of their members to come and visit our office.

            They sent some women with several advanced in age among them. We received them warmly with some tea and soft drinks. When I was serving tea, I over heard two of the older ladies whispering to one another. One among them said to the one next to her: “ዋይ! እዚኦ ደኣ ሰብ እንድዮም ሓረድቲ ዝበሉና” .

            You can see how vicious and reckless the authors of those hate campaign were. And the sad side of it all is that some of the receivers of that propaganda still peddle those none sense.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Ismail,

            Talking about the 1977 Khartoum unity agreement, let me share you about the discussion of three comrades (Seyoum Ogbamicael, Dr Habte, and myself) at the Red cross & crescent office, regarding the hopes and the dilemma of the signed document of unity. The euphoria and the optimism I had to the prospect of it at that time, I can’t express it in words. Similarly, Dr Habte was less emphatic but still optimistic. Seyoum was pessimistic. The reason he was giving us, that Issayas and his colleagues signed it as a tactical move to get a breathing room from the war fatigue in capturing of many towns and cities by both organizations. And he continued by saying a man who built his organizations by regional and religeous sentiment can not survive his political ambition under the premises of unity. Seyoum was right that Issayas can not survive in a united Eritrea. Dr Habte’s and myself ‘s optimism was baseless and was rooted barely on wishes. Soon after the debacle and ignominious failure of khartoum agreement, I was reminded what an EPLF cadre told ne in 1976. Unity is not something like a seed, you saw, it germinates, it grows, and harvest it, rather it comes bringing the people by force and showing them hardworking. So brother that philodophy is still working in our Eritrea.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Saleh Johar

            I want to ask you a favor – if you could please. Could we have a ‘humor corner’ here at Awate (like the Jebena we had) so we can share jocks – fit for Awate guidlines.

            I’m not interested in just jokes, but funny life experience stories of our generation – the Ghedli generation. Before I introduced myself to Awate I was thinking to write a book about Hikaya Tegadelti, memorable words and quotes of Tegadeltis and some more. But………….

            Saleh: this is a story of our generation. If we don’t tell it to the younger generation and to the world, it will be gone for good never to be recovered.

            If you give us a space I would volunteer to write at least one joke (funny life experience) at least for a year. Word. Mind you: not all mine but for sure my own generation expressed in my words.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Greetings Mahmud Saleh,

            “And who called it Haradit anyway?”

            Ans: Your godfather.

  • Abu Ahmad

    Br. Solomon,
    Sorry for not responding to your question on time. Regarding to how many identical terms of Tigrayiet with Arabic I have, I am sure there are going to be way more than Tigringa and Amharic. The reason I have started with Tigringa was, some individuals claimed that Arabic has nothing to do with Tigringa. however; I am going to continue to search both Tigrayiet and Amhara. There are also similarities among all the rest of the Semitic languages such as Kaldani, Seryani, Arami, Arabic, Tigrayiet, Tigringa, Amharic and Hibru with the Southern Arabic including some old existing old Arabic such as alfaif and almahara.
    Regarding to Khartoum Bahri, in this case Bahri does not mean Bahar. Bahri in this case indicates the direction where cold air blows from. For example, when you say Bahri in Egypt, it mean north East, in Khartoum and Port Sudan could be a different direction. Another direction indicator is called Ibli which indicates the direction towards Mecca.
    Another Semitic language is Asyrian. Asyrian is a Semitic language that is used today mostly in Syria and Iraq.
    It is also amazing to find similar terms between Seryani, Arabic and Tigringa which proves that all this Semitic languages have the same root which is old Southern Arabic. Check this out:
    Geez Arabic Asyriani prounsation in Tigringa
    ቀሺ قس قاشو ቃሾ
    በቅሊ بغل بغلو በቅሎ
    ግመል جمل جملو ጃምሎ
    ተብዓታይ ከልቢ كلب كلبو ካልቦ
    ኣንስተይቲ ከልቢ كلبة كلبتو ካልባቶ
    ልሳን፧ ቋንቃ لغة / لسان ليشونو ልሽኖ
    ምልኪ مملكة مملختو መምለኽቶ
    ሹቅ سوق شوقو ሹቅ

  • ‘Gheteb

    ‘Egyptian’ (Beja) And Aboriginal Eritreans: The Warp And Woof Of Eritrea’s Ethnic Fabric


    Those who mouth and spout incessantly that they are the progenitures of Habasha/G’eez conveniently forget or ignore certain undeniable facts. I know, of course, that they are helplessly inured to regurgitating the same apocryphal renditions that they are of Habasha and G’eez extractions and hence the implied claims that Eritrea’s ethnic groups are a product of Habasha/G’eez genealogy. I am telling them that ain’t the case.

    From the recent unearthed archeological findings to the writings of early travelers to the region one can readily discern that the early inhabitants of what is now Eritrea are non other than the Bejas and what are commonly known as the ‘aboriginal Eritreans’. What is more, is the fact that many an oral narrations (folktales) and local genealogical Eritrean family trees neatly dovetails to the account that the Bejas and the Eritrean aborigines were the originators of most, if not all, of Eritrea’s ethnic groups.

    First, the archeological remains of “black ware pottery” found in the environs of Asmara is ‘Bejaian’ in the sense that these products have been historically associated with the Bejas. These are from settlements that date back to the 2nd millennium BCE.

    Second, Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst, in her book “Ethiopia A Cultrural History, 1955”, P. 22 says the following if this very “Habesha people” were even present in the Axumite kingdom.

    ” .. Cosmas Indicopleustes, the famous Greek-speaking Egyptian traveler who visited the Axumite Kingdom in 525 CE, made NO reference to Habesha.”

    If you were in Cosmas Indicopleustes’s shoes, you wouldn’t be talking about a non-existent ethic group. Or would you? However, European travelers in the earlier days, such as Mr. Salt, described the Axumite as a hybrid of aboriginal Axumites and Egyptian (Beja) people. I hope you have noticed the term “aboriginal Axumites and Egyptian (Beja) people” here.

    Third, as it has been narrated Tigrigna language/genealogy experts about the origin of the Eritrean Kebessa people and their language, the migration pattern is from what is now the Southern Egyptian, Sudan (Merowe) መረወ. Here the recurrent name that is unfailingly mentioned is that of King Meroni (ንጉስ ሜሮኒ) and his son Romay (ሮማይ) or Romhay (ሮምሃይ) who was the first King of Axum.

    The local Eritrean genealogical narrations and the renditions by Tigrigna language/genealogy experts limns or depicts the following family tree:

    King Meroni (ንጉስ ሜሮኒ) ——–>>> Faluq ( ፋሉቕ ) Maluq (ማሉቕ) Chaluq (ጫሉቕ) Nuqtan (ኑቕጣን) and Yuqtan (ዩቕጣን). These five individuals were not exactly the progenies of King Meroni as the only offsprings so far spoken of were Romay ( ሮማይ), the first King of Axum, and Qedes (ቀደስ) the Queen of what is later known as Nubia. The five individuals were probably associates/followers or soldiers of King Meroni.

    At least one of these five individuals is mentioned in the Bible and he is referred as “Joktan” or also identified as “Qahtan” which ,if you ask me, is eerily identical to Yuqtan (ዩቕጣን). And, the locale to which this very “Joktan” or his Eritrean iteration of Yuqtan (ዩቕጣን) is assigned to is non other than Hadramaut, Yemen, or the Biblical identification of “Hazarmawet”. Now, you are asking how does this fit into the local folktales and expert Eritrean narrations, well then, here is how the arrival of the Eritrean ancestors is yarned and narrated.

    The progenies of Seba (ሴባ) and NOT Saba (ሳባ) or Sheba (ሻባ) were forced out and expelled from their original place which was located in what is now Jordan and migrated through the Arabian deserts, through Saudi Arabia and Yemen and after crossing the Red Sea they made their way to Eritrea/Sudan and settled and dispersed from what is now Northern Sudan after they established the Kingdom of Merowe or the Kingdom of Kush. The two tribes that forced and pushed away the Seba tribes of King Meroni are identified as the tribes of Deda and Meda ( ዴዳ and ሜዳ).

    Interestingly, the Nabatian tribes lived in what is now Jordan and who are believed to have given rise to the Arab ethnicity and Arabic language are identified as Nabatians. Nabatian, reduced to its root word, is Nabata which is exactly the same as Napata. And, Napata was the name of a city-state of ancient Nubia on the west bank of the Nile River, at the site of modern Karima, Northern Sudan and the kingdom of Merowe. Do you sense any validity to the oral Eritrean narrations here?

    Although the languages of G’eez and Arabic descend from a Semetic language tree, the latter (Arabic) resulted from CENTRAL SEMETIC branch while the former (G’eez) descended from SOUTHWEST SEMETIC branch of what is now assumed as a PROTO-SEMETIC language. And, the scripts or alphabets are ,in a sense, different. While G’eez’s alphabets originated from a proto-G’eez South Arbian Epigraphic, Arabic alphabets are of Aramaic/Nabatean originations. The fact that Tigrigna or G’eez share the same or similar words should not be of any surprise to anyone. After all, both languages originated from the same PROTO-SEMETIC language.

    What is more, is the fact that both languages were in close proximity where the dominant language influencing the less dominant language , be it because of religion or material culture. Therefore, the diffusion of words or the borrowing of words from the stronger or more established language to the one in infancy or still evolving. Even these days we see Arabic words percolating and being borrowed and naturalized into Tigrigna and other languages. Therefore, it is not surprising at all that Tigrigna and Arabic share many words.

    G’eez originated in Eritrea as old G’eez scripts are found in the obelisk of Mount Metera (እምባ መጠራ) and probably spread to Yemen and replacing the South Arabian Epigraphic during the reign of King Ezana (ንጉስ ዓዘና) when he ruled part of what is now known as Yemen. Hence the spread of G’eez scripts in Yemen. Now, the conventional thinking is that Tigrigna, Tigrait originated or descended from G’eez is only solid and correct to a certain point. Of course, Tigrigna adopted the G’eez alphabets or Fidelat and there is a close similarity between G’eez and Tigrait so much so that the shared linguistic genes between these three languages is quite apparent.

    The question that has not so far been answered satisfactorily is the relationship between these three languages. Did G’eez ‘father’ or ‘mother’ both Tigrait and Tigrigna? Are they the direct descendants of the language G’eez? Were the languages Tigrigna and Tigrait used in Eritrea contemporaneously with G’eez? Or these Tigrigna or Tigrait speakers used a language that was similar or related to G’eez. According to some Tigrigna language experts, there was another language before Tigrigna called Surtset (ሱርጸት) and very similar to that of Tgrigna and Tigrait. Could this spoken language called Surtset (ሱርጸት) be deemed and considered as “proto-Tigrigna” language? Of course, some linguist are of the opinion that the Tigrait language is not a direct descendant of the G’eez language and should only be seen as “the cousin of G’eez language”.

    Even modern DNA analysis is showing that the Eritrean, the Ethiopian/Somalian/ Djiboutian for that matter, genetic pool is 70-80% Beja/Aboriginal East African and 20-30% Middle Eastern and North African.

    What this means in the Eritrean context is that a prototypical Eritrean ( a non Kunama/Nara/Rashida and those recently mixed with other races) will have the following genetic profile:

    — Beja/East African ( 70 to 80 ) Percent of his/her genes are from a Beja/Aboriginal East African pool.

    — Middle Eastern/North African ( 39 to 20 ) Percent of his/her genes from an Arab, Berber/North African genetic pool.

    There you have it and so much for all the hoopla about The Abyssinia ( Al Habasha) and the soi disant Habasha people.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Greetings Gheteb,

      Adem and Eve descended from Heaven on the Highlands of Eritrea. Civilization of mankind started in Asmara. The origin of all peoples around the world is “Hamat Hussein”.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Gheteb,
      This is a very useful contribution. You have enriched the discussion and added one more perspective.
      I found a lot of things which, say 40 ago scholarship, on the subject did not offer. I could see considerable information has become available, a you mentioned for example the “black ware pottery”, of which I knew nothing in the past.
      The questions you have suggested towards the end of your discussion are legitimate and challenging to scholars and student on the field. Attention to the Bega element in this discourse is important because they are ubiquitous in studies both in pre- and post Aksum periods in the geographical areas you have alluded to.
      Thank you.

