Coming this July to the Los Angeles Coliseum is the one of the largest Ethiopian sports and cultural events held annually, EthioLA3. The event takes place July 2-8, 2006 and puts a new spin on visiting the city for regular old tourist attractions like Disneyland, Hollywood, Venice Beach and Beverly Hills. This is the perfect opportunity to embrace Ethiopian culture with mixers being held as early as March to kick off July festivities and days worth of soccer matches. If anything go for the food and visit the website for additional details.
Amharic is the second most Semitic language in the world after Arbaic. It is the official working lingo of Ethiopia and spoken in such places as Egypt, Israel, and Sweden by a number of emigrants. The writing system called abugida is based from the now extinct Ge’ez language. In addition to Amharic other widely spoken languages in the country include Tigrinya, Somali, and Arabic to name a few. Wikipedia has good background information on the lang if you’re at all interested, but for those ready to dig in here’s a couple of places to learn online.
Ethiopian Restaurant dot com was kind enough to include some basic Amharic to use while in a restaurant from which I pulled our word for the day. This a great starter to days of the week, numbers, asking for your bill and other small useful phrases. Listen online to KFAI radio for Amharic broadcast out of Minnesota. Check their schedule for program times and listen daily as a self-learning tool. African Language has Amharic software for purchase and Amazon has a number of books for purchase including the Amharic LP phrasebook.