News update Telecoms and ICT in Africa – Issue No 69 on 27 April 2001

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THE KNOTTY PROBLEM OF USING AFRICAN LANGUAGES FOR E-MAIL AND INTERNET

27 April 2001

As the web and e-mail spread, Africans will increasingly want to have information and communicate in their own languages. For the purposes of generating and transmitting text electronically, Africa has three categories of languages: those that use basically the same characters one finds in the major languages of West European origin; those which use basically that same Latin alphabet but with some added letters; and those which use non-Latin alphabets. The last two pose considerable problems for those wanting to see digital advances as a way of improving communication. Bisharat’s Don Osborn looks at how these obstacles can be tackled.…