(from the list of my contributions to the Africa_web_content_owner (AWCO) list; source: AWCO archives)
[africa_web_content_owner] Info on Afr lang's on WWW
Jan 8, 2000
I am not inclined to the political either but was reminded in a personal correspondence that some see the principal problems or blocks in the area of content and the technoogies for presenting it in African languages, that some view these problems as primarily political and not technical.
Nevertheless, on this list I agree that we should try to focus on those matters that impinge most directly on content for the web, which may for the most part be technical.
In this vein, I would be interested to know if anyone is familiar with any collaborative multinational African efforts to approach whatever coding is necessary for special characters used for African languages (i.e., to represent sounds not conveyed by the characters of the standard Latin alphabet) that cross frontiers. Many languages indigenous to the continent cross national boundaries, so one wonders if the technical task of adapting those languages for web & e-mail is being undertaken separately by the different countries involved? (Examples include Hausa in Nigeria & Niger; Manding languages [Bambara, Malinke, Mandinka, Dyula] in Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, and Cote d'Ivoire; Fula in at least 16 countries mainly in West Africa...)
Unfortunately this is one of those issues that may touch on the political, but I am mainly interested in 1) any experience regarding the coding (I believe that is the correct term) for African languages and 2) examples of collaboration or lack of same among African applied linguistics/internet authorities.
> Hi Colleagues,
> A very pertinent group. I have browsed through some of the discussions
> and would like to suggest rather quickly that the group focuses on the
> core objective of its conception which is, I presume, broadly, the role
> or impact of IT/Web for African Development. The occasional digression
> into the political arena may be unavoidable. We must however not
> belabour the subject else we defeat our own purpose. A typical African
> Let's use IT/Web to elevate our educational, technological etc status.
-- Don Osborn osborndo@... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "A superficial culture, unsupported by a cultivated morality, is as `a confused medley of dreams.'" `Abdu'l-Baha (1876)
"The rise and fall of images of the future precedes or accompanies the rise and fall of cultures." Frederick Polak (1960) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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