Developing Igala Local Contents (using digital aproach)
DEVELOPING IGALA LOCAL CONTENTS: USING DIGITAL APPROACH
Being the text of a paper presented at the occasion of
IGALA STUDIES ASSOCIATION (IGSA) ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2013
Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa, Kogi State (Assembly Hall).
DATE: Wednesday 10th– Friday 12th, April, 2013.
Abdul Mumin Yahaya
C.E.O. Igalapedia Project
This paper titled developing Igala local content; using a digital approach is to present work that deplores the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) at digitizing Igala language which is currently in progress. This was triggered by the zeal to encourage the research, learning and extensive use of Igala language in every day engagement so as to preserve the language. As a wakeup call to alleviate the impact of the dreaded language endangerment that is less felt in the midst of it active depreciation of values to our dear Igala tribe, A humanitarian and Non Profit making Organization titled IGALAPEDIA was initiated by Abdul M. Yahaya (a Civil Engineer) and a team of volunteers who geared their efforts towards promoting the Igala culture and tradition and also portraying a true identity for the Igala people. The services of the Igalapedia project which is tailored to provide a research hall for Igala language has created enabling environment upon which students, researchers and Igala language professionals will promote their works on African languages and Igala language in particular for rapid development. Many computer programs for learning Igala language and providing supports to researchers have been written and built upon the facilities already in place. Against the backdrop of Igala children at home not having access to internet and computers in schools to really enjoy the benefit of Igalapedia Project teaching Igala language through internet, we also have programs in place to help in sustaining and improving the teaching of the language at local level if only Kogi State government reintroduce Igala language curriculum into schools system.
Key words :Igalapedia, DIVA, Digitization, language, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Culture, Internet, Database, Igala/English Dictionary and Tourism etc.
Digitization has been defined as the conversion of analogue media to digital form. When analog information is digitized, it is changed to the binary codes, which can be processed and displayed by computers and other equipment. Igalapedia considered all Igala local contents for digitization. The Igala local contents may be referred to as expression of the locally- owned and adapted knowledge of Igala land – “where the Igala land is defined by its location, culture, language and the people (Global Knowledge Partnership, 2005).
Our result of digitization process for Igala local content is to document and preserve the rich Igala cultural heritage for future generation and also to transmit the same to the larger world via Global information Super Highway. A local content at one place may be a global content at another place (Akinde, Taiwo Adetoun FUTO 2007). A successful digitization process will put Igala language on the Global Information Infrastructure ((Gil) by Gurdeep Singh Hura– Nanyang Technological University).
WHAT ARE IGALA LOCAL CONTENTS?
As briefly described above, I will further explained as expressed by Ballantyne (2002) “Local Content may be defined as using Information communication Technology (ICTs) to create, adapt, exchange local information and the content of a community”. This includes global content that has been transformed, adapted and assimilated into the community’s knowledge base. This content can be exchanged and shared, locally or globally in various formats, packages and media. To mention but few, the followings may be regarded as Igala local content that needs to be developing.
- The Igala language
- Igala Traditions and Cultural Heritage
- Igala Artifacts, archaeological and geological information
- The Igala literary works
- Igala media productions and
REASONS FOR DEVELOPING IGALA LOCAL CONTENTS
There is no gain saying that Igala language is caught up with the nemesis of LANGUAGE IMPERIALISM. The language is on its path to extinction because we give no relevance to development and the using of the language for writing as part of our life, we no longer teach our sibling the speaking of Igala Language. this amounts to the reduction in number of communicative domains of Igala Language, The effect of which is the refusal to pass the language on from one generation to the next. That is, there are no new speakers, adults or children”.
Unesco’s (2003) Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages says;
“Even languages with many thousands of speakers are no longer being acquired by children; at least 50% of the world’s more than six thousands languages are losing speakers. We estimate that, in most world regions, about 90% of the languages may be replaced by dominant languages by the end of the 21st century”.
Yoruba language with above 30milion population in Nigeria, having several websites teaching their language to children both at home and in the Diaspora, countless software for teaching the language to the world and their presence as one of the world’s languages on the Google translator was recently proclaimed to be going into extinction. Going by the research of LITERATURE icon and professor of language, Akinwumi Isola, He said this at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) “failure of people in Yoruba land to speak the language to the young ones is capable of wiping off the language”. Relating this to Igala language, we are for the first time developing a website and a software for teaching the language, I am afraid that Igala language may only be reduced to a topic on history books if nothing is done to secure it before the time Yoruba language will be wiped out.
