By By (author) Donald W. Osborn

Offering useful methods to discovering a spot for African languages within the details revolution, this review lays the basis for extra successfully bridging the "digital divide" by means of discovering new suggestions to previous difficulties. performed via the PanAfrican Localization venture lower than the sponsorship of Canada’s foreign improvement learn heart, this survey explores hindrances that hamper higher use of African languages in software program and web content material, assesses attainable options and maps for his or her achieve, and identifies destiny tendencies within the box. one of the key concerns mentioned are the significance of localization within the African context; boundaries to extra frequent use of African languages in web computing device expertise; and by means of whom, for which languages, and within which nations efforts are being made. valuable to the dialogue is the creation of the idea that of "localization ecology" to account for the major elements, facilitate dialogue in their interplay, and make contact with recognition to how making plans and enforcing localization can and will ponder those issues.

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This is the case for certain languages with old written traditions as well as some that have been written only more recently. Governments have tended to ignore the usage of older non-Latin scripts where a Latin-based orthography has been adapted. 40 ◆ T here are still many African languages, mostly less widely spoken ones, that do not have formal writing systems. ◆ Conventions and policies concerning orthographies are generally set at a country level by governments or researchers. Coordination with other states where the same languages are spoken remains limited.

Chaudenson (2003) focused on a relatively specific matter in which four aspects of linguistics (namely, aspects of the language itself, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics and economy of use) are considered separately alongside the technical factor. Social dimensions – in this case, the ways in which people interact with an element of orthography – are implied in other factors. In the case of localisation ecology, we can start by suggesting that the fundamental factors are language, technology, and society or sociocultural aspects.

Bamgbose (1991: 6) believes that this is due to: ‘a general feeling that language problems are not urgent and hence solutions to them can wait’. He goes on to characterise the situation in these terms: Language policies in African countries are characterised by one or more of the following problems: avoidance, vagueness, arbitrariness, fluctuations and declaration without implementation. (Bamgbose 1991: 111) In recent years, language policy has received more attention, for example, as it affects education (as discussed in a later section of this chapter).

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