Ongota – a dying language

On average, at least one language disappears every two weeks. Many endangered languages are spoken by small groups of indigenous people who have limited access to economic resources and every little influence on their country’s cultural and linguistic policy.
The Ongota people fit this profile. They are a tiny marginalized group in Southwest Ethiopia and their language is critically endangered. Graziano Savà is specialized in Ethiopia languages. He is fluent in Amharic, Ethiopia’s lingua franca, and speaks Ts’amakko, the languagneighbours. He is determined to bring Ongota back to alive again. Addis Ababa will be his (and his family) base for his fieldtrips to Ongota for the coming two years.

Ongota is a story about an Italian linguist who goes to Ethiopia with a purely scientific mission: to document a dying language. With time passing by, he personally gets more and more involved with the 12 remaining speakers of Ongota. It is a struggle to alter the course of a possibly irrevocable destiny.

Director & Camera: Robert Weijs

52 min


Ongota - a dying language from Weijs Film on Vimeo.