In a world where English language is the most conversed and has threatened the extinction African languages, a team of 4 from the University of Ilorin in Kwara State, Nigeria have built “Linguo” a web-based speech system that can read and speak Nigerian and African languages.
"A team of Unilorin students is trying to make your computer speak African languages"https://t.co/aJiYzPGJeI
— Wíkíguage.com (@Wikiguage) April 2, 2018
The 4-man team is made up of; Kolawole Felix Oyerinde (Founder/Backend Developer), Olanrewaju Doyin (Analyst/Web Developer), Adebayo Abolaji (Data Scientist/Marketer), and Olowonirejuaro Oreoluwa (Graphics Designer/Digital Marketer).
How Does Linguo Work?
Although a web-based system, Linguo aims to restore the lost values in the written and spoken forms of African languages and believes that it would help to preserve our languages and cultural values.
Currently providing a Text Translation and Text to Speech services, it is designed to support as many Niger-Congo and Yoruboid languages as possible.
Definition of an illiterate to a Nigerian(African):
a person who can not read or right in English.
On the contrary an illiterate is a person who cannot speak,read or write in his native language.
— Mazị Ezinwa (@lamanosavv) April 1, 2018
While it is still largely in its beta form, Linguo currently supports more than 15 languages, including all dialects of Yoruba (with number names ranging from 1 to 40,000) and Igbo languages. It is also work on adding others, including Hausa language.
When fully functional, Linguo will have an addition of three new products: an Application Programming Interface (API) for app developers, plugin for websites and web/mobile application for users.
According to techpoint.ng, Kolawole Felix, Linguo’s founder says that Linguo has a language syllabicator that will split input into correct syllables.
For example, Chukwuma will become Chu Kwu Ma. The only things that may need recording are valid syllables like ‘ba‘ and ‘zu‘. Also, syllables from Niger-Congo languages may need to be recorded too.
And to help with the appropriate accents and intonations, Linguo plans to collaborate with the language departments in Nigerian and African universities.
Except for Oreoluwa, who is still a final year student of Unilorin, the rest of the team are all 2016 alumni.
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