Ethiopic Entity Names

Entity names are nothing new for Ethiopic letters and symbols but they are not often utilized. The letter names are in all likelihood as old as the letters themselves and in many cases even older. Ge'ez language, the first Abyssinian language to adopt writing, with its original 26 member alphabet is often compared with other Semitic languages and scripts from the same period. In particular Hebrew notably shares the largest number of terms with classic Ge'ez as well as present day languages. Hebrew script with its 22 members also provides us with insight into the origins of the Ge'ez entity names, which we will see are often identical, or have a derivational relationship.

The Unicode definition for Ethiopic includes character names for Ethiopic elements based on transcriptions of the elements' phonetic value, or translations in the case of punctuation and numerals. These names are indeed useful identifiers and in many instances easier to work with than character codes. The Unicode names however were never intended for use as entity names as we see today in markup and other ASCII based document languages.

The motivation for deriving alternative entity names here is to produce a workable collection of names based on conventions from the character set's region of origin. The approach used is to construct a logical name in Ge'ez language first and to then transcribe the result into English. It is believed a naming scheme derived in this way will be more intuitive to software developers working with them on a day-to-day basis. It should also be noted before proceeding that the Ge'ez language plays an identical role in Eritrean and Ethiopian society, as does Latin for the Romance languages of Europe. Ge'ez is utilized in the same way by the sciences for the derivation of new terms in a way that is neutral to national and cultural boundaries. For these reasons Ge'ez is working language for the terminologies developed here.

Derivation of Names

For syllographic elements only the first syllable (or "form") of a series (which made up the original Ge'ez alphabet) are given proper names. As with other writing systems the names of the members evolved over time and experienced regional variations as well. In the present day there remains no consensus agreement on the element names, so our first task will be to come up with an average of some sort.

The approach used here is to come up with a weighted average where the terms recorded by Aba Gorgorios, a noted seventeenth century monk and savant, are selected first10. The Aba Gorgorios term is then abandoned in favor of another if the alternative term appears in four or more other references. Aba Gorgorios is given the most credibility for the combination of his stature in Ethiopian society and the age of his work being placed closer to the origin of the names themselves. While the Dillman reference cites even older names found in a translation of the New Testament in Rome, it is not given a greater weight as little else is known about the material by the present author6. Hebrew is shown in the following table only for comparison value and does not influence the outcome selection process.

