WALA: a multilingual resource repository for West African Languages


Dafydd Gibbon(1), Firmin Ahoua(2), Eddy Gbéry(2), Eno-Abasi Urua(3), Moses Ekpenyong(3)

(1) Universität Bielefeld, Germany; (2) Universite de Cocody, Abidjan, Ivory Coast; (3) University of Uyo, Nigeria




The West African Language Archive (WALA) initiative has emerged from a number of concurrent projects, and aims to encourage local scholars to create high quality decentralised repositories documenting West African languages, and to make these repositories available to language communities, language planners, educationalists and scientists via an internet metadata portal such as OLAC (Open Language Archive Community). A wide range of criteria has to be met in designing and implementing this kind of archive. We discuss these criteria with reference to experiences in documentation work in three very different ongoing language documentation projects, on designing an encyclopaedia, on documenting an endangered language, and on creating a speech synthesiser. We pay special attention to the provision of metadata, a formal variety of catalogue or housekeeping information, without which resources are doomed to remain inaccessible.


repository, reusability, sustainable resources, language documentation, metadata, African languages


Abbey, Anyi, Baule, Ega, Ibibio, Iko

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