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When May 18, 2010 - May 18, 2010
Submission Deadline Feb 15, 2010
Notification Due Mar 12, 2010
Final Version Due Mar 22, 2010
Categories    computational linguistics   african languages   language technology   africa

Call For Papers

In multilingual situations, language technologies are crucial for providing access to information and opportunities for economic development. With somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 different languages, Africa is a multilingual continent par excellence and presents acute challenges for those seeking to promote and use African languages in the areas of business development, education, research, and relief aid. In recent times a number of African researchers and institutions have come forward that share the common goal of developing capabilities in language technologies. This workshop provides a forum to meet and share the latest developments in this field. It also seeks to include linguists who specialize in African languages and would like to leverage the tools and approaches of computational linguistics, as well as computational linguists who are interested in learning about the particular linguistic challenges posed by African languages.

The workshop will consist of an invited talk, followed by refereed research papers in computational linguistics. The focus will be on sub-Saharan African languages, excluding Arabic and languages with European origins, such as Afrikaans and African variants of English and French. We invite submissions on any topic related to language and speech technology and African languages including, but not limited to, the following:

+ Corpora and corpus annotation
+ Machine readable lexicons
+ Morphological analyzers and spelling checkers
+ Part of speech taggers and parsers
+ Speech recognition and synthesis
+ Applications such as machine translation, information extraction, information retrieval, computer-assisted language learning and question answering
+ The role of language technologies in economic development, education, healthcare, and emergency and public services
+ Documentation of endangered languages and the use of language technologies to enhance language vitality
+ The combination of language and speech technology with mobile phone technology.

+ Assess the state-of-the-art in the development of BLARKs for sub-Saharan African languages
+ Address issues of efficient and sufficient collection and annotation of spoken and written language samples
+ Define particular issues in machine translation, speech recognition, and other language technology applications
+ Discuss community needs in education and vitality of language and culture, such as localization of operating systems and applications, spelling checkers, dictionaries, computer assisted language learning and the like
+ Assess the role of language technology in bridging the digital divide, particularly in light of rapidly emerging technologies, such as mobile phones
+ Strengthen the network of researchers working in the domain of African Language Technology

Authors are invited to submit original work in the topic area of this workshop. Submissions should be formatted using the LREC style sheet and should not exceed four (4) pages, including references.

The reviewing will be blind and the paper should therefore not include the authors' names and affiliations. Submission will be electronic. Papers must be submitted no later than 15 February, 2010 using the submission webpage:

When submitting a paper from the START page, authors will be asked to provide essential information about resources (in a broad sense, i.e. also technologies, standards, evaluation kits, etc.) that have been used for the work described in the paper or are a new result of your research. For further information on this new initiative, please refer to

Submissions will be reviewed by 3 members of the Program Committee. Authors of accepted papers will receive guidelines on how to produce camera-ready versions of their papers for inclusion in the LREC workshop proceedings. Notification of receipt will be emailed to the contact author.

Submission deadline: 15 February, 2010
Notification of acceptance: 12 March, 2010
Camera-ready papers due: 22 March, 2010
Workshop: 18 May 2010

Guy De Pauw (Workshop Chair - Contact Person)
(1) CLiPS Research Group, University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
(2) School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi, PO Box 30197 - 00100GPO
Nairobi, Kenya

Handré Groenewald
Centre for Text Technology (CTexT), North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa

Gilles-Maurice de Schryver
(1) African Languages and Cultures, Ghent University, Rozier 44, 9000 Gent, Belgium
(2) Xhosa Department, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Republic of South Africa
(3) TshwaneDJe HLT, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa

Peter Waiganjo Wagacha
School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi, PO Box 30197 - 00100GPO Nairobi, Kenya code=52

Justus Roux: "Do we need linguistic knowledge for speech technology applications in African languages?"

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