Hebrew 1548 Rome
(Dillman 1899)
አባ
ጎርጎሪኦስ
1661
Praetorius
1879
Dillman/
Criton
1907
መዝገበ
ፊደል
1934
Chaine
1938
መጽሔት፡
ጥበብ
1948
ኪዳነ፡
ወልድ፡
ክፍሌ
1948
ተስማ
ሀብተ
ሚካኤል
1958
መሪጌታ
ግርማጽዮን
1984
Weighted
Average
Entity
ሀውይ ሆይ ሆይ ሆይ ሆይ
(ሀውይ)
ሆይ ሆይ ሆይ ሆይ ሆይ ሆይ Hoy
ላሜድ ለው ላዊ ለው ለው ላዊ
(ላውይ)
ላዊ ላዊ ላዊ ላዊ
(ለው)
ላዌ ላዊ Lawi
ሔት ሐውት ሐውት ሐውት ሐውት ሐው(ይ)ት ሓውት ሐውት ሐውት ሐውት ሐውት ሐውት Hawt
ሜም መይ መይ ማይ ማይ ማይ
(ሜም)
ማይ ማይ ማይ ማይ ማይ ማይ May
ሳምኬት ሠውት ሠውት ሠውት ሠውት ሠውት ሣውት ሣውት
(ሠውት)
ሠውት ሠውት ሠውት ሠውት Sewt
ሬስ ረእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ ርእስ Ris
ሳት ሶት ሳት ሳት ሳት ሳት
(ሰዓት)
ሳት ሳት ሳት
(ሰዓት)
ሳት ሳት ሳት Sat
ቆፍ ቀፍ ቀፍ ቃፍ ቃፍ ቆፍ ቃፍ ቃፍ
(ቆፍ)
ቆፍ ቃፍ ቆፍ ቃፍ Qaf
ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት ቤት Bet
ታው ተው ተዊ ተው ተው ታው
(ታዊ)
ታዊ ታዊ
(ታው)
ታው ታው ታው ታው Taw
n/a ኀርም ኀርም ኀርም ኀርም ኀርም ኀርም ኀርም omitted ኀርም ኀርም ኀርም Harm
ኑን ናኀስ ናኀስ ነሃስ ነሃስ ነሐስ
(ናስ)
ነሃስ ነሐስ ነሐስ ነሐስ ነሐስ ነሐስ Nehas
አሌፍ አልፍ አልፍ አልፍ አልፍ አልፍ አልፍ አልፍ አልፍ አልፍ እልፍ/አሌፍ አልፍ Alef
ካፍ ከፍ ከፍ ካፍ ከፍ
(ካፍ)
ካፍ ካፍ ካፍ ካፍ ካፍ ካፍ ካፍ Kaf
ዋው ወዌ ወዌ ወዌ ወዌ
(ዋዌ)
ዋዌ
(ዋው)
ዋዊ ዋዊ
(ዋዌ)
ዋዌ ዋው ዋው ወዌ Wewe
ዐይን ዐይን ዐይን ዐይን ዐይን ዐይን ዓይን ዐይን ዐይን ዐይን ዐይን ዐይን Ayin
ዛይን ዘይ ዘይ ዘይ ዘይ ዛይ
(ዛይን)
ዘይ ዘይ ዛይ ዘይ ዘይ ዘይ Zey
ዮድ የመን የመነ የመን የመን
(የማን)
የማን የመን የማን የማን የመን የማን የመን Yemen
ዳሌጥ ድንት ድንት ደንት ድንት
(ደንት)
ድ(ን)ልት ደንት ድንት ድልት ድንት ድልት ድንት Dint
ጊሜል ገምል ግምል ገምል ገምል ገምል ገምል ገምል ገምል ገምል ገመል ገምል Gemel
ጤት ጣይት ጠይት ጠይት ጣይት ጠይት ጣይት ጠይት ጣይት ጠይት ጠይት ጠይት Teyt
n/a ጰይት ጰይት ጰይት ጰይት ጰይት
(ጴት)
ጰይት ጰይት omitted ጳይት omitted ጰይት Peyt
ጸዴ ጸደይ ጸደይ ጸደይ ጸዳይ ጸደይ ጸዳይ ጸደይ ጸደይ ጸደይ ጸደይ ጸደይ Sedey
n/a ጸጰ ፀጳ ፀጳ ፀጳ ፀጰ
(ፀጳ)
ፀጳ ፀጳ omitted ጸሐ omitted ፀጳ Sepa
አፍ አፍ አፍ አፍ ፈፍ
(ፌ)
አፍ አፍ
(ፋፍ)
ፈፍ ፈፍ ፌ/ፊፍ አፍ Af
n/a ፐሰ ፕሳ ፕስ
(ፐሰ)

(ፔ)
omitted omitted omitted omitted ፕሳ Psa
Note that Ethiopian references are shown with 7 years added to the year of publication as an approximation for the year under the Gregorian calendar, which is ahead of the Ethiopian by 7 years 8 months and 11 days (12 days during Ethiopian leap years). Guidi9 offers a name list in keeping with Dillman7 until ጠይት which is given as ጤት.

Basic Ge'ez Letters

With our base names now available as a handy starting point we may simply derive entity names for the basic syllabary. In doing so we can borrow from the kindergarten practice of reciting the syllabary as per the character sound and form name: ለ-ግዕዝ፣ ሉ-ካዕብ፣ ሊ-ሣልስ ( le-ge'ez, lu-ka'ib, li-salis ... ). The form names translated have the meaning of "first", "second", "third" thru "seventh". In place of the characters' spoken value we can simply make the substitution for our base names.

