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The ancestors of the Tigrinya people

Eritrean woman wearing traditional Tigrinya gold head jewelry and dress - Photo Credit: Helena Yohannes

The Tigrinya people, who are also known as the Kebessa people, are the largest ethnic group in Eritrea. They speak Tigrinya, a Semetic language derived from Ge'ez, and largely inhabit the plateau of the country. Because of their language and script (Fidel), many colonial-era scholars assumed Tigrinya people were of a mixed Yemeni (Sabaean) and Eritrean origin. Despite lacking evidence for this claim, this narrative still persists today, albeit waning.

According to Professor Peter R. Schmidt, the ancestors of the Tigrinya people, and other groups within the Horn of Africa, adopted South Arabian derived languages, not because they were mixed with Sabaeans or colonized by them, but because they were "within the orbit of Sabaean economic and religious spheres of influence, and local African elites likely used symbolic materials to signal 'Sabaean' identity for reasons of social differentiation, but the seeds of urbanism and local industry were planted locally long before."[1]

Schmidt also adds:

"Pre-Aksumite" incorporation of such elements may have taken place over many generations rather than being the products of a limited number of South Arabian colonization or migration events, nor do they signify a dominant vs. subordinate or core vs. periphery relationship between polities. Elites of peer polities or co-evolving polities of relative parity in sociopolitical development and economy may actively appropriate symbols and objects from one another for use in internal legitimization. This is a view of active engagement and critical selection from a diverse repertoire of elements in the southern Red Sea cultural milieu, not a passive incorporation from colonizing populations; it is a perspective that promotes "Pre-Aksumite" agency and creates a more dynamic picture of cultural transformation in the 1st millennium BCE.[2]

To give a related example, king  Zoscales of Adulis, who ruled in the 1st century CE, was known to speak and write in Greek.[3] In fact, Hellenic influences on the region were so strong that nearly all inscriptions until the early 4th century CE were made in Greek.[4] The elite inhabitants of the region adopted Greek for the same reasons they adopted Sabaean material culture: because they were within the economic and cultural influences of these polities. Additionally, by connecting themselves with foreign kingdoms and empires, the elites were seeking to legitimize their rule domestically.

So who are the ancestors of the Tigrinya people?

Although our knowledge of ancient Eritrea is still in its infancy, the archaeological remains found in the plateaus around Asmara indicate a pastoralist society (with some limited agriculture capacity) was inhabiting the region in the 2nd millennium BCE.[5] These early groups of people produced Black Ware pottery, which have historically been associated with the Beja people.[6]

Around 2,000 B.C. pastoral people from the deserts of southern Egypt and northern Sudan entered the Barka Valley and northern highlands, pushing the first wave southwards. These people were the forerunners of the Beja tribes, who for many hundreds of years seem to have been the only independent pastoralists in Africa.[7]

By the early 1st Millenium BCE, these pastoralist people gradually shifted to settled farming communities in the greater Asmara Plateau. As a result, from 800 to 400 BCE, the oldest settled civilization in the Horn of Africa developed in what archaeologists regard as the Ancient Ona cultures of Asmara (Ona means ruins in Tigrinya).

The settlement's inhabitants lived in stone houses, ate cows and goats, drank beer, farmed fertile land and wore animal skins.

Tools for tanning and softening hides have been discovered, along with needles, stone implements for punching leather, and bronze buttons.

To conserve heat on the cool highland plateau, houses did not have any doors, they were entered through openings in the roof.[8]

The migration and assimilation of the Balaw people

During the second wave of the Beja migrations into Eritrea, the Balaw (Belew) people, a then predominantly Christian group of mixed Beja and Bedouin ancestry, entered the country and established the Balaw kingdoms between the 12th and 16th centuries CE. Despite being politically dominate in Eritrea for several centuries, they assimilated with the Tigrinya, Tigre, and Bilen ethnic groups and adopted their languages and cultures. They are even still remembered in oral traditions among several Eritrean ethnic groups.

"...between the 12th and 16th centuries CE peoples of mixed Beja and Arab ancestry known as the Balaw (Belew) seem to have been politically dominant in much of Eritrea (Conti Rossini 1928; Munzinger 1 864; Zaborski 1 976). The Beja were known to be in the Asmara area (see Conti Rossini 1928) and are remembered in the oral traditions of people residing in the Hamasien region that includes the Asmara Plateau.[9] 

What does Tigrinya name mean and where does this name come from?

Tigrinya means "Tigre language". The "inya" in Tigr-inya is the suffix that denotes "language", while Tigr[e] is the speaker. Even more confusing for some is that there is another ethnic group in Eritrea that are Tigre speakers, too. However, the Tigre people speak Tigre, a related but different language. The similarities of their ethnic names and languages is likely due to both these groups sharing a common ancestor called the Tigretes.

