Call for Papers - Language Technologies for African Languages

Dear AfLaT-member,

we are very pleased to announce the call for papers for the EACL workshop “Language Technologies for African Languages”, co-organized and co-sponsored by

We look forward to your submissions.

With kind regards

The AfLaT team
Call for Papers
Language Technologies for African Languages
March 30 or 31 (to be determined), 2009
Athens, Greece

A Workshop at the annual meeting of the European Association for
Computational Linguistics

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 tutorial on African language
families and their structural properties, followed by refereed research
papers in computational linguistics. The focus will be on the less-commonly
studied lesser-resourced languages, such as those of sub-Saharan Africa.
These include languages from all four families, Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan,
Khoisan and Afro-Asiatic with the exception of Arabic which is covered by
the SIGSemitic workshops. The workshop will also not cover variants of
European languages such as African French, African English or Afrikaans.

We invite submissions on any topic related to Language Technologies 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

Other topics of interest are:
The role of language technologies in economic development, education, health
care, and emergency and public services.
Documentation of endangered languages and the use of language technologies
to enhance language vitality,
Language technologies delivered on mobile platforms, e.g. phones.

A very limited amount of travel funding is available. Preference will be
given to authors of accepted research papers who are traveling from Africa.

Authors are invited to submit original, unpublished work in the topic area
of this workshop. Submissions should follow the two-column format of the
EACL 2009 main-conference proceedings and should not exceed eight (8) pages,
including references. We strongly recommend the use of either the LaTeX
style file or the Microsoft-Word Style file, which can be found at
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
December 19, 2008 using the submission webpage that will be available soon.
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 EACL workshop proceedings.
Notification of receipt will be emailed to the contact author.

Submission deadline: December 19, 2008
Notification of acceptance: January 30, 2009
Camera-ready papers due: February 13, 2009
Workshop: either March 30 or 31, 2009 (to be announced)

Lori Levin: Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
(Workshop Chair)
John Kiango: Director, Institute of Kiswahili Research, University of Dar Es
Salaam, Tanzania
Judith Klavans: University of Maryland, Institute for Advanced Computer
Studies, USA
Manuela Noske: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, USA
Guy De Pauw: University of Antwerp, Belgium | University of Nairobi, Kenya |
Gilles-Maurice de Schryver: African Languages and Cultures, Ghent
University, Belgium | University of the Western Cape, South Africa |
Peter Waiganjo Wagacha: School of Computing and Informatics, University of
Nairobi, Kenya |

Akinbiyi Akinlabi, Rutgers University
Yiwola Awoyale, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Moussa Bamba, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Alan Black, Carnegie Mellon University
Sonja Bosch, University of South Africa
Christopher Cieri, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Robert Frederking, Carnegie Mellon University
Dafydd Gibbon, University of Bielefeld, Germany
Jeff Good, SUNY Buffalo
Mike Gasser, Indiana University
Gregory Iverson, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Stephen Larocca, US Army Research Lab
Michael Maxwell, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Jonathan Owens, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Tristan Purvis, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Antonia Schleicher, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Tanja Schultz, Karlsruhe University
Clare Voss, US Army Research Lab
Briony Williams, University of Wales, Bangor

Lori Levin
Language Technologies Institute
Newell-Simon Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
lsl cs cmu edu