  ግዕዝ
Ge'ez
ካዕብ
Kaib
ሣልስ
Salis
ራዕብ
Rabi
ኃምስ
Hamis
ሳድስ
Sadis
ሳብዕ
Sabi
ሆይ
Hoy

ሆይ-ግዕዝ
hoy-geez

ሆይ-ካዕብ
hoy-kaib

ሆይ-ሣልስ
hoy-salis

ሆይ-ራዕብ
hoy-rabi

ሆይ-ኃምስ
hoy-hamis

ሆይ-ሳድስ
hoy-sadis

ሆይ-ሳብዕ
hoy-sabi
ላዊ
Lawi

ላዊ-ግዕዝ
lawi-geez

ላዊ-ካዕብ
lawi-kaib

ላዊ-ሣልስ
lawi-salis

ላዊ-ራዕብ
lawi-rabi

ላዊ-ኃምስ
lawi-hamis

ላዊ-ሳድስ
lawi-sadis

ላዊ-ሳብዕ
lawi-sabi
ሐውት
Hawt

ሐውት-ግዕዝ
hawt-geez

ሐውት-ካዕብ
hawt-kaib

ሐውት-ሣልስ
hawt-salis

ሐውት-ራዕብ
hawt-rabi

ሐውት-ኃምስ
hawt-hamis

ሐውት-ሳድስ
hawt-sadis

ሐውት-ሳብዕ
hawt-sabi
ማይ
May

ማይ-ግዕዝ
may-geez

ማይ-ካዕብ
may-kaib

ማይ-ሣልስ
may-salis

ማይ-ራዕብ
may-rabi

ማይ-ኃምስ
may-hamis

ማይ-ሳድስ
may-sadis

ማይ-ሳብዕ
may-sabi
ሠውት
Sewt

ሠውት-ግዕዝ
sewt-geez

ሠውት-ካዕብ
sewt-kaib

ሠውት-ሣልስ
sewt-salis

ሠውት-ራዕብ
sewt-rabi

ሠውት-ኃምስ
sewt-hamis

ሠውት-ሳድስ
sewt-sadis

ሠውት-ሳብዕ
sewt-sabi
ርእስ
Ris

ርእስ-ግዕዝ
ris-geez

ርእስ-ካዕብ
ris-kaib

ርእስ-ሣልስ
ris-salis

ርእስ-ራዕብ
ris-rabi

ርእስ-ኃምስ
ris-hamis

ርእስ-ሳድስ
ris-sadis

ርእስ-ሳብዕ
ris-sabi
ሳት
Sat

ሳት-ግዕዝ
sat-geez

ሳት-ካዕብ
sat-kaib

ሳት-ሣልስ
sat-salis

ሳት-ራዕብ
sat-rabi

ሳት-ኃምስ
sat-hamis

ሳት-ሳድስ
sat-sadis

ሳት-ሳብዕ
sat-sabi
ቃፍ
Qaf

ቃፍ-ግዕዝ
qaf-geez

ቃፍ-ካዕብ
qaf-kaib

ቃፍ-ሣልስ
qaf-salis

ቃፍ-ራዕብ
qaf-rabi

ቃፍ-ኃምስ
qaf-hamis

ቃፍ-ሳድስ
qaf-sadis

ቃፍ-ሳብዕ
qaf-sabi
ቤት
Bet

ቤት-ግዕዝ
bet-geez

ቤት-ካዕብ
bet-kaib

ቤት-ሣልስ
bet-salis

ቤት-ራዕብ
bet-rabi

ቤት-ኃምስ
bet-hamis

ቤት-ሳድስ
bet-sadis

ቤት-ሳብዕ
bet-sabi
ታው
Taw

ታው-ግዕዝ
taw-geez

ታው-ካዕብ
taw-kaib

ታው-ሣልስ
taw-salis

ታው-ራዕብ
taw-rabi

ታው-ኃምስ
taw-hamis

ታው-ሳድስ
taw-sadis

ታው-ሳብዕ
taw-sabi
ኀርም
Harm

ኀርም-ግዕዝ
harm-geez

ኀርም-ካዕብ
harm-kaib

ኀርም-ሣልስ
harm-salis

ኀርም-ራዕብ
harm-rabi

ኀርም-ኃምስ
harm-hamis

ኀርም-ሳድስ
harm-sadis

ኀርም-ሳብዕ
harm-sabi
ነሐስ
Nehas

ነሐስ-ግዕዝ
nehas-geez

ነሐስ-ካዕብ
nehas-kaib

ነሐስ-ሣልስ
nehas-salis

ነሐስ-ራዕብ
nehas-rabi