In 523 CE, a Greek-speaking Egyptian monk, later given the pseudonym Cosmas Indicopleustes or Indian voyager, wrote an interesting description detailing territorial claims of two monarchs from earlier inscriptions left in Adulis. The now-vanished inscriptions mentioned the people living near Adulis were called the Tigerets.[10] These Tigrerets must have been culturally and politically influential because today we have three separate ethnic groups that begin with the word Tigr: Tigre, Tigrinya and Tigray people.

Tigrinya language

Tigrinya language is a direct descendant of Ge'ez. The oldest reference to written Tigrinya was found in Logosarda, Eritrea in the 13th century CE.[11] Tigrinya has two distinct dialects called the Asmara and Tigray dialects.[12] The Asmara dialect is spoken in Eritrea, while the Tigray dialect is spoken in northern Ethiopia by the Tigray ethnic group. Interestingly enough, the Asmara dialect, over their own Tigray dialect, has become the de facto Tigrinya “standard” for Tigrayans living in northern Ethiopia:

"The Asmara variation with its recent development both in the spoken and written aspect has incontestably become on its own right the de facto "standard" in the Tigrigna speaking areas of North Ethiopia.[13] 

Part of the reason why the Asmara dialect of Tigrinya is the dominate dialect  is due to the Tigray peoples' close proximity with the Amharas. For centuries, Tigrayans spoke and wrote in Amharic script, leaving their dialect to decay. Even 19th century CE European observers to the region made note of this, such as Walter Chichele Plowden, a contemporary British observer, who wrote:

"Teegray is now almost universally acquainted with the Amharic language, and their customs, food and dress have become so assimilated to those of the Amharas, as not to require separate description, though their hatred of that people is undiminished."[14]

Side note: Video below is an example of the Tigray Dialect being spoken by a Ethiopian woman from the Wajirat district of Tigray. For those who are not familiar with Tigrinya, without exaggeration, her dialect is very difficult to comprehend for a person speaking the Asmara dialect of Tigrinya (it almost sounds like a different language). To give a comparable level of difficulty for English speakers would be trying to understand Jamaican patois language without any translation.

The following is a chart showcasing samples of phonological, morphological, syntactical  and lexical differences between the Asmara and Tigray dialect of the Tigrinya language:

Differences between Eritriean and Ethiopian Tigrinya Language

Asmara Dialect
Tigray Dialect
English Translation
It is not
Open it
Mebelaku Neyre
Kebbele Neyre
I would have eaten

Sources: Tadese Beyene and Madote


Tigrinya people, like the Tigre people of Eritrea, are likely the descendants of early Beja people. Despite colonial-era claims of mixing with Sabaean people, there is no archaeological evidence to support this outdated myth. Instead, what likely happened is the ancestors of the Tigrinya people started adopting martial culture from the kingdom Saba because they were within the orbit of Sabaean economic and religious spheres of influence. However, civilizations in the Horn of Africa that gave rise to the many kingdoms of the region were endogenous, and began with the Ancient Ona communities of Asmara.

Ancient Ona Culture Bulls' Head discovered near Asmara. No one really knows for certain what their purposes was. The leading hypotheses seems to indicate they were carved by young children entering adulthood as a right of passage ritual. Photo credit: M.C. Curtis
Pre-Aksumite Sphinx-like statue from Adi Gramaten, Eritrea - Originally discovered in 1945 - Photo credit: Peter R. Schmidth, M.C. Curtis

[1] Historical Archaeology in Africa, by Peter R, Schmidt, p.66
[2] The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea by Peter R. Schmidt, Mattew C. Curtis and Zelalem Teka, p. 343
[3] The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea by Peter R. Schmidt, Mattew C. Curtis and Zelalem Teka, p.302
[4] Eritrea: A Pawn in World Politics by Okbazghi Yohannes, p. 24
[5] The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea by Peter R. Schmidt, Mattew C. Curtis and Zelalem Teka, p.284
[6] The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea by Peter R. Schmidt, Mattew C. Curtis and Zelalem Teka, p.284
[7] Eritrea: Even the stones are burning, by Roy Pateman, p.31
[8] 'Oldest' African settlement found in Eritrea, BBC, May 21, 2002
[9] The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea by Peter R. Schmidt, Mattew C. Curtis and Zelalem Teka, p.284
[10]The Historical Geography of Ethiopia, by George W.B. Huntingford, Richard Pankhurst, p. 43
[11]Languages Materials Project: Tigrinya - UCLA
[12]One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost, by Peter Austin, p. 74
[13]Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, by Taddese Beyene, p.21
[14]Travels in Abyssinia and the Galla country, By Walter Chichele Plowden, p.39
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The ancestors of the Tigrinya people Reviewed by Admin on 5:56 AM Rating: 5


  1. Thank you for putting this gem together! I tried my best to make out what the Ethiopian lady was saying but failed. I think I only understood around 25% of what she said.

