Due to increase globalization, many African languages have become less spoken and some gradually becoming obsolete with about 3000 languages extincted over the past centuries. Africans stand the best chance of restoring and protecting their linguistic heritage which has been overtaken by western civilization and cultures.
However, the single entity that makes the continent blessed in a variety of tongues-Africans to uniquely identify themselves from the rest of the world is facing a serious decline in the number of people who can speak, write, read or understand their various languages (dialects).
Today, it’s almost impossible for some Africans to distinguish ourselves from the western world for the single reason that they can’t identify themselves with the rest of their tribesmen/women.
The Bassa language in Cameroon like other languages, has likewise suffered this backdrop. What if we could learn all these supposedly extincted languages online, all in one place?
In a bid to promote mother tongue communication and culture of the Bassa people in Cameroon, Cameroonian Stephie-Rose Nyot Nyot on June 24, 2017 launched an application called, “Je Parle le Bassa 2.0” (I Speak Bassa 2.0).
This e-learning language platform which was recently launched in Paris, France, seeks to provide easy learning of the Bassa language via an interactive and participatory approach. It offers close to 50 language lessons and development exercises in both English and French to help most especially the Bassa populace and other people interested in learning the Bassa language; a language currently spoken by some 2 million people nationally and 800.000 people world-wide.
As an intern at UNESCO, Stephie-Rose realized her many travels were making her lose the understanding of the Bassa language which she had mastered well though growing up in France. It was this constant loss in proper understanding of her own mother tongue that pushed her to develop an application which could keep her up-to-date with her language no matter how many places she visited.
According to Stephie-Rose, users of the application can select exercises ranging from grammar, vocabulary, calculations, conjugations, lifestyle and be able to obtain the translated version of these exercises in the Bassa language. She considers the launch of this 21st century language training site as a key step towards the expansion and promotion of other African languages.
Ending at the level of the Bassa language isn’t ideal for anyone who intends to market the African culture by promoting its language use, the reason why the founder of Je Parle le Bassa 2.0 intends to extend this innovation to other African languages.
Je Parle le Bassa 2.0 was originally introduced in 2013 as a Facebook page and today, the primitive Facebook page has become a full-fledged application which raced through the years and got to its peak in 2016 through a successful crowd funding campaign initiated by its sponsors.
The crowd funding helped Stephie-Rose and her team to secure 7.000 Euros (FCFA 4.5 million), an amount that has enabled the new-born company to set up a fully serviceable bilingual website for the learning of the Bassa language as from September 2017.
This laudable initiative has been greatly welcomed by many Africans and Cameroonians in particular who have always had a hard time learning the Bassa language.