ነሐስ-ኃምስ
nehas-hamis

ነሐስ-ሳድስ
nehas-sadis

ነሐስ-ሳብዕ
nehas-sabi
አልፍ
Alef

አልፍ-ግዕዝ
alef-geez

አልፍ-ካዕብ
alef-kaib

አልፍ-ሣልስ
alef-salis

አልፍ-ራዕብ
alef-rabi

አልፍ-ኃምስ
alef-hamis

አልፍ-ሳድስ
alef-sadis

አልፍ-ሳብዕ
alef-sabi
ካፍ
Kaf

ካፍ-ግዕዝ
kaf-geez

ካፍ-ካዕብ
kaf-kaib

ካፍ-ሣልስ
kaf-salis

ካፍ-ራዕብ
kaf-rabi

ካፍ-ኃምስ
kaf-hamis

ካፍ-ሳድስ
kaf-sadis

ካፍ-ሳብዕ
kaf-sabi
ወዌ
Wewe

ወዌ-ግዕዝ
wewe-geez

ወዌ-ካዕብ
wewe-kaib

ወዌ-ሣልስ
wewe-salis

ወዌ-ራዕብ
wewe-rabi

ወዌ-ኃምስ
wewe-hamis

ወዌ-ሳድስ
wewe-sadis

ወዌ-ሳብዕ
wewe-sabi
ዐይን
Ayin

ዐይን-ግዕዝ
ayin-geez

ዐይን-ካዕብ
ayin-kaib

ዐይን-ሣልስ
ayin-salis

ዐይን-ራዕብ
ayin-rabi

ዐይን-ኃምስ
ayin-hamis

ዐይን-ሳድስ
ayin-sadis

ዐይን-ሳብዕ
ayin-sabi
ዘይ
Zey

ዘይ-ግዕዝ
zey-geez

ዘይ-ካዕብ
zey-kaib

ዘይ-ሣልስ
zey-salis

ዘይ-ራዕብ
zey-rabi

ዘይ-ኃምስ
zey-hamis

ዘይ-ሳድስ
zey-sadis

ዘይ-ሳብዕ
zey-sabi
የመን
Yemen

የመን-ግዕዝ
yemen-geez

የመን-ካዕብ
yemen-kaib

የመን-ሣልስ
yemen-salis

የመን-ራዕብ
yemen-rabi

የመን-ኃምስ
yemen-hamis

የመን-ሳድስ
yemen-sadis

የመን-ሳብዕ
yemen-sabi
ድንት
Dint

ድንት-ግዕዝ
dint-geez

ድንት-ካዕብ
dint-kaib

ድንት-ሣልስ
dint-salis

ድንት-ራዕብ
dint-rabi

ድንት-ኃምስ
dint-hamis

ድንት-ሳድስ
dint-sadis

ድንት-ሳብዕ
dint-sabi
ገምል
Gemel

ገምል-ግዕዝ
gemel-geez

ገምል-ካዕብ
gemel-kaib

ገምል-ሣልስ
gemel-salis

ገምል-ራዕብ
gemel-rabi

ገምል-ኃምስ
gemel-hamis

ገምል-ሳድስ
gemel-sadis

ገምል-ሳብዕ
gemel-sabi
ጠይት
Teyt

ጠይት-ግዕዝ
teyt-geez

ጠይት-ካዕብ
teyt-kaib

ጠይት-ሣልስ
teyt-salis

ጠይት-ራዕብ
teyt-rabi

ጠይት-ኃምስ
teyt-hamis

ጠይት-ሳድስ
teyt-sadis

ጠይት-ሳብዕ
teyt-sabi
ጰይት
Peyt

ጰይት-ግዕዝ
peyt-geez

ጰይት-ካዕብ
peyt-kaib

ጰይት-ሣልስ
peyt-salis

ጰይት-ራዕብ
peyt-rabi

ጰይት-ኃምስ
peyt-hamis

ጰይት-ሳድስ
peyt-sadis

ጰይት-ሳብዕ
peyt-sabi
ጸደይ
Sedey

ጸደይ-ግዕዝ
sedey-geez

ጸደይ-ካዕብ
sedey-kaib

ጸደይ-ሣልስ
sedey-salis

ጸደይ-ራዕብ
sedey-rabi

ጸደይ-ኃምስ
sedey-hamis

ጸደይ-ሳድስ
sedey-sadis

ጸደይ-ሳብዕ
sedey-sabi
ፀጳ
Sepa