      • ‘Gheteb

        Selam Ismail AA,

        Thank you very much for the feedback and your take on the issue at hand. It is my hope that more work will be done in this field to help all of us gain new understanding.

        Again, thank you.

    • Solomon

      Selamat Gheteb,

      “And, the scripts or alphabets are ,in a sense, different. While G’eez’s alphabets originated from a proto-G’eez South Arbian Epigraphic, Arabic alphabets are of Aramaic/Nabatean

      Can you shed a little light on the significant similarities between the G’eez and Armenian alphabets. Also. The Delta and Theta in the Greek alphabets are unmistakably G’eez.

      I missed my Saturday opportunity to share a video link. It only means another week of lowering my bucket into Nahr Al Neil to fill up the Eittro for a cool quenching any passerby necessitates.

      I want to mention Hameed’s “Hamat Hussien” will be memorable I am sure.


      Psalm 122:1
      I rejoiced with those who said to me. “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”

      Yom Barikha


      • ‘Gheteb

        Selam Solomon,

        Thank you for the feedback. You are raising a very important question when you ask about “the significant similarities between the G’eez and Armenian alphabets”.

        I see at least two alphabet in Armenian that is very similar to that of G’eez which is the alphabet (g) — ገ –and maybe also the alphabet (t) — ተ — with some modification. In the Armenian case, you see that the alphabets are a bit slanted and more vertical in the case of G’eez.

        Here is the link. You may find more similarities and please share.


        Sure and you maybe right Solomon that the Greek alphabets Delta and Theta ( in the lower case, though) as there is an uncanny similarity between the two alphabets.

        Delta (uppercase Δ, lowercase δ or 𝛿) Greek, to G’eez’s ሳድስ of the alphabet ዐ, which is ዕ .

        Theta (uppercase Θ or ϴ, lowercase θ ) Greek, to G’eez’s ፀ.

        Having said that, we need to be careful here about which alphabet was adopted or taken from which language. FYI, the language of Greek was used extensively in the early periods of our regions history, be it in the Axumite Kingdom or in Adulis.

        Apropos Hameed’s “Hamat Hussien” (ሓማት ሑሴን), more is coming from my side about it on my next note when I hope to zero in on another aspect of the Eritrean Bejas.

        Again, thank you.

        • Solomon

          Selamat Gheteb,

          On my next trip to NYC or perhaps utilizing Google earth on the Armenian Church in Manhattan, a lot more than the two you mentioned above I have seen. Also spoken Aramaic, language used in Mel Gibson’s movie about the Christ, Jesus, I found my self not needing to read the subscripts a significant duration of the time. Unmistakable and most memorable being: “Inka demeyy siteyyo.”

          I have tried wikipedia and Google since, however I could not match my personal two experiences above.
          I believe the Afro Origins of G’eez, i.e. GuraE, Blen… Kushite etc.. as Mr. Fessehay Mebrahtu has suggested does have merit as far as understanding the nuances with regards to the topic language Beyan warns us as well as capturing the spirit of Dr. J SaleH’s paper when translating it into Tigrigna.

          I will check out the leads you have suggested. Thank you.

    • saay7

      Hala Cousin Gheteb:

      Very educational piece and please consider my post here as a questions seeking clarity and not meant to add to the Warp and the Woof and the whoop there it is 🙂

      You know that people have multiple identities and when they are frustrated with one, they seek meaning in the other. This is most commonly seen with people who become more religious.

      Now, let me ask you. Whether it’s Beja, Agazian, Habesha or Hagere Nagram who were the earliest inhabitants of Eritrea, was there an electrified wall between the southern parts of modern Eritrea and the northern part of modern Ethiopia or did they freely migrate across the non-existent border for example during drought and famine? Do they have the same customs, traditions, saints, way of life? Did they intermarry? If your answer is yes, what is happening is this: as Eritrea enters its dark ages those who seek inspiration elsewhere are finding it in religion or tradition and in some cases that means across Mereb. And they are mad because your buddies in the gov want them to feel guilty about that.

      And do Maluk and Chaluk have anything to do with the children’s rhyme:

      Lema kiflema
      Kifle liqi
      Liqi chifliqi
      Wxae wedi haqi

      One thing that gets missed in the discussion of whether the migration was East-West or West-East, isn’t the one constant: you share the same…something. Gene pool?

      By the way did you read Mustafa Lyesdie’s “men tom ertrawian jeberti?” I haven’t read it but from those who read it i am told Ali Salim has a lot of revising to do about his Bejastan 😄


      • ‘Gheteb

        Ahlan Cuz. SAAY,

        Thank you for the feedback.

        No. No. No., Sir. You can add as much to the warp and woof of the ethnic fabric of Eritrea. Even if you were to make a mincemeat out of what I write here, I assure you that no offense will be taken as any feedback emanating from your side adds more values and insights to what I write here. So please, do render your critique unrestrainedly and quit treating your 2nd cuz ‘Gheteb with kids gloves.

        Now let me see what I can say about the issues you have brought about.

        (A) You ask:

        ” …. was there an electrified wall between the southern parts of modern Eritrea and the northern part of modern Ethiopia? Or, did they freely migrate across the non-existent border for example during drought and famine? Do the people on both sides of the Mereb River (Tigrinya speakers) have the same language, customs, traditions, saints, way of life? Did they intermarry?”

        Of course, the movements of the early inhabitants of Eritrea was not restricted to Eritrea only. The very same people I am talking about in this note, the sons of Seba (ደቂ ሴባ), the followers of King Meroni, started from what is now Northern Sudan and spread all over Eritrea and then to Tigray, Ethiopia and even made it all the way to Wollo, Ethiopia.

        According to the oral narrations, there was ( is ????) a place called Kuazen Seba ( ኴዘን ሴባ) in what is now Tigray, Ethiopia showing the spread of this very same people to Tigray. Kuazen Seba ( ኴዘን ሴባ) means “the camp of the sons Seba or the soldiers of Seba”. Interestingly, in the Eritrean highlands, we have a name of a place or village called Kuazen (ኴዘን). I have also mentioned that the first king of the Axmite Kingdom was Romay, the son of King Meroni who was the most prominent figure of the sons of Seba.

        Not only that, in the lands of Beja (Beja Midr), in Ethiopia’s Gonder, there is place called Debat (ደባት) which, if you ask me, is a replica of a storied place in Sahel, Eritrea ,called DebAt (ደብዓት). You can ask your cousin Mahmmudai, if he has sojourned in DebAt (ደብዓት) and had his meals as this place was known as the first refugees haven in EPLF’s Sahel and as the hub of EPLF’s especial affairs ( ፍሉይ ጉዳይ).

        They are now saying that “ወልቃይት አማራ ነው”, The Welqayt people are Amaras, and I say, sure that maybe the case. But, first I would like to remind them that ” ወልቃይት በለው ነው”, The Welqayt are Belews (The Bejaized Arabs who spread not only in Eritrea, but further into Ethiopia).

        This is just to show that there was a free movements and intermarriages across the border. I have mentioned in my note that the genetic profile of those hailing from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti ( excluding some ethnic groups) is VERY similar.

        (B) Anent the “children’s rhyme”, I surely do remember playing it when I was a kid back home, but I have to admit it has never crossed my mind until you brought it up, Cuz. SAAY. I am not sure how it fits into the five individuals of ” Chaluq, Maluq, Faluq, as of yet and I hope others may shed light on it. Do you see now why I said that anything that comes from your side as a feedback, critical or not, adds more insight.

        (C) The shared gene pool between East and West or X and Y and vice versa that you are querying about is very interesting in the sense that it will unambiguously show if all the vaunted and much hyped narrations about the migration patterns across the Red sea region.

        I remember, and now please DO NOT laugh, when I was in 5th grade, in Keren’s Boys School, our social studies teacher used to harp on this line which went like this. Please, do remember that this is just from the top of my head.

        ” ኣያቶታችን ቀይ ባህር ተሻግርወ ወደ አትዮጵያ መጡ :: አኛ የሰምና የሃም ዲቃላዎች ነን::” ( our forefathers crossed the Red Sea and came to Ethiopia. We are a hybrid of Semetic and Hametic mixing”.

        Now, the most important question to ask is: has this migration from what is now Yemen happen and when and how did those migrants cross the Red Sea to land in what is now Eritrea and spread across the region? Was the migration big enough to make the genetic pool between these peoples ( East and West or X to Y) to be significantly similar? How much of their genetic pool is shared?

        (C) I haven’t read the book “Mustafa Lyesdie’s “men yom ertrawian jeberti?”” yet, but I hope to do so in the future. Ali Salims Bejastan is just simply untenable and is like a seed sown on a hard rock. I mean it won’t germinate or grow.

        Again, thank you Cuz. SAAY.

        • saay7

          Hey Cuz Gheteb:

          Thanks for the info.

          The smart-alec question about the electrified wall was to make this point: whether you call them Habesha, Agazian, Beja, the people of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan share a common history. Ali Salim told us (from his field visit:) that the people who straddle the Eritrea/Sudan border see themselves as one People and the governments of Sudan and Eritrea, for their domestic reasons, have accommodated this to the detriment of Eritrea and the benefit of Omar Albashir. Meanwhile, the Government of Eritrea has done everything possible to break the bond between Eritrea and Ethiopia (specially tigray) and those Eritreans who emphasize their Habesha identity assertively are rejecting this.

          There is one guy who didn’t think much of the word “Abyssinia”: it is Haile Selasse I and he did everything he could to drown that name and replace it with “Ethiopia.”

          That “did X go to Y or Y go to X” is, to me, an interesting discussion, specially when it is a push-back against accepted dogma. More interesting is, something else, which is a point I was trying to make this point to our long-departed cousin Hope when he was trying to argue that the Blin are “msmar mdr” not just in Eritrea but Ethiopia because the migration was from Eritrea to Ethiopia (Agaw.) More important, to me, is that they are the same people. And when you have same people in two countries, now you have a leverage for PEACE. Unfortunately, in our country, it doesn’t work out that way.

          Here’s a stunning discovery ( to me anyway) about the Lema, kiflema, nursery rhyme. There is, I learned today, an Oromo version. See if sounds familiar:

          Dinbish le Dinbish dinbish Nora.
          Nora mis kora miskor koti
          Koti selali selai embo
          Lembo mis Lembo mis le le walka
          Le walka tinantina mata arba sitaweka

          This reminded me that the line that was missing from my Tigrina version was Nora ms Nora.

          Nice, huh?


          • iSem

            Hi Sal:
            From all the articles of AL the Bejastan made more sense to me and especially the line you paraphrased above re the people thinking of themselves as one.
            I am sure I told you this, in 1986 when Sudanes were tired of Eritrean murdering one an other in their city of Kassala, they spontaneously erupted into violent demonstration after the murder attempt on Ab. Jellani and they burned the ELF garages, they broke into all the offices of the organizations, burned documents and closed offices for days. The slogan was: “La Tesfay wo la Idrissai”, neither Tesfay more Idrissai is allowed, the reference is obvious, Then A. Shasha, from the Hidarb etnic was the governor of the Eastern region and a week after the la Tesfay…” theme, the streets of Kassala was flooded with galloping horses, camels, arrows and swords were wielded by thousands of demonstrators of Tigre, Hidrarb and their slogan was, al-beled beledna wo al-hakim wolednna, the land and the governor belong to us.
            My friends and I went to watch it and one of my friends asked some young people, aren’t you Eritreans, they replied, yes, we are Eritreans. But why are you here, we are also Sudanese

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            Yes there was similar rhyme to that you learned from the Oromo culture in the kebesa culture, where our young girls sing when we were young, though I can not remember it now. The language were sounding like foreign language, and we never asked what their meaning were. Languages are ceated for communication purposes, but unfortunately,soc

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Emma and Saay7

            I found the rhyme in an article entitled “Tweedledum & Tweedledee: lqqi chflqqi” that I wrote in 2007. The link to the article is at the bottom of this comment. Here is the rhyme:

            nora msqora
            msqor, gondo gondo
            gondo senado
            sanday, sanday lema
            lema kflema
            kifle, kifle lqqi
            lqqi chflqqi
            sebar Ayni brki
            wsa’e wedi Haqqi.

