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The language

Tigrinya is a Semitic language that is widely spoken in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is also spoken in many parts of the world where there are Eritrean and Ethiopian communities.

The dialects

There are two major variants: Eritrean Tigrinya and Ethiopian Tigrinya.

The script

Tigrinya is written with an adapted version of the Ge’ez script. Ge’ez is the ancient classical language of Ethiopia, now a liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.


When translating from Tigrinya into English, the word count tends to increase.

Tigray culture

The church is a central feature of Tigray communities and their daily life. Christianity was introduced to the Tigrays hundreds of years before most of Europe. Churches were cut into cliffs or into single blocks of stone. Many Tigray holidays are therefore associated with the religious calendar. Christmas is celebrated on 7 January, Epiphany on 19 January, and Easter in the month of April.