General Pronunciation: General
Tigrinya is a difficult language to learn due to the usage of a different alphabet script. This creates a tough barrier of entry for interested learners. It’s for this reason an English phonetic alphabet system will be used alongside the Tigrinya words in the course. It’s important that you understand how to pronounce these phonetic spellings early on so that speaking can be more fluid.
There are 32 consonant sounds and 7 vowel sounds. A letter is formed when you combine a consonant with a vowel.
This means there are over 220 letters in the Ge’ez alphabet! Don’t worry though, it’s not as intimidating as you may think.
Here are all the consonant sounds attached with the first vowel sound "e".
*There is a consonant set that only uses the vowels.
The highlighted consonants from above do not have an English counterpart sound. These will give you the most difficulty in reading the phonetic sounds.
Let's go through them:
The vowel sounds in Tigrinya are not identically pronounced like in English. The 7 Tigrinya vowel sounds can also be identified as positions when referencing which vowel should attach to which consonant to create a letter. When you see a traditional Ge'ez alphabet script, the 7 vowels sounds are always in the same order horizontally.
The vowels are pronounced as follow:
*There are a few additional vowel sounds that get linked to select consonants which we will explain in a separate section.
We highly advise you also review a few sections within the reading course simultaneously . This will help increase total competence of Tigrinya and won’t create lapses in learning.
Completion of the reading/writing is not a prerequisite. This is the key reason why we decided to include the English phonetic spelling.