            One morning I asked an elder who filled the missing parts for me while we ate bread with tea (he loved Hmbaasha so much)

            If you are interested in the context, here is the link:


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba SGJ,

            You are a reference in so many ways. You get it buddy.

            Thank you.
            Amanuel Hidrat

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Gheteb,

      1) “From the recent unearthed archeological findings to the writings of early travelers to the region one can readily discern that the early inhabitants of what is now Eritrea are non other than the Bejas… ”

      2) “European travelers in the earlier days, such as Mr. Salt, described the Axumite as a hybrid of aboriginal Axumites and Egyptian (Beja) people. ”

      3) ” …as it has been narrated by Tigrigna language/genealogy experts about the origin of the Eritrean Kebessa people and their language, the migration pattern is from what is now Southern Egypt, Sudan …”

      4) ” …G’eez originated in Eritrea as old G’eez scripts are found in the obelisk of Mount Metera (እምባ መጠራ) and probably spread to Yemen and replacing the South Arabian Epigraphic during the reign of King Ezana (ንጉስ ዓዘና) when he ruled part of what is now known as Yemen.”

      5) “According to some Tigrigna language experts, there was another language before Tigrigna called Surtset (ሱርጸት) and very similar to that of Tgrigna and Tigrait.”

      6) “Even modern DNA analysis is showing that the Eritrean, the Ethiopian/Somalian/ Djiboutian for that matter, genetic pool is 70-80% Beja/Aboriginal East African and 20-30% Middle Eastern and North African.”

      Any published references for the above by any chance?

      • ‘Gheteb

        Selam Simon Kaleab,

        Thanks for the inquiries you have posed. I will try to provide you with as much reference as I can.

        1) The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea by Peter R. Schmidt, Mattew C. Curtis and Zelalem Teka, p.284

        2) “Abyssinia And Its People” Life In The Land Of Prester John.
        Here you may need to read “Salt’s Voyage” Pages 43-44.

        3) a] https://youtu.be/9-4cDUdFKwU
        b] https://youtu.be/2sdOdAQAtHw
        c] https://youtu.be/ViJJ12J7Rc8

        4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ge%27ez_language#cite_ref-MAT_18-0
        Here check the origin of G’eez 5th to 7th centuries.

        5) Ibid. 3) You

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Gheteb,

          It would have been good to give published, peer reviewed references.

          In your previous post, you also said:

          ” .. Cosmas Indicopleustes, the famous Greek-speaking Egyptian traveler who visited the Axumite Kingdom in 525 CE, made NO reference to Habesha.”

          Can you logically infer that absence of reference by Cosmas is absence of evidence?

          Here is what Professor David Phillipson, a Cambridge University expert on African Anthropology and Archaeology wrote in his book ‘Foundation of an African Civilization: Aksum & The Northern Horn, 1000 BC – AD 1300’ :

          “Ezana’s stone inscriptions gave his titles according to a set formula : ‘king of Aksum and of [four places in Southern Arabia and three in the Horn, king of kings’. The kingdoms were nearly always listed in the same order:Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhan, Seyamo, Bega, Kasu. The trilingual inscriptions added Habasat and varied the order of the others.”- Page 84.

          He also writes: “All six texts of Ezana’s two trilingual slabs record the repression of a revolt by a people known as Bega: captives were taken and settled in Aksumite-controlled territory at a place called Matlia.” – Page 75.

          This indicates that, the Bega being to the North of the Aksumites were distinct from them.

  • Ismail AA

    Hayak Allah Mussa,

    Thank you for this thoughtful take on this important matter. I agree with your point that what western colonial grandeur minded scholars bequeathed to us should not be taken at face value. Advancement in research tools and indigenous erudition help to sift the gold from soil. The good side of the matters pertaining to ancient history cannot be endorsed as proven facts unless they pass rigorous scrutiny of the archeological relics and the information they provide.

    Another fact that should be kept in mind also is the phenomenon of migration of peoples shows it is not one directional. People move back and forth in multiple directions taking with them tools, languages, beliefs etc and interact with the peoples they encounter. Out of this new mix of cultures and civilization develop. Thus, it is reasonable to survey the what the host peoples had contributed to matters such as languages and cultures.

    The reason I am scribbling these few sentences is because I was alerted by some commenters suggestions about the indigenous side of the languages and their origin such as Geez and what it got from other languages of the localities in which it originated and grew. When I was at school (college) much had been given to us students about Geez, the Semitic languages etc. But do not remember study material that dealt with that side of the matter. I am speaking of course about college history curricula in Ethiopia. It may as well be that scholarship on the field has develop later.

  • Beyan

    Ahlan Ismail,

    Thank you for clarifying. I know where the confusion is emanating from. The article appears under my name, but all what one has to do to figure it out is read the intro and before the start of the article, it clearly provides the name of the author. The idea and the purpose of founding of GEAN is to bring the parallel universes of the two Eritrean camps – Those who make Arabic language their butter and bread profession-wise or simply identity-wise and the rest of us who make Tigrinya and English language the same as the Arabic camp, there has to be a way of finding a bridge that would link us.

    So, how do we narrow the gap? The answer, time and again, has been through common language. At Global Eritrean Advocacy Network (GEAN) we are trying to serve that purpose. We started with the language issue because it so happened Dr. Jelal was able to whip it out in short order. And, frankly speaking its importance both at metaphorical and at its literal level is not lost on us. The next one in line is the Eritrean refugees plight. Here, too, we are sponsoring Dr. Sadia Hassanen’s dissertation work that she did at the refugee camps in Eastern Sudan, to highlight the overall Eritrean refugees and the exodus dilemma. The Red Sea Press is slated to publish the second edition before the end of this year.

    The above are the two immediate and near-immediate plans that we are executing now. The biher (ethnicity) issue and the Land Proclamation are the other two pillars we are going to work toward addressing in similar fashion as the two aforementioned – through scholarly endeavors. So, we seek out professionals who can enlighten us on these matters as opposed to doing amateurish work; were we to do the leg work ourselves, which would require a great deal of time and energy that we clearly do not have. We welcome scholars who wish to enlighten us on these issues.


  • Fessahaye Mebrahtu

    The article is a good discussion raiser but from a scholarly speaking it needs to be challenged more, especially when we speak the root of the languages of Arabic, Hebrew and Ge’ez. The Semitic language group need to be analyzed more in light of the current attribution of Afro-Asiatic language family, except the small branch of Semitic language the rest are all in the continent of Africa. In this context, one cannot simply focus on where Ge’ez came from without addressing the other equally significant languages related to Semitic roots, i.e., Grurage, Gafat, Argoba, Hareri, etc. Therefore, the archaic approach Africa as a recipient not a contributor is rooted in racism towards Africa’s capacity. The author tends to glorify Arabic as the super family of the Semitic languages minimizing Ge’ez and Hebrew as dialects of it. Historically, Hebrew and Ge’ez are older than Arabic though we cannot deny all are sister languages. Finally, the influence of Ge’ez in Hebrew Scriptures and Holy Qur’an predates the translation of the books of some of the books from Coptic and Arabic.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Fessahaye,

      In broader sense of the study of the Semitic group, you have a point. The rest of the languages should have been included. But, I thought the author has narrowed focus on Geez and Arabic and their bearing on Eritrea and its immediate environs. His attention appears to have been concentration on facilitating historically surveyed premise for the discussions Eritreans continue to be engaged in regarding the Arabic language and its status in the Eritrean milieu.
      As to the author’s tendency glorifying Arabic at expense of Geez and Hebrew, I did not detect that anywhere in the text. I thought that he simply stated facts in accordance with the sources he had access.

  • Tewelde gebremariam

    Hi Beyan,
    There are differences between reconstructed and genuine history. What you have written is a reconstructed history of the past. It is a lot closer to fiction than reality. Every Eritrean ethnic group is proud of its own history, language, culture and tradition and therefore won’t go for any man-made fiction. If I were you I would not waste my time on it, specially when we should apply every energy we have to remove the impostor and build a Democratic State of Eritrea.

  • Abu Ahmad

    To those who think that Geez (Tigrayet, Tigringa and Amharic) have nothing to do with Arabic, even if we do not go back to history, the commonality of the terms will be a evident that they have the same root. One day while we were discussing in Pal talk regarding to the language issue and its relationship wth Arabic, a guy told me those common terms are not good proof. He added, languages barrow from each other. My response was, Eritrea has never been occupied or dominated by Arabs, so if so far I have more than 150 common words of Tigringa and Arabic, how did that became possible? I also asked him how many Bilen and Tigringa, Saho and Tigringa, Afar and Tigringa, Baza and Tigringa Baria and Tigringa, Elit and Tigringa common terms do we have? I requested only 10 and he was unable to provide. Therefore, even without going to the history, by studding the languages you will be able to conclude that booth Tigringa, Tigrayet and Amharic are originated from Geez which is an old Southern Arebian language.
    This is just a sample of my collections and I am still working on it. So far, I have more than 150 Arabic and Tigringa common terms.
    Tigringa Tigringa Prounsation Arabic Tigre
    ዓቅለ ግበር عقلي چبر اعقل
    ረዚን رزين رزين
    ዕርቡን عربون عربون
    ላሓስ لحس لحص
    መረር مرير مر
    ቆርባን قربان قربان
    ሓሞስ حموس الخميس
    ረቦዐ ربوع الربوع
    ሰሎስ سلوس الثلاثاء
    ሰንበት سنبت السبت
    ሸቃላይ شقالاي شغال
    ሓደሽ حديش حديث
    ምዚካር مذكار ذكرا
    ምቅባል مقبال استقبال
    ምሕካኽ محكاخ حك
    ኩሉ كل كل
    ምድፋን مدفان دفن
    ዓውድ عود عودة
    ጾም صوم صوم
    ዖና عونا عونا

    • Solomon

      Selamat Abu AHmed,

      I noticed the Tigrait language is not included with your how many Tigrait Tigrigna common words “can you come up with?”

      An Amharic or Tigrigna speaker with a good pitch listening ear would not find it difficult to communicate in the Tigrait language in a very short time, in my opinion.

      Furthermore, the “utilitarian” value, Mr. IsmaEilAA, is directing the readers should prompt us to put more emphasis on the Tigrait language, the closest of the three to G’eez, it’s due attention as being the conduit by virtue of the Tigrait speaking population’s geographic location. Not to mention as supporting the paper above resulting from Dr. Jalaal SaliH’s academic study.
      Humir bordering Southwest Eritrea and Eastern Sudan to Northern Eritrea through heading East on the Red Sea Coast then North to the Arabian Peninsula being the Two way rout.
      Mr. Fessehay Mebrahtu’s call for further challenge on G’eez’s African origins as a contributor I believe should be encouraged even more for it’s significant added value.

      Lastly, what is the Arabic Language equivalent word for word river (WuHuj in Tigrigna, I think)? I just am still lowering my empty buck (sankuelo) down and up to fill my Fifty galoans clay pots (Eittro) 🙂

      WuHujj enne baEley ‘baa you AAgittunna ‘tSenHe. Halibb TokhondaE ste’. Qrta and Thanks to all.


