AJA.LA Studios, a startup that produces mobile apps and articial intelligence systems, has released an Android version of SpeakYoruba, an app aimed at assisting children in learning the Yoruba langauge.
The Yoruba people are an ethnic group of southwestern and north central Nigeria, as well as southern and central Benin, but the language is spoken by more than 20 million people across the world. The Yoruba diaspora extends to North America, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe.
The app, part of AJA.LA Studios’ SpeakAfrica series of apps aimed at promoting and preserving African languages, combines music and animation to provide a fun and easy way to learn Yoruba. It features animated flashcards for each letter of the Yoruba alphabet, as well as English and Yoruba pronunciation guides.
Founder Abake Adenle – who left banking and set up AJA.LA Studios in April after attending the Y Combinator Female Founder’s Conference in February – told Disrupt Africa even though the app was designed for kids, it also appeals to adults.
“I developed a less feature-rich version for iOS a couple of years ago, while working as an investment banking quant, and received a lot of requests for a version for Android and for additional features,” she said.
SpeakYoruba currently has a library of 25 words; but Adenle said the startup will expand this, as well as the number of games and cartoon movies, over time. It is also working on versions for more African languages.
“The company’s aim is to build beautiful apps that leverage our expertise in design and artificial intelligence,” she said. “A lot of our apps will have an Africa-focus, but we will also take broader view to the market.”