As part of effort to ensure that we bring back the glory associated with communications in local dialects in Nigeria, a UK based Nigerian, Adebunmi Adeniran, has developed a keyboard to support and enable writing at least 12 Nigerian languages correctly and applying correct signs and tones to give instant meaning to the reader.
The Keyboard, known as NAILANGS, according to her, was conceived as a result of her zeal to ensure that Nigerian local languages are learned with ease so as to prevent the languages from going into extinction.
Adebunmi stressed that the invention is a product of a long and thorough research which came out of her love for languages,‘The concept for NAILANGS started out of the desire to find a good working and stress free Yoruba keyboard to type in as using the characters in ‘insert’ mode was like living in the ice age!’.
“With NAILANGS keyboard, there is no need to switch from one computer to another because once it is downloaded, one is able to type in English and it can be made a bilingual due to the nature of Nigerians who mostly speak more than a language.
With the key, one is able to type the three official languages, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba and other six recognised languages which are Effic, Idoma, Hausa/Fulani, Tiv etc.” According to her, one of the reasons for her choice of keys is the number of people in a particular ethnic and their passion to speak their dialect “such language is Urhobo people, they are very passionate about writing their language, so I have incorporated their keys, even though they might not be part of the so called recognise languages, because they love to do something with their language.” NAILANGS keyboard is available on all platforms such as Google Playstore, iOS store and Window (Desktop).
She expressed dissatisfaction at the rate which Nigerians these days use their dialect as a secondary language instead of primary language According to her, ‘Coming back to Nigeria from the UK in the last one month has been an eye opener, while the children over there are itching to speak our languages, whether is Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba,I find it very painful that I have come to Nigeria and the Children are not being thought our own language’.
She stressed that what is needed now is how to address the issue. This has led her to establish a website that teaches Yoruba language. In lieu of that, Adebunmi,has also put in place plans to partner with some Yoruba after school clubs that teach Yoruba language for children once they return from school in Lagos.
Adebunmi studied Russian language (alongside English and Yoruba languages) from the University of Lagos and later Social Care and Management at both Kingston University Surrey and Leicester University in the UK. After working in different organisation for many years in the UK, ranging from social care, people with learning difficulties and later older people, she went back to language studies which were and still her passion. She hopes this invention will go a long way in reinstituting the pride associated with dialects/languages in Nigeria and NAILANGS will become national keyboard for Nigeria.