      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Dear Solomon,

        You inquired about Arabic Language equivalent word for word river (Wuhuj In Tigrinia? I have the following for you:

        ዉሒጅ = ሃጃ ኣልባሓር = هاج البحر = To run high

        ናህሪ = ናህሩ = نهر = Speed / flow / Stream

        ንሂሪዎ = ናሃራሁ = Reproach him

        ጸሎት = ሳላት = صلاة = Prayer

        ጫቅጫቅ = ሻቅሻቅ = شقشقة الطيور = Chirp

        ዖፍ = ዑስፉር = عصفور = Bird

        ኣዕዋፍ = ዓሳፊር = عصافير = Birds

        • Solomon

          Hayak Allah Hamid,

          I suppose I can clarify further my specific intentend request with my incoherent sentence by asking another question. Though elsewhere I also did ask for a flow of word comparison s as others. Thank you.

          Why is BaHer Al AHmer and Baher Nile not distinguished.ahh scratch that. Let me ask thusly:

          Arabic and Tigrigna word equivalents to:

          1. Sea
          2. River

          I am still filling my Eittro with my bucket/Sankuelo.


          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Solomon,
            It’s Al Bahar Al Ahmer,… and
            Nahr AnNeel

            Bahar = Bahri
            Nahar = Ruba
            Buhaira(t) – Qelay

            Here is a bonus from my ten-year study that never developed beyond what it was ten years ago:

            Many Arabic words that start with “z” are the same in Tigrinya only the first alpahabet changes to “Ts” as in Tsegga.

            azafir = atsaafir
            zelamat = Tselamat
            zem’ana = tsem’ena

            [there are slo word that start with “s” as in ‘saad” as in Saleh, that follow the same pattern above and change to “Ts”


            Add an “i” to the Aabic and they become Tigrinya
            Ayn +Ayni
            ezn = ezni
            raas = r’esi
            rujl = egri (the Egyptian g and is Gemel = Jemel)
            nefs = nefsi (or nebsi)
            sn = snni
            lb = lbbi (also qelb =qelbi)

            Then you have words like “baAal” exactly the same as the Amharic baAal for husband, or the Tigrinya baAal betki = your husband

            leil = leyti
            saadiq (truthful) = tsdqi (piety?)

            the list is long and I have working papers that I compiled from an Arabic dictionary…. I hope it will see light in due time

            Hope this is helpful for the curious

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Selam Solomon,

            1- Sea = ባሕሪ = ባሓር بحر
            2- River = ዉሒጅ = ዋሓዛ وحز = ናህሪ = ናሃር نهر

            I realized in Sudan they use Bahr for a river also, for example: Al-Khartum Bahri. Also they call a piece of land surrounded by a river Al-Jazeerah, for example: Jazeerah Tuti and Al-Jazeera city and State.

            Today I will bestow you with a word I think you most like that is:
            1- Tsatse = ጻጸ = ሱሳ سوسة = mite / small creature

  • Abu Ahmad

    Br. Haile Zeru,

    You have raised a very good question and your question was answered in the article if you have paid attention. Zafar and Mahara are arabic languages. Zafar is mostly spoken in Oman and Southern Yemen. Mahara is spoken in Saudi Arebia today. The Southern Arabic and the North Arabic are different however; they have a lot in common and they are called arabic. They also had different alphabets. As it is evident in the museum of Southern Yemen, the Geez alphabets (ሀ ለ ሐ መ) are still shown encrypted in rocks thousands of years ago and the Northern Arabic use the ا ب ت ث alphabets.

    • Haile Zeru

      Hi Abu Ahmad,
      That is interesting.
      Did any one tried to find out the age of the inscription on the rocks? Is it only one or there are others too?
      Is there any trace of geez spoken or written in Yemen today, or in Saudi Arabia? I mean not as official language but as dialect between the tribes.
      Is it possible all the speakers of Geez emigrated to the horn?
      There are also those who make a list of common words between ancient Hebrew/Aramaic and geez/Tigrayit/Tigrinya/Amharic.
      I do not know Hebrew or Aramaic languages. I am not fluent in Arabic either. But the similarity between Arabic and the horn languages is too much to say they do not share some common beginning.
      the difference in sound and alphabet is quite different. There must be a very interesting story behind these geez alphabet and numbers. My guess is if the Arabic alphabet and numerals were first I think Geez wouldn’t have developed or made those letters or numbers.
      I am not making the statements for present political discussion. It is just an enquiry about the past that I know very little about.
      Why the Tigrinya and Amharic speakers do not like Arabic or arabization is more based on present political and social reasons. I doubt it has to do with past history or genealogy.

  • Haile Zeru

    Hi Beyan,

    Very interesting narration.

    In this otherwise excellent article, I felt you left one important factor, descriptor in your narration. The Tigrayit, Tigrinya have lots of words in common with arabaic. Even the grammar is similar, very close. This is true for Amharic too.

    The only thing that is markedly different is the Alphabet. Why do you think the alphabets are so different, in form and structure. Like vowels and consonants are distinct in arabic and not in Geez. There are many letters that do not have a corresponding sound in arabic. I hope you have some material to shed light on this aspect.

    I have the impression that the geez alphabet is older than Arabic alphabet.


    • Beyan

      Selam Haile,

      I passed the questions you raised to the author, Dr. Jelal, hope he sheds light on it. I see Abu Ahmed has already addressed your questions as well and even went beyond by bringing forth issues of cognates that exist among the languages in our region. A parallel of sorts: There are some 20,000 cognates between English and Spanish, yet, there is stiff resistance by the ‘monolingually’ happy Americans to accept Spanish as a co-official to English – never mind that many studies project that the Spanish speaking population will become the majority within our lifetime in the U.S. The only exception to this, to my knowledge, is the State of New Mexico, which accepts Spanish language as co-official to English.


    • Beyan

      Selamat kbur Haile Zeru,

      I sought help in another venue – with their permission – here is the message in its entirety:

      “Br Bayan your impression could be correct because Arabic language is the youngest of all the Semitic idioms, such as, Aramaic, Hebrew, Geez, South Arabic -Sabean & Himyaritic..etc
      It is fair to say that Arabic inherited all or most of these languages and took the world by storm after the advent of Quran and Islam. In few decades it became a leading World intellectual language spoken and written in most of the world. But back to your question, I don’t know much about the difference in the scripts of both languages but I see an apparent similarity in that both Geez and Arabic have no vowels,Instead, both have a diacritical marks, attached to the consonant in the former and detached in the latter.

      “If you see what is known as the world’s first alphabet, unearthed in Ugarit- an ancient town and archeological site located in the Syrian coastal area- you can easily see the affinity of that alphabet to Geez than the Arabic script as we know it today. Nevertheless, the Arabic script has quite story that begs to be told in the context of European missionaries and colonization. Is that off the course or just another story for another day?”


      • Haile Zeru

        Selam Beyan,
        This observation, from Anonymous, sounds plausible. My impression about the alphabets and numbers is based on the numbers. As you know today no one uses Roman numbers. The Arabic numbers with the inclusion of Zero had successfully overtaken all math and calculation. Probably the roman numbers are not older than Arabic or Geez. But the absence of zero made them less useful and hence the choice of the Arabic numerals by almost the whole world. The Geez numerals have similar structure as the Roman numbers. The concept of using a zero is not there. Had Arabic came first, probably the Geez numbers would not exist. Especially for the geographical proximity of the areas the Languages developed.
        I met some Indians that say they are the inventors of zero (the concept of zero). But we see today how it was inserted in the Arabic numbers. So as Anonymous says, above, Arabic borrowed from all corners to make Arabic what it is.
        The contribution of other African languages to Geez also seem to be the multi-furcation of Tigrayit/Tigrinya/Amharic.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Haile Zeru and all interested,

          I am not sure if i was you or someone else who asked if they Yemenis consider the Geez/Hmeri language and script as their ancient version or something like that. I will tell you my own observation hoping it will add some information:

          In Yemen, I once visited a museum and I was so curious after seeing so many archeological artifacts with inscription similar to the one on the Axum and Qohaito stelae. When he mentioned that Geez is similar to their ancient Hmeri alphabets, I curiously asked if he knows it. he said he did and I asked him if he would write something in their ancient script. He wrote Yemen–it was the same as our alphabets only he wrote it from right to left. “Yemen” the way he wrote it is what you get if you wrote Yemen in Geez and reflected it on the mirror. It is just a reverse direction Geez.

          As for the Hmeri language, I had friends, one was actually a co-worker and a close friend. When he spoke with his friends, I could detect some random words like WegiH, Tsebih, etc. Here are a few links to give you an idea how the language sounds as it is presently spoken in the Mahra region (in the triangle, south of the Empty Quarter Desert where the borders of Yemen, Oman, and Saudi Arabi meet. Enjoy:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcDkqWVIklU (start at the 2:45 mark)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTuHNd9nhzA (remember they claim saba’e is a progeny of Hmeri. It is ancient)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSRUOvCMYCw (another sample of the language. I heard the background music and I detected what sounded like fqrey telemeni 🙂

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi SGJ,

            Thanks for the links and for your observation.

            It is quite interesting that we have traces of Geez from Yemen/Oman corner to Sirya

            to Aksum to probably Gonder.
            See this link below about the Dhalik.


            The Dahlak archipelago is, I guess, the physical link between Asia and Africa. And you have right there, spoken Tigrayit which is closely related to Geez. As you move further inland, in Africa you have the other variations of Geez.
            I do not know how the Afar language relates to all of these. Bab El Mandeb being in that area one expects any inflow from the Yemen would influence them first.
            The other way around is also true. I am sure Lucy’s progeny gave the rest of the world two legs to walk and a skull full of brain.
            To come to the present, How is our unelected government fairing in taken care of all of these heritage? Is it accelerating their demise or consolidating their foundation?
            Or it is none of its business?
            So far we are seeing most research done by foreigners.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Haile,

            Years ago I claimed (I still do) that the years of Arabophobia in Abyssinia proper has clouded our judgment and we ignored our heritage, you can still detect that irrational justification for the belligerence against anything related to Arabs even on issues that belong to us more than it does to Arabs. Unfortunately, the rule is to see that Heritage with a political, archaic glasses.

            As for the PFDJ, I believe it is a product of the culture in which it grew and to the dismay of many, I proved that with the following:

            why is it that all Eritrean social groups are segmented according to their language except for the Rashaida? I believe it is the urge to avoid calling them Arabs. Otherwise, if the same logic applied to the Rashaida was applied to all, then they should have named all Eritrean social groups based on their races. Our prejudice against anything outside our borders, be it to the South or North, has made our heritage poorer and poorer. As a nation, we are suffering from lack of intellectual curiosity, forget scholarship.

            We need to go out of our thick shell and occupy our space in the region, the hermit state the PFDJ built has destroyed our heritage, self-confidence, and our decency. We just do not see to be willing to live among the world community and playing Albania is not fun–ask any Albanian who lived through the era of Enver Hoxha 🙂

          • Ismail AA

            Hayak Allah Saleh,
            A recent (the era of EPRDF) visitor to Ethiopia part of Abyssinia, namely Addis Ababa and some cities in the north does not miss the feeling that Arabophobia appears to be receding. You might have also frequently encountered in the streets of down town Addis visitors from the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, mainly businessmen, beside a lot of Arabic journals and newspapers in the lobbies.
            In the old days this was very rare. Ethiopia is becoming the hub of Arab investment, and the Ethiopians understood the opportunities geopolitics can offer to economics and the role this plays in nation-building.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Greetings Haile Zeru,

            What you have in the link is mostly Tigre and some Arabic. Sometime back I have watched in the Eritrean TV a Sudanese researcher who made a through research about the history of Dahlak. I hope his research is printed in a book. The name Dahlak in itself is an Arabic word, “Dar Halak” , it means home of ruin. The island was a place for an exile for centuries and up-to now.




      • chefena

        Selam brother Beyan and members of Dembe Awate
        Indeed, discourse on language and language policy has been conducted passionately throughout the last six decades, in so far as citizens consider it makes an essential part of there being or becoming. My renewed interest was motivated by the recent debate in this website, a year ego now; Also, this is one of the major discourse agendas of Global Eritrean Advocacy Network (GEAN). I welcome this contribution mainly because it offers deeper insight into historical linguistics in building our understanding of the origins and the historical, cultural, religious, ethnic and link that ties the two Eritrean languages to the Habeshas and the other ethnics in the region. In his endeavour to shed light on the subject, Beyan makes a reference to my recent paltalk discussion on language politics and language ideology in the modern Eritrean’s socio-political history. He described my approach to the language debate on language in Eritrea confined itself to the contemporary sensibility, …. one that looks back in time only to the fifties; His article makes a case for broadening the context of our academic injury. While I have great admiration for this impressive archelogy that uncovers the history of and role Eritrean languages especially Arabic and Tigrinya, I must say one cannot ignore the challenges of reconstructing of such a fascinating history poses. It will call for filling the gab of relevant elements to the history of modern day Eritrean nation. Below is how I differ.
        I consider discourse on language and language policy as a sociolinguistic problem that needs to be dealt with some degree of academic rigour. To that effect, I ask myself, how sure I am of what I claim to know or whether it is true. Critical sociolinguistic study requires it to back up ones claim through field evidence and theoretical frame. As I tried to indicate in my talk, one can be criticised for politicizing or depoliticized a topic such as the one we are engaged in. By the same token, one may be blamed for ‘de-historicizing’ the subject of discussion or may be labelled as ‘presentist’.
        If I try to isolate discourse on language in Eritrea from all the kinds of sensibilities which are inherent to the subject, I wouldn’t be doing justice to it and renders the study incomplete. The discourse on language has always been politicized and ideologized, a fact we cannot overlook. Also, discourses on language or any other debate, for that matter, don’t exist in a vacuum; they exist within a given historical era as part of socio-political processes. Let me make this more concrete by citing local examples. Both Nehnan Elamana and The Eritrean Covenant can be considered as discourses that seek to influence social action. Sometimes the contents of such texts can be described as so powerful and ideologically loaded. I don’t intend to make any simplistic analysis on such text at this level and leave will it to someone else to tackle.
        Language ideologies, therefore, circulate through discourses, which can be in written or oral forms. The question now becomes how far back does one go in history. This raises the crucial issue of focus. I find it helpful to study languages defined empirically in content and form at a given era. My main concern here is the role of languages in the modern nation-state and not their roles in empires and ‘great civilization’ in the remote past. That is the main reason why I believe we must limit ourselves to the time since the Eritrean modern nation was imagined by the first generation of political elites; and they imagined Eritrea bilingually, in Tigrinya/ Arabic. Therefore, I refer to the history of the debate in the last sixty years and plus as a history of ‘language ideology debate’ a subject of study. As I tried to explain it is about “the social ‘value’ of the use of one language(s) as opposed to an(other)(s), the socio-political desirability of the use of one language or language variety over another, the symbolic ‘quality’ of languages and varieties as emblems of nationhood, cultural authenticity, progress, modernity, democracy, self-respect, freedom, equality, and many more ‘values’ ……. “(Blommmaert, 1999:2)
        Such is the nature of language that we have to view it in relation to all the above mentioned ‘values’ it carries. Thus, the problem that we are confronted with requires us to be more pragmatic in approach. In the said presentation, what I did was identify the most salient features in this debate, establish some common interpretation of the concepts we employ in Tigrinya (despite some mixing here-and-there) and suggest the direction of what needs to be done. The discussion was essentially meant to serve as springboard from where we can proceed into further discussion of language policy formulation. To arrive at the stage, we need to open the doors of language policy debate much wider so as, in the end, we can formulate a coherent discourse on language policy for modern Eritrea.

        • Beyan

          Selam Dr. Chefena,

          An honor to finally communicate with you directly. I am always appreciative of individuals who are willing and able to go where the logic of the discourse takes them. Dawit Mesfin, Haile Zeru, and you, Dr. Chefena fit this bill succinctly. Since the latter is one with whom I am communicating my intentions, today, and by extension, all interested Awatawyan, allow me to preface by stating much of what’s written here will be familiar to you.

          I firmly believe your bringing issues of language in general in their sociopolitical, historical, and cultural framework are not only important angles but also essential to our understanding of the subsequent policies that would ensue by state actors. For example, social institutions such as schools are perfect antidotes that enhance the perpetuation of status quos and “…that education, along with all the other social institutions, has as its ‘hidden agenda’ the reproduction of class relations and other higher-level social structures, in addition to its overt educational agenda” (Fairclough, 1992, p. 40). So, the relationship between social “structure” and “social practice” is made to be magnified through the discourses that take place where ideology is its undercurrent and language as the ultimate elixir, the adhesive, if you will, that binds it all together, making for a rather well-oiled machinery that continues to operate with very little hindrances.

          Such dynamics Fairclough (1992) contextualizes it within “the social world [where] social structures not only determine social practice, they are also a product of social practice” (p. 37).
          Therefore, there remains a viable question that needs addressing that language is not only a political arsenal for politicians to use in their canon, but it also inheres and embraces within it power and ideology that remains as potent in any given society. Were there to be had any good will intent from the Eritrean regime good, for example, soon after independence, the issue of language would’ve been summarily addressed through coherent policy, a policy that its ghedli heritage had pursued, namely, Tigrinya and Arabic. But, of course, in its attempt to vanquish and purge Arabic language from Eritrea altogether, it came up with this absurd notion of “mother tongue”, which in the end ended up giving an undue advantage to its Tigrinya speaking Eritreans. This historical context should be addressed to show why and how the regime failed its people.

          As scholar, I am more than certain you know this: At the root of discourse rests language. At the root of any language rests ideology. Language and ideology combined furnish hegemonic force its desired tool of perpetual power to wield against those who are not proficient, for whom that particular language might be an adopted means of communication. Therefore, when a given language ends up becoming the working or official language for any given country, off the bat, it enshrines undue advanatage for whom the language in question is a native tongue. The Tigrinya speaking Eritreans won this hands down; I include myself in this group as happenstance would have it Tigrinya is my mother tongue.

          Eritreans who are quick to link Arabic to its Islamic religion forget that the same can be said of Tigrinya to its roots, namely Geez. As we all know, in the Arab world, for example in Egypt, the latest estimate is between 6 to 11 million Arabic speaking Christians. Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, even Israel’s Arabic speaking population has sizable number adherents to Christianity. Here is the rub: When Tigrinya became the default official language under the current regime, the undue advantage that I alluded to earlier one can make concrete arguments into how; needless to say, consider a typical Tigrinya speaking child whose religion is Christianity. This child, in all likelihood, will encounter early literacy through the bible – way before the school of instruction begins. Such an early exposure through Church, a child will also be introduced to church choirs, mezmurs, etc., which is going to give that child artistic proclivities, which in on itself is literacy development. Extrapolate this to other categories of advantages a typical child of Tigrinya speaking parents will have.

          Whereas, in the Arabic speaking middle easterners, the language will not give undue advantage to either a Muslim or a Christian, in the Tigrinya speaking child’s case it unequivocally does. Therefore, take a Muslim Eritrean child for whom Tigrinya is not his mother tongue, but learns Arabic through Quranic schools, in many cases, before starting elementary school. Were the Arabic language the lingua franca of the country just like Tirginya, chances are that child would have had a choice to pursue whatever parents of his decide the medium of learning for that child would be – this option by a matter of default policy was not available for the child for whom Tigrinya was not the mother tongue.

          Of course, on a different note, lack of this kind of discourse that we are barely beginning to have has created a parallel universe between those whose disposition is toward Arabic and those for whom Tigrinya and English are the main trope of communication. Finding common language with which Eritreans in diaspora should be communicating in has been our folly, a folly the kind of discourse we are now having might give us a good beginning to have mutual understanding. It is in that spirit the current scholarly work of Dr. Jelal was translated under the sponsorship of GEAN. I think before we look toward the future of Eritrea’s language policy, the opposition in diaspora must begin to find a bridge that will help us cross this language barrier that exists among various Eritrean groups.

          I will be remiss if I didn’t mention the two gigantic scholars when it comes to discourse, namely, Van Djik & Fairclough. Let me just quote the latter for now:
          …discourse has effects upon social structures and contributes to the achievement of social continuity or social change. It is because the relationship between discourse and social structures is dialectical in this way that discourse assumes such importance in terms of power relationships and power struggle: control over orders of discourse by institutional and societal power-holders is one factor in the maintenance of their power. (Fairclough, 1992, p. 37)

          The medium of our communication, English language, for many topics we discuss itself raises another discourse of class and privilege, which automatically excluds those who do not speak or write the language in question. I contend that this does, indeed, contribute to the “opacity of discourse (and practice in general…because in discourse people can be legitimizing (or delegitimizing) particular power relations without being conscious of doing so. It also indicates both the basis for critical analysis in the nature of discourse and practice – and the potential social impact of critical analysis as a means of raising people’s self-consciousness.” (p. 41)

          Therefore, one can easily see the complexity of discourse without adding language in the mix because “…discourse is concerned … [with how and where] power [is] exercised and enacted…where participants belong to different ethnic groupings, and the ‘hidden power’ of the discourse of the mass media” it becomes fairly complex matter to undertake(p. 43).

          My apologies for this prolonged rejoinder. For those who live on this side of the Atlantic, there goes the one hour you thought you’ve gained as a result of the daylight saving time where we are turning the clock bakc by one hour tonight – Unless you live in Phoenix, AZ or Hawaii.


  • Solomon

    Ahlann Shifta Beyan,

    An academic and scholarly paper on linguistics. I am sure it will be an excellent read Mr. Beyan Negash.

    It oughta simmer down the neggative noise somewhat….
    Including a little rest for yours truly to wake up and read your focused educational share professor.

    Consistent with your abrupt dissappearance from,visibility indicated by the last article you penned.

    I am an ELL,advocate myself..and shall make a case against our land grabbing brothers from the highlands.
    I sincerely look,forward to reading your arguements.

    • Beyan

      Selamat Solomon,

      I will probably disappoint you by disappearing again – Time is just not on my side these days. I am just a
      messenger , as you can easily surmise, from the person who authored the piece. That said, however, I hope to collect my thoughts just to add my perspective on the subject matter, soon.

      One thing Solomon hawway that I would like to not necessarily scold you, but if we all manage to restrain ourselves from using heated rhetoric such as “our land grabbing brothers from the highlands” we can begin to discuss issues on their merit as opposed to the emotionally loaded terms that would only create obfuscations instead of respectful discourse. This very highly complicated topic due to so many strenuous circumstances, chief among which is surrounding the regime in power. Land Proclamation is an important, crucially important topic that must be inculcated in some fashion in the future constittuion of the country as it includes so many other areas of the country, one that comes to mind is the Afarland. We are in this together, and we will resolve them all along with our brothers from the highland. Ehin mihin, enkan haban needs to become our mantra.

      • Solomon

        ይ ሰዲቚ ሳሒቢ ኢብናል ኢብን ኢብን ኣህሊ ኣል ዓረብ!!!

        ናይ ዲስ ኣፖይትመንት ሞዕቀሪ ሰፈረይ፥ ሞሊኡ፥ ዋላ ኳ ኦዓርከይ በያን ነጋሸ ሰብ ዘቖጢዕ ግብርታትን ኣድምጾጻትን ብርግጽ ባህርይትካ ኣይኮነን፥ ከም፡ዛ ዝብለካ፥ ኣና ዎላሂ ኣል ዕዚም፡መብሱጥ!!!

