Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Cameroonian Keyboard?

Yes a Cameroonian keyboard!! Cameroon 's linguistic diversity can enable ICT awareness and ICT knowledge to be facilitated, enhanced, and promoted, within and without its boundaries. I will like to believe it is this fact that made German researchers think about the idea of a Cameroonian keyboard http://www.goethe.de/ins/cm/yao/wis/gko/deindex.htm?wt_sc=goingkompyuta.

How can different people belonging to different cultural backgrounds  communicate using ICT without any misunderstanding? Is this the right question to ask?

As you can see in the photo below the Cameroonian keyboard is either in Qwerty or in Azerty making this keyboard very practical to use.The special characters correspond  to the languages whose alphabet have been developed. In fact, Cameroon has about 247 languages one lingua franca (Cameroon Pidgin English) and two official languages (French and English) according to George Etchu authour of The Language Question in Cameroon.This is natural because there are about 250 ethnic groups in Cameroon and because of Cameroon's colonial legacy.Not all spoken languages in Cameroon have an alphabet.The language question in Cameroon is complex as it implies that if so many languages are present , effective communication might be/ought to be hindered.This creates a natural paradox in an information age and  knowledge society such as ours.

             Cameroonian Keyboard          

Albeit this , there is a fact which should be emphasized , language is  both an element and a vehicle of culture. This has several other implications and at various levels.Does the language question hinder ICT knowledge , ICT awareness, and ICT penetration in Africa? Is IT-culture likely to emerge in such a  multilingual context (Cameroon and Africa)? As you can notice the language question creates several paradoxes and  controversies.

The  physical reality of the Cameroonian keyboard can then be  understood and considered as a prototype of a linguistic and cultural and IT exchange platform between cultures and Culture.Unavoidably, because communicating and communication are crucial to human survival this keyboard will be of great use to ICT users world wide.

Summer Institute of Linguistic (SIL) Cameroon  highlights the necessity to focus on unwritten languages of which several are found in Cameroon http://www.silcam.org/folder010100/page.php. More over, SIL  believes that people who speak these languages often lives in geographic, social, and economic isolation.Language plays thus a crucial role in the social and cultural live of people. Human evolution is cultural. ICT and Kulture seeks to promote and enhance ICT knowlegde and ICT awareness to women and children preferentially through education using ICT. Is this another paradox? Is culture and cultures at stake ? How can ICT be used to promote cultures/Culture/kultur? ICT and Kulture is an idea...

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