(1) Hermann Zapf, Alphabetsgeschichte, Linotype, 2007
(2) A 2008 article on Hermann Zapf highlights the particular difficulty of the project within his typographic work: “Die schwierigste Aufgage was zweifellos die Schaffung eines pan-nigerianischen Alphabets. Zapf musste für rund vierhundert Sprachen, die auf dem Gebiet Nigerias gesprochen werden, einen geimesamen Zeichenvorrat schaffen.” — “The most difficult task was undoubtedly the creation of a pan-Nigerian alphabet. Zapf had to create a common set of characters for around four hundred languages spoken in the territory of Nigeria.” — source: Markus Kauffmann, “Wenn Wörter ihr Gesicht verlieren”, Wiener Zeitung, Samstag, 15. November 2008
(3) I got this attachment from my father, a Beninese, who passed on to me a Nigerian name and more precisely a Yoruba name, a people to which my paternal grandfather belonged. I take advantage of this article to pay tribute to them.
(4) This gave rise in 1978 to the other African reference alphabet, the Niamey alphabet
(5) Ayo Bamgbose, On devising and harmonizing orthographies in African languages, July 17-21 1978
(6) It should be noted, however, that before the Latin alphabet, the Ajami system of Arabic transcription of African languages existed in this region of Africa since the 14th century, and even since the 11th century under the influence of the Berber Zanaga people (source: Mamadou CISSE, “Écrits et écriture en Afrique de l'Ouest”, Revue électronique internationale de sciences du langage Sudlangues, n°6, June 2006). The myth of the late literacy of Africa in the 19th century is therefore largely defeated.
(7) Capital of Edo State and capital of the short-lived Republic of Benin during the Biafran War, not to be confused with Benin, formerly Dahomey
(8) Kay Williamson (1935-2005) was a British linguist who spent three quarters of her life in Nigeria; she taught at several universities and played a leading role in the development and promotion of languages in southern Nigeria, particularly Igbo and Ijo, but also some of the country's minority languages.
(9) Victor Manfredi, Igbo lingustic consciousness, its origins and limits, p. 391, 1991.
(10) Until then, a very incomplete version of the 1980 Pan-Nigerian alphabet proposed by Olivetti at the National Language Center before Kay Williamson's work was completed and before Zapf's intervention, prevailed on typewriters.