Language Observatory

2006-11-18

The First Pan African Cultural Congress, Nov 13 - 15, Ethiopia

Language Observatory was invited to attend The First Pan African Cultural Congress. The congress was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at African Union's head office.

African Union's Head Office Entrance
African Union's Head Office Entrance

On the second day (November 14th) of the congress, the session on "Culture, Language and Education" was convened. In the session, the first presentor, Mr. Adama Samassekou, the president of the African Academy of languages (ACALAN), invited me to present a short report on our joint survey project "African Web Survey". I reported a brief summary of the survey. 54% of web-pages in African domains are written in English, 30% are in French, 4% are in Arabic, but only 0.5% are in African languages, etc.

African Union's Main Conference Room
African Union's Main Conference Room

After two initial presentations, the floors are invited to discuss. Although there are some optimism like "African children are now ready to go into cyberspace. The new generations of Africa are quite ready for ICT.", majority recognizes a serious need of actions to be taken. "an access to ICT should be democratized", "grass-root use of ICT is the key", "IPR does not belong to musicians, that's the problem", "heritage is our pride, we should create historical, cultural contents using our own languages", "negative attitude of intellectuals to our mother tongue is the major cause behind the problem", "why we don't teach university students by our own languages?", "while Holywood is totally digitized, our film makers are still using celluloid film", "there are no e-dictionaries of our languages, no virtual museum of our culture in cyberspace", etc.

One of the Bamako workshop participants in June 2006, Mr. Alfred Mtenje from Malawi, proposed two immediate actions.
1) To support creation of on-line African language courses and
2) To support "intellectualization of African languages" (to start and encourage the use of African languages beyond primary school level).

While majority of participants focuses cultural, social aspects of the issue and does not mention much about technology aspects, I hope that our report gave some impacts to consider "digital language divide" issue during the session.

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2006-06-18

Programme de l’atelier « enquête liée aux langues dans le cyberespae africain »


Bamako, République du Mali, 26 au 28 juin 2006>>English

Organizer: Académie Africaine des Langues et Language Observatory
Sponsor: Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
Supporter: ICVolunteers

ACALAN Language Observatory Japan Science and Technology Agency IC Volunteers


6/26
09:00-09:30Discours d'ouverture (Adama Samassekou, Président de l'Académie Africaine des Langues)
09:30-11:00Projet de recherche liée aux langues africaines
1. Introduction au LOP
2. Recherche liée aux langues africaines sur le web
3. Résultat des recherches préliminaires
(Yoshiki Mikami, Directeur du LOP, professeur de l’Université technologique de Nagaoka)
Shigeaki Kodama, Membre du LOP, chercheur à l’Université technologique de Nagaoka)
11:00-12:00Rapports des experts (par les participants africains, chacun 30 minutes)
12:00-14:00Déjeuner
14:00-15:30Rapports des experts (par les participants africains, chacun 30 minutes)
15:30-16:00Pause-café
16:00-17:00Rapports des experts (par les participants africains, chacun 30 minutes)
6/27
09:00-12:00Introduction au module d’identification des langues (LIM) (Shigeaki Kodama, Membre du LOP, chercheur à l’Université technologique de Nagaoka)
1. Concepts essentiels du LIM
2. Comment utiliser le LIM
12:00-14:00Déjeuner
14:00-17:00Formation du LIM (Shigeaki Kodama, Membre du LOP, chercheur à l’Université technologique de Nagaoka)
1. Collecter les échantillons sur l’Internet
2. Comment analyser les échantillons collectés
Le modérateur fera la lecture avec le projecteur. L’accès à Internet sera nécessaire. Il est plus utile que les participants apportent leurs ordinateurs de sorte qu’ils puissent accéder à Internet.
6/28
09:00-10:00Présentation des aspects de la notre recherche par l’Université technologique de Nagaoka
1. Analyse des liens entre les sites Internet africains
2. Utilisation de logiciels libres
3. Connexion à la toile
4. Serveurs offshores
10:00-12:00Discussion des aspects de notre recherche
12:00-14:00Déjeuner
16:00-17:00Projeter d’exécuter du projet, particulièrement, en ce qui concerne la composition du rapport final, la distribution des thèmes, Horaire des révisions et de la publication, forme du rapport, etc.


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African Web Language Survey Workshop: AGENDA

>>French
Date : 26-28 June, 2006
Place : Bamako, Mali
Organizer : African Acadey of Languages
: Language Observatory
Sponsor : Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
Supporter : ICVolunteers

