Nailangs has become a name synonymous with a virtual keyboard that has the ability to write 12 Nigerian languages with tonal marks. This is a great attempt at preserving Nigerian language, considered as part of a group of dying African languages. Nailangs creator, Adebunmi Adeniran (Ade) is making a valiant effort to save our mother tongue.
The Nailangs Keyboard is a virtual keyboard designed to enable typing at least 12 Nigerian languages without switching from one keyboard to another. And it’s available on all mobile and computer devices.
How easy or hard was it developing a single keyboard that can write 12 Nigerian languages?
It was 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:
- The English language is still our lingua Franca (official language, and so to make it acceptable, it has to be included)
- I chose all the languages that I know are currently written and spoken in Nigeria.
- I believe in inclusion; we all should be allowed to do what we want (positively) with our languages and
- I believe passionately in Nigeria
How were you able to get the tonal marks of other Nigerian languages, other than your native language Yoruba?
As someone who is passionate about people and their languages, it required a lot of research on these languages, I had consultations with language users and speakers, looking into textbooks and writings on the internet, there are a lot of resources that are available in the 21st century that we live in.
How can one get access to this keyboard?
Using Nailangs keyboard is as 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 use. Download the product, and you can start using it.
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 be interested in what is ours. We are busy chasing those that want to chase us! With our own keyboard, we can start to have fun and command big players in the international scene to reckon with us and take our value seriously.
You have used technology to preserve the language; what other technological means do you think are necessary to utilize in order for Nigerian languages to 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 very moment. As I mentioned earlier 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.
Are Nigerians in the diaspora embracing this tool?
Those that are aware are. There is still a lot of marketing that needs to be done both in the diaspora and in Nigeria.
Has the tool been introduced to police in the UK, now that they may be recruiting Yoruba speakers onto the force?
I am not sure at the moment, but once they are aware of this tool, and they believe they need it, they will 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 won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the long run.