The online Dictionary of Yorùbá Names is set to launch as a beta version on Friday 19th, 2016, with post-launch activities continuing up to Mother Tongue Day (February 21st). The site enables users to search the meaning of over 2,000 names (and growing) and to participate by requesting new entries or improving existing ones.
The release of an online Dictionary of Yorùbá Names marks an important step in the preservation of Yorùbá language and culture in the digital age. According to project lead Kọ́lá Túbòsún, “this is just the first step in a long line of activities being pursued by active interested volunteers and scholars to revitalise our local languages and make them useful in the technological age.”
You can expect to hear more from the YorùbáName team soon, as the team is currently developing yet another innovation: a text-to-speech application that will provide a sound file for each entry generated by both human and computer through speech synthesis, to help users (in Nigeria and abroad) correctly pronounce the Yorùbá names in the dictionary.
The YorubaName project started out as an undergraduate thesis presented by Kọ́lá Túbòsún in 2005 at the University of Ibadan. At the time, the database only curated about 1000 names on a compact disk, with meaning and pronunciation, but Mr Túbòsún was determined to expand the work and share it online.
The current project was kickstarted in January 2015 thanks to a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign which raised $5000. It is currently powered by a team of volunteers of diverse backgrounds, all sharing the same vision of a modern, accessible resource on Yoruba language and culture (names available on request). Besides creating the dictionary itself, the YorubaName team released a keyboard layout package to enable anyone to type Yorùbá with the correct tone marks and subdots.
For more information, please visit http://blog.yorubaname.com/