31.12.2005 -

Reviving N|u in the #Khomani Community of Namibia

@UNESCOKhomani youth at a language camp, @UNESCO

N|u is a highly endangered Southern Khoesan language, spoken fluently in 2006 by only eight #Khomani elders. This project built on desire within the #Khomani community to preserve the mother tongue by facilitating language education.

A linguist from the University of Namibia, himself a speaker of the related, moderately endangered Khoekhoe language, developed a writing system for N|u in 1998 and began informally teaching it to #Khomani youth. With assistance from UNESCO in 2006/2007, he:


  • Purchased for the local community centre a computer capable of playing DVDs and CDs of elders recounting stories in N|u and able to record new documentation,
  • Conducted three language camps for forty #Khomani youth and
  • Cultivated among the next generation interest and pride in the mother tongue, which alone can prevent N|u from disappearing in a matter of years.


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