The 6th Workshop on African Language Technology (AfLaT) is the first event focusing on African languages technology I ever attended. Actually it is a joint conference along with the 25th annual symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA) and the 7th Robotics and Mechatronics (RobMech) Conference of South Africa. Although I have already attended other conferences in South Africa, like ANLOC’s (African Network for Localization), this event was more of a research event focusing on language students in South African Universities. This is why it was important for me, as a Mozilla Rep from the continent to attend this event. And I was not disappointed although everything did not work out as I planned.More
Posts Tagged ‘digitization’
When my father, a colonial army veteran, retired as a police officer, I was about 9! I remember the first time he announced that we were leaving the city forever to go back to our roots, the village of Thioubalel (meaning little fisherman in Fulah). But before anybody in the large family had time to cry because we were all born there, we were already gone. The day we left was one of the saddest days in my life!
But, I did not realize that day was also going to become the most important turning point in my own life. When I went to the village, I hardly spoke any Fulah because I always used the lingua-franca of the city, which was not Fulah. I even used to look down upon those who spoke Fulah as unsophisticated. That was precisely why my father was waiting impatiently to get us out of there since we were getting “lost”!
So I became a villager, and soon a fluent and proud speaker of this wonderful language. It was wonderful to see how easy it was to use Fulah to talk about life in the village. Everything seemed so natural when you spoke Fulah and amazingly there was a word for every single thing that you could see around.