ፀጳ-ግዕዝ
sepa-geez

ፀጳ-ካዕብ
sepa-kaib

ፀጳ-ሣልስ
sepa-salis

ፀጳ-ራዕብ
sepa-rabi

ፀጳ-ኃምስ
sepa-hamis

ፀጳ-ሳድስ
sepa-sadis

ፀጳ-ሳብዕ
sepa-sabi
አፍ
Af

አፍ-ግዕዝ
af-geez

አፍ-ካዕብ
af-kaib

አፍ-ሣልስ
af-salis

አፍ-ራዕብ
af-rabi

አፍ-ኃምስ
af-hamis

አፍ-ሳድስ
af-sadis

አፍ-ሳብዕ
af-sabi
ፕሳ
Psa

ፕሳ-ግዕዝ
psa-geez

ፕሳ-ካዕብ
psa-kaib

ፕሳ-ሣልስ
psa-salis

ፕሳ-ራዕብ
psa-rabi

ፕሳ-ኃምስ
psa-hamis

ፕሳ-ሳድስ
psa-sadis

ፕሳ-ሳብዕ
psa-sabi

Post Ge'ez Letters

Building upon the basic Ge'ez syllabary are additions made for the languages that followed as they adopted the writing system for their own use. Tesema Habte Michael offers ኻፍ as an entity name for the ኸ family and offers an approach for forming names for newer letters17. Accordingly, ቬት would become the name for the ቨ family by substituting ቬ for ቤ in ቤት from which the ቨ glyphs have been derived. Likewise ጘመል for the ጘ family, etc.

As the original entity names did themselves have literal meaning (ቤት is "house" and ገምል "camel" in our example*), this approach is not preferred as it implies the derived forms would also be meaningful. Nor was selecting a representative term from the primary language of the extended letters as doing so would require the availability of a fair number of experts in the given languages to come to a consensus opinion.

The solution applied here was to keep the original names and prefix the corresponding syllable of the first letter to the base name. Hence ቬ-ቤት, ጘ-ገምል, etc. In this way the relationship between the new and derived form is also preserved.


*ገምል is an archaic Ge'ez spelling that survives as the syllable family name only. ግመል and ገመል are Amharic and Tigrigna spellings for "camel"12.

 

