Our involvement in Language reasearch and cultural documentations
Before things fell apart!, each and every language of the world has a unique cultural wisdom and ecological history that was answering fundamental questions which distinguish them as a people. While some world languages are standing bold on digital media in the form of documentation asking for improvement, majority of African languages are yet to find their place in this sphere of digital age. Over the years, so many articles were written, read and listened in conferences and seminars about how minority languages are dying in the hands of language imperialism. And today, social-media networks have come to stay only to be multiplying by the days. While people like to share their feelings and status with friends, we are here to encourage them to learn and also share what they knew about their native languages.
Throwing our weight behind such a humanitarian gesture, needless to re-invent wheel. HECIAL is a social interaction ground for discussing culture and languages. While looking out for exisiting language research and development platform with similar aims and objectives, we found solace in partnering with IGALAPEDIA LANGUAGES AND CULTURAL DOCUMENTATION, As their name suggest, Igalapedia is an intervention project working intandem with HECIAL to alleviate impact of language imperialism on world minority langauges. The initiative is working towards agenda 4 and 17 of Sustainable Development Goal(s) and corresponding target(s).
Working towards building a dataset for machine translation of world minority languages in the likes of Nigeria linguistic communities require a huge voluntary network of linguists, learners and social enthusiast. Translation into popular languages over the internet appearred ostensibly simple procedure, but there lies a complex cognitive operation. To decode the meaning of the source text in its entirety, the translator must interpret and analyse all the features of the text, a process that requires in-depth knowledge of the grammar, semantics, syntax, idioms, etc., of the source language as well as the culture of its speakers. The translator needs the same in-depth knowledge to re-encode the meaning in the target language. All these operations require extensive lexicons with morphological, syntactic, semantic information and large sets of rules. Given enough data, machine translation programs often work well enough for a native speaker of one language to get the approximate meaning of what is written by the other native speaker.
The difficulty is getting enough data of the right kind to support the machine translation method that will be suitable for Nigerian languages. To this end, a large multilingual corpus of data is needed for statistical methods while the grammar methods need a skilled linguist to carefully design the grammar that the system will use.
The biggest question is HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THIS DATA accrross the Nigeria multi-ethinic linguistic demography?
To achieve the common aims and objectives, HECIAL team volunteered to build a social interaction ground for discussing culture and languages. All the tools built by Abdul Mumin Yahaya for development of Igala language will be replicated into numerous languages for the benefit of other African minority languages and those world languages on awaiting list of extinction. Prominent among the apps available for translation into other languages are listed below.
Language development tools
- Nigerian wordnet: The Nigerian WordNet was born out of studies and research carried out on the English wordNet (lexical database of English) for development of Igala language while applying techniques acquired from field of engineering studies. This is to create a large lexical database of Igala and many other Nigerian languages for cross dialect studies and understanding the pattern of Nigerian indigenous languages. The services of HECIAL is fullly intigrated with Engilsh wordnet hosted on Igalapedia Project. The aim is to create a fertile ground for translation of English wordnet into various languages around the world with particular attention to Nigeria Languages. This is an expansion of Igala Wordnet to accommodate other Nigerian languages into the Igalapedia Project.
The program to pilot the Nigeria Wordnet was written abd Abdul Mumin Yahaya for translating the Igala language with parts of speech, figure of speech and words structure been grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms (synsets), each expressing a distinct concept. Synsets are interlinked by means of conceptual-semantic and lexical relations. The resulting network of meaningfully related words and concepts can be navigated with the browser on the services of HECIAL, The Igalapedia Website and through the Igala Encyclopedia application.
- The Igalapedia Unit Converter: This is a tool for converting mathematical and scientific calculations from one unit of measurement to another. Concept of the work is to build a unit conversion tool that is cable of given the values in Igala language with audio support. While the little program from Igalapedia Project has been extended to include other world minority languages, the work can not be complete without seeing the text of converted numbers and units in local languages as conceived. This is a wakeup call to world minority language communities and the Igala language researchers and developers to see the need for introducing new words and phrases into the language in order to withstand the challenges of today world of digital age. We all fold our arms, crying in the face of language imperialism which is reducing our mother tongues to a content of pages of history book. If effort is not put in place to formulate new words for scientific field of studies into local languages, when on earth are we going to be able to produce our own discoveries with IGALA names? "We are still far from being an independent nation until that days we wake up with mindset of promoting our local contents, naming chemicals, spare parts for machineries and equipment for industrialisation in our local dialect" Abdul M. yahaya.
- Numbers to Words Converter: This is a project for working on application to convert number to words in local languages. The aim is to document and preserve numeral system of world minority languages in digital format for distribution with API. The earlier version of the program which was written for Igala language is working at Igalapedia Project with capability of converting numbers from 1 to 999999999999 into Igala words and from 1 to 100020 naira into Igala monetary values of naira currency. Application for number to Igala words has been extended to accommodate other languages into the program. Interested language community can provide key numbers required as variable to the our NumWeaver program for the conversion works. No programing experience is required as all the dirty works has been done by Igalapedia team. Interested community can initiate a discussion about NumWeaver on their language research and development group with relevant hashtags as available for creating blog post over there.
Igalapedia Clock: This is an attempt made to digitalise the Igala traditional way of reading time with reference to analogue clock and digital timing. Igala language have a broad classification for various hours of the day even before the advent of english clock. On this page, we show the current time of your computer or network server on Igalapedia Clock and the translation of the time to Igala Language. You can also navigate this page for translation of various hours of the day to Igala Language. The static time below is available for the 720 minutes a day.
- The Igala Encyclopedia: