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Ethiopic Script

Page Content

  1. About the Ethiopic Script
  2. Browser and Font Recommendations
  3. Freeware Keyboards for Typing
  4. Web Development
    1. Language Codes: am (Amharic), gez (Ge'ez), ti (Tigrinya)
  5. Ethiopic Unicode Chart (New Page)
  6. Links

About the Script

Ethiopic is a syllabary originally developed for Classical Ge'ez (Ethiopia), the South Semitic language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, but is now used for several languages of northeastern African including Amharic (modern Ethiopian), Tigrinya and others.

Note on Oromo

Oromo was once written in the Ethiopic script, but has been written in the Roman alphabet since 1991.

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Browser and Font Recommendations

Fonts by Platform

Freeware Unicode Fonts for Ethiopic

Test Pages

unicode.ethiozena.net (Ethiopic News Headlines)

Recommended Browsers

Browsers which fully support Unicode are strongly recommended. Click link in list to view configuration instructions. You will be asked to match a script with a font.

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Setup for Keyboarding



Apple does not currently provide a keyboard for this language, but Macintosh OS X users can use the Unicode Hex Code Keyboard (available only for Unicode aware applications such as TextEdit) may be of some use.

Commercial or shareware keyboard utilities may also be available for either platform.

Freeware Keyboards

SIL Org has Unicode fonts and keyboards for both Windows and Mac. Scroll to the bottom of the page for keyboard utilities.

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Web Development

Ethiopic Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

Inputting and Editing Text in an HTML Editor

One option is to use Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression or other Web editor and change the keyboard to the correct script. This will allow you to type content in directly with the appropriate script. However, it is important to verify that the correct encoding is specified in the Web page header.

Another option is to compose the basic text in an international or foreign language text editor or word processor and export the content as an HTML or text file with the appropriate encoding. This file could be opened in another HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression, and edited for formatting.

Other Web Tools

For Web tools such as Blogs at Penn State, Facebook, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flicker, and others, users can typically change the keyboard and input text. In most cases, this content will be encoded as Unicode.

Unicode Entity Codes

Ethiopic numeric Unicode entity codes can be used for small pieces of text or when other methods to not work.

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Ethiopic Language

Ethiopic Unicode Fonts

Ethiopic Computing

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 30-Jun-2015 15:54:21 EDT