I thought you’d like to learn some basic Amharic since you are reading this blog.
Our friends who have visited us here in Ethiopia always ask us the same question: How do we say thank you in Amharic? And we always answer them: The word for thank you in Amharic is ridiculously long and difficult.
Thank you is AMASEGANALEHU.
Let’s try that together:
A – MA – SE – GA – NA – LE – HU.
Yeah. Why, oh why, does thank you need to be so long?
So instead of going for the obvious thank you, I’d like you to instead learn two other essential Amharic words. Here we go:
- CHEGER YELLEM (or when you are talking fast: Chegerellem)
That is much more pleasant than amaseganalehu, am I right? Chegerellem just has this nice relaxed Italian clang to it. Chegerellem means ‘No problem’.
Here are some situations where you can use it:
You: Hi, Ethiopian person. I got you a present.
Ethiopian person: Wow. Thank you!
Ethiopian person: Sorry, I broke your bike.
Ethiopian person: Can I ask you to print me this?
You: Of course.
Ethiopian person: Really? Is it not too much to ask?
You can also say ‘Chegerito’ like my friend Lasse mistakenly or purposedly did. It is close enough, the message will go through.
This is probably the most important Amharic word. Why? You could basically just erase all the other words and have full conversations with Eshi. Eshi is in the African hall of fame of words. It means yes, of course, okay, alright, let us do that, sure okay, why not, and whatever is approriate in any context.
Just look at these examples:
You: I would like my fish without potatoes.
Ethiopian person: Eshi, eshi, eshi.
You: Let’s go.
Ethiopian person: Eshiiii
Ethiopian person: Chegerellem.
You: Eshi, eshi, eshi.
You: Can I make reservation for two?
Ethiopian person: Eshi
You: Eshi. Ciao.
So there you go. Next time you come to Ethiopia you can get far with these two words.
P.s. And if somebody is really rude to you you just say WUSHAAA (‘dog’) or if something is unbelievable you just roll your eyes and say NDEEEE or TONGY.