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Ethiopain Movies and Their “Englizegna Birku”Makers

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Ethiopians are making lots of movies these days in Ethiopia, targeted for Ethiopian audiences.  The dialogues are in Amharic, the actors are Ethiopians, and the stories are mostly Ethiopia-based.  So why is it necessary for the movie credits or descriptions of the movies be written in English, which most Ethiopians won’t understand anyway?  It looks like these days, most movie makers think their Ethiopian movie will be more “hip” if its announcement posters or rolling descriptions on the movie itself were written in English, rather than in the Ethiopian language that the movie viewers in Ethiopia understand.   It even seems like the movie makers have word for word copied the styles of Hollywood in advertising their movies.   The catch phrases of “a Kebede Dinku film”, “Director Alemu Bishaw”, “Produced by” are used widely in English in movie announcements, as if equivalent words of Amharic are not available for it. It seems as if Ethiopian movie makers Englizegna berk yehonebachew” !. My humble suggestion to them is to stop over using English words unnecessarily as if to show off their English language knowledge, and use the Ethiopian language for their Ethiopian audiences.  What is the point of using English for audiences whose primary language is Amharic and the movie’s dialogue is also in Amharic?  Subtitles in English are understandable, but throwing English words around in the middle of an Ethiopian movie, made in an Ethiopian language, directed at Ethiopian audiences seems very amateurish, at best.  Are Ethiopian movie makers trying to impress tourists in Ethiopia by throwing around English words on their movie posters?  If the role of the Ethiopian movies is to enrich Ethiopian culture and reach Ethiopian audiences, then the dialogue and all the writings should be in Ethiopian language.  Hollywood has more than adequately used English in its countless movies, thank you very much.   I have seen many Ethiopian movies who use unnecessary English words even when there are perfectly good Amharic equivalent words.  Even famous Ethiopians seem to easily mix English words when being interviewed by Ethiopian media people preparing programs for Ethiopians.  Why the need to use English when the Amharic equivalent words are available?
Examples of English words used (written using Ethiopian fonts, no less)
“Move producer” — Film azegaj

“Directed by Abebe” — Film Akenabari Abebe
“A film by Debebe” —  Film wana azegaj Debebe

Ethiopian movie makers  unintentionally seem to work hard to make English words a permanent substitute for Ethiopian words.  Please be proud of your own language and stop pandering to a non-existent English audience for your Ethiopian movies.  Ethiopia is not India and English is NOT a second language for Ethiopians. Stop imitating other people’s culture and language when you can enrich and expand the Ethiopian language.

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2 Responses to “Ethiopain Movies and Their “Englizegna Birku”Makers”

  1. Tariku says:

    Yes that is good observation.
    Ethiopians need to develop and expand their own language as well as learn others.
    It looks like ethiopian movie people are trying to kill the Ethiopian language

  2. Samuel Tafesse says:

    I absolutely agree with what you say. Since the use of Latin alphabet is not standardized for the use of Amharic, using this uncultured fusion of languages is more confusing.
    The other most anoying thing I come across every time I watch Ethiopian movies is the sound track. What has Brandy or DMX to do with a love story told in rural Ethiopia? Please, for heaven sake, these guys need to stop this, and atleast see how the sound tracks are affixed in Haile Gerima’s movies or Haile gebreselassie’s story “Endurance”.

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