App to teach Kadazan Language using flash cards launched
The Borneo Post (Sabah) 3 Sep 2018
PENAMPANG: A mobile app which teaches the Kadazan Language using flash cards was launched here on Sunday by Assistant Education and Innovation Minister Jenifer Lasimbang.
The app is a new and fresh way to engage with youth by teaching them their indigenous language in a fun and educational way, said Jenifer who is also Moyog assemblywoman.
According to her, only through gaining understanding of their language can the people truly understand themselves and their place in the world.
She said without bringing the youth on board then the Kadazandusun culture would not survive past the current generation.
In her view, a culture that does not evolve with the times will die, and she believes that this app will bring the Kadazandusun culture further into the 21st century.
Jenifer thanked the Kadazandusun Language Foundation (KLF) and Rita Lasimbang for their groundbreaking work on helping to keep the language of the Kadazandusun people alive.
She also thanked Tan Sri Dr Herman Luping for the work he had done across his life in the service of the language and culture of the Kadazandusun people.
The funding for the app came from the money raised through the International Premiere of the film ‘Huminodun’ in December 2017.
Local company Siung Film Production which produced the movie, said that the development of the app was to further their goal of helping the Kadazandusun people grow closer to their culture through the use of their mother tongue.
Josephine Luping, one of the film-makers at Siung Films, said that she was proud to know that money from their film had been used so effectively.
Siung Films is currently working on a magazine-style television show that visits local Sabahans making a difference to their communities and which also highlights traditional handicrafts and traditional foods in a cooking segment.
The app itself was created using graphics from the creative talents of Geoffrey Sinn at Studio C with the app being developed by Mr Kong from GXK Software and Jenifer, using the skills she learned acting in the film ‘Huminodun’, teamed up again with her cast mate Boni Mosios to record the audio for the project.
The app can be found on the Google Play store and the Apple Store and is free to download. It is seen as the first phase and will be enhanced in further phases through further fund-raising efforts over the next year.
The developers hoped to add conversational aspects to the app in the not too distant future. There is also possible scope to include other Sabahan indigenous languages in the future as well.
As of the last day of August, even before the official launch of the app, it had already been downloaded over 1,100 times in the Google Play store and was approaching 1,000 in the Apple Store. Excitingly it is number 10 on the top free education chart and was trending at #1.
“As Assistant Minister of Education and Innovation, I love seeing our children deepen their understanding of their indigenous knowledge and language. Through this app and other advances being made by local Sabahans the culture of the indigenous peoples of Sabah will live on and leave the heritage for generations to come,” she said.
Speaking to the media after the launching ceremony, Jenifer said that the ministry was working with the developer on how to further improve the app.
“The minister himself has seen this application and he showed an interest in it. I informed him that we have more than 36 dialects in Sabah and this is a good opportunity for the communities to showcase their uniqueness to world so that people can learn about them. There is wealth of knowledge contained in each and every one of the dialects.
“We will make a formal working paper so that we can expand the idea of developing an app for the other dialects. But first they must start documenting the dialects so that we can do coding and start off with producing a dictionary for the respective dialects.
“I am very positive that the state government can help out in terms of funding because one of its halatuju is to improve mother tongue of the various ethnic groups in Sabah. We will fine tune on the method or approach of providing the funding,” she said.