Tigray Tribe of Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, Tigrinya is the third most spoken language and the "Tigray" are the third largest ethnic group, after the Oromo and Amhara. Tigray-Tigrinya live in the northern highlands of Ethiopia Tigray state.
The name of the language is Tigrinya. Tigrinya is descended from an ancient Semitic language called Ge'ez. The Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches officially use the Ge'ez as a liturgical language today, as in the past. The Tigrinya language is the direct descendant of Ge'ez, unlike Amharic (thought to be descended from a specific dialect or cluster of dialects of Ge'ez) and other southern Ethiopian Semitic languages, though Tigre may share this distinction with Tigrinya (its status is uncertain). Tigrinya is closely related to the Tigre language, spoken by the Tigre people, as well as many Beja people. Tigrinya and Tigre although close are not mutually intelligible, and while Tigrinya has traditionally been a written language which uses the same writing system called fidel (Ge'ez script) as Amharic, Tigre has not. Attempts by the Eritrean government to have Tigre written using the Ge'ez script has met with some resistance from the predominantly Muslim Tigre people who associate Ge'ez with the Orthodox Church and would prefer the Arabic or the more neutral Latin alphabet. It has also met with the linguistic difficulty of the Ge'ez script being a syllabic system which does not distinguish long vowels from short ones. While this works well for writing Tigrinya or Amharic, which don't rely on vowel length in words, it does complicate writing Tigre where vowel length sometimes distinguishes one word and its meaning from another. The Ge'ez script evolved from the Epigraphic South Arabian script, whose first inscriptions are from the 8th century BC in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Yemen.