ACALAN Language Observatory Japan Science and Technology Agency IC Volunteers

6/26 Mon
09:00-09:30Opening Speech (Adama Samassekou, President of the African Academy of Languages)
09:30-11:00African language survey project
1. Introduction to LOP
2. Survey of African languages on the web
3. Result of preliminary surveys
(Yoshiki Mikami, the Leader of LOP, Prof. of Nagaoka University of Technology,
Shigeaki Kodama, LOP member, Researcher of Nagaoka University of Technology)
11:00-12:00Experts reports (by the African Participants, 30 min. each)
Experts are requested to report a general description of language situation in each country/ region
12:00-14:00Lunch
14:00-15:30Experts reports (by the African Participants, 30 min. each)
15:30-16:00Tea break
16:00-17:30Experts reports (by the African Participants, 30 min. each)
6/27 Tue
09:00-12:00Introduction to Language Identification Module (LIM)
(Shigeaki Kodama, LOP member, Researcher of Nagaoka University of Technology)
1.Key concepts of LIM
2.How to use LIM
12:00-14:00Lunch
14:00-17:00Practice in LIM (Shigeaki Kodama, LOP member, Researcher of Nagaoka University of Technology)
1. Collecting sample pages using the Internet
2. How to analyze collected pages
Lectures will be held using a projector. An access to the Internet is also required.
It would be helpful of participants if they bring their own PCs and can access the Internet.
6/28 Wed
09:00-10:00Presentation on the aspects of our survey by Nagaoka University’s side
1. Web link analysis of African web
2. Open source software usage
3. Network connection
4. Offshore server
10:00-12:00Discussion on the aspects of our survey
12:00-14:00Lunch
14:00-17:00Planning how to implement project, especially on the composition of the final report, the assignment of the themes, the schedule of reviews and publication, the formality of the report, etc.


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2006-06-12

Participants of African Web Language Survey Workshop


Republic of MaliAlgeriaBurkina FassoEthiopiaGabonKenyaMalawiNigeriaTunisiaThailandFranceJapanIC Volunteers

NameTitle
Adama SamassekouPrésident, Académie Africaine des Langues, Mali
Mikami YoshikiProfessor, Nagaoka University of Technology, Japan
Leader, Language Observatory Project
Tunde AdegbolaExecutive Director, African Languages Technology Initiative (Alt-I), Nigeria
Marcel Diki-KidiriChargé de Recherche, Laboratoire Langage Langues et Culture d’Afrique noire (LLACAN), France
Alfred Dailex MtenjeProfessor, University of Malawi Chancellor College, Malawi
Mamadou Lamine SanogoChargé de Recherche, Institut des Sciences des Sociétés, Burkina Faso
Naomi Luchera ShitemiAssociate Professor, Moi University, Kenya
Thierry Afane-OtsagaEnseignant-Chercheur, Université Omar Bongo, Gabon
Solomon Atnafu BasufekadAssistant Professor, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Bechir RaddaouiMinistry of Communication Technologies, Tunisia
Said ChemakhAssistant-Teacher in linguistic, DLCA, Human Sciences and Languages School, University of Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria
Viola KrebsIC Volunteers, Geneva
Virach SornlertlamvanichCo-director, Thai Computational Linguistics Laboratory (TCL), Thailand
Emmanuel SagaraACALAN
Soulaymane SangareACALAN
Kodama ShigeakiResearcher, Nagaoka University of Technology, Japan
Shiota KatsuhikoLecturer, Osaka University of Foreign Studies, Japan
Ikechkwu AnyanwuPresident, Placade Japan

Pariticipating African Countries

Workshop Participating Coutries

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2006-04-22

African Web Language Survey Project

Language Observatory, African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) and Linguasphere Observatory have been collaborating on African Web Language Survey Project since Tunis phase of WSIS held in Tunis during 14-18 November 2005. It conincided with the launch of the African ICT Week initiated by African Union Commission.

Objectives of the project are:
  1. To get the most accurate language map of African cyberspace and the status of “digital divide” in African continent, and to raise public awareness of it
  2. To demonstrate the usefulness of multi-stakeholders’ collaboration under the umbrella of the World Network for Linguistic Diversity
Expected deliverables of the project are:
  1. Language Map of African Cyberspace (Cyberspace Language Census Report): To show how many pages are written in each language, in each country domain.
  2. Web Usage Maturity Analysis Report: To show how web technology are used in each country domain. For example, web links, web maintenance, server technology, open source software usage, etc.
  3. Web Infrastructure Report: To show network performance and geographical locations of web servers.

DateActions & Events
2005/11/15The Round Table organized by African Academy of Languages (ACALAN). The meeting was held as one of parallel events registered at World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), Tunis Phase. Members involved in this project first met and discussed the common interests.(see archive)
2005/11/19ACALAN, Linguasphere Observatory and Language Observatory had a meeting at Hotel Acropole, nearby the WSIS Conference Complex, to discuss about a joint action plan. (see archive)
2006/02/11The experimental survey draft of Cyberspace Language Census was circulated among the members for their review
2006/02/21-24The 7th International Mother Language Day cerebrated at UNESCO Headquarter, Paris. During this week members discussed the project and future action agenda. (see UNESCO Web News)
2006/??African Web Survey Workshop will be organized by members, hosted by ACALAN in Bamako, Mali. Several African eperts will be invited to join to the workshop to have a detailed discussion how to implement the survey.
2006/11/14-202nd African ICT Week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During this event, the final reports of the project will be announced.

REFERENCE
[1] Interactive Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing online
[2] African Union Commission's site on African ICT Week

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