I recently granted an interview to She.Leads.Africa. One of the questions they asked me was ‘Some people are looking to learn their mother tongue as adults, what advice would you give them?’
This was my response:
“I would say the best thing is to become immersed in the language. Create an environment around you where you’re constantly hearing the language. Watch films in that language, go to the country, make friends with people who speak the language, talk to native speakers through Skype, listen to music in that language, do everything you can to be surrounded by it.
That’s how kids learn, through repetition and immersion. You don’t need to memorise flashcards or complete homework every week (I’m not saying those aren’t helpful) but the best way to learn a new language is to just listen, absorb and speak! Don’t worry about having a funny accent or saying words wrong, just speak it!”
You can read the full interview here: She.Leads.Africa interview with Gbemisola Isimi
Coincidentally, around that same time I was contacted by Richard Delamore who is currently developing an app that helps people find others nearby to speak any language with. He was very keen to get the Yoruba community involved with the app and after looking into it myself I am more than happy to tell you about it. I think it’s a great idea and will definitely help anyone who wants to learn any language, not just Yoruba.
Check out my interview with Richard below.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Richard Delamore and I’m not a Yoruba speaker, however I do speak another little-known language, Esperanto. You’ve probably never heard of it – and no it’s not Spanish! It’s a difficult language to explain without diving into the details. In essence, it’s a century-old constructed language spoken by roughly two million people worldwide. Unlike other languages, Esperanto did not evolve to its current form over hundreds or thousands of years. Instead it was created in about 10 years, to be an international language. It’s now a living language, spoken by a large community of non-native speakers, as well as multiple generations of native speakers.
Esperanto speakers are unique in a sense, as we don’t have a homeland. We’re scattered across the globe and this makes it quite difficult to find other speakers. Therefore, we’ve needed to become quite ingenious in developing ways to find our fellow speakers. Today, I wanted to share with you the newest method that’s all the rage in our community right now. I believe it’s something that Yoruba speakers will also love!
What is it?
What is Amikumu?
The idea for Amikumu was born in the Esperanto community. The name itself means “hang out with friends” in Esperanto.
Amikumu is an app currently in development for iOS and Android for release in July 2017. It will help you instantly find other Yoruba speakers nearby no matter where you are. The best part is that it’s completely free and simple to use.
For example, if you’re a Yoruba speaker and living in an area where there aren’t many other Yoruba speakers, this can become a real issue, especially if you’re trying to raise your child as a Yoruba speaker! Amikumu intends to solve this issue by providing a quick and easy means to meet others. It will help connect those who want to learn Yoruba with native speakers of the language – a learner might be someone reconnecting with their roots or just a polyglot fascinated in learning another language. The possibilities are endless.
How does it work
You download the app and select Yoruba as the language you’re interested in. The app will then generate a list of other Yoruba speakers nearby. This list is constantly updated based on your GPS position, so no matter where you are in the world, it will always show you the nearest speakers. If you see someone interesting, just send them a message through the in-app interface. If all goes well, you can even share your current position with them to organise a quick meet-up. It’s that simple.
Amikumu needs you!
Amikumu is already a massive success in several language communities and now we want to help the international Yoruba community. All that we ask is that you sign up to our mailing list at: https://www.amikumu.com/en/ and share this article with all your friends. We will notify you as soon as the app is ready for download!
And remember; the more Yoruba speakers who sign up to our mailing list, the more useful the app will be for everyone!
If you would like to write a guest post or have a new app/product/service that you think would benefit the Yoruba community please email [email protected]