Bete Ethiopian Cuisine & Cafe

Location: 811 Roeder Silver Spring, MD 20910

Bete means my house in Amharic.

“Amharic (አማርኛ Amarəña) is a sematic language that is spoken mainly in Ethiopia. …. Since it is the working language of the Ethiopian government, it has gained an official status and it is used throughout the country.

There are ninety languages that are spoken in Ethiopia (according to the 1994 Ethiopian census conducted by Ethnologue). Amharic is spoken by more than 17 million people, which is about one third of Ethiopia’s population (and another third speak Oromo language). It has been the language of the court and the dominant population group in Highland Ethiopia since the late 13th century. It is spoken to some extent in every province, including the Amhara region.

The history of Amharic language traces back to the 1st millennium B.C. to the days of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Historians explain that immigrants from southwestern Arabia crossed the Red Sea into present-day Eritrea and mixed with the Cushitic population. This union resulted in the birth of Ge’ez (ግዕዝ), which is the language of the Axum Empire of Northern Ethiopia. It existed between the 1st Century A.D. and the 6th Century A.D. When the power base of Ethiopia shifted from Axum to Amhara between the 10th Century A.D. and the 12th Century A.D., the use of the Amharic language spread its influence, hence becoming the national language.

They writing system, which uses a semi-syllabic system, is called Feedel (ፊደል). It has 33 basic characters with each having 7 forms for each consonant-vowel combination. Unlike Arabic, Hebrew or Syrian, Amharic is written from left to right.”