  2. For Eritrean who grew up in Eritrea, it would be hard to understand but 70 percent would know what she is talking about but Eritrean who learn tigrinya out side Eritrea 0 percent because in Eritrea are exposed of immigrant from that region.

    Regain HAILE

  3. I did understand what the lady was saying, what she was talking about( cow has did that was the one cow they used to have) and some of the words on the differences between Eri-Eth Tigrinya words are the same they are used in Eritrea too specially country side but also my grandmother used to say Ziban, arhiwo, Gwahat are used in Asmara too she was grow up in Asmara, if I go to country side to visit my relative the speak real Tigrinya.

  4. Real tigrina? May I ask which study shows that it is the "real tigrina"? I must say that it was very hard for me To understand what the women on the clip was saying (wish that I could). I grew up speaking tigrina and also know naye adi tigrina as well.

  5. There is no such thing as 'real Tigrinya' - this is just a subjective opinion. I think you're confusing the linguistic terms applied to the Tigrinya dialect spoken in Eritrea as being simply from Asmara. This is not the case. Both of these dialects have regional sub-dialects, but no study has systematically mapped out the boundaries of these yet. The Tigrinya dialect spoken in the clip would be very difficult to understand, even by the most gifted Eritrean Tigrinya speakers. And this is okay because these are different dialects. But When there are severe linguistic estrangement, such as the clip above shows, can you really call it Tigrinya? By that, I mean, Saho and Afar speakers can understand nearly 70% of each others' languages, yet they are classified as separate languages. Can you honestly say you understood 70% of what this woman was saying? Aside from a few common words like cow, village and others, I doubt any Eritrean Tigrinya speaker, regardless if he or she is from the villages or cities, can say they understand the majority of her lexicon.

  6. So fascinating! Please post more historical posts, thanks.

  7. I Think the writer has made big mistakes here. I would like to point out about the Dialect differences with in the Tigrigna in Eritrea.The writer Tried to put two dialect Asmara and Tigray completely forgetting the fact that there is some dialect differences among Hamassien, Serae and Akele guzai . For the vocabulary part there is no such two different Tigrigna languages. It is all the same language not as the writer tried to put it. As matter of fact all this words are still spoken and are in use with Asmara and the whole Eritrea as a country.

  8. There is some truth in that. No doubt that the tigrinas are decendents of the beja's - but there is propoganda too. Yemeni and Eritrean people have many similarities in their faces, it could be because of Eritreans colonising Yemen or other wise. But nevertheless the history of Eritrea is in some way older than the one in yemen - or they're just as old. And how do they explain the very heavy jewish presense in our culture??... Because the culture we have in a sense is old jewish culture mixed in with christianity and some other animistic relgions we used to worship. My personal belief is that is was a tradeplace for millenias, so we do have the influences from many cultures and continents in relative degrees. Some of us may even be very decent cousins with to indians or sri lanka people. The point the truth is relative, and sometimes does surve political purpose. Didn't they say that semetic originated in Semebel??.. It may have, I don't know. But what I care the most about is that we Eritreans are so stubborns!!!! We really do love who we are and our families. We would do anything to protect that love. Eventhough life has made it extremely difficult to be an Eritrean, I am so proud to belong to these people! And eventhough it is at its early stage and sometimes lack accuracy i and even a little pedantic in the way they're trying to find ancestors, by really declining the Yemen suggestion (yemen is not far away, and it is normal for nabours to mingle) - I think it's wonderful that we are so clear cut on defining who we are by ourselves and not by what others defines us as. The unbendable back of an Eritrean is something to admire, we are so cool!!

  9. My family is from Axum, Ethiopia. We dont say any of the phrases on the right column. We say everything you label as "asmara" dialect

  10. Also, I dont understand what she is saying. Those in Badme speak like that.

  11. Genetic studies conflict with your thoughts on the matter. Tigrignya speakers are the most genetically related to south western asians. And the eurasian shift seen in both Tigrignya and Amharic ethnic groups as compared to non semitic speaking populations attests to a clear external influence coming from a eurasian source population (most likely either sabaeans or early south semitic speaking peoples first expanding into the arabian peninsula).