        There was a reasoned I mentioned my recollection of your last very graceful disapearance from as ሰመረ ተስፋይ would describe ሓሚድ እል ዓራቢ፥ “Tታ ታት ታት ታት ታት ታት ታት” ተዓጻፊት ከላሽን ኣብ ዂናት ከውዕላ ኾሎ።

        Its all,good, I am sure you will not,miss your,Q. Yours trully is endeavarimg to master 7 to 8 languages. Starting with Tigrait and including Arabic, English and Tigrigna።

        ከምዚ ናትካ ወላ ፍርቂ ዓቕሚኻ ኣኸአሎ ዓቕሊ ረቢ ከዕድል ንልምኖ።

        አንተ ዘይኮነ ነዞም ኣረግቶት ስክሩጅስ፥ ካብ ኣያ ኣማኔል ጀሚርካ b elder abuse keytekhesesku ክድቖም፡ኢየ። አወ፣ አዝም ደሕረይ ወለዶ፡ናይ ምሕደርስ ኤርትራ ሓላፍነት ስልጣን ከይ ተረከቡ።

        ከም ዝረኣየኒ ኣነ፥ ናይ ኡስታዝ፡እላሚን ዓብደል ለጢፍ ሸሪጥ፥

        ኣነስ ኣይበደልኩን ስድርስያም ብርደልቲ ደጋጊሞም ውንዳ ሰምዑ ሑቖታት ብዕድመ ዝደፍኡ ክደሳሲቑ ኦዩም ዝሕንሕኑ ዘለዉ፤ ኣብየት ስድነነነነት፨።

        ፊልም ፕሮጀችት ጥራይ ኣይትረስዕ:


      • Solomon

        ሓው በያን ነጋሽ፥

        Briefly, on the important land Eritrean land proclomation:

        I honestly believe Mr. Semere Tesfay had excellent traction for very constructive dialogue lead with Husein Younis before reverting to his dormant “Whats the use!” uncharacteristic of liberator warrior who as brave stood in the line of fire yards away from infamous Eritrean warriors such as Fedayin Binacc as they fell in battle, paying the ultimate self sacrifice nearly one hundred thousand Eritrean braves deffending their nation and people. Perhaps distractions by his counterparts with affected with equal bitterness. And perhaps due to “old man scrooge” effect and the irritation to him possibly having to wear deppends, the old age diappers.
        I will have well thought out commentary of that particular topic. And yes, less of the language of “land grabbing” which I utilize to encoursge more out of the Eritrean Philosopher extrairdinair Ali Salim. A man endowed with such talent and gifts, cannot settle to be a “one hit wonder.” Hall in the,wall dive bar worthy tallents, such as my self, are recording a thousand albums. Phillosopher King Ali Salim, with his Carbeggie Hall performance worthy talent…. I mean the dude is my Miles David out of Barka Abay!

        SaaY7, though he will ignore for the most part I am sure, will respect the logic of “Whats good for the goose is also good for the gander.” (I don’t even know what a gender is.) I mean “qrta ናይ 80”

        ELL with Ali Salim! Ali Beja-Hzbi!

        Take care and stay tunned.

        • saay7

          Hey Sele:

          I don’t want you to think I ignore; I just don’t understand you because you march to your own drummer and I am a bit tone-deaf to it.

          A gander is a male goose. The expression is about gender equality.

          Having said that, once again I have failed in deciphering who is the goose and who is the gander in the example you gave.


          • Beyan

            Hey Saay & Solomon,

            One area that I have been preoccupying – lately – myself with, albeit for an area unrelated to our Eritrean issues, is the notion of “intersectionality theory”, chief proponent of which is a legal scholar and feminist, Kimberle Crenshaw. At its rudimentary, intersectionality theory contends with how the power structure of a dominant society impact the lives of those who do not fit a clear mould in the social and political and policy spectrum. The main source that Crenshaw uses to highlight this legal conundrum is African American women. This is how she frames it: “Racism as experienced by people of color who are of a particular gender – male – tends to determine the parameters of antiracist strategies, just as sexism experienced by women who are of particular race – white – tends to ground the women’s movement” (Crenshaw, p. 363). Several pages later, Crenshaw adds, “Through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us and negotiate the means by which these differences will find expression in constructing group politics” (p. 378).

            How might this be used to apply in the case of Eritrean opposition is the recognition at its fundamentals, intersectionality can be used to show in the example that Saay cited: “death by a 1000 cuts” and what is meant by such an expression: “The expression means that an opponent doesn’t always fall due to one overwhelming force but also due to many small attacks, each alone insignificant, but the cumulative effect can be fatal.”

            Similarly, in a different scholarly work, Crenshaw alludes to this: “the political demands of millions speak more powerfully than the pleas of a few isolated voices” (p. 1241). This is the kind of deeply held belief we should be cognizant of in the opposition. Whatever the regime does, we must attack at its core structural flaw, not at the feeble attempt that it makes to cause rift between the people. The recent example of which that it did by moving 500 farmers from the highland to the lowland must have been fresh in your mind, Solomon, when felt compelled to invoke the land grabbing phrase in this thread. We must resist such temptations at any cost. If these families were to resist, you know what their fate would be; if they didn’t celebrate of such a move, they know they would end up in the dungeons like many thousands of Eritreans who were made to disappear before their own naked eyes and without a trace and without any accountability to the perpetrators.

            It is in this kind of context that I see intersectionality of Crenshaw having relevance in our case and in the struggle to rid of the system run amok. So, our focus should always be at the framework and the core structure of its system because it will use the religious axis to create a rift; it will use political axis to create political mayhem; on educational policy and many other fronts that will leave us helplessly aghast at such audacity. Our center should always hold – it is the regime’s center that should be made to begin to not hold and that requires a lease beam focus on the issues that matter – the core structure of the system that is causing all of what we have been observing from a safe distance. This much is now clear: The opposition has been pressing at the nerve center of the regime that at every front in the struggle for social justice we are beginning to see the results vis-à-vis many legal undertakings the “cumulative effect can be fatal”, the eventuality and the ostensibility of which would mean the end of the abyss.

          • saay7

            Hala Bayan;

            Terjema wa’nabi.

            You social science majors have to go easy on us and write in laymans terms. What you shared is even more impenetratable than what Sele writes:)


          • Beyan

            Yahala ya Usttazan al Azeem ya Saay,

            “Hazira entbelku denina tsiEsiE” do khoinu negeru. Nai Solomon entebelkas ane kha’a degimekka – Opacity squared. So, If the most prolific writer at the Awate-viritual-land is saying help! “I die from” opacity, opacity! Well, I better “cast down” and revise where I am failing to be transparent in my little snippet. I am reminded of a great metaphor that Booker T. Washington (1903) in his speech in the what’s known as The Atlanta Compromise where he basically tells African Americans to stay low and not seek higher offices to appease the White Southerners. Well, what you are talking about is nothing like it, rather, it is about clarity in language to be less opaque in our communications, but I am hastily sharing it below in haste, and to say I hear you and that I will get back to you later when I find my “bucket” that will help me find where I am being opaque.

            “A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal: “Water, water. We die of thirst.” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time, the signal, “Water, send us water!” went up from the distressed vessel. And was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A third and fourth signal for water was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River.” (Booker T. Washington, 1903).

            I don’t want to over-promise; granted it will certainly not be “full of fresh, sparkling” clarity of language, but I will revise my thoughts write back soon.

          • Solomon

            Selamat Saay7, IsmaEilAA and Beyan:

            “Ha(tS)ira entebelkua Dennina tsiEsiE.
            1. Not only the letters but the spirit but all the nuances…

            Torgami = Turjiman
            Dr. Jalaal’s article’s usage of this, “concept of intersectionality”
            GebreAmlakh = AbduAllaH

            1. The letters, Alif
            2. The nuances, Beta (Ya Halla Ustaz Saay7 “we hear you too Beyan)
            3. The Spirit, Hafezna ezeyy may Iyunn. The center holds IsmaEilAA.

            It can be daunting yes.

            Temesasali Qalat nenaddi nmnitSiSar. As an initiative, in maintaining the center or axis of symmetry.
            Take the initiative

            Fi bab Al Mandab and the Afar lowlands in Eritrea proper.

            Hayak wa YaHyakum


          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Selam Solomon,

            A new word in the series:

            GebreAmlakh = جبر ربي = ِAbduAllah = Jabara = compelled to

          • Beyan

            Al Qadral Imkan Ahiy al Terjama ya Ustaaz Saay,

            The take away from the previous attempt, perhaps feebly, to appropriate the concept of “intersectionality” to the language of opposition is that for us to focus at the structural flaw of the regime, and not respond to its haphazard actions that it takes as favoring necessarily a certain group over another. Obviously, this a regime that wields political power to do whatever it wishes and it does it with impunity. Eritreans are under the yoke of tyranny, as such, we should be very sensitive to that and not blame the victims for the actions the regime takes. Therefore, blaming any group within Eritrean proper, a population that is under the barrel of the gun does not bode well for us to find reasons to justify the regime’s errant behavior.

            In other words, if we focus on who is being pillaged by the regime more and who less so and who appears to be receiving the sweetheart deal from the menace at home (if there exists such a thing in Eritrea), we will invariably lose sight of the larger oppressive, structurally flawed system that must be removed so we may begin the arduous healing process which will take decades to fix and undue.

            I completely agree with Dr. Sadia’s article and the piece that she placed in the comment section yesterday, which I see as someone who understands intersectionality at its core and is trying to tell us to not listen to those detractors who are sowing the seeds of discord, who are coming to us under so many guises. The laser beam must keep on beaming at the core of the problem – no side shows anymore, that ought to be left for the loyalists of the regime, not for those of us who are standing tall on the side of social, economic, and political justice.


          • Ismail AA

            Hayak Allah Beyan,
            An interesting information on the theory you mentioned. It contributes a lot to our understanding of what protracted people’s struggle in forbidding environment like ours means.
            Incidentally I thank you, and the translator, for making the work of Dr. Jelal M. Saleh accessible to readers in English. This post is first installment, as I understood, (if I am not mistaken) and others will follow. I will be waiting for that before I try to say something on the important issues discussed.
            Thanks again.

          • Beyan

            Allah yHayyik Ismail,

            The translator did the brunt and the most difficult task, I am just the middleman here trying to bring the conversation to Awatawyan on behalf of GEAN because I know how discourses here are elevated as they invariably are, any topic really, taken to a new plain field, to a new height, if you will. Ismail, I may have given an erroneous impression by stating there will be something related to the topic at hand. But the two are not mutually exclusive.

            Whereas the topic at hand takes scholarly angle to the two languages as contextualized in history, the next one will specifically be more contemporary with respect to the political and cultural chauvinism that hovers in our region in general and Eritrea in particular. It is a fascinating speech that Dr. Jelal had given at GEAN’s first Conference in Southern California last year. We are going to piece it together much as what Dr. Ibrahim Siraj did las January with his GEAN speech to make it fit to Awate readers. As Awate veteran, I like to believe I can make Dr Jelal’s piece work for the ever sharp awate audience.

            So, Ismail, I know how well sharpened your pencil is, please feel free to engage the audience. I have yet to watch the video in question for the next piece, it would likely take a while.


          • Ismail AA

            Hayak Allah Beyan,

            Thank you so much for your kind reponse. It is great service to provide access to readers to works by such erudite and accomplished scholars like Dr. Jellal M. Saleh. It was blessing to me to had attended one of his lectures in Germany some years back. He is extremely eloquent man with broad knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence and Arabic language. I appreciate your initiative, and the difficult job the translator accomplished.

            I know how difficult it is to command two languages on the same level and engage in translating scholarly work from one language to another like this translator did. Actually, such works can greatly narrow the gab between those who read works of substance in English/or Tigrigna and those who write in Arabic.

          • Beyan

            Selam Ismail,

            You got the spirit of what we are trying to do at GEAN in that the gap of knowledge between the two camps, the Tigrinya speaking and the Arabic speaking Eritreans, can be narrowed down greatly if we are able to come to the same universe, and without common language anyone can easily see it would be an uphill battle to keep the center to hold. The hope, of course, is for someone else to take an initiate to yet translate the work of Dr. Jelal into Tigrinya – That would be another mechanism of narrowing the gap of knowledge that exists, hence the commonality that can be forged from such endeavors.

            The work of translation, indeed, is a daunting task as one has to capture not only the letters but the spirit and all the nuances that a certain language inhabits. As you know embedded in language are cultural and traditional references that must be taken into consideration to capture the essences of whatever documents being translated. I only wished I had taken advantage of learning standard Arabic language in its written form when I was in the middle school in Cairo for three years. But, at that age, being exempted from anything Arabic for foreign students was a blessing; in retrospect, however, I regret that I didn’t challenge myself when language seemed to come easily to me then – too little too late, eh.


