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On Loans And Additions To The Fidäl (Ethiopic) Writing System

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Chapter Summary

Fidäl is the local name of the writing system widely used in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Both countries make use of other scripts as well, but fidäl is undoubtedly the major script used for adminstrative and educational purposes. This chapter compares the Sabean writing system to the Ge'ez writing system in order to demonstrate the qualitative and quantitative differences and similarities between the two scripts. When Ge'ez ceased to be a spoken language, the script was employed for writing Amharic and later other Ethio-Semitic languages such as Tigrigna. The chapter shows this brought about a number of additions and modifications in the script. The first written Amharic text dates back to the fourteenth century (cf. Richter 1997), but broader use of written Amharic for educational purpose is relatively recent. Use in education necessitated yet more adaptations and additions to the script. These developments also discussed in the chapter.

Keywords: Amharic text; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Fidäl; Tigrigna; writing system

10.1163/ej.9789004174467.i-396.52
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004174467.i-396.52
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