    This is not to say that it is a significant influence, as it seems to only moderately shift them as a whole when compared to somalis or cushitic speaking groups, but it is noticeable.

    The remainder of west eurasian ancestry seen in the horn (including beja) probably stems from earlier neolithic migrations south from a heterogenous levantine/lower egyptian population.

  12. and whose fault may that be??? ur family m8 be among the 90% agamidos who eat, shyt, sleep 'eritrea' as if they can't live without it! 4 ex, it's abzui, labtui, khemzui amongst your selves, and it's back to abzi, nabyi, khemzi, when you see your idol :) leave us be, live your lves!!!

  13. We are perfectly fine without it. But when false information is posted, especially when the poster clearly does not know anything about Ethiopia but makes generalized statements, that when I care. Whether you like it or not, Tigringya is not a language that your nation just "made up" or own. It belongs to the Tigrawis on both sides of the boarder. Only if you understand the whole story, then peace can be achieved. I understand that Eritreans have struggled and are now their own. I don't hate them for it, and wish my fellow cousins good luck. Its people like you who keeps us apart

  14. Hey jd.

    I'm just going to quickly highlight a few things and I hope it may answer some of your questions:

    The Kingdom of Saba is the oldest known kindom in the Arabian Peninsula and in the Horn of Africa. Yes, it's true the Land of Punt is most likely in Eritrea, but the people of Punt used trees to build their homes, as a result, there is no archaeological remains to study. So we know almost nothing of Punt, aside from the inscriptions the Ancient Egyptians left behind in their tombs.

    The Ancient Ona civilization of Asmara is the oldest civilization in the Horn of Africa. It is from this civilization that all the kingdoms and empires develop from and not from Saba. Keep in mind, the Ona communities had almost no contact with Saba. We only start seeing the Kingdom of Saba's influence within Eritrea by the start of 400 B.C.

    After 400 BC, the ancient kingdoms within Eritrea would trade, to various degrees and time periods, with India, Persia (Iran), The Byzantines, South Arabia (Yemen), Egyptians, Romans and the Greeks.

    Also, Adulis (now known as Zula), was the most wealthiest city in the Horn of Africa, while Qohaito (in southern Eritrea), was the largest city in the region.

    I think the problem with colonial-era historians was they were racist. They couldn't imagine Africans being able to build legimite and wealthy kingdoms without being colonized or being mixed with "cultural superior" Sabeans. As Madote pointed out, there is no evidence to believe in this fairy tale no longer. Sure, mixing took place to a certain degree (like all neighboring kingdoms do), but the the phenotype that makes us look the way we do was already there, long before any mixing took place. Look at the Oromos for example, we know for a fact they did not mix with any Yemenis or outside influences, yet they look exactly like the Amharas. The Horn of Africa people do have a certain look about them that developed in this region. Yes, each ethnic group has distinctive features that separates them from one another but in the grande scheme of things, we all (Horners) share a similar phenotype. This distinctive look developed naturally due to the mountainous environment and diet, not because of mixing! Remember, the Somalis, Afars, Sahos and every other pastoralists originated in the highlands before migrating to the lowlands and coasts.

    A good example that backs up this point are the Bushmen of Southern Africa. They are very light skinned and have Asian-like features. Despite being lighter than the average Eritrean, no one questions if they were mixed or not. Everyone seems to believe they developed naturally. But when Eritreans and archaeologist say Eritreans developed their unique features based on their environment and diet, people can't seem to believe it. They want to believe Eritreans are a mixed product, which is not backed by archaeology.

    Links you should checkout:

    Photo below is of a grandmother with her granddaughter. Both of these women belong to the the Bushmen ethnic group, which are found in Southern Africa. Notice how light they are and their Asian-like features. These people are considered to be one of the oldest inhabitants of Africa. No one dares to question if they were mixed or not with Asians because the archaeology does not back this up. These people look the way they do because of their diet and isolation from other groups in Africa. This is exactly how Eritreans adopted their features, too. Remember, you don't need to be light to be mixed. We need to get this misconception out our heads.

  15. As article pointed out, the Asmara dialect has come to dominate in Northern Ethiopia. In fact, the Tigrinya dictionary is entirely made up of the Asmara dialect (Eritrean Tigrinya) and neglects the Tigray dialect. Northern Tigrayans (Adwa, Axum, Adigrat) use the Asmara dialect due to proximity to Eritrea, and due to the fact that the Asmara dialect has become the de facto standard of Tigrinya in Tigray. Northern Tigrayans still understand and speak the Tigray dialect. I should also point out that Northern Tigrayans adopted the Asmara dialect when Eritrea was illegally federated with Ethiopia in the 1950s and subsequently annexed by Haile Selassie. At one point, hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans (most from the Agame district of Tigray) were living in Eritrea. These people introduced the Asmara dialect to Tigrayans. Eritrean films, dramas, plays, music and books also played a major factor on why the Asmara dialect is being taught in Tigray over their own dialect.

