If you are reading this then the chances are that you are interested in minority languages, Welsh, technology, language maintenance and revitalisation, linguistic landscapes and so on. If this is the case then you might want to check out my new account on Google+ shiftlanguage where I am streaming news and views about these sort of issues. Please feel free to join in the conversation.
Following disappointment that Harold Camping’s predications did not come true (so I am going to have do to all this marking and mow the lawn after all…) came further disappointment with the announcement that the Y Byd project has finally been brought to an end. It is easy to suggest that it was a lack of political will or the economic down-turn that is responsible, but I do wonder if it reflects something wider and more concerning – are Welsh-speakers maