From liturgy to technology
Modernizing the languages of Africa
Language is generally not perceived as playing a significant role in the causes of underdevelopment in Africa, and therefore not thought of or mentioned in trying to work out solutions to this situation. The absence of linguistic input in development planning in Africa is one of the key reasons why the majority of the African people are left “on the edge of road.” This paper argues for a language sensitive and linguistically informed approach to technology transfer and development problems. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can serve to promote African languages much better than religion ever did, and language policies and language-in-education policies in Africa need to be cognisant and take advantage of the opportunities the digital era offers the Continent. Whilst, according to Ferguson, “religion has been one of the most powerful forces leading to language change and language spread,” African languages have yet to overcome the linguistic barrier to participation in knowledge societies, and most of them have no interface with science and information technology (e.g. the Internet). Why can’t African languages be languages of technology? How can this be achieved?