ሻ-ሳት
Sha-Sat

ሻ-ሳት-ግዕዝ
sha-sat-geez

ሻ-ሳት-ካዕብ
sha-sat-kaib

ሻ-ሳት-ሣልስ
sha-sat-salis

ሻ-ሳት-ራዕብ
sha-sat-rabi

ሻ-ሳት-ኃምስ
sha-sat-hamis

ሻ-ሳት-ሳድስ
sha-sat-sadis

ሻ-ሳት-ሳብዕ
sha-sat-sabi
ቓ-ቃፍ
Qha-Qaf

ቓ-ቃፍ-ግዕዝ
qha-qaf-geez

ቓ-ቃፍ-ካዕብ
qha-qaf-kaib

ቓ-ቃፍ-ሣልስ
qha-qaf-salis

ቓ-ቃፍ-ራዕብ
qha-qaf-rabi

ቓ-ቃፍ-ኃምስ
qha-qaf-hamis

ቓ-ቃፍ-ሳድስ
qha-qaf-sadis

ቓ-ቃፍ-ሳብዕ
qha-qaf-sabi
ቬ-ቤት
Ve-Bet

ቬ-ቤት-ግዕዝ
ve-bet-geez

ቬ-ቤት-ካዕብ
ve-bet-kaib

ቬ-ቤት-ሣልስ
ve-bet-salis

ቬ-ቤት-ራዕብ
ve-bet-rabi

ቬ-ቤት-ኃምስ
ve-bet-hamis

ቬ-ቤት-ሳድስ
ve-bet-sadis

ቬ-ቤት-ሳብዕ
ve-bet-sabi
ቻ-ታው
Cha-Taw

ቻ-ታው-ግዕዝ
cha-taw-geez

ቻ-ታው-ካዕብ
cha-taw-kaib

ቻ-ታው-ሣልስ
cha-taw-salis

ቻ-ታው-ራዕብ
cha-taw-rabi

ቻ-ታው-ኃምስ
cha-taw-hamis

ቻ-ታው-ሳድስ
cha-taw-sadis

ቻ-ታው-ሳብዕ
cha-taw-sabi
ኘ-ነሐስ
Nye-Nehas

ኘ-ነሐስ-ግዕዝ
nye-nehas-geez

ኘ-ነሐስ-ካዕብ
nye-nehas-kaib

ኘ-ነሐስ-ሣልስ
nye-nehas-salis

ኘ-ነሐስ-ራዕብ
nye-nehas-rabi

ኘ-ነሐስ-ኃምስ
nye-nehas-hamis

ኘ-ነሐስ-ሳድስ
nye-nehas-sadis

ኘ-ነሐስ-ሳብዕ
nye-nehas-sabi
ኻ-ካፍ
Kha-Kaf

ኻ-ካፍ-ግዕዝ
kha-kaf-geez

ኻ-ካፍ-ካዕብ
kha-kaf-kaib

ኻ-ካፍ-ሣልስ
kha-kaf-salis

ኻ-ካፍ-ራዕብ
kha-kaf-rabi

ኻ-ካፍ-ኃምስ
kha-kaf-hamis

ኻ-ካፍ-ሳድስ
kha-kaf-sadis

ኻ-ካፍ-ሳብዕ
kha-kaf-sabi
ዠ-ዘይ
Zhe-Zey

ዠ-ዘይ-ግዕዝ
zhe-zey-geez

ዠ-ዘይ-ካዕብ
zhe-zey-kaib

ዠ-ዘይ-ሣልስ
zhe-zey-salis

ዠ-ዘይ-ራዕብ
zhe-zey-rabi

ዠ-ዘይ-ኃምስ
zhe-zey-hamis

ዠ-ዘይ-ሳድስ
zhe-zey-sadis

ዠ-ዘይ-ሳብዕ
zhe-zey-sabi
ዽ-ድንት
Dhi-Dint

ዽ-ድንት-ግዕዝ
dhi-dint-geez

ዽ-ድንት-ካዕብ
dhi-dint-kaib

ዽ-ድንት-ሣልስ
dhi-dint-salis

ዽ-ድንት-ራዕብ
dhi-dint-rabi

ዽ-ድንት-ኃምስ
dhi-dint-hamis

ዽ-ድንት-ሳድስ
dhi-dint-sadis

ዽ-ድንት-ሳብዕ
dhi-dint-sabi
ጅ-ድንት
Ji-Dint

ጅ-ድንት-ግዕዝ
ji-dint-geez

ጅ-ድንት-ካዕብ
ji-dint-kaib

ጅ-ድንት-ሣልስ
ji-dint-salis

ጅ-ድንት-ራዕብ
ji-dint-rabi

ጅ-ድንት-ኃምስ
ji-dint-hamis

ጅ-ድንት-ሳድስ
ji-dint-sadis

ጅ-ድንት-ሳብዕ
ji-dint-sabi
ጘ-ገምል
Nge-Gemel

ጘ-ገምል-ግዕዝ
nge-gemel-geez

ጘ-ገምል-ካዕብ
nge-gemel-kaib

ጘ-ገምል-ሣልስ
nge-gemel-salis

ጘ-ገምል-ራዕብ
nge-gemel-rabi

ጘ-ገምል-ኃምስ
nge-gemel-hamis

ጘ-ገምል-ሳድስ
nge-gemel-sadis

ጘ-ገምል-ሳብዕ
nge-gemel-sabi
ጨ-ጠይት
Che-Teyt

ጨ-ጠይት-ግዕዝ
che-teyt-geez

ጨ-ጠይት-ካዕብ
che-teyt-kaib

ጨ-ጠይት-ሣልስ
che-teyt-salis

ጨ-ጠይት-ራዕብ
che-teyt-rabi

ጨ-ጠይት-ኃምስ
che-teyt-hamis

ጨ-ጠይት-ሳድስ
che-teyt-sadis

ጨ-ጠይት-ሳብዕ
che-teyt-sabi

Labiovelar

The labiovelar extensions to the syllabary require a little more consideration for the selection of suitable names. In Ge'ez language ድቃል has the meaning of "derived from" (or "something originating from something else"). In Amharic, ዲቃላ gets applied to the extra labiovelar letters as a group but also means "bastard". ተውሳክ might be a good choice for the name as it has the meaning for "additional" in Ge'ez but unfortunately in Tigrigna and Amharic the term is used for "parasite" which again does not conjur up an appropriate relationship. Both ዲቃላ and ተውሳክ do invoke confusion when used in the intended context and imply an illegitimacy to the characters that is best avoided. ዘመደ (the adjective form of ዘመድ) is then applied from Ge'ez for the generic form of "related". Fortunately the same meaning has carried over into Amharic and Tigrigna. Versus alternatives that also communicate a relationship (brother, sister, aunt, uncle) "zemede" nicely avoids debate over the appropriate gender associations.

