Everything You Need To Learn Tigrinya
Tigrinya (also Tigrigna) is a Semitic language spoken by roughly 10 million people. It is the most spoken language in Eritrea, and is also spoken in parts of Ethiopia, particularly Tigray, northern Ethiopia.
In terms of linguistic similarities, Tigrinya is most closely related to Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, though the two languages are not mutually intelligible. It is also distantly related to other Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew.
Tigrinya is written in the Ge’ez script, an ancient writing system that derived from Egpytian hieroglyphics.
Resources for learning Tigrinya aren’t abundant, but there is more than enough here to get you well on your way to fluency.
Tigrinya Language Learning Books
As your first foray into the language, you might want to grab yourself a Tigrinya course/study book as a solid starting point. This will cover the basics of Tigrinya grammar and sentence structure, provide you with a good base vocabulary, and give you plenty of practice in building your own sentences.
Another important book you’ll need at some point is an English-Tigrinya dictionary and phrasebook. You’ll get the meanings of the most important words in the language, see example usage, and learn essential terms and phrases for use in Tigrinya-speaking nations.
As Tigrinya is written in a unique script, in order to gain fluency, you’ll need to learn how to read and write the Ge’ez script. Getting a Tigrinya handwriting practice workbook would be prudent.
Tigrinya Children’s Books
Reading children’s books in Tigrinya is a great way to familiarize yourself with the language, pick up plenty of new vocabulary, and get you comfortable using and understanding the language.
Bilingual English-Tigrinya kids’ books with parallel text are especially useful to beginners, as you’ll be able use the English text to guide you through the Tigrinya versions of the stories.
Other Tigrinya Books
Take your reading comprehension to the next level with some more complex Tigrinya reading material. These include things like the Bible in Tigrinya and Tigrinya fiction for adult/older readers.
These books are great for exposing you to advanced vocabulary and more challenging sentence structures, thereby helping you to develop fluency in the language.
Tigrinya Digital Courses
Instead of starting your journey with a textbook, you might want to try a Tigrinya e-course. Though these are in short supply, the one’s available do offer a unique alternative to Tigrinya course books. They use either audio or video lessons to teach you the language, giving you plenty of exposure to natively-spoken Tigrinya.
Udemy offers a comprehensive Tigrinya course composed of 6 hours of video lessons, a handful of downloadable worksheets, and lifetime access across any smart device, including TVs. You’ll be taught the basics of Tigrinya, including how to read and pronounce the Ge’ez alphabet.