Other contracts

1) IDEX contract of the PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité

BantuTyp: Strengthening the empirical foundations for the areal typology of the northwestern Bantu languages

Project leader: Mark Van de Velde

BantuTyp is a research project financed by the PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité; it started in the autumn of 2013. Its main goal is to create a complete and falsifiable grammatical analysis of three northwestern Bantu languages: Myene (B10, Gabon), an A90 language (Cameroon) and an A30 language (Cameroon or Equatorial Guinea).
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2) PRASAC contract

Valorisation of PRASAC research results for development and training

Project leader: Henry Tourneux

Duration: 3 years (1/1/2012 – 31/12/2014)

PRASAC funding: 14,500 EUR/year

Cameroonian collaborators: Boubakary Abdoulaye and Hadidja Konaï, research assistants at the University of Maroua; researchers of the IRAD (Institut de recherche agricole pour le développement)

The project aims at valorising and mobilising ten years of agronomic research in the savannah of Central Africa (Chad, Cameroon, and Central Africa Republic). The project is financed by PRASAC, the Regional Centre of Applied Research for the Development of Agricultural Systems in Central Africa (Pôle régional de Recherche Appliquée au développement des Systèmes Agricoles d'Afrique Centrale). About 60 data sheets prepared in the course of the past 10 years by researchers from the North (especially CIRED) and the South are made accessible to ordinary farmers. The data sheets first need to be phrased in a variety of French that is accessible to people that have had only little school education in French; the documents are then adapted to three widespread lingua franca of Central Africa (Fulfulde, Ngambay, Sango). The first two years of the project are dedicated to the revision of the French version and the adaptation to Fulfulde. Simultaneously, a French manual is developed that can be used in agricultural schools of the region. This requires that additions are made to the already existing data collections.

3) Pôle Compétitivité CAP Digital contract

Project of the 6th Call of the Fonds interministériel de soutien aux projets de recherche et développement collaboratifs des pôles de compétitivité.

Contract SAMAR: Multimedia analysis station in Arabic

Coordinator: TEMIS; coordinator at LLACAN: F. Debili

Duration: 3 year (1/10/2009 – 1/10/2012)

Budget pour LLACAN: 270,000 EUR


In this research project LLACAN is concerned with the development of programmes for the analysis and the interactive morpho-grammatical annotation of Arabic, with the effective annotation (voweling, lemmatisation, grammatical labelling) of Arabic corpora (Le monde diplomatique in Arabic, reports of the new agency AFP), and with the transliteration of French proper nouns in Arabic and vice versa.
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4) AFD (Agence française de développement) contract

Reform of the curricula of basic education in West and Central Africa

Project leader: Henry Tourneux

Duration: 6 months in 2010 (March-August) + 6 months in 2011 (February-July)

The AFD has initiated the project ELAN-Afrique (Teaching in national languages) for basic education in francophone West and Central Africa. The participants in this project are mostly teachers that have no special competence in the domain of language. Faced with this situation, H. Tourneux and D. Vellard have proposed to AFD to add a module focussing on the question of language and language use, whereby H. Tourneux focusses on the transfer of knowledge about the natural environment and about agriculture and D. Vellard on the transfer of mathematical knowledge. The project aims at promoting the integration of bilingual teaching (official language/local language) into basic education. Linguists of African countries usually opt for a translation of general teaching materials into local languages; however, this ends in deadlock and aggravates the separation between school and life. The project proposes instead that the current official syllabus continues to be taught in French and English (especially in Cameroon), while certain local languages are used to teach local knowledge (whose transmission is endangered due to the current social changes).

After having shown that the translation of general teaching materials is of little use, a methodology is developed which allows constructing a scientific discourse based on local discourses and practices. The project starts off with a study of the existing literature, which is often richer than imagined (studies of anthropologists, agronomists, specialists of the natural environment, etc.); the available data is supplement by data from field research (from interviews in local languages, direct observations of how knowledge is put into practice, video recordings …). The interviews are transcribed and translated, then supplemented by data from direct observation. This provides the material for writing up the final texts, which are presented in two languages, i.e. in an African language and French.

The results (of the part of the research project concerning LLACAN) have been presented in the following publication: Henry Tourneux, in cooperation with B. Abdoulaye and H. Konaï. 2011. La transmission des savoirs en Afrique : Savoirs locaux et langues locales pour l’enseignement. Paris : Karthala. The book is accompanied by a DVD with two bilingual video documentaries (1. Le sorgho de saison sèche au Cameroun and 2. La boule de sorgho).

5) IFRA-Nigeria Project

Naija Project

Project leaders: Bernard Caron & Francis Egbokhare (University of Ibadan)

Duration: 2009-2013

Nigeria Pidgin (NP) is spoken by more than 50 million speakers all over Nigeria, in a variety of forms that go from the vehicular “broken English” to the more elaborate and complex varieties developed by stand-up comedians, song writers, journalists and students. The broad intelligibility that exists between the Pidgins spoken in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone give it a strong potential as a language for commerce and regional integration and could be useful in the present context of globalisation. Despite this powerful social and political potential NP suffers from a lack of recognition that hinders its development as a potential linguistic integrator for the Nigerian nation.

This project co-led by B. Caron and Prof. Egbokhare of the University of Ibadan, aims at publishing a dictionary, a grammar and a teaching method. It will lead to the establishment of a computerized corpus made available online in the form of audio files transcribed and glossed, according to the methodology established by the CORPAFROAS project financed by the ANR.
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