  ዘመደ-ግዕዝ
Zemede-Ge'ez
ዘመደ-ካዕብ
Zemede-Kaib
ዘመደ-ሣልስ
Zemede-Salis
ዘመደ-ራዕብ
Zemede-Rabi
ዘመደ-ኃምስ
Zemede-Hamis
ቃፍ
Qaf

ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ግዕዝ
qaf-zemede-geez

ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ካዕብ
qaf-zemede-kaib

ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ሣልስ
qaf-zemede-salis

ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ራዕብ
qaf-zemede-rabi

ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ኃምስ
qaf-zemede-hamis
ቓ-ቃፍ
Qha-Qaf

ቓ-ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ግዕዝ
qha-qaf-zemede-geez

ቓ-ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ካዕብ
qha-qaf-zemede-kaib

ቓ-ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ሣልስ
qha-qaf-zemede-salis

ቓ-ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ራዕብ
qha-qaf-zemede-rabi

ቓ-ቃፍ-ዘመደ-ኃምስ
qha-qaf-zemede-hamis
ኀርም
Harm

ኀርም-ዘመደ-ግዕዝ
harm-zemede-geez

ኀርም-ዘመደ-ካዕብ
harm-zemede-kaib

ኀርም-ዘመደ-ሣልስ
harm-zemede-salis

ኀርም-ዘመደ-ራዕብ
harm-zemede-rabi

ኀርም-ዘመደ-ኃምስ
harm-zemede-hamis
ካፍ
Kaf

ካፍ-ዘመደ-ግዕዝ
kaf-zemede-geez

ካፍ-ዘመደ-ካዕብ
kaf-zemede-kaib

ካፍ-ዘመደ-ሣልስ
kaf-zemede-salis

ካፍ-ዘመደ-ራዕብ
kaf-zemede-rabi

ካፍ-ዘመደ-ኃምስ
kaf-zemede-hamis
ኻ-ካፍ
Kaf

ኻ-ካፍ-ዘመደ-ግዕዝ
kha-kaf-zemede-geez

ኻ-ካፍ-ዘመደ-ካዕብ
kha-kaf-zemede-kaib

ኻ-ካፍ-ዘመደ-ሣልስ
kha-kaf-zemede-salis

ኻ-ካፍ-ዘመደ-ራዕብ
kha-kaf-zemede-rabi

ኻ-ካፍ-ዘመደ-ኃምስ
kha-kaf-zemede-hamis
ገምል
Gemel

ገምል-ዘመደ-ግዕዝ
gemel-zemede-geez

ገምል-ዘመደ-ካዕብ
gemel-zemede-kaib

ገምል-ዘመደ-ሣልስ
gemel-zemede-salis

ገምል-ዘመደ-ራዕብ
gemel-zemede-rabi

ገምል-ዘመደ-ኃምስ
gemel-zemede-hamis

The remaining labiovelar syllables appear only in the zemede-rabi form and would be named accordingly. An alternative naming scheme would have been one to apply extensions to the "first", "second", "third" name conventions for "eighth" thru "twelfth". The names of the forms after the seventh are less familiar to the average person and could even look contrived after the tenth form. Doing so would also meet with some resistance as the seven basic syllables are tied to the seven days of the week and one is consider as immutable as the other. Certainly the terms would not be as easy to remember and debate is likely over whether the remaining forms are rightfully an eleventh form or merely an eighth. In contrast, the "zemede" convention never has to confront these issues.

