Amharic belongs to the Southern Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. It is the official language and lingua franca in Ethiopia where there are approximately 13 million speakers. There are approximately another 13 million people who speak Amharic as a second language in Ethiopia and Sudan.
There are some examples of written Amharic dating from the 14th century, but it really became the written language of Ethiopia in the 19th century. Since then, Amharic has developed an extensive written literature, making it one of the largest vernacular literatures in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Amharic alphabet is of a consonantal type, having 33 basic consonant characters each of which is in seven forms, depending on the accompanying vowel.
CLASSIFICATION = Afro-Asiatic family, SCRIPT = Amharic (consonantal alphabet)