African Academy of Languages
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ACALAN Strengthens Mother Tongues: Encourages Africans to Learn at Least One More African Language in Addition to What They Already Know
Apr 4, 2018
African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), a subsidiary of the Africa Union mandated to promote African languages, has called on member states to ensure the development of indigenous mother tongues, particularly those that are identified to be Vehicular Cross Boarder Languages. At the last meeting which took place in Niamey, Niger, three new language commissions including, the Ewe, Soninke and Songai commissions were added to the already existing ones.
In an interview with Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha the Executive Secretary of ACALAN, he outlined objectives of the African Academy of Languages to ATV’S Nutifafa Feyi. Dr. Lang explained that the mandate for ACALAN is to ensure that African languages do not go extinct and in ensuring that doesn’t happen, the academy identifies Vehicular Cross Boarder Languages among member countries and device means of protecting and preserving them as well as enhancing cultural, social, economic and political development on the continent. He encouraged national structures of member countries to embrace the exercise wholeheartedly.
‘What I want to say here to our national entities or member states is that, language is an asset, it’s an asset for the people, an asset for the state. ACALAN is interested in developing all the African languages,” Dr. Lang said. He commended some countries including Senegal and Ghana for the language policy in basic schools.
Ghana was represented by Ewe experts from diverse professional backgrounds led by Abla Dzifa Gomashie in her capacity as a born Ewe and cultural consultant, two academicians; Dr. John-Rex Amuzu Gadzekpo and Judith Elikplim Ahlidza, author of Ewe dictionary ‘Eʋegbefiala’ Aseye Mawufenya Dzobo, and Nutifafa Feyi a journalist and Ewe news anchor at ATV.
Asked whether ACALAN had any plans for the rest of the Ghanaian languages Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha bemoaned the lack of good will from the national structures of most countries saying ‘we write to them and they don’t respond, and this has delayed our projects.’ He explained that “the idea of getting these national structures is to effectively work with the national governments to try to develop all the languages and prevent languages from dying”.
Speakers at the 4-day conference encouraged all Africans to learn at least one other African language in addition to their mother tongue. ACALAN seeks to empower participants and commissions in various capacities to promote their languages in the educational sector, work environment, create new terminologies, and use these languages alongside the colonial languages for a better assimilation and integration of Africa.
Professor Abdoulaye Issaka MAGA is the Director of Education, Science, and Culture at ECOWAS Commission. He said there is no better way to preserve our cultures through the constant utilization of the mother tongues of our origins.

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