African Academy of Languages
African Union

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Preserving indigenous African languages
Jan 5, 2019

The essence of languages cannot be overstated, language tell where a people are coming from. It can be likened to the wings with which culture flies. Language gives culture expression. Culture in itself is regarded as the total way of life of a particular people - the way people do their things, and you cannot do anything without properly giving it an expression. That shows just how important our languages are. Our languages define us, without which we are lost.

More and more languages around the world are gradually going extinct. With it people’s cultural and intellectual heritage are lost. To guard against this rather unfortunate development, the African Academy of Languages, ACALAN was established to preserve, develop, promote and strengthen African languages.

The founding fathers of ACALAN are indeed visionaries. They knew the weight languages carry and hence the need to ensure language preservation. They played an important role of establishing a foundation upon which the current leadership can build.

The current leadership of ACALAN as led by the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha like those before them have taken up the responsibility of developing, promoting African languages with so much commitment. They have put in long hours of careful deliberations and consultations time and again to fulfill the mandate of the Academy. It is therefore not surprising to see the level of accomplishment recorded so far.

ACALAN’s well thought out plan has ensured that African language development and promotion is not limited to the continental level but very importantly at the grassroots also. ACALAN’s Vehicular Cross-border Language Commissions and Focal Points ensure the implementation of ACALAN’s developmental programs at the grass root level.

The Academy has done a lot in recent times towards achieving its mandate of promoting and developing indigenous African languages in all domains of life with the view of using them as factors for African integration and development. ACALAN has successfully, harmonized the writing systems of cross-border language so that they can be used more effectively in the education system, in the media, meetings and other forum.

It also launched the Pan African School for Interpretation and Translation to train Young Africans in the art of interpretation and translation so that African languages can be used as effective languages of development in Africa.

ACALAN also embarked on a program called ‘African languages and the cyberspace’ which aims to project African languages to the world using the endless possibilities of the cyberspace. Thereby Promoting and making information on African languages available on the internet.


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