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Automatic Diacritic Restoration for African Languages

The orthography of many African languages includes diacritically marked characters. Falling outside the scope of the standard Latin encoding, these characters are often represented in digital language resources as their unmarked equivalents. This renders corpus compilation more difficult, as these languages typically do not have the benefit of large electronic dictionaries to perform diacritic restoration.

This is a demonstration system for a diacritic restoration method that is able to automatically restore diacritics on the basis of local graphemic context. It is based on the machine learning method of Memory-Based learning. We have applied the method to the African languages of Cilubà, Gĩkũyũ, Kĩkamba, Maa, Sesotho sa Leboa, Tshivenḓa and Yoruba.

You can find more information on this system in this paper

Select a language and enter the word or sentence you want to restore diacritics for.
Cilubà (e.g. mutekete)
Gĩkũyũ (e.g. nituronire)
Kĩkamba (e.g. ningulilikana)
Maasai (e.g. oltunani)
Sesotho sa Leboa (Northern Sotho) (e.g. swanetse)
Tshivenḓa (e.g. tshiswitulo)
Yoruba (e.g. isinku)

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Guy De Pauw: CNTS - Language Technology Group, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, guy [dot] depauw [at] ua [dot] ac [dot] be
Gilles-Maurice de Schryver: African Languages and Cultures, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, gillesmaurice [dot] deschryver [at] ugent [dot] be
Peter Waiganjo Wagacha: School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya, waiganjo [at] uonbi [dot] ac [dot] ke

Good UTF-8 editor for Windows

I usually edit my UTF-8 encoded files in linux, where you have the wonderful "gedit" program that is fully compliant with UTF-8. Is there a text-only editor like that for Windows? Crimson editor claims to be UTF-8 compatible, but I beg to differ.

Typesetting African languages


This Web page provides a description of the 54-page document "Typesetting African languages"

Most African languages with a writing system use a modification of the Roman alphabet; the systems were often the invention of Christian missionaries, though some have been devised by government commissions since decolonisation.

The "authors" of these new writing systems usually aimed to make spellings logical and consistent by providing a written sign for each consonant or vowel sound in the language, and this often led to the adoption of newly- created letterforms that are easy to write by hand, but are not available in standard fonts for typesetting.

In writing up this report, I have aimed it at readers who do not know much about how typesetting is handled today in PC-based "desktop publishing" and word processing systems. I have aimed to explain the issues, and some solutions, in simple language and with a wealth of illustration.

Tshivenḓa (Venda) characters


Information on displaying Tshivenḓa special characters in word processors, on web pages, ... Includes links to specialized font sets.

A12N gateway


Links to fonts, resources, encoding tools, ... for African languages. Provided by the Bisharat project.

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