Conference marking 40th anniversary of Niamey expert meeting?

Don Osborn via Unicode unicode at
Mon May 22 12:35:34 CDT 2017

Is there any interest in a conference on support for African languages,
including issues at the character and script level? I'm looking at the
upcoming 40th anniversary of the Niamey expert meeting on "Transcription and
Harmonization of African Languages" with the thought that it might be an
opportune occasion to take stock of a process that was prominent in the
1960s - 1970s, reflecting/shaping the Latin-based orthographies used today,
and consider current issues with all scripts used in Africa. Such an event
could also serve as a way to exchange skills and network among people doing
applied work (localization, content development, language technology).


I've just posted a short question to that effect at
in the hopes of eliciting feedback. This post also references 2 earlier
postings about the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1966 Bamako expert
meeting, in which various possible issues for discussion were mentioned.


The 1978 Niamey conference was a key meeting among a series of
UNESCO-(co)sponsored expert meetings on harmonization of transcriptions
(orthographies) in Latin script during the 1960s and 1970s. Among other
things, this conference produced the African Reference Alphabet, which has
been referred to in standardization of orthographies in several countries
and in much later discussions relating to Unicode.


Thanks in advance for any feedback, here or on the blog.


Don Osborn, PhD 

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