The words innovation and Nigerian don't usually appear in the same sentence, but one Nigerian company has produced a doll that is far more than a child's plaything.
What language did the Romans speak? Latin, everybody knows that. But who speaks Latin today? Many of us understand a few words of it; many English words have Latin roots, and for those who studied chemistry at school the words auric, ferrous, stannic, etc, have real meaning, but Latin is a dead language. Some languages though are not simply dead but extinct, while others are on the endangered list. This can include not simply languages but dialects.
It is estimated that there are some 3,000 languages on the endangered list at this present time. If you are happy with a New World Order in which we all look the same and talk the same, and where there is a McDonald's and a Starbucks on every high street throughout the world, fine. If you are a native English speaker, doubly fine, but extinct is forever.
Earlier this year, that magnificent organisation that we all now take for granted, Google, launched its Endangered Languages Project. Now, a Nigerian company has come up with its own small contribution to preserving the world's cultural diversity, dolls that speak Nigerian dialect.
Rooti Creations UK actually launched its range of dolls last year, but recently they came to the attention of Nigerian Watch, an ex-patriat enewspaper published in London. The man behind the doll, Chris Ngoforo, told the paper he had actually been working on the project since 2009, and that his inspiration was the fact that his own daughter could not speak a word of Igbo, his own language.
Currently, the doll sells for £45, and its inventor is hoping to expand its range to other, European languages. There is obviously great potential here, and it probably won't be long before someone comes up with the cyber version.
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