New list: A12n-policy

Don Osborn dzo at
Wed Dec 19 04:25:04 UTC 2007

As part of a small research project I will be undertaking early next year on
policies in Africa concerning multilingual information technology and
localization, I've set up a new list called "A12n-policy." See 


The policy issues of concern here relate to two broader areas of policy:
language policy and information (and communications) technology policy (ICT
policy). With increasing importance of ICT throughout the world, including
in places where people do not have command of the dominant languages of the
internet and software applications, the issue of what languages to provide
for in computers and internet content for development, education, and
governance is becoming more of an issue. In the case of Asia, a project
there uses the term "local language computing policy."


However termed - and whether it is most properly considered a subset of
language policy, ICT policy, both, or an emerging new area in its own right
- it would seem to merit attention in the case of Africa too.


"A12n" is a term coined several years ago, standing for "Africanization" and
in the same form as other abbreviations common in the field of ICT: L10n
(localization), i18n (internationalization), etc. The formula is: initial
consonant + number of letters between that and the final consonant + final
consonant. The context of "A12n," then, is explicitly that of ICT. It
relates both to factors necessary to enable African language use on
computers and the internet, and to efforts to "localize" software and
internet content.


A12n-policy joins another A12n list - "A12n-collaboration" - which concerns
technical issues related to support of African languages in ICT. It began as
an informal online working group in 2001 and has been mirrored on
LinguistList since 2004.


Don Osborn



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