The ordering indicated in our last table is in the traditional system. The name convention unfortunately may invoke some confusion when compared against the Unicode sequence for these same elements. The Unicode definition orders the letters in a phonetic based sequence where the zemede-kaib form is shown in the zemede-sadis position. Linguistically these two forms are virtually indistinguishable and the same type of ordering is also found in Ethiopian references. In keeping with the traditional conventions, which underlie this work, the entity names here do offer a partial rectification to the non-traditional sequence used in Unicode.

Extended Zemede

A few relics of syllabary's evolution remain for us to contend with. The Alef series has what appears to be a non-labiovelar eighth form (ኧ) used primarily in Sebatbeit and Amharic. Rather than name it with an eighth form we adorn the character with the label "alef-zemede-geez" for consistency.

At the end of the Unicode Ethiopic syllabary we find the ligatures ፙ, ፘ and ፚ which find no modern use (save for publishing Unicode tables). These letters could be treated as a thirteenth form (ala Dawkins5) but this would embrace the extended form confusion that we've made the effort already to avoid. As a resolution "zemede-ya" is applied to indicate the relationship to ያ from which the ligature is formed.

Character Ge'ez Name Transcribed
አልፍ-ዘመደ-ግዕዝ alef-zemede-geez
ርዕስ-ዘመደ-ያ ris-zemede-ya
ማይ-ዘመደ-ያ may-zemede-ya
ፈፍ-ዘመደ-ያ af-zemede-ya

Numerals

Ge'ez numeral names are the natural choice for naming the entities. The names of numbers will take a variety of forms depending on the context of the phrase they are invoked in. The entity names given below are those used when referring to the numerals themselves and are considered common knowledge.

Character Ge'ez Name Transcribed
አሐዱ ahadu
ክልኤቱ kileitu
ሠለስቱ selestu
አርባዕቱ arbaitu
ኀምስቱ hamistu
ስድስቱ sidistu
ሰብዐቱ sebatu
ሰመንት sementu
ተስዐቱ tesatu
ዐሠርቱ asertu
ዕሥራ isra
ሠላሳ selasa
አርብዓ arba
ኀምሳ hamsa
ስሳ sisa
ሰብዓ seba
ሰማንያ semanya
ተስዓ tesa
ምእት meet
እልፍ ilf

Punctuation

Ethiopic punctuation is unique in that unlike previous character elements most do have commonly used names in the present day. To remain language neutral however we seek out the Ge'ez names for the punctuation at the cost of the loss of familiarity.

Ge'ez names were not available for the punctuation marks ፥, ፦, ፧, ፨ and so had to be derived. For ፧ and ፨ names are constructed directly from the number of "dots" (ነጥብ or ነቍጥ in Ge'ez) in the symbol. ፦ is a modern symbol used primarily in a dialogue or in preface to a list. Accordingly the name አስተአምሮ is chosen from Ge'ez meaning "to explain". አቅርቦት was the next runner up here as it similarly means "to introduce" or "to present". አስተአምሮ was preferred however as it implies more, a greater amount of, information is being communicated. Finally we have ፦ which originated (and is still largely recognized as) another form of ፣. Fortunately two Ge'ez terms are available for both ነጠለ ሠረዝ and ንዑስ ሠረዝ. We apply ነጠለ ሠረዝ to ፣ as the name will already be familiar to Amharic speakers and ንዑስ ሠረዝ then remains for ፦.

Character Ge'ez Name Transcribed
ንዑስ ነጥብ neus-neteb
ዐቢይ ነጥብ ebiy-neteb
ነጠላ ሠረዝ netela-serez
ንዑስ ሠረዝ neus-serez
አስተአምሮ asteamro
ዐቢይ ሠረዝ ebiy-serez
ሠለስተ ነጥብ seleste-neteb
ሰብዐተ ነጥብ sebate-neteb

 


The entitiy list in xml. See also the meanings of the syllables.