As the global landscape of technology rapidly evolves, the conversation around the preservation and integration of indigenous Nigerian languages becomes increasingly urgent. The pervasive use of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital platforms often sidelines these languages, posing significant threats to their vitality and relevance in modern society. Consequently, many Nigerians find themselves navigating the digital realm primarily in foreign languages, further marginalizing our linguistic heritage.

This pressing issue necessitates proactive measures to safeguard and promote our native languages in the digital age. Preserving our cultural identity amidst technological advancement is paramount to preserving the rich tapestry of Nigerian linguistic diversity. It's imperative that we bridge the gap between technology and indigenous languages to ensure their continued growth and significance.

The theme for the 2024 Nigerian Languages, Data, and Sci-Tech Conference (NLDSTC) is Language Innovation and Community Empowerment.

The conference serves as a crucial platform for collective action and innovation in this space. Join us as we convene to address the challenges hindering the integration of indigenous languages into technology and explore innovative solutions to propel their inclusion.

We invite you to contribute to the discourse by submitting session proposals aligned with the four conference sub-themes:

Language Revitalisation: In the context of language revitalisation, it's crucial to delve into various strategies and initiatives designed to breathe new life into indigenous Nigerian languages in the digital era. This includes efforts such as developing language learning apps and online courses tailored to specific Nigerian languages, creating digital libraries of indigenous language resources, and establishing online communities for language enthusiasts to connect and practice their linguistic skills. Additionally, exploring the role of social media and digital storytelling platforms in preserving and promoting indigenous languages can provide valuable insights into effective revitalization methods.

Language Rights and Advocacy: Advocating for language rights and policies that safeguard linguistic diversity and inclusivity in technology is paramount. This involves advocating for the recognition of indigenous languages in national and international legislation, supporting initiatives that promote multilingualism in digital spaces, and raising awareness about the importance of language rights. Collaborating with policymakers, language activists, and advocacy groups to draft and implement language-friendly policies can help ensure that the rights of language speakers are protected and upheld in the digital realm.

Content Creation: Innovative content creation methods play a vital role in effectively representing indigenous languages in digital platforms. This includes exploring techniques such as audiovisual storytelling, interactive multimedia content, and gamification to make language learning engaging and accessible. Additionally, encouraging the creation of user-generated content in indigenous languages, such as blogs, podcasts, and social media posts, can contribute to the proliferation of digital content in these languages. Highlighting successful case studies and best practices in indigenous language content creation can inspire content creators and promote the visibility of these languages online.

Digital Inclusion: Ensuring digital inclusivity for speakers of indigenous languages requires comprehensive strategies aimed at addressing barriers to access and participation. This involves initiatives such as providing localized digital infrastructure and tools, offering language-specific digital literacy programs, and promoting the development of indigenous language-friendly technology interfaces. Additionally, fostering partnerships between government agencies, NGOs, and technology companies can facilitate the implementation of initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide for language minority communities. By prioritizing digital inclusion, we can create a more equitable and accessible digital landscape for all language speakers.

Together, let's harness the power of technology to celebrate, preserve, and elevate the diverse linguistic heritage of Nigeria. Submit a session proposal, join us at 2024 NLDSTC and be a part of this transformative journey.

Session Formats

There are 6 formats for presentation of sessions:

  • Workshop (60 minutes) - This format is for hands-on or showcase of an idea or concept on a particular topic. It gives the facilitator the opportunity to showcase a project, idea or concept that aligns with the various sub-themes.

  • Classroom (60 minutes) - This session format is solely for a single presenter who is vast in a particular subject matter. Just like the name, the format is like a classroom where the teacher teaches and students ask questions. For 10 minutes, participants will be split into rooms and the ‘teacher’ gives the ‘student’ an assignment. However, the students are not expected to submit the assignment, they only need to brainstorm or try their hands on it after the session.

  • Panel (60 minutes) - Up to three panelists are allowed on this format. The proposer has the permission to include three panelists in his/her session. Panelists from the various sectors (i.e, tech, linguistic/language enthusiast, innovators etc,) and language communities (Hausa, Igbo, Yorùbá and others) must be represented. 10 minutes must be set aside for question and answer segment.

  • ‘We We’ (60 minutes) - This format is for like-minds to gather and discuss issues that affect each and every member of the said community. It could be a session for students, lecturers, software developers, broadcasters, translators/interpreters, and others.

  • Serious Joke (30 minutes) - All work and no play makes Adamu a dull boy. This format is for serious issues in a jovial form. In 30 minutes, the presenter will present a case that is serious but has not been taken seriously. It is a thought-provoking format that aims to finger the brain of participants to focus on a particular subject and make a change.

  • Jack of all trade (60 minutes) - This is a combination of all the other session formats; all and everything together, hence this format allows a combination of any of the other formats for a proposed session. Proposers are encouraged to be creative in combining the formats to suit their sessions.

N.B: Priority will be given to sessions presented in any of the Nigerian indigenous languages; Hausa, Igbo, Yorùbá and etc.

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