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South African Centre for Digital Language Resources


SADiLaR is a new research infrastructure set up by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) forming part of the new South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR).


SADiLaR is a multi-partner entity with the North-West University (NWU) Potchefstroom campus functioning as host as well as hub of a network of linked nodes comprising the University of Pretoria (Department of African Languages), the University of South Africa (Department of African Languages), the Meraka Institute at the CSIR (HLT Research Group), the North-West University (Centre for Text Technology) and the Inter-Institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment (ICELDA) which, in turn, includes the universities of the Free State, Stellenbosch, North-West, and Pretoria. It is foreseen that the number of nodes will increase in future as new functional nodes develop.
SADiLaR incorporates the existing language resource management agency (RMA) and focuses on the creation, management and distribution of digital language resources as well as applicable software related to all official languages of the country. All data and software tools will be made freely available for research purposes.


SADiLaR runs two programs:

A digitisation program which entails the systematic creation of relevant digital text, speech and multi-modal resources related to all official languages of South Africa, as well as the development of appropriate natural language processing software tools for research and development purposes.
A Digital Humanities program which facilitates research capacity building by promoting and supporting the use of digital data and innovative methodological approaches within the Humanities and Social Sciences. (See http://www.digitalhumanities.org.za)

SADiLaR has an enabling function impacting at least three domains:

Language technology domain: high-level resources and natural language processing tools are developed for use in applications such as, for instance, machine translation engines for local languages, automatic speech recognition systems, text-to-speech systems, speech-to-speech translation systems, interactive communication systems, as well as a variety of text-related applications such as grammar and spelling checkers, online electronic dictionaries etc.

Humanities and Social Sciences domain: research capacity building is facilitated amongst scholars by promoting the use of digital data, innovative methods, and software tools enhancing research activities enabling scholars to ask and pursue previously-unanswerable questions within their respective disciplines.

Socio-economic domain: reusable digital language resources are licensed for use in interactive commercial applications in local languages. The nature and use of local African languages are documented as part of a living archive, including documentation of cultural heritage practices within different language communities.


Academic scholars and professionals in all domains of Humanities and Social Sciences, Language Technologies, Natural Language Processing, Computer Science as well as potential end-users in education, business and industry.


SADiLaR is the first centre of its kind in Africa and will foster links with researchers and institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Centre promotes existing links with similar entities globally, especially with a major counterpart in Europe, e.g. CLARIN, which is also part of the European Strategic Framework for Research Infrastructures Roadmap (ESFRI).


Prof Justus C Roux (Director)
Mobile: (+27) 83 288 8602
Office: (+27) 18 285 2046


DST Logo NWU Logo

University of PretoriaUniversity of South Africa

Meraka Institute(CSIR)ICELDACText®