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ethiopia, sauce, pepper, red, in, stewed, chicken, wat, doro


Ethiopia is famous for its bird life. Of the estimated 800 species to be found in Ethiopia, 30 are endemic. With Ethiopia's diversity in habitats ranging from deserts, acacia savannas, to wetlands, Rift Valley lakes, alpine highlands and massifs, each area has its own characteristic bird communities. It's a bird watchers paradise.

Abba "My Father," Ethiopian title of respect given to holy and highly regarded individuals

"Addis Ababa: With a population of more than two million people, Addis Ababa is not only the political capital but also the economic and social nerve-centre of Ethiopia. Founded by Emperor Menelik in 1887, this big, sprawling, hospitable city still bears the stamps of his exuberant personality. More than 21,000 hectares in area, Addis Ababa is situated in the foothills of the 3,000 metre Entoto Mountains, and rambles pleasantly across many wooded hillsides and gullies cut with fast-flowing streams. Wide, tree-lined streets, fine architecture, glorious weather and the incongruity of donkey trains along the boulevards make Addis a city of surprises and a delightful place to explore. The clear mountain air gives the city the bracing atmosphere of a summer highland resort. It enjoys a mild climate, with an average temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit."

Axum, Ethiopia's most ancient city and capital of the historic Axumite state, is the site of many remarkable monolithic stone stelae, or obelisks, the three most important being decorated to represent multi-storied buildings, complete with doors and windows. The largest obelisk, which was 35 metres long and weighed 500 tons, is the biggest piece of stone ever cut by humanity anywhere in the world but today it lies broken on the ground. Near it stands a smaller but nevertheless most impressive 24m high obelisk - the pride of Ethiopia. A somewhat larger obelisk was taken to Rome, on the orders of the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, in 1937, but its return to Axum is expected. Plans are also under consideration for the re-erection of the fallen obelisk. Axum, in its glory days, was a great commercial centre, issuing its own currency and trading with Egypt, Arabia, Persia, India and even Ceylon.

Ethiopia like many other African countries, is a multi-ethnic state. Many distinctions have been blurred by intermarriage over the years but many also remain. The differences may be observed in the number of languages spoken-an astonishing 83, falling into four main language groups: Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilo-Saharan. There are 200 different dialect. The Semitic languages of Ethiopia are related to both Hebrew and Arabic, and derive from Ge'ez, the ecclesiastical language. The principle Semitic language spoken in the north-western and central part of the country is Amharic, which is also the official language of the modern state. Other main languages are Tigrigna, Guraginya, Adarinya, Afan Oromo, Somalynya, Sidaminya, Afarinya, Gumuz, Berta and Anuak. The Tigrigna-and Amharic-speaking people of the north and centre of the country are mainly agriculturists, tilling the soil with ox-drawn ploughs and growing teff (a local millet), wheat, barley, maize and sorghum. The most southerly of the Semitic speakers, the Gurage, are also farmers and herders, but many are also craftsmen. The Gurage grow inset, 'false banana', whose root, stem and leaf stalks provide a carbohydrate which, after lengthy preparation, can be made into porridge or unleavened bread.

Ge'ez The ecclesiastical language of Ethiopia used on icons.

The Cushitic Oromo, formerly nomadic pastoralists, are now mainly engaged in agriculture and, in the more arid areas, cattle-breeding. The Somali, also pastoral nomads, forge a living in hot and arid bush country, while the Afar, semi-nomadic pastoralists and fishermen, are the only people who can survive in the hostile environment of the Danakil Depression. Living near the Omo River are the Mursi, well-known for the large clay discs that the women war inserted in a slit in their lower lips. The people of Ethiopia wear many different types of clothing. The traditional dress of the Christian highland peasantry has traditionally been of white cotton cloth. Since the time of Emperor Tewodros 11 (mid-1800s), men have worn long, jodhpur like trousers, a tight fitting shirt and a shamma (loose wrap).

The Muslims of Harar, by contrast wear very colourful dress, the men in shorftish trousers and a coloured wrap and the women in fine dresses of red, purple and black. The lowland Somali and Afar wear long, brightly coloured cotton wraps, and the Oromo and Bale people are to be seen in the bead-decorated leather garments that reflect their economy, which is based on livestock. Costumes to some extend reflect the climates where the different groups live-highlanders, for instance, use heavy cloth cape sand wraparound blankets to combat the night chill. In the heat of the lowland plains, light cotton cloths are all that is required by men and women alike. Traditional dress, through often now supplanted by Western attire, may still be seen throughout much of the countryside. National dress is usually worn for festivals, when streets and meeting-places are transformed into a sea of white, as finely woven cotton dresses, wraps decorated with coloured woven borders, and suits are donned.

iskista: Ethiopian dance involving shaking shoulders and heaving chests. Very popular in Addis Ababa beerhalls.

