Firm launches dictionary for modern words in native languages

The Centre for Digitization of Indigenous Languages (CDIAL) has launched a dictionary that aids in translating modern words into native languages.

CDIAL is a social impact company that leverages artificial intelligence to digitise local languages and localise digital access.

Speaking at the launch, Soji Akinlabi, the co-founder of CDIAL, said that native dictionaries do not contain many new words that have come into existence due to social and technological changes.

“As we know, most of the new words related to technology, science, business, and healthcare, such as drone, robotics, climate change, sanitizers, sustainable development goals, influencers, etc., are only available in English, even though 80 million Nigerians cannot speak the language fluently,” Soji said. “How can we adequately pass information to everyone if we cannot fully express ourselves in our native languages? CDIAL created this extended dictionary to stay current on these language changes.”

Furthermore, the co-founder said that the CDIAL dictionary was sourced through collective intelligence. “Through our language propagators, we made 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,” he said.

In addition to that, Soji said that although Nigeria has over 500 languages, the CDIAL dictionary is currently in four languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, and Pidgin. “Our goal is not to exclude these other languages but to expand this dictionary to 10,000 words by 2025 in 15 African languages,” he said. “We are calling for volunteers who will like to lead the tribe in these other languages, you can contact us by sending an email, visiting our website, or on social media.”

Read also: The state of English language teaching in Nigeria

Also at the event, Oluwadamilare Igbayiloye, the founder of, Akonilede Yoruba, a language school, said the innovation will prevent languages from going into extinction, adding that “there are students from different parts of the world who are learning the Yoruba language in my school, and this dictionary will serve as a tool for us to support what we are teaching our students and our curriculum.”

She continued, “As parents and as individuals, continue speaking and learning about your language, it’s a language that you know and speak that you can be proud of, transfer, protect, and preserve for other generations to know about their roots and their culture.



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