How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
C. H. Armbruster (1874–1957) was a civil servant in the Anglo-Sudan government and a linguist specialising in African languages. After visiting Ethiopia on diplomatic missions in 1906 and 1907 Armbruster published this three-volume reference work on colloquial, spoken Amharic between 1908 and 1920. Armbruster's study of Amharic was one of the first to be written in English, and exemplifies the shift among linguists away from the formal, classics-based style of earlier reference grammars towards a focus on colloquial speech and communication. The examples are drawn from direct knowledge of the contemporary language, unlike similar works of the period which were often based on centuries-old Ethiopian Orthodox biblical texts. Volume 2, published in 1910, is an English–Amharic vocabulary, with guidance on pronunciation and idiomatic Amharic translations of English phrases and sentences.