          • Solomon

            Selamat Ustaz Saay7,

            Honestly speaking I am missing the Ernest Amde. You do realize, I have rewinded the tape, (And yes, why not an TDK sheriT?), to remix (oh oh….Degdaga Hatch, ahhh Abi Sew) with your song Oh With nanah, Who Nah Nah ItyoPia, ‘Agere. Mr. Amde and “I (re) wrote a song about it.” From Asmara with Love for WHO. The “glitch”, Mr. Eyob’s report (“Can you hear me now”Alemania?) EwnetH neh Dr. Pepper and World Health Organization it we are heading towards a confirmation.A follow up Gedab dib Aya GebaEka.
            KndiShiH dib Halibut Qarora, never mind who MaHmooday, Habeni ennka Haben lbleka… Qualications solely based on gehdli neither and nor gates.

            QuanQua Hade Temari tmHrtn Mukurat temahro memharann.
            Addis Abeba, folks has been an international attraction since HIM as the modernizer.
            Izi QuanQuatat ms ziematatu Temari mesriE iyu. Therefore, dmtSi mrutSe siyomayy dehayka hab FM MaHmood.

            Yes, Saay7, as long as you have constituents is what Ethiopia needs as Representatives.

  • joseoph

    abyssinian civilisation is an autonomous one, but this site unfortunately tries always to link abyssinian civilsation with arabs.
    Arabs are by the way the scrap heap of history , they cannot come forward as they are locked up in a way of thinking of 14th century.
    This way of thinking transmitts like infectious disease even among eritrean muslim community,and the^result is as we see above glorifying every thing arabic which is non sense.A comparison between saudi arabian and the state of isreal is enough to understand why my above assertion is true.Saudi arabia with huge natural resources and assistance from west specially u.s.a has never accomplished still to produce even a needle and israel s accomplishment as a new nation is beyond believe.

    • cool

      well said joseoph, i wonder the moderator did not react to your comments he is otherwise sensitve on this topic

  • said

    Many thanks for your enlightening and educational article.

    These are important questions, especially for Eritrean because setting the record straight about the past is the first step to building the future.
    Before Christianity & Islam, the most famous Queen of Abyssinia and southern Arabia, the Queen of Sheba, was an Abyssinian and her son sat on the throne of Axum.
    According to professor Sonia Cole in her book The Prehistory of East Africa: “[Before 700 BC], the Arab state of Ausan traded with, or perhaps held, the East African coast. Eight hundred years later, when the Periplus of the Eritrean Sea [(a travel guide to the periphery of the Indian Ocean)] was written south-western Arabia was still apparently in control of the coast about Rhapta (East Africa) …The Sabaeans of western Arabia founded the kingdom of Aksum in northern Abyssinia during the first century AD”
    King of aksum’s
    This kingdom, ranking among the ancient world’s most powerful, rose shortly after 400 BC. Its capital Aksum sat in a fertile area lying at an important commercial crossroads between Egypt and Sudan ’s gold fields. Aksum flourished on trade, exporting frankincense, grain, skins, apes and, particularly, ivory.At its height the kingdom extended well into Arabia.’Aksum ‘s impressive monuments still stand today.
    “Islam and Africa have made something of each other that is quite extraordinary,” says Rene A. Bravmann in his book African Islam. This was never the case when Europeans introduced Christianity to Africa.
    For the native the spiritual cannot be separated from other aspects of life, and the adoption of Islam did not greatly disturb this relation.
    Christian just like Islam, Islam with no church, teaches that all humans, irrespective of their gender, skin color, and ethnic origin are capable of doing good; The One God is the Lord of all, not of special people or tribe.
    The Just Great Abyssinia Christian king
    Muslim give great credited to the compassionate and great Abyssinia Christian king Negashe, this an evidence to all man kind, Abyssinian King Christian very kind and merciful and just (Negus) the true follower of Jesus, the work a living reflection of Christianity as understood by some.
    The Muslim Companions Migrate to Abyssinia.
    As the persecution and suffering of the Muslims, be they well connected or not, increased, the Prophet (as) who was always concerned for their welfare and security approved the migration to Abyssinia of all those wishing to leave. The reputation for justice and tolerance of the Nazarene ruler of Abyssinia, the Negus, was well known, and so in secrecy, during the month of Rajab, twelve companions with their families, a total of eighty-three adults and children, set out for Abyssinia.

    Among the migrants were Lady Rukayyah, the Prophet’s daughter who was married to Othman, Affan’s son, Abu Hudhayfah, whose father Utba was one of the principal persecutors of the Prophet (sa). Abu Sabra, Ruhm’s son a cousin of the Prophet (sa) through his aunt Bara. Abu Salama Al Makhzumi and his wife Umm Salama, who, upon the death of her husband was to marry the Prophet (sa).
    The Attempt to Bring the Migrants Back
    Abdullah, Abu Rabia’s son and Amr, Al As’ son, to the Negus bearing gifts of the finest leather, which they knew were highly prized by Abyssinians, with the request that the migrants be returned to Mecca.
    It was also agreed that Abdullah and Amr should approach the Negus’ high ranking generals behind his back and bribe them individually with a fine hide in return for their support in securing their aim. Before Abdullah and Amr departed, Abu Talib, whose sons Jafar and Amr were among the migrants, sent a short poem he had composed to the Negus asking him to protect his sons.

    The poetic message was subtle, it asked the Negus if his sons remained under his protection, or if they had been delivered into the hands of mischief makers. He told of the happiness the refugees must be enjoying by being permitted to stay in his county. He closed the poem with tender words in praise of the Negus for his hospitality to both friend and stranger alike

    It was also agreed that Abdullah and Amr should approach the Negus’ high ranking generals behind his back and bribe them individually with a fine hide in return for their support in securing their aim. Before Abdullah and Amr departed, Abu Talib, whose sons Jafar and Amr were among the migrants, sent a short poem he had composed to the Negus asking him to protect his sons.

    The poetic message was subtle, it asked the Negus if his sons remained under his protection, or if they had been delivered into the hands of mischief makers. He told of the happiness the refugees must be enjoying by being permitted to stay in his county. He closed the poem with tender words in praise of the Negus for his hospitality to both friend and stranger alike.
    The Negus and the Migrants .
    The Negus sent for the migrants to come to the palace and at the same time called upon his bishops to attend the meeting and asked them to bring their scriptures with them. When all were assembled, the Negus asked the companions several direct questions relating to their reasons for leaving their people.

    Among the questions were, why had they chosen not to adopt his religion, this was then followed by an inquiry about their belief. Jafar, Abu Talib’s son, acted as spokesman for the Muslims. He told the Negus that before Islam they had been ignorant people, worshipping idols, committing the most regrettable things, and showing little or no mercy to those weaker than themselves.

    Then he told him about Prophet Muhammad (sa), who had been sent to them and detailed his lineage, and spoke of his reputation for being upright, truthful and trustworthy. Jafar continued to tell the Negus that the Prophet (sa) called them to the Oneness of Allah and to worship Him alone. He told them how he had said they must renounce their idols and the false concepts their fathers and ancestors had followed.
    Then, he told the Negus that the Prophet (sa) instructed them to speak truthfully, fulfill their promises, care for their relatives and neighbors. That they must neither kill, nor consume the wealth of orphans, nor should they falsely accuse good women. Jafar also explained how they had been taught to pray five times each day, to be charitable and to fast. Nearing the end of the audience, Jafar told the Negus that it was on account of these matters that their people had turned against and persecuted them in an effort to force them revert to their old religion.
    He also told the Negus that the reason for their migration to his country was because they knew they would be secure under his protection. The Negus was impressed by Jafar’s honorable reply and asked if he was able to recite some of the Revelation to him, so Jafar recited verses from the Chapter Mary.

    “And mention in the Book, Mary, how she withdrew from her people to an eastern place and she took a veil apart from them; We sent to her Our Spirit (Gabriel) in the resemblance of a perfect human. (And when she saw him) she said: ‘I take refuge in the Merciful from you! If you are fearful.’ ‘I am the Messenger of your Lord,’ he replied, ‘and have come to give you a pure boy.’ ‘How shall I bear a son,’ she answered, ‘when I am not touched by a human and not unchaste?’ ‘Even so’ he replied, ‘as such your Lord has said: ‘Easy it is for Me. And We shall make him a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.'” Koran 19:16-21

    When the Negus and his bishops heard these words they wept and declared that the religion the companions followed was from the same source as their own. Then the Negus swore an oath that he would never betray the migrants, then asked Abdullah and Amr to leave.
    Then he turned to Jafar and his companions telling them that they might go wherever they pleased and to know they would never be harmed, not even if he were to be offered a mountain of gold in exchange. The Negus instructed the gifts Abdullah and Amr had brought to be returned to them and so Abdullah and Amr left rebuked without achieving their aim.
    Shameful & Merci less King Joao

    It all started in Portugal in 1412. The three sons of King João I proposed that they start a war “for the glory of Portugal and a service to God.” They told their father they had chosen to attack the Moroccan city of Ceuta, across the Strait of Gibraltar.
    Ceuta had an international community of 20,000 merchants, mostly Africans, who traded in spices, fabrics, carpets, gold and precious stones. It was a peaceful city with no defense system. The Portuguese force consisted of 19,000 soldiers and 1,700 sailors, 240 invading ships, 59 war galleys and over 60 empty cargo boats.
    “This was a venture financed by, and for, the enrichment of the Order of Christ,” said Martin Page in his book First Global Village. “It was not the Portuguese flag, but the Order’s symbol, the Templar cross, which emblazoned the sails and the pennants. The Pope sent a message of commendation and encouragement. The basic policy of the Church then was that almost anything which harmed Muslims was pleasing to the God of the Christians.”
    Shamefully, one of King João I’s sons was considered a hero by European and British historians —he had a British mother—and came to be called Henry the Navigator. The era he started was, and still is, called the “Age of Discovery,” but it could properly be called the Age of Slavery. “[Henry was] the midwife who brought to life the European trade in black African people as slaves,” said Page.
    The Portuguese started a Southward crusade into Africa, and were soon followed by the Dutch, British, French, Germans, Spanish, Italians, Danish and Belgians. Wars among these Europeans raged as they competed to see who could enslave the most of Africa.
    When Portuguese missionaries first set foot on African soil they facilitated and enabled a slave industry by taking Africans as slaves to Brazil, a Portuguese colony across the Atlantic.
    Today, Brazil has a population of some 80 million Africans, more than all African countries except Nigeria.
    Portuguese slavery led to the depopulation of an area the size of France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined.
    Following in the footsteps of Portugal, Europeans committed crimes against Africa over the next 600 years that until today had no parallel in history. They got away with murder, literally, and committed genocides.
    Yet, Europeans still refuse to accept responsibility for their crimes, or pay reparations. They even have the gall to lecture Africans, and blame them for their condition.
    One small sign of change, however, comes from Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, who came under fire for hinting that the Church of England had a role in the slave trade. Slaves in the Caribbean were branded with the initials of his church, which claimed that slavery was ordained by God. Williams vowed that the Church would attempt to atone for its past, but he stopped short of pledging reparations.
    Recently, Antonio Guterres the Prime Minister of Portugal, the country that set the example for the rest of Europe, offered up these platitudes: “I would like to see both Africa and Europe, as areas entirely devoted to peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, values that cannot be denied to anyone. Democracy is not a privilege of the rich. It is a universal right.” (Talk is cheap)

    Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe talks about the destruction of his own Igbo culture by Christian missionaries: “How do you think we can fight when our brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife to the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
    Introductions of Christianity & Islam
    Missionaries from Egypt and Syria introduced Christianity in the fourth century A.D. Following the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Ethiopia was gradually cut off from European Christendom. The Portuguese established contact with Ethiopia in 1493, primarily to strengthen their influence over the Indian Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. There followed a century of conflict between pro- and anti-Catholic factions.
    Abyssinia never fully recovered from the intervention of Portuguese army on side of the Christian, Portuguese intervention in Ethiopia: In the year 1543 Portugal helped Ethiopia to defeat Muslim. And Turks also intervened in the side of Muslims. Ethiopian are still grappling with border disputes and tribalism produced by Portuguese disruption of the social fabric and political structures over the last 600 years. Ethiopia soon sank into its ‘dark ages’
    The Just King V Shameful King.
    For the purpose of comparison. The north Abyssinia was a Christian country ruled by a Christian king. Nevertheless, the Prophet (SAWS) described him as a just king. This only further emphasizes the beauty and fairness of Islam, in which the truth is not conditional or prescribed to Muslims alone.
    Excellent Christian-Muslims relations
    Early Christian-Muslims relations in Abyssinia were very good – the Prophet of Islam sent several Muslim refugees to live among Christians in Abyssinia, who had a very high opinion of the king as Just Ruler. In the medieval era, Christian Ethiopians under the Zagwes refused to be drawn into the European crusades against the Muslim world, which led to Saladin giving the Ethiopian Orthodox Church a monastery in Jerusalem. In the same era, Muslims and Christians lived in separate kingdoms and sultanates in Ethiopia.
    Since Christianity advocates tolerance, love and peace. And Islam introduced the concept of humanity and ´human rights´ such as equality, justice and freedom at the time when the whole world was being ruled by the concept of ´survival of the fittest´?

