A RECENT INNOVATION BIRTHS AN APPLICATION THAT HELPS YOU SPEAK YORUBA TO YOUR DEVICE AND STILL HAVE IT PERFORM NORMAL OPERATIONS
If your case is similar to mine, although I am not Yoruba, and your parents invented some rule that restricted you from learning your language in view of speech impediment; you may now silently roll your eyes at them. And if you know have the "h" factor you can feel frow to flow and not get embarrassed or asked to repeat yourself when using this app. This app came at the nick of time, exactly when we thought our cultural heritage specifically language was going extinct.
It is with the sole aim of cultural preservation that the team at Yorubaname.com developed a Yoruba speech-to-text initiative. The goal is to create an application that will service millions of Yoruba-speaking people in Nigeria and elsewhere eventually that don't know what english is all about; first including them in everyday communication and most importantly ensuring the language does not go extinct. See! they aren't all Yoruba demons, some are out to save the world.
In an Interview with Okay Africa, Speaking to the Website Curator, Kola Tubosun on why the language software is in Yoruba, he says:
Well, Yoruba has over 30 million speakers. That is already a huge population that can benefit from this kind of innovation. Many of those 30 million do not speak English at all, which means that they are shut out of a number of things involving technology. If a market woman can use an ATM in her local language, I think that empowers her. If she can speak to her phone in Yoruba and it does what she wants, that’s a leap forward. But more importantly, African languages have been left out, for too long in global conversations in technology and that has always bothered me. Siri exists in Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian, three languages which, combined and multiplied by two, still aren’t as widely spoken as Yoruba, yet there is Siri in those languages. Why? Because we don’t care?
So, I’m working on Yoruba because that’s the language I speak and on which I have competence as a linguist to create anything. My overarching aim, however, is to show that more can be done for any African language, and more should be done. One of the ways to keep a language from being endangered is not only to speak it to our children, but also to have them capable of adapting to changing times, in this case with technology.
We are trying to raise $4000 to create this TTS-Yoruba application. You can donate to us here. No amount is too small. But we are also interested in partnering with anyone with other capabilities that can be useful either in creating this particular application, or numerous others that serve the African language experience. Grants? Sponsorship's? Investments? Yes! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; says Tubosun.
Hopefully in the years to come, other languages roll out as well, but for right now, this is undeniably a great avenue to teach and welcome our own culture, with a modern via technological makeover.