Ababa : Flower as in Addis Ababa, the "New Flower."
Abuna : Bishop.
Abyssinia : Ethiopia. Abyssinia was used extensively until the middle of the twentieth century. Ethiopia is the preferred name now.
Addis : New. as in Addis Ababa, "New Flower."
Adi : 'Place of' or 'village of.' Used with village names like Adi Abun, "Bishop's-ville".
Aidelin I don't want. Usually used in conjunction with aiquonen when fending off street vendors, as in Aiquonen. Aidelin. "No, I don't want any." (Tigrinya).
Aiquonen No (Tigrinya).
Aiwa Yes (Arabic).
Alem World. So Addis Alem is "New World" and Madane Alem is "Savior of the World."
Amba A flat topped mountain, a mesa.
Amharic The official language of Ethiopia spoken in the south and central highlands. Related to Ge'ez as French is to Latin.
Baksheesh A handout whether for a beggar or a bribe to an official. Beggars asked for it loudly, officials quietly.
Bebere A spice mixture made from curry and several other spices and peppers. The Ethiopians and Eritreans use it in many cooked items to give the food its distinctive peppery taste.
Beit Literally, "house," but a generic word used to identify all kinds of establishments, like, beit sua--"bar" or "beer house;" beit mengeb--"restaurant" or "food house"; beit lehem--"bakery" or "bread house" (Hebrew Bethlehem, "house of bread"); shai beit--"Tea house"; and many more.
Beles The thorny, sweet fruit of the prickly pear cactus. The Israeli equivalent "sabra" is used to name children born in the kibbutzim, they are tough and thorny on the outside but sweat on the inside once you got to know them.
Caremele Candy (Italian).
Dahando haderkum Good morning (Masc.) (Tigrinya)
Dahando haderken Good morning (Fem.) (Tigrinya)
Debra Monastery?
Dorho Chicken.
Enda Place? Used as a prefix on many church names, like, Enda Gabriel. But then also in Enda Zala Kaleb Negus, the "place of the ruins of King Kaleb," a name for the ruins of Matara.
Farenji Foreigner, a corruption of "Frenchi." From "French."
Ge'ez The ancient semitic language of Axum and of the Ethiopian Coptic church. As Latin is the father of Italian, Spanish, and French, so Ge'ez is the father of Tigrinya, Tigrai, and Amharic.
Gari cart A two-wheel, horse-cart taxi found throughout Asmara and other larger towns.
Hibret A Tigrinya newspaper published in Asmara.
Injira A flat pancake-like bread made of tef flower and cooked on a large flat grill.
Iwe ("eeway")Yes (Tigrinya).
Kaffa Kaffa Province, the province that gave its name to its product worldwide, coffee.
Kedus Holy, also prefix Saint for a saint's name, as Kedus Mikael for St. Michael. Also spelled Qedus.
La No. (Arabic)
Madane Savior.
Mengeb Food.
Monkey head An Axumite architectural element where the end of beans protrude from a wall formed of alternate layers of wood and rock. Along the top of each layer of wood, what look like the top of poles stick out every foot or so. These protrusions are called "monkey heads."
Nefas Opening, pass. Used in town names Ad Nefas and Nefasit.
Salam Peace, hello.
Selassie Trinity, as in Haile Selassie, "Protector of the Trinity."
Shai Tea.
Shama The ubiquitous, long, blanket-like garment warn by folding it around over the shoulders something like a Roman toga.
Shifti (Shifta) Technically a bandit, but used universally by Ethiopians and official US statements to refer to all Eritrean freedom fighters.
Stele (plural usually stelae) An upright, (usually) tall, rectangular stone monument, often with carved decorations and/or text. Though they are all over ancient Ethiopia, Axum has the greatest concentration of them. Technically, our standing grave stones are stelae. Stele is word used in archeological that comes to English from Greek by way of Latin. A stele is oblong in cross section while an obelisk, its close neighbor, is square.
Sua Native beer made from a wheat-like grain called tef and fermented from a few hours to a few days.
Subuk An American pronunciation of tsubuk, "good."
Tanica Tin can. Far from the city centers, kids begged for these.
Tef A tiny native grain used as wheat is for food.
Tigrai The language of the lowlands around the Eritrean highlands, especially north and east. Related to Ge'ez as Spanish is to Latin.
Tigrinya The language of the northern Ethiopian highlands in Tigray province and the Eritrean highlands. Related to Ge'ez as Italian is to Latin.
Tsubuk Good.
Tukul The traditional, round, thatched-roof house usually made of sticks and mud.
Wa! A Tigrinyian (and Amharic?) explicative used to indicate, shock, fright, wonderment, delight, disgust, sudden joy or sorrow, pain, and a host of other sudden emotional reactions. A truly delightful word that can only be appreciated in vocal inflection.
Yegenyele Thank you (Tigrinya).
Yehuda Anbesa The Lion of Judah, one of the many titles of HIM Haile Selassie I, and the name of the fishing boat I left Ethiopia on.
Zala Ruins.
Zigini Stew made of meat (usually beef) and bebere served and eaten with injira bread.

new: Ethiopia, the Unknown Land: A Cultural and Historical Guide + Black Women in Antiquity (Journal of African Civilizations ; V. 6) + People of the Plow: An Agricultural History of Ethiopia, 1800-1990 + Eritrea and Ethiopia: From Conflict to Cooperation + Survival and Modernization, Ethiopia's Enigmatic Present: A Philosophical Discourse + Ethiopia: Breaking New Ground (Oxfam Country Profiles Series) + A Saint and His Lion: The Story of Tekla of Ethiopia

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