  16. I think I recall your name from FB on that one group called: Eritrea and Ethiopia - united apart or something along that line. I believe you used to say some pretty nasty things about Eritreans. Oh well, that's your problem. And please respect Eritrean peoples' ethnic identities. There is no such thing as "Tigrawis" in Eritrea. People who speak Tigrinya in Eritrea are known as the Kebessa people or Tigrinya people. Tigray people are a separate ethnic group. Why would you even want to link yourself with an ethnic group that does not claim you? If you ask me, that just reeks of inferiority complex.

    Also, we're not cousins, we're just neighbors and we wish you all the best of luck and I sincerely mean that. It's in our interest that our neighbors, especially the Tigrayans, prosper because if the value of your property goes up, my property, out of proximity to yours, will too and vise versa.

  17. The first ever good comment from a Tigray person i have ever seen on the internet...thanks for commenting nicely....and @ temesgen your comment was not really necessary ecspecially the shut word...

  18. Robel hailemichaelAugust 24, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    my uncle is from a village near senafe called ahuze or aregen and when i asked him to listen to what the woman was saying he understood only a little...and from the list you provided on top he told me they used three words from the list above ziban,kinesu and nawti with kinesu exceptionally being from ge'ez .the theory i can provide for you is that tigrinya originated in both Ethiopia and Eritrea and that the more the population of that ethnic grew they needed to expand to get newer grazing lands,one group would move north and the other south(modern day the northerns are the Eritreans and the southerns are the Ethiopians) as they moved upwards and downwards they came across other ethnics which they conquered,defeated,amalgamated and took some words from them and developed their language...and there is no such thing as the original tigrinya(tsuruy Tigrinya) ...but nowadays the much more preferred tigrinya in both countries is the northern one(Eritrean) (even if it is the most preferred it does not mean that it is the original tigrinya or it is better than the southern tigrinya) by the way am a 17 year old Eritrean boy(Robel hailemichael) and i also do not know why the northern one is the most preferred one....and remmember this is my theory.

  19. I am a Tigrian (Tigraway) who always wonders about the foolishness of some Eritreans who try to create false historical prespectives in order to appease their lost connection of their ancestral land. Just look at eritrean history 23 yrs ago. there was no Eritrea. The was a region called Eritrea which since the Axumite times was under the influence of tigrians. From the Kingdom Of AXUM to Emperor Yohannes IV to Raesi Allula Abanega. There was no Eritrean who had the power to influence Eritreans let alone to influence Tigray. Are u Kidding me. The only person who is eritrean to lead eritrea is Essayas Afewerki.(Thanks to hime now u are free and able to have ur own country). Eritreans have been colonized for over 16 centuries (1st by Ethiopia, then Turkey, Egypt and then Italy and then the british and again by Amharas) Now u are telling a story in which the influencer and the language creator are eritreans... please think before u speak.... ur inferiorty complex will lead u in to a fantasy non existant world in which the PC, TV and every invention in the world was made by an Eritrean(u r funny) . Now u are claiming tigrigna forgeting its uncestral homeland Tigray. Ask urself What does Tigray mean u little stupid freak. If u have a language it should been called ERITRIGNA Not Tigrigna u stupid mindless backward Italian hashker.

  20. So, if there is Bedouin ancestry, this means that the Tigrinya people are mixed race since the Bedouin root ancestors are purely Arab.

  21. simply doesn't approve to be the real history of the tigrigna failed to explain 4 kingdoms of the south Arabian Dynasty of which one of them is moved to the highlands of the northern Ethiopia and to give rise the "Tigrigna tribe".You didn't mention "Agazians and habshat" ..of which are the ancestors of sabean languages and sabean tradition.By notion the tigrigna people are not mixed of Beja tribe. No support for your explanation of how bejas mixed with and moved to the highlands of Eritrea.? I would pledge people to read.."the habehsa people " in Wikipedia instead.

  22. ahahaha. what a laughable story. what is this fairly tale?

