Meaghan Smith is another of my students (now an alumna) who loves the people of Ethiopia. Meaghan leaves tomorrow, Tuesday Nov 3, 2009, for a four-year term in Addis Ababa. She has completed her advanced training in linguistics and will be working with a team from Wycliffe Bible translators.
In addition to her linguistic talents, Meaghan for two years held the important office of Hostess of the annual Tamale Party that Sonja and I provide at our house for our students.
Here is an excerpt from one of her Newsletters:
Ethiopia, nearly twice the size of Texas, is home to about 80 million people and 85 languages. My first year in Ethiopia will be spent learning Amharic, the national language. On weekdays I will be in language school about five hours a day, and outside of the classroom I will have plenty of opportunities to practice as I live in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city.
Amharic is spoken by about 17.5 million people and is the primary language used in education throughout Ethiopia. It is also the language I will be using the most at the outset of my work with the translation team in Mizan-Teferi.
Amharic is a Semitic language, which means it is related to Hebrew and Arabic. My studies of Hebrew and Amharic should complement one another, as they have similar grammatical structures and some similar vocabulary. Amharic uses a syllabary system with 268 characters. Instead of an alphabet with separate consonants and vowels, each symbol represents a combination of a consonant and a vowel.
If you would like to learn more about Meaghan’s upcoming work in Ethiopia, e-mail her and ask to added to her newsletter email list (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can learn more about Wycliffe at www.wycliffe.org.