University of South Africa – Department of African Languages


The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (in short SADiLaR) and the University of South Africa (known as UNISA) are working in close collaboration with regard to the creation, management and distribution of digital language resources, which are made freely available.

The UNISA node of SADiLaR, linked to the Department of African Languages, specialises in language development since this Department is in the unique position of dealing with all nine official African languages.  The UNISA node stands on two legs – the first leg is the African Wordnet and the second one is the Multilingual Linguistic Terminology.

SADiLaR has contributed considerably to the sustainability of these projects at UNISA.  Instead of time and effort being spent on writing short term funding proposals, longer term arrangements with SADiLaR ensure a more stable research and development environment. Hence, the project teams can concentrate on the development and quality assurance of the wordnets, as well the linguistic terminology. Linguists involved in this project also benefit in the sense that they can now be supplied with all essential equipment such as laptops, have access to the relevant software, and attend dedicated training sessions. Furthermore, researchers have the opportunity to publish their research findings.

The language resources which are being developed are managed with great ease via the SADiLaR server, while the hosting of the wordnet editing tool on this server means stability and continuous technical support.

Since the UNISA node is also well aware that African languages have important and specialised terminology in specific fields, it is their aim to make the multilingual linguistic terminology freely available in a large data base so that these resources will contribute positively to the teaching and learning domain as well as to other forms of language practice such as language learning and interpretation. 

Open access to the African Wordnet data as well as the Multilingual Linguistic Terminology, is bound to have a significant impact not only on the promotion of African languages, but also on the further development of natural language processing applications such as inter-lingual information retrieval, question-answering systems as well as machine translation. 

Contact details: 

Stanley Madonsela –

Mampaka Mojapelo –