The Centre For Digitization of Indigenous African Language - a social impact company that leverages artificial intelligence to digitize local languages and localize digital access launched a first-of-its-kind Modern dictionary in Native Nigerian languages called the “CDIAL Dictionary” on Saturday, Jan 21st.
The event was hosted in person at the Impact Hub in Ikoyi. It was attended by journalists and news editors across Nigeria to deepen the advocacy of our mother tongues across every sphere of life. News Correspondents, Language Influencers, and Producers from different media organizations were in attendance at the launch.
During the launch, the co-founder of CDIAL, Soji Akinlabi, described “the CDIAL dictionary is a revolutionary resource for understanding and using 21st-century words to facilitate accurate information and skills transfer in native Nigerian languages.” He went on to state that there have been no improvements in Nigerian native languages over the past few decades as many native dictionaries do not contain many new words that have come into existence in this technologically advanced age.
Oluwadamilare Igbayiloye, the founder of the Akonilede Yoruba language school, also gave some comments at the ceremony and stated that the innovation will not only save languages from extinction but will also to help a significant proportion of the Nigerian population gain access to quality education, healthcare, and financial literacy even without speaking the English Language.
Furthermore, the co-founder called for volunteers to join in expanding the dictionary to other African languages. He stated that “Although Nigeria has over 500 languages, the CDIAL dictionary is currently in four languages. It is important to note that we do not intend to exclude other native Nigerian languages. This is why we are calling for volunteers to lead the tribe in other languages”.
The Founder, Yinka Iyinolakan made the following remarks “The CDIAL Dictionary is just the beginning of a larger and more comprehensive resource for classic and new-age words in the African languages. We hope that this dictionary will serve as a valuable resource for anyone seeking to learn, create, train and advocate in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin, and other African languages. Also, as we continue to research and develop ubiquitous interfaces and devices, CDIAL hopes to use Artificial Intelligence to promote a deeper understanding, usage, and appreciation of African languages and culture”
Cynthia Adekanye, The Community Manager, said that the CDIAL dictionary was sourced through collective intelligence and commended the hard work of the CDIAL Tribe - A community of native language speakers, teachers, learners, and enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to preserving and promoting local languages; stating that the goal is to expand this dictionary to 10,000 words by 2025 in. The full dictionary is open-sourced and available for download online: here