Bernard (1996) reports that, “about 97% of the world’s people speak about 4% of the world’s languages; and conversely, about 96% of the world’s languages are spoken by about 3% of the world’s people. In other words, most of the world’s language heterogeneity, then, is under the stewardship of a very small number of people. A situation such as this could be described as “language imperialism”. Which I earlier mentioned on this paper. Igala language is under threat of extinction, the only solution is to improve the status of the language using digital media. Igalapedia Project is one way we can achieve this goal.
According to Akinde, Taiwo Adetoun (FUTO),
“Digitizing local content can be seen as the use of innovative ways (e.g. ICTs and other media) to convert, express, access and exchange local knowledge (in machine readable form) in both local and foreign languages thereby increasing the accessibility of the information / knowledge for both the community (the Igala people) and the people outside the community, thereby enhancing respect for the local culture and identity. Relating this to Igala language, Both existing and yet to be written Igala books and research effort ranging from factual stories, mythical and legendary stories and histories to Igala Artifacts, archaeological and geological information needed to be transformed into digital forms for transmission to the to the larger world via Global information Super Highway.
EFFORTS AT DIGITIZING THE IGALA LOCAL CONTENTS
Igalapedia project has created an enabling environment for rapid development of Igala language and Igala land in general. The facilities put in place are to be utilized by students, researchers and Igala language professionals for promoting their works on African languages and Igala language in particular for swift development. Igalapedia is either doing a new work on Igala Language or claiming to know much about the Language, we are just tools to be utilized for bringing the works already done to the taste of today’s world where computer controls everything. The project was initiated not for self enrichment but trying to see if Igala land can be equated to some other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria using the resources put in place.
As earlier mentioned in this paper, many computer programs for learning Igala language and providing supports to researchers has been written and built upon the facilities. As part of our digitization effort, Igalapedia commits resources to develop computer programs as Igala learning tools to be utilized in Igalapedia project by the Igala people and the world at large. If Igalapedia dream is accepted into the main stream of Igala language development, we stand to serve the purpose of research hall for Igala language.
AVAILABLE PROGRAMS FOR DIGITIZING IGALA LOCAL CONTENTS
- 1. DIVA scheme for Igala land:
The Digital Information Virtual Archive (DIVA) is a self-sustaining repository that provides a file management system, content authoring tools, collaboration tools, and others that have emerged from direct feedback from DIVA users (Igalapedia online registered members). Igalapedia believe that by providing these services, we encourage Igala people and African writers to start writing article that can promote Igala and African cultural heritage, Stories about our past heroes and histories about Igala and African Artifacts, archaeological and geological information about Igala land and making them available on our network for promoting Igala land and Africa. Facilities are already in place to help Igala authors to convert their books to electronic format. Details of this are available at Igalapedia eBooks.
At Igalapedia project, we study critics to move ahead. It appeared a white elephant project when first time DIVA was mentioned as one of our aim and aspirations. Today a dynamic website to teach the world how to speak Igala language and also promote Igala culture is running @ www.igalapedia.com. Although construction work is currently going on but still navigable and anybody with a good articles capable of promoting Igala land and also teach the world how to speak Igala language and other african languages can commence publishing them to the website as a part of the DIVA scheme.
- 2. Digital Igala Dictionary
Igala / English Dictionary powered by WORDNET (A Lexical Database of English) and integration of Igala word list into WORDNET dictionary database. The dictionary was composed and translated by Abdul M Yahaya (Ejule) and Drisu peter attabo (Lokoja), Editing is currently going on by Dr Salem Ejeba (University of Port Harcourt) and chief Musa Adegbe (Agenyi Ocheje _ Idah). This will be reviewed by Dr Tom Miachi and Dr Omachonu as arranged. This is to put Igala language into the Global Information Super Highway. Simulation copy is available @ www.igalapedia.com while the phone app version is awaiting the release of our articles from editors and reviewers before publication. We currently host 7500 English vocabularies, 2800 English words translated to 3800 Igala words and phrases.
- 3. Digitazed Ita Alu Igala (Igala Proverbs)
We also host 2500 ITA ALU Igala (Igala Proverbs) Composed and translated by Chief Musa Adegbe (AGENYI OCHEJE – Idah). This article (Text Book) was donated for use in Igalapedia project as part of the author’s commitment and love for development of Igala language.
