Nailangs has become a name synonymous with a virtual keyboard that has the ability to write 12 Nigerian languages with its tonal marks. This is a great attempt at preserving Nigerian languages and this should be embraced by all Nigerians. I had a chat with her; herein is the interview below-
- May we meet you?
My name is Adebunmi Adeniran. Am mostly known and called Ade
- Tell us about Nailangs?
Nailangs Keyboard is a virtual keyboard designed to enable typing at least 12 Nigerian languages without switching from a keyboard to another. And it’s available on all mobile and computer devices.
- How easy was it developing a single keyboard that can write 12 Nigerian languages?
It is a worthy experience, but where there is a will there is always a way. Another thing is when you are under divine guidance, HE makes a way where there seems to be no way.
- Why did you include these 12 languages?
I have included these 12 languages for various reasons.
a. English language is still our lingua Franca (official language, and so to make it acceptable, it has to be included)
b. I chose all the languages that I know are currently written and spoken.
c. I believe in inclusion. That all should be allowed to do what they want (positively) with their languages and
d. I believe passionately in Nigeria.
- How were you able to get the tonal marks of other Nigerian languages?
As someone who is passionate about people and their languages, it required a lot of research on these languages, I had consultations with some of its users and speakers, looking into textbooks and writings on the Internet, there are a lot of resources that is available in 21st Century that we live in.
- How can one get to use this keyboard?
Using NAILANGS keyboard is easy as most things are now. All you have to do is visit iTunes store (for iOS), Google play store for Android or our website (www.nailangs.com ) for Desktop. Download the product, and you can start its usage.
- Why do you think we should have our own keyboard?
We are a big nation, a nation of over 170 million people, we are a force to be reckoned with but we seem not to know it or interested in what is ours. We are busy chasing those that want to chase us! With our own keyboard, we can. We can start to have fun and command big players in International scene to reckon with us and take our values seriously.
- You have used technology to preserve the language; what other technological means do you think Nigerian languages can be preserved?
As you know, technology does not stand still. This is just the beginning. We can look forward to having translation, voice recognition and so on incorporated.
- What is the next invention that you are working on for Nigerian languages
Time will tell, I cannot tell at this moment. As mentioned above, there are so many things that can be incorporated and the focus now is to get NAILANGS into people’s hands and seeing them use it. From there, issues and suggestions encountered can then addressed using21st Century writing tool, the computer
Those that are aware are doing that. There is still a lot of marketing that needs to be done both in diaspora and in Nigeria.
- Has the tool been introduced to the UK police now that they are recruiting Yoruba speakers into the force?
I am not sure at the moment, but once they are aware of this tool, and they believe they need it, they would not need convincing
- What advice do you have for people who have noble ideas like this for their languages to survive?
Go for it! It wouldn’t be an easy ride, but it would be worth it in the long run.
(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria