One of the joys I’ve found in the last couple of days working on our dictionary project at YorubaName.com is realizing that I could be contributing significantly to the future of African language use on the web. Last week, I finally achieved a sort of breakthrough on something that had worried me for a while, since the work on the dictionary project started: how do we get each of the word/name in our dictionary pronounced without breaking the bank or spending too much time? From the experience of using small dictionary apps on mobile phones, I have always known that it was not feasible to pronounce ALL the names. There would have to be a way to use technology make the process smoother and less exacting.
I found that way during the week, and just wrote a blog post about it on the YorubaName blog page where I’m now spending most of my online time. Read it here.
Two crucial factors that made this possible was a collaboration of my knowledge of Yoruba phonology and my partner’s intimate knowledge of computer/software programming. I see a future in which linguists from other African language groups will collaborate with software geeks to create more projects in this direction. In my case, I can’t wait to see this be used to deal with a lexical Yoruba dictionary as well, in the future.