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Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2002 19:24:34 +0100 From: "Don Osborn" <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Hausa voices update The Hausavoices site John mentioned recently had a "poll" (before the one you'll currently see) on whether viewers could read Hausa and how well. The numbers, for what they're worth in such a poll, were interesting in that a plurality reported that they read it very well and another segment chose to indicate that they read it but not very well - so that a majority had some level of skill reading Hausa. This got me to wondering how many (what percentage) of people who access websites with Hausa themes actually read Hausa? Beyond that what are the typical Hausa language skills of literate people in this part of the world (I'm writing from Niamey) who might access the such websites? Would the existence (success?) of popular printed literature in Hausa indicate that Hausa literacy and interest in reading Hausa is rather high? These may be questions webmasters and designers of web sites ask when considering how much effort to put into the Hausa language web content. (They also relate to the issue raised by John re software in African languages.) Of course the current user/potential user population is a relatively well-off fraction of the overall population (especially if one counts also people outside Africa who can read Hausa). So, what would be the literacy skill levels in the Hausa speaking populations living on the other side of the "digital [read socio-economic] divide"? And what would this say about possibilities for Hausa (and other African language) content, Hausa localized user interfaces, and the need for multilingual approaches in development projects that seek to introduce ICT to the less well-off? It would seem that already there is a viable, growing audience for Hausa web content (similarly with other major African languages). And that the extent to which more Hausa language content is developed for that audience (there is already a little) will be the degree to which producing quality Hausa content to use in ICT for education & development projects among less favored groups is facilitated. Don --