  • blink

    Dear Beyan
    It is well done for the wrong reasons .By the way Arabic is just a language , many tigrinja speakers speak it too. It is just not right to just paint the so called Tigrinja speakers as such …. , It is just a wrong way for the Eritreans elite of the arabization thinking to assume that the Tigrinja speakers will take your false and none issue characterization , I can not believe you choose to match Memhir to arabic too . what an elite will think he will teach people with such . what ever you try to think of it , it is a failed one. While i do not accept the agazians of these days , I can not believe some one like byan will spend time to go back to centuries to form his own either.

  • Dear All,

    i do not know much about history, and i even have that problem where to delineate history and myth. i hope that you will forgive me for that.

    i do not know if this is trampling on history to glorify the contribution of arab history and civilization in our region, ignoring the role played by the indigenous local african population that lived in the area for tens of thousands of years, or to exploit the plasticity of history as narrated by different historians with or without a purpose in mind, as it so often happens, forgetful of the fluidity of history which tells us that the movement of people and civilizations were never one directional, but depended on the power accumulation at a certain region and at a certain time (e.g greeks, romans, etc), or if the aim is to rationalize a concept that we are all arabs ethnologically, culturally and historically, and therefore the Axumite civilization is an arab civilization, our christian religion stands on arabic feet, and our culture is arabian by its inception, etc.. then, that is something to ponder upon and may be even worry about.

    now, compare this with those who say that genetic studies show that about 3K years ago (which coincides with the time the legendary queen of sheba visited king solomon), there was a movement of people (farmers) from the region of the levant, who migrated to the horn area and settled there forming about 25% of the population, and the genome of ethiopians, eritreans, somalis etc is by about 30% composed of genes that came from these people.

    what to believe; especially in abyssinia that forgot the world by whom it was forgotten for thousands of years? does it really matter? which one of the two (genes vs history) will feed our people, take them out of their predicament; or is it a rhetorical issue that signifies nothing at all? i remember an ethiopian lady who walked barefoot and wore a skirt stitched at a thousand places, who used to say, after all i am a Moja (whatever that word meant to her).

    white europeans believe that whatever sign of civilization they may see in africa (e.g. ethiopia, zimbabwe etc), they always insinuate that black africans are incapable of creating such civilizations, and it is the work of white people, who settled in that region in the depth of history. we have heard of the knight templars, who are supposed to have built the churches at lalibela, and now we learn that the axumite civilization is an arab civilization (unless i misunderstood the author) and geez is an ancient language of arabs, forgotten by the same people who created it, but saved by those who adapted it, (the abyssinians).

    it seems that ethiopians are the only people in the region who ascribe to the term ethiopia (see the map) that depicts their (african) burnt face, in contradiction with others who believe that their ethnic origin, culture and language came from the lighter skinned arabs.

    finally, i would have liked to say that our main problem would not have been arabs and arabic as such, but with the worldview of some contemporary arabs, whose mind is infected with radical, jihadist and extreme form of islam and the things they plan for us and the whole region, and in addition, if the arabic language did not act as the trojan horse that propagates the above mentioned characteristics. fortunately, the arabic language is not an issue on our side of the mereb, not to our muslim brothers and sisters or anybody else. they are proud with their ethnic languages, and they keep arabic for religious matters, as christians do with geez, using it mainly in christian religious services. thus, both religions are far from everyday life of the ordinary people.

    • Taffla


      This is strategy that has been used since the 40’s and continues to our days and will surely never die out. Ir’s a marathon, that counts on Tigrinya speakers getting fatigued and give in to the Arabization agenda. Call me a bigot, but letting my language diminish more than it has already is unthinkable, even if it means that Eritrea as a nation as we know it now cease to excist.

      All the best!

      • Solomon

        Selamat Tafla and Horizon,

        It is indeed disappointing in this day and age to succumb to such irrational fears you are calling “Arabization”. Further inland from the coast, even non human animals such as large predator birds like Hawks and Eagles utilize bird eye view and natural defensive fort of the highlands as a cautionary and strategic peaceful,dwelling from,all dangers from the northern lands entering through the gateway Sea Coast.

        Mush like an eagle or hawk, there are times where the darker skinned than the Arabs, the Habash and further south Ethiopic peoples assess whether peaceful,traders from,the north bartrin usefull goods including know how and new tecknologies they can,use or are invading conquerrors to that will loot goods, rape women and kidnap slaves and burn the rest remaining civilized hamlets for fear from the gathered/united future retributions. The Arabic words Al Habash, ad defined by Dr. Jaladeen M SaliH and or Beyan Negash, meaning the,gathered or the united, per the researched and confirmed non arab purely academic archrological historians such as the refrenced Italian and French orientalists.

        Agressive invaders could very well be Vikings from further northern lands that stretch terror accross GB, main land Europe and possibly northern and north east africa including modern day Eritrean and Ethiopian Highlands of the Tigrigna and Amhara language speakers and further deep sub sahara Africa of Today’s Ethiopia. Though the Arabs are documented enslavers and very likely have historicalal bouts of aggressors of war rivals as the basis for Todays irrational fears of you Tafla and Horizon, times of peace and mutualy beneficial trades of goods and culrure accross the Red Sea takes only common sence to deduce from the ample provided linguistic evidence of similarities of the lsnguage and religious as well as cultural similarities. The Tigre, Tigrigna, and Amhara may verywell be an extenssion of Arab or other Semetic peoples that severed by declaring their autonomy from,the rule of Kings they answered in service and taxes perhaps due to non political representation, much like the Americas rebellion against their British, Spain, French lord Kings. And though Arabic or Semetic as their origin of culture language and fraction by blood mixed with the native Africans starting with the Kunama and Nara up to even Gambela in Todays Al Habash Land. The Habesha kand Negestad proove their cultural Arab/Semetic origind by continuing their traits of colonialist settler rulers of dark skinned subsaharan Africa with equal pace of expanssion and collussion as partners with Europe in carving Darker Skinned indiginous peoples of the the African Continent as recent as 1936–when El Dutche reminded the Al Habash that they are Black Dark Skinned and fair game for European White skinned to take as they wished. Enter Ras Tefferi Haile Selassie to championing African’s Dark Skinned Just Causes with his majrestic apprearance in the League of Nations – UN predesosor and later Fathering the Founding of the African Union in Addis Abeba.HIM Ras Tefferri Mekonen of Harar crowned emperor JAHNHOY, the education and higher learning moderninist advocate of Africa, starting with Ethiopia first through very large generous investments– One main reason motivated his efforts being the staving of human dominance based on the color og thr skin. The Tigrigna and Amhara Al Habash, depended on their coastal and low western lowlanders kinfolk as their firrst line of defense from the Arabs or any from sea aggrrssion.

        I will love to continue a couple observations by anyone willing to see with furthet supporting Arab’s contribution to the Al Habash and the civilized world including Europe. And I shall as it will be as easy as A B C or 1 2 3. Aleph Bae Ta and Algebra of 1 2 3.

        No, Dear Horizon, no just reader, including yours trully, will hold your limited knowledge,of history. Though your seemingly humbled request of forgiveness turned very sinister and aggressive divisivness of the Al Habash hegomony of Ethiopia– without malice intent I will say a,Weyane TPLF oppetative. The Al Habash killed and burried the budding and Justice rule of modern Ethiopiat JaH HaileSellasie was priority for all Africans. He frantically zigzaged the globe newly independend Black Nations to rid racism the greatrest and inhumane injustice incurred on all man kind. The Junta Derg of Amhara dominance unfortunately reverted to race bating war bloody war adventuring against Eritreans standing up for their rights as Arab wenvedeouch…. the Al Habash traumatic war and peace perhsps very bitter history against the Over the Red Sea Arabs by the fortified on the Highlands The United/ Al-Habash. TPLF Ethnic Federalism with their leggalised secession clause after solidifing power and wealth north is further regression of the irrational imagined fears of the Al Habash.

        Horizon more than likely ATigrean TPLF cadre despite your denial, DISREGARDING, the request to “burry politics under your feet” from the authors of this peacefull and the very scarce these days metaphoric olive branch extension to all with an academic paper with an intent of Unity!
        Horizon sensing danger of Eritrean with mutual,respect unity rapidly approaching, putting his Oromo, Amhara… Gambella State of emmergeny duty post on hold jumps to foment the Tigrigna Vs. Arabs divisive strstegy of the TPLF. That is sbsolutely unforgiveable…,This post and all of your prior contributions is ladened with traces….
        And Tafla from the Etitrean side Agazi strategist….. both opperatives working more towards more suffering of through keeping ignorance fear a permanent fixture along with of the companion POVERTY of the majority Tigrigna..

        Tsfla and Horizon, have patience for the construct of the just and beneficial for all, including Weyanti Tigrai.

      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Greetings Taffla,

        In the 40’s or beyond it was nearly impossible to see in your hamlet an alien person who speaks a language different than yours. At that distant time accepting other language specially Arabic means to you as if changing your religion, but now the world has changed a lot. The world has turned to smaller than a hamlet, to an apartment. While you seat at your “duka” comfortable pops to you through your small screen a Muslim Immam and salutes you in Arabic “Al-Salamu Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuhu”. Whether you respond to his selam or no he saluted you. This signifies Arabic entered your room (kaifa hallak Ya Taffla habibi?). You see, Mr. Taffla, you already uttered Arabic sentences, and tomorrow you will know their meaning “In sha’a Allah”. Habibi Tafalla, you are not safe, so close your small screen, broken it to pieces and swear to live at “Debre” where no human being will come to visit you.

        Mr. Taflla, try to emancipate yourself from the old kind of thinking and shape yourself to cope up with the global hamlet, apartment. I am sure you don’t like to look old, but time will change you to an old person, whether you like it or not. Mr. Taflla, accept the reality that you are not alone in this world. It is better to seek for a way that makes you co-exist with the others who don’t resemble you. Those who have God given rights to live in this world beside you with their cultures, religions or languages they believe theirs.

        • Taffla

          Ahlen ya Hamid bin al-arabi,

          Al-salan waleikum is enough. People who go all the berekatu worry me :).

          Your message is so profound, it has titally changed my workdview. I’ll tell you in what way later.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Ahlen Taffla,

            Why my dear friend worry from a beautiful word. I think you missed its meaning though same to Tigrinia. Barakah = Birukh / Bariko / Tebarekh / Ata Birukh Sebai. I hope now you will love the word.

          • Taffla

            Ata Brukh Haw,

            I know the word :). What I meant was what overdoing a simple Hello signifies. Anyhow, have a good day!