The path of ingenuity is often paced with resilience and dedication. Like a man who had dined with Nelson Mandela who said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head; if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart,” Aremu Anuoluwapo has shown yet again that young Nigerians are talented. This, he has shown through the development of a Yorùbá scrabble game called LingoYooba.
A 300-level student of the Department of Linguistics, University of Lagos, Aremu is the brains behind a-yet-to-be-launched word-cross game, the Yorùbá scrabble. The game is an unprecedented work, making the invention the first in any indigenous African language.
Hard work, they say, does not kill; but pays for those who are patient. And those who wish to romance fame at the bank of stardom may have to labour to avoid shame. The LingoYooba game is a testimony to the fact that what many people see in the showroom is the output and efforts of what had taken place in the labour room. According to the potential linguist, he started designing the work when he was in second year and it lasted 14 months to finish the whole work. The time spent in its preparation is also an indicator of the invaluable importance it would play in facilitating the learning of Yorùbá language.
Language is a vital tool of communication. Aremu’s work seems very timely because it blends fun with learning; especially at a time when many young Yorùbá folks have become alienated from the rudiments of their native language. All in the claim of being ‘civilised’, one would seldom see many Yorùbás speak or write their language impeccably. Therefore, the LingoYooba game has come at no better time than now; serving as a renaissance to Yorùbá language which is gradually strolling to extinction.
The world has often been characterised by dominance and resistance of dominance; which is evident in the transmission and extinction of cultural values across the globe. Language as a cultural symbol has not been left out in the struggle for dominance. Therefore, Aremu noted that the main inspiration behind the LingoYooba game is to accentuate Yorùbá and other African languages to the world. It also heralds to set a platform for indigenous people to understand these languages which are as essential as their counterparts from other continents.
The UNILAG student also noted that it is set out to reduce the negative attitudes of native speakers of Yorùbá language; with extension to foreigners who crave for easier means of learning and understanding the nitty-gritty of the language.
Divulging that the formal launching of the LingoYooba game is underway, Aremu stated that it is going to be a well-covered event as many media outlets; including international media companies have promised to be there. Likewise, the game will be on sale from the day of launching, but interested persons can pre-order it. The day is surely going to be memorable.
While it is an open secret that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has continued to make frantic efforts to protect as many cultural heritage and languages as possible, Aremu urged young Nigerians to engage more in their mother tongue regardless of what language it is. Specifically, he observed that by playing our parts too, UNESCO’s works to preserve these languages and cultural heritages would reduce.
Aremu’s ingenuity beckons on our conscience that there is a lot we could do as young Nigerians or Africans, so long we keep hope and remain resolute in the pursuit of excellence. Today’s contributions to human progress are the impetus for tomorrow’s development; and if we must matter in today’s world, we must continue to bring forth solutions to the challenges that hinder mutual intelligibility; culturally, scientifically and technologically.
Importantly, parents, guardians, proprietors and proprietresses of schools would do their children, wards and students great benefits by getting many of the LingoYooba game once it is launched. And to the youths, you may need to remember that the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, had you in mind when he said: “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” Be diligent like Aremu and make your own contribution to human progress.