  23. I think it's really funny when you use Agame as an insult. If you only you knew the whole story, like Kassa Araya said. First of all, there are more than one types of Tigriyan people. In the state of Tigray, there are Adwa people, Axum, Mekele,Shire, AND Agame, etc. Not all Tigriyans are Agame. When Italy took over the northern part of Ethiopia, which is now Eritrea, they would not allow anyone in the nice areas like downtown. If anyone were to come there, the Italians were to deport those people back to Ethiopia. SOOO, when people people in Ethiopia needed money for their families, they would help each other smuggles themselves into Eritrea to work. When they wanted to go back home and didn't wanna pay for transportation,, they would simply go to downtown and tell the Italians that they were "Agame" (which is a type of Ethiopian, who is a type of Tigriyan) and they would get sent back WITHOUT PAYING FOR ANYTHING. So, when Eritreans use the word Agame as an insult, because "they worked as slaves" I think it's pretty funny because it was nothing like that. Please get your facts straight and don't listen to your parents. They're only telling you 1/4 of the truth. We're all the same and if you say we're not, then you have no idea what you're talking about. And don't say that Tigrinya is the Eritrean language. Tigrinya is the Language of Tigray, Orominya is the language of Oromos, Amharic is the language of Amaryina people AND of Ethiopia, and so on. Eritreans were part of Ethiopia and when they separated from Ethiopia, they took the Tigrinya language because that is what people speak in northern Ethiopia. Just because the Tigrinya in Ethiopia and the one in Eritrea are a little different doesn't mean they are totally different languages. Don't you see people in northern parts of America speaking English a bit differently than people in the southern parts on America? Don't be ignorant, I love all Eritreans and Ethiopians and for you to hate Ethiopians(your neighbors) but not Italy, who took over because they felt like it is just plain sad and not smart. Ask yourself why the Ethio/Eri war happened..BECAUSE ITALY TOOK OVER AND BRAINWASHED THE ERITREANS. If that never happened then we would not be having this discussion. It was when they came that everything started spiraling out of control and intense loathing occurred. You know what I've noticed? Whenever I'm with the Ethiopians, there is never any political talk or anything brought up about Eri/Ethio war. Never any negativity even mention about the other side. But whenever I'm with Eritreans, there is always much hatred and talk about Ethiopians and the war and there is ALWAYS hatred mentioned about the other side. I've noticed it at EVERY social gathering (xmas parties, Eritrea day, and even at home) Like why? It's so sad that there will never be peace between all of us. It's okay though, because I have love for everyone. My parents raised me to ignore the POLITICAL DIFFERENCES and love one another and that's what I've done. I'm just tired of Habeshas arguing about this stuff when the facts on both sides are either exaggerated or completely FALSE. Do your research and talk to the truthful elderly people. Not the ones that try to hide the bad and make their favoring country look better. You'll never understand the true history if you're fed lies and then start preaching about those lies. The truthful ones will tell you the good and THE BAD of both sides. #onelove (:

  24. Interesting article, yet knowing nothing about ethio/eri Tigrinia however, just the fact that they all start with a 'T'
    tells you there is a common denominator. Linguistically speaking that is. So am not sure if the author is arguing they are not related or just pointing that they were twins separated at birth. But just in case, Ethiopians/Eritreans have many of the same cultural attributes, so hard to argue the fruit falls far from the tree! Keep up with the research though...would like to read a follow up!

  25. Identity crisis at its best!!!! Tigirigna People????kikikiki Tigrigna is a language not people. Asmara dialect has become the de facto standard of Tigrinya in Tigray?????
    What is the shit are u talking about? Tigrigna is Tigrawai's language
    created by Tigrawai in Tigrai only and the de facto standard is approved
    only in Tigrai by Tigrawai to be the the Axum dialect where the birth
    place of Tigirgna. U can borrow and use it. It is better to use and
    speak the Tigrawai language (Tigrigna) than using other languages like
    Arabic. That's why u opted Tigrigna.

  26. Identity crisis at its best!!!! Tigirigna People????kikikiki Tigrigna is a language not people. Asmara dialect has become the de facto standard of Tigrinya in Tigray?????
    What is the shit are u talking about? Tigrigna is Tigrawai's language
    created by Tigrawai in Tigrai only and the de facto standard is approved
    only in Tigrai by Tigrawai to be the the Axum dialect where the birth
    place of Tigirgna. U can borrow and use it. It is better to use and
    speak the Tigrawai language (Tigrigna) than using other languages like
    Arabic. That's why u opted Tigrigna. Accepting ur identity only solves ur crisis.

  27. Hey Cocolicious!

    This is a good question that I should have elaborated on. The Balaw people were of Beja and Bedouin ancestry who were very few in numbers. When they migrated into Eritrea, they spoke Beja, not Arabic and were predominantly Christians--- an indication that they were just another Beja group who held on to a claim of mixed origins to separate themselves from their Beja rivals. We see this all the time among nomadic groups of the same ethnicity. Even if the Balaw people never entered Eritrea, the Tigrinya people would look relatively the same. The phenotype most Eritreans posses is not the result of mixing; it's the result of the mountainous topography and diet (Eragrostis tef). We can say this with confidence because numerous groups within the Horn of Africa, who had very little contact with Eurasian populations, look similar in appearances, too.