- 4. Digitizing Igala Counting System
Igalapedia sees the need to give our children a closer touch with Igala language and making it part of their live. To achieve this, program to convert numbers to Igala words and Igala monetary values ranging from number “1” to “999999999999999999” has been written and is currently working at www.igalapedia.com. This also has features which include Igala Scientific Calculator (A learning tool to conduct complex mathematics and get answers in Igala words).
- 5. Igalapedia Clock
A program to converting current time on your computer and cell phones then read it out in Igala language. This is used to teach children Igala timing as available before the introduction of English timing. Software containing all the Igalapedia works to be delivered to the world in a desktop application (Waiting for editing and review of Igalapedia articles before release). All these services are available for use on the Igalapedia website at free cost. The project was initiated not for self enrichment but trying to see if Igala land can be lifted the next level of development there by promoting our local contents to the outside world.
- 6. IGALA TOURISM Promotion
Through our DIVA scheme, We see all the need to put Igala land, its location, culture, language and the people on the Global Information Infrastructure (GIL) to be accessible to Igala children in the Diaspora and the world at large. As one of the world’s fastest growing industries, the tourism industry creates job opportunities and contributes significantly to the growth of economies, especially in developing countries and it would be a tool of developing areas in Igala land more especially now we are in the era of globalization. The economic benefits arising from the tourism industry such as an increase in foreign exchange earnings, employment, and income generating activities, can overcome many resource problems as well as create opportunities and improve the quality of life of local populations (UNEP, 2001).
Igalapedia Yellow pages has been created to provide support to small and medium scale enterprises in Igala land and world at large. This platform is available to be utilised by school, hotels and business places etc to showcase their presence in the Information Superhighway by creating a page by themselves and for themselves on the website as a way of promoting economics and academic activities in Igala land and Nigeria at large. This will boost tourism in all aspect (e.g. Igala Land) by the instances of the followings.
Database template containing list of all towns and villages in Nigeria for building DIVA scheme (The Digital Information Virtual Archive) of Igala Land and Nigeria at large has been created and is awaiting moderation before is made public. This is to put Igala land, its location, culture, language and the people on the Global Information Infrastructure (GIL) to be accessible to Igala children in the Diaspora and the world at large.
The failure of tourism in Igala land is largely tied to lack of information dissemination. aspiration of Igalapedia with respect to Igala tourism promotion is the creation of the DIVA scheme that anybody can utilize by posting photograph or information about available untapped tourism object in the state, some other persons who have the prospective to develop a tourism attractions may pick interest in visiting the source. This also have the potential to promote Igala land to outside world where researchers are scampering for natural endowment for studies. Articles presented for use in the DIVA Scheme is subject to scrutiny by our team of reviewers, un-sourced materials may be challenged and removed from our database.
With Igalapedia project started from corner of a room as a personal project and trying to come out for public consumption, we are exposed to imminent challenges that if not for the sake of perseverance and determination of the initiator to see the project going, we would have backed out in no distant time. This is fueled by the academic background of the founder being a Civil Engineer who digress into research for salvaging a language (Igala Language) that is felt to be on its paths to extinction.
- 1. Difficulty in getting resource materials:
Igalapedia has materials for developing to keep Igala Language alive as long as man lives on earth, majority of these materials are still in their raw state, when we say raw state means good number of them is yet to be translated. Abdul, the initiator of the project as a single individual may not be able to do the translation all alone. We need volunteers to provide translation to words and sentences, and also we need staff, cars and audio visual gadgets (cameras, microphones and computers) at the Ejule office to be able to conduct field research, the result of which will be published to DIVA Scheme in the Igalapedia project for the benefit of Igala children and generation yet unborn.
- 2. Lack of confidence in our project:
There are situations that people tend not to care to listen to us because they have assumption that this project has a scope that only Abdul could not have started it, for that reason he may not stand to survive the threat of financial involvement to propel it. But our confident always come from Wikipedia project that was started by one person year’s back; Today, Wikipedia is having about 3.3 millions English articles on their server including the stories about mine and your villages and 18.3 million unique visitors as of 1st to 24th December 2012 alone.
