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Meet Dámilọ́lá Adébọ́nọ̀jọ, the host of the @DigiAfricanLang Twitter account for May 8-14

In 2019 as part of a social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online, African language activists and advocates will be taking turns managing the @DigiAfricanLang Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of African languages. This profile post is about Dámilọ́lá Adébọ́nọ̀jọ (@iyayoruba) and what she plans to discuss during her week as host.

Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.

I am Dámilọ́lá Adébọ́nọ̀jọ (aka Ìyá Yorùbá), a Yorùbá Language Specialist, Culture Enthusiast, and Tone-mark Activist.

For few years now, I have worked with a number of individuals and organizations on Translations, done Subtitles for a number of Yorùbá movies, coupled with voice-overs and taught Yorùbá Language online and offline.

I am also the founder of Alámọ̀já Yorùbá, the Independent Yorùbá Language Service Provider that provides different Linguistic services and teaches Yorùbá Language on social media on a daily basis.

My first translated English novel, “Out of His Mind“, one of Bayo Adebowale's best selling novels will soon be published in Yorùbá.

RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

The use of Yorùbá Language on the internet is still below the average level but different from what it used to be few years back. With the emergence of so many promoters online, so many things have changed, people are beginning to at least code-mix English and Yorùbá language to pass their messages across on social media networks.

On the other hand, the offline use has not improved. So many people, especially the youths whose mother tongue is Yorùbá can not speak pure Yorùbá without including a single English word. It has gone that bad. Some do not even want to be associated with the language.

Some even go to the extent of customizing their Yorùbá names to make it sound “sophisticated”. Most of the new generation Yorùbá parents also hardly use their mother tongue to communicate with their children, hence these children are beginning to see Yorùbá as an unnecessary language.

In a nutshell, parents don't make their children see it as important.

Another perspective is that of most Yorùbá movie makers, we see the Indians, Chinese etc speak their language in their movies but reverse is the case for Yorùbá movies, they end up speaking English all through in a Yorùbá movie, it's definitely not promoting the language.

RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @DigiAfricanLang Twitter account?

I intend to share the corrections of some misspelled Yorùbá words, my approach to promoting Yorùbá Language, my post schedules, appreciate many others who have done so much and are still doing so for Yorùbá and other things that cross my mind.

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

To start with, Yorùbá has such a beautiful Language and Culture, and the sweetest part of this is that I studied this language and culture in the university so I decided to put it to practice and go digital about it. If you study courses like Law or Medicine, you probably get to become a lawyer or medical doctor, so I decided to be a full time Yorùbá Specialist. No course of study should be seen as inferior.

Another thing that motivated me is the fact that so many people who can speak Yorùbá fluently cannot write what they say correctly, I decided to get involved in order to correct their errors.

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