    Happy Thanksgiving, peace.

  28. Well, that totally contradicts the findings in your published article. They either are, or are not, of Bedouin ancestry. And if you, the publication, don't believe this to be the case, then why would you publish an article that purported this as a fact?

    Anyway, I'm going with the notion that the Balaw descendants of the Tigrinya were indeed of both Beja and Bedouin ancestry, hence part sub-Saharan and Arab Caucasian, and mixed race.

  29. The geez language Not derive from Sabean. Basic root words like son of; Geez: Wed,, Sabean: Ibn are not even similar..Tigrinya,Tigre,Geez all derived from the Old Himyarite Language which has its roots in Ancient Chaldean/Akkadian and Canaanite/Ta setian(beja) elements.Although the tigre is derived from Geez like Tigrinya in its grammar it shows earlier traces of a older Semetic Language spoken prior to Sabean this means that the Sabean got influenced on a larger scale by our ancestors the Agazian old himyarite tribes then the other way around. This is indeed A Big deal for us Eritreans!! Also the Dahlik language is brought to attention by the Eritrean government because it is almost identical to the Old semetic forerunner of Geez the Old himyarite language related to Akkadian/Chaldean of Mesopotamia. What is important to remember for us to understand that the Arabian peninsula around 4000 BC was largely inhabited by the cushites mainly Beja just like you got the Arabs today who inhabit this region only later in time the Beja cushite tribes got pushed back to the coastel area of north east Africa which they also inhabited along with Canaan,south east Egypt,part of Present Iraq and little Jordan. The Kassites of Mesopotamia were always described by The ancient Greeks as: 'Asiatic Ethiopians' also they were known as Ta xasa (many still call the Tigre ta xasaa or ta xasa in Africa.) They were kins and allies of the kemetians (a.Egyptia ns) and intermarried with new dynasty. They fought alongside the Egyptians too free Babylonia of Akkadian semetic rule in 1700 BCE they spoke a language similar of that of their Egyptian kins most probably Ta Bedawi which is over 70% Similar. They adopted the Akkadian Semitic tongue but kept their strong culture and traditions. But they were indeed influenced linguistically by the Semites perhaps also genetically but on a minor scale I would Guess.The belew kelew Bejas established the Tigrinya language 1400 years ago by combining most Geez,Saho,afari,Tigre Ta bedawi elements prior to that Tigre was spoken in most of Eritrea.

  30. It would be great if the writer try to classify what ancestor he is talking, is he telling us in terms of genetics (Zeri) or culture (Bahli). If the question is about gene, population genetics studies would answer it easily. Regarding the culture and language dialect Eritrean, Tigrinya speakers have also different dialects and words not alone Eritrean and Tigries. Eritreans in Asmara and Kohain do not have the same dialect. Even in TIgray people from Adwa have a different dialect with those from Raya and Agame. I always get amazed when I read such a very short minded and delusional articles. Admin come on and walk up, Eritrea is made of many tribes and people with different language and dialects. If you proud of Red sea with out respecting Afar, if you think Eritrea is blessed by Bisa, with out endorsing Kunama you are in delusion. There is a wise adage in Tigrinay " ሓዊ ከመልሰልካሲ ንጸላኢካ ጸላኢየይ ኢካ አይትበሎ". There is no benefit by undermining others expect pushing them to work hard to prof who they are. By the way the photo you posted is super makeup-ed and do not look like our mothers or sisters.

  31. The facial similarities between Yemenis and Eritreans are not due to an actual relation. All Horn Africans have what some would call "Caucasian" facial features, we even used to be classed fully as "Caucasian" by the Europeans when they came up with their race theories that are now invalidated, modern race theories like black, white etc. too are invalid and just social constructs. Races don't exist but my main point is simply that your looks and lthe ooks of other Horn Africans is not due to admixture, we actually share more genetics with Levantine peoples like Jews, Jordanians, Lebanese people, mediteranean peoples like North African Berbers (we share a lot with them in particular), Greeks, southern Italians then we do with Arabs of the peninsula like Saudis or Yemenis.