- 3. Possible fear for conflict of interest from authors
In the course of our research work for the Igalapedia project, we read more articles about this similar project that failed because of lack of understanding from authors in our part of the world. Similar publication project failed because authors looked the interest of the project from financial point of view thinking that somebody is coming to make excess money from their works. At the other end, world renowned digital encyclopedia collects article from books and acknowledge the authors and that is the end. Until now we have not actually approached any Igala Author for the collection their articles to populate the DIVA Scheme in Igalapedia project. But we use this medium to seek an indulgent of All Igala Authors to come to an understanding that using articles from their books verbatim to populate Igalapedia DIVA Scheme, Igalapedia website and Igalapedia desktop application will promote their works and personal self. Acknowledging the authors for any article collected to populate the project will only psyche the reader to look for complete article in question for purchase. Igalapedia website is an open source project operating under the umbrella of the Creative Commons Attributed Shared Alike Generic License (un-ported). Anybody can add article to the website, make corrections to article on the website and supply article for the project and also collect article from the DIVA project for his use.
- 4. Money:
Until today, the project is being funded only by Abdul M. Yahaya when this kind of massive project is to be established and founded by the government of the land. What account for continual spending of his money for this Non profit making project is only to let Igala People to see the result of what are actually talking about. When we read about DIVA project in other parts of the world, people think it requires massive commitment of money at the initial stage.
We need Government, cooperate bodies and individual’s support to develop Digital Information Virtual Archive (DIVA) for Igala land to document and preserve the rich Igala cultural heritage for future generation and also to transmit the same to the larger world via Global information Super Highway.
- Kogi State Government through the Ministry of Education to re-introduce the teaching of local languages back into the educational system of Igala land and other areas of the State.
- The re-introduction of teaching local languages back into the educational system of Igala land will prompt our commitment with program to help in sustaining and also improve the teaching of Igala language in schools. Igalapedia is committed to promoting economics and academic activities in Igala land, the promise is made against the backdrop of Igala children at home not having access to internet and computers in schools to really enjoy the benefit of Igalapedia Project teaching Igala language through internet.
- Igala professionals to restructure the Igala counting system as it could be fitted into language digitization scheme. New words also needed be formulated into the language.
- For rapid development of Igala language, we call on Igala people to accept our dream for DIVA Scheme and our Language Research and Development Initiative (LRDI) whose function is to formulate strategies to develop Igala language. Details of LRDI and mode of operations are detailed in the Igalapedia Profile @ www.igalapedia.com. We call on the government of Nigeria to study the structure of Igalapedia project and improve on facilities available to make it the tool for developing indigenous languages.
- Speaking of Local languages to be included into program of Government at all level in a functions, formal gathering and occasions. The instance of this is a delivery of the fourth convocation lecture at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) in Yoruba language. According to Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Femi Mimiko, said the decision of the institution to present the convocation lecture in Yoruba language showed that the university was committed to the development of the language. Detailed information is available @ http://www.tribune.com.ng/news2013/
Haven narrated from experts’ opinions on what may be described as Igala Local Contents, we expect all well meaning individuals and cooperate bodies including government agencies and NGO(s) to wake up to the call to promote, secure and preserve Igala language and Igala cultural heritage for the future. Igalapedia is committed to promoting academic, economics and tourism activities in Igala land. The template for carrying out all the activities are already in place waiting for utilisation.
- We promise our support (within the scope of our strength) for any credible organization or association that have programs to promote Igala Land.
- Facilities are already available to help authors in converting their books to electronic (eBook) format. Interested Authors to contact us through the website.
- Igala people in the Diaspora hardly get awareness about latest Igala films, music and other media productions. We use this medium to call respective bodies responsible for Igala media production to commence posting of the preview of their products to the website.
- We have created a platform for hosting directories of business listing, Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SME) in Igala land can visit Igalapedia.com to showcase their business to outside world.
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Text of presentation at the occasion of the 12th Igala education summit, Dec 2012
Kogi state university anyigba, kogi state
Abdul Mumin Yahaya is a home grown Igala child who initiated Igala Encyclopedia as a tool to be utilised for developing Igala Local contents, Igala land and also teach how to speak Igala language through the facilities he has put in place. He is an indigene of Ejule town and currently based in Port Harcourt practicing Civil Engineering and Computer programming as a hobby.
Abdul grew up with grandparents who are traders and lovers of Igala folks and storytelling. This account for his enthusiasm to see that Igala vocabularies needed to be kept alive so long as man lived.
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