Typing in Tongues


Communication in the modern world is slowly moving far away from just speaking and listening. With the advent of social media and other multiple digital expressions, communication has gone digital. Language as a medium in communication drives messages closer to the receiver, the closer language is to home, the easier it is to comprehend. This was what drove a United Kingdom based Nigerian, Adebunmi Adeniran to develop a keyboard that lets the user write in at least 12 Nigerian languages, with correct signs and tones. Nigerian languages are not available on most generic keyboard options. Staying away from home, Adebunmi needed to communicate with other Nigerians back at home Using the English language keyboard limits the meaning to most chats. With a lack of the appropriate signs and tone, context becomes the reader’s guide. Knowing how dangerous this might be to meaning and understanding, Adebunmi birthed NAILANGS.

According to her, NAILANGS, was conceived in line with her passion in Languages. In her own bid to ensure that Nigerian local languages are learned with ease and saved from extinction she took up research on how best to deliver NAILANGS.

 “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!” she said in a interview

Continuing she highlighted that “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 Efik, Idoma, Hausa/Fulani, Tiv, among others.

Adeniran’s passion for languages is evident as she studied Russian Language at the University of Lagos, along with minors in the Italian, Yoruba and English Languages. She is fluent in English, Yoruba and Russian, can speak some Italian and is currently learning to speak Portuguese.

Adebunmi Adeniran / Photo via Ventures Africa

Adebunmi Adeniran / Photo via Ventures Africa

The NAILANGS keyboard is available for download on most app download outlets like Google Playstore, iOS store, Window (Desktop) etc. Adeniran is giving a future to Nigerian languages while tackling the present issue of possible extinction. She hopes the keyboard would incorporate translation technology in the nearest future.