The presence of an academic don from the prestigious and renowned University of Harvard USA was over whelming to the crowd of students and lecturers who came to learn in an exchange session with the Harvard icon. Dr Romain KOUESSO who received the guest stated that, the visit was an opportunity garnered from the 21st of June 2015 colloquium (CERDETOLA) held in Cameroon. He indicated that the visit was of benefit to the University of Dschang as it coincides with the need for the promotion of national linguistic and cultural diversity. The Head of the Department of African Studies and technical adviser to the Rector of the University of Dschang, Prof Carl EBOBISSE in his speech thanked the guest, reiterating the mission of training Cameroonians to better know their culture and language during the era of globalization in order to foster development. The Dean/FLSH, Prof Maurice TSALEFACK described the scientific conference as an opportunity for Africans to return to the source for development and gave assurance on the remodelling of programmes geared towards making the University a centre to propel African languages. He stated that it will be of profit to literary science for both students and lecturers.
Dr Diakite and University officials during the event
Professor Mugane's question.
During the conference, Dr. Boubacar Diakite who presented Prof Mugane's communication titled “Enseignement des langue Africain Université d'Harvard” made it clear that Harvard, one of the most prestigious Universities of the world promotes African languages and cultures and was organized into 3 main subgroups. Stating that the African language program was initiated in 2003 at the impulsion of African Students in the University. From then till date, the African language program has been growing making Africans proud. He explained that 23 languages, subdivided into 45 sections, (beginners, intermediary and advance level) are being taught every semester at Harvard by instructors of African origin.
Dr. Boubacar Diakite lauded Prof Mugane's question he often uses during conferences “Do you speak the language of the people about whom you are talking about?” .The question which has over the years been referred to as Mugane's question permits African students to be aware about the need to learn their language. He encouraged the language students of the University of Dschang, to master their languages. Spiced with so many anecdotes, Dr. Diakite explained the three types of students in the Department of African Languages at Harvard as, the Heritage Learners, Scholars or people who want to take the African language to do research on Africa, and others who simply want to be versed with the African language.
He emphasized the need for synergy between African Languages at home and abroad to better enrich the continent. He highlighted the existing language programme in Harvard like the African language conference, African sources of Knowledge in a digital library, and African languages online to create easy access and online conferencing. He encouraged all to keep record of the wise sayings of the elderly people in our various communities.
The N'ko language and writing, a panacea to African development and Unity
Dr. Diakite presented on the N'ko language which was created by a Guinean, Suleiman Kante who castigated the view that the African language was only good in the ears but could not be easily transcribed. He added that, with the creation of the N'ko writing, there is easy adaptation to African languages and write sounds that have not been transcribed before. The N'ko language has now spread and it's being studied in some African countries like Gambia, Burkina Faso, Zambia etc with the peculiarity that it can be written in languages that cannot be transcribed. Dr. Diakite, during his interesting and educative expose revealed that with the N'ko language, writing could be adapted to African cartoon, western movies and subtitles as well. Through images, Dr. Diakite made his audience to understand that the Nko' language had no limitations from modern technology as it is adapted to work with IPhones, Samsung and all windows. His rich expose ended in a series of questions asked not only by students of the African language but also from other departments.
With such an eye opening, it is hoped that in the future such a visit will serve in fostering not only cooperation ties with the prestigious University of Harvard but also in developing the African language to be used in the process of development in this era of globalization.TG