CDIAL Unveil Dictionary of Modern Word in Nigerian Major  Languages

Mary Nnah

In its quest to preserve the Nigerian indigenous languages, the Centre for Digitisation of the Indigenous African Languages  (CDIAL) has launched a dictionary that translates modern words into native languages.

Speaking during the lunch in Lagos, the Co-founder, CDIAL Mr. Soji Akinlabi said the dictionary is one of the Centre’s projects which is targeted at not only preserving indigenous African Languages but also digitalising these indigenous African languages.

He said, “ In our quest to preserve the indigenous languages,  we have put together a dictionary of  40 modern words, which have found themselves in the society over the last five years.  What the dictionary does is to have the indigenous languages’ interpretation of these modern words. For example, what is cryptocurrency in Hausa? Yoruba and Igbo languages?

“As we know, most of the new words related to technology, science, business, healthcare, etc, are only available in English, even though 80 million Nigerians cannot speak English fluently.

How can we adequately pass information to everyone if we cannot fully express ourselves in our native languages? Our native dictionaries do not contain many new words that have come into existence due to social and technological changes. The Center for Digitization of Indigenous  African Languages created an extended dictionary to stay current on the language changes”, he said.

On why the dictionary is restricted  to just a few ingenious Nigerian languages, he said, “We are just starting and of course, we know that the three major languages in Nigerian (Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba) are more accessible, the reason we have restricted it to these for now and as we progress we will add more languages  and more words to the dictionary .”

The book, which Akinlade said took a couple of weeks to put together, he said was reviewed by a community of language experts.  

“The CDIAL dictionary was sourced through collective intelligence, through the hard work of  CDIAL Tribe – our community of native language speakers, teachers, learners and enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to preserving and promoting local languages. Through our language propagators, The CDIAL Tribe gave useful suggestions for each word.

After that, we took their suggestions to seasoned Professors of each language, who reviewed them and selected the best fit for the words”, Akinlabi added. 

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