Lanfrica and the problems facing the advancement of technologies for African languages
On Thursday, August 11 2022, at 7:00 a.m. UTC, Lanfrica presented at the CarpentryCon 2022 event, hosted by The African Carpentries Community.
About the talk
Africa is one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world – a continent rich in languages and traditional knowledge. Despite this, African languages are barely represented in technology and research. Currently, there are various efforts to restore this balance, however, it is not easy to find them, until now!
Lanfrica aims to mitigate the difficulty encountered in the discovery of African language resources by creating a centralized hub (learn more about Lanfrica).
In the talk, Lanfrica’s founder, Chris Emezue, shared some inspiration behind the creation of Lanfrica, which were tied to the following problems facing African languages representation in the world:
- Low language technologies
- Low discoverability of existing efforts on African languages
- Separation between the fields of linguistics and natural language processing
Chris Emezue also talked about how Lanfrica leverages strategic partnerships and co-operations with language resource repositories in order to connect and link their various resources.
Relevant African language resources [that we find and link on Lanfrica] for example is not just a paper that works specifically on an African language (like Igbo or Fon or Swahili), [but also includes] a paper talking about [and useful for] low-resource languages in general with no African language in particular: it’s not only NLP works but also linguistic works (like a book a paper [analyzing] the grammar of Ga).Chris Emezue
Finally, he talked about yet another initiative to improve the state of African languages in the world – Lanfrica Talks.
About the organizers
The African Carpentries Community meetups have been running since 2017. Here we discuss topics that are of interest to our instructors in the African context, including previous and upcoming workshops, available resources, opportunities, events, and more.