    Whether you're Tigriniya, Tigre, Amhara, Somali, Afar, Saho, Oromo, Harari, Agaw etc. Your relation to the Arabs is quite insignifigant. Just a small almost meaningless relation, much of which is due to the rare admixture escapade one of our ancestors went on. : D

    So don't be confused by our general looks, brother. Not only Eritreans have it, Somalis and Ethios and Djibouti people do (at least the ones of the ethnic groups I named and many others too). We are all brothers of a common origin and have these looks not through arabs but through other means I am still actually researching. We are a proud people. In my eyes, no other peoples other than the Hellenes (Greeks) Italics, Iranians, Indo-Aryan and Chinese peoples have achieved what we as Horn Africans have with the Aksumite Empire, the Ancient Berber city states, D'mt, The Ethiopian Empire, Ajuuraan Sultanate, Adal Sultanate, Zagwe Dynasty and perhaps even Punt once it is irrefutably proven that it was in the Horn but nevertheless much evidence found in Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia suggests a looong history of civilization stretching back 3 to perhaps even 4 to 5 thousand years. And we're a beautiful looking lot. A great people, makes me sad our countries aren't as great as they should be but they will be someday, I hope with every fiber of my being.

    I know you posted this 9 months ago but I hope I somehow shared info you'd never heard of if you do in fact see this reply.

  32. Arab Caucasian lol If they were of partly of bedouin descent that wouldn't probably make them shades lighter or give them 'caucasian characteristics' They were already predominantly dark skinned like the early arab nomads of history they have nothing to do with the Caucasus mountains neither did their ancestors. The were bejasized instead of arbized (which is the case of many tribes on African soil today) It is also possible that they were predominantly of bedouin descent and mixed with the beja on minor scale but were completely influenced by them I also read somewhere that they brought a sort of cast system state of mind with them ie darkskinned is lesser in value then light skinned.

  33. Bro, those who talk hatred are brainwashed by HGDEF.

  34. I like to say the writer has written the best he can or the things he tried to reach in his limited capacity of knowledge and resources, he has quite mentioned many interesting ideas and historical evidence. I would have mentioned, Although he is not at fault but his limited resources has no depth of profound knowledge. anyways well done! Hopefully, you will come up with a profound point of view. some advice, Notice in my point of view, when initiate to write such a big ancestral foundation you need to learn to free yourself from tendency into the true self of you, be rational and you will come up with very innovative idea than what you have written so far cheers!

  35. I made an old post on this page and I would like to point out that I was still learning back then and I now have a clearer painting of the genetics of Horners like Tigrinya, Amhara, Somali, Oromo and so on. Go to this blog for a look at our autosomal DNA (everything is well sourced):

    Horners are what seems to be an ancient admixed group/ a union of sorts between a pre-agricultural Southwest Asian-like ("Arabian") group and an ancient native East African-like group (look to the ancestors Nilo-Saharans like the Dinka and the Ari) though the modern populations of the Arabian Peninsula and Northeast Africa are perhaps not a perfect genetic representation of what came together to create "us" as they have incurred new layers of admixture since the conception of our ancestors.

    As for what this had to do with our phenotypes (soft hair that is often curly, aquiline or narrow noses and so on)- make of that what you will.

  36. Nigga you done fucked up, "Tigray" and "Tigrigna" is the same fucking language, they both called "Tigrinya". it's like British English and American English, only a couple of differences in slang and accent.

  37. What is reported is written by a bigot and ignorant person

    with no moral or critical stand. It is not a reflected reporting
    but an insult to

    any intelligence person. It won’t dignify me to answer to such

    Garbage in garbage out. Madot, keep pushing crap as usual

  38. Tigrigna
    Dear writter and comment writters if u really want who are the people known now as tigrigna u need to go to villages and ask the elders they will tell u the truth because they know who they are from their maternal and patternal linage.

  39. Except Geez and tigrinya originated in Eritrea. Try again, dummy

  40. As both a linguist and one born in #Eritrea, I am very appreciative of your writing about the Tigrinya language. It is my goal to practice the language and remember what I can from growing up in Eritrea. I want to be able to carry a conversation in Tigrinya when I am able to return. It is my hope that the young people from Eritrea living in the U.S., will remember their language and their culture.

  41. The difference of Tigrai Dialect and Asmera Tigrigna is not presents Tigrai or Asmara accent. when you come to west from Wejerat which is the a bit region according to Tigrai whole region, the tigriga of the rest of Tigrai is slowly changing to a different Dialect. for Example if you listen Shire accent is more similar with Asmera Tigrihna. and then Axum, Adwa and Adigrat is also little bit different than the east Tigrai. and then when you go to Enderta/Mekelle to May chew more different than west Tigriai. finally in Wejerat wereda is almost different Dialect. like Akale-guzay and Hamasen, or Adi qula/medefera with Asmara. but it's not mean Asmera tigrigna is the orgin. so do not mixed the history, u r already independent with no come back anymore....


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