Kyeame,

Alphabets

When we set out to modernize African languages, the first question was well, what alphabet to use? And should we have 1 African alphabet for all the languages?

Fortunately, back in 2005, Unicode was taking off. So that was an easy choice: use an alphabet that is represented in Unicode.

But what about which alphabet to use? There are technically as many alphabets as there are languages. For many of Africa's languages, there were also as many variations on an alphabet as there were dialects of a given language.

So we decided to define a kasahorow language as "a single written form of a range of speech forms whose speakers understand each other". For example, Kumasi, Oguaa (Cape Coast), and Akropong residents understand each other. On a radio programme where all 3 residents speak, they do not change their speech forms to accommodate the others. Their written form is Akan. Therefore, Akan is a kasahorow language. Akan therefore has a single alphabet that can be used to write for Kumasi, Oguaa and Akropong residents who want to read their information.

So far, so good. We have not had to change our minds.

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