Language and linguistics conference underway

The 30th West African Languages Society and 10th Linguistics Association of Ghana, is underway at Winneba.

The five-day event on the theme, ‘The role of language in the integration and development of West Africa’, is being attended by 280 participants in Africa, Europe and United States universities.

The conference is aimed at creating awareness about the relevance of education in the local languages.

Professor Annie Rialland of the L’universite de Paris 5, France, gave the keynote address on ‘Breaking the unwritten language barriers: The bulb project’ (Overview and Perspectives).

The Bulb project is aimed at supporting documentation and the provision of computerised resources for unwritten languages (or languages without texts) with the help of Automatic Speech Recognition and Machine Translation Technology.

The project relies on a French-German co-operation involving both linguists and computer scientists, she stated.

According to Prof Rialland the main steps of the project was to collect corpora, using a three- step methodology, following the work of S. Bird and M. Liberman in collecting a large oral corpus (Linguistically oriented corpus-lists of words, conjugations, exploration of syntactic construction and spontaneous speech).

The computerised resources are essential for development of African language-based technology, she added.

Dr Samuel A. Atintono, a senior lecturer of Colleges of Languages and a member of Linguistics Association of Ghana, said in an interview that language was a very important tool in the development of every human being.

He said if language was used properly people would understand what they learnt better and also be able to project development.

“We expect that today… Parliament uses the local language in their deliberations for the constituents to understand what they are doing and hope this course should be supported and embraced for the way forward,” he added.

GNA

 

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