My daughter is from Lalo. A rural area in the Hadero Tunto area in the Kembata Tembaro Zone. The language spoken is called “Kembatigna.” (ALERT: this will be a post that other Ethiopian adoptive families will probably care about more than the average Joe – especially those who have a child from Kembata.)
There are 84 known languages in Ethiopia and Amharic is the official language. I made an effort to learn Amharic before adopting Misgana so we would be able to communicate a bit before she picked up English. I love learning Amharic, but I really wanted to know more about Misgana’s first language. The problem has always been that it is not a written down language. There isn’t a book, computer program, or Rosetta Stone for Kembatigna.
Anyways – one of my greatest joys was traveling in the region near where Misgana was from and learning some of the words of Kembatigna.
First of all, I learned that people in the region call their language: “Kembatisa” and the Amharic influence added the “igna” influence at the end.
Here are some words that I learned: (I tried to write it how it sounds.)
- Ee – tam – I love
- Ee – tank – a – I love you (long “a” on the end)
- Ana – Father
- Ama – Mother
- Heezoh – Sister/Brother
- Too – Ma – Hello
- Too Ma Hey Ee – Goodbye
- Fie-ya – Doing well?
- Min – ee – House
- Gelatome – Thank you.
- Roshsha – Min – ee – School
(The picture above was taken in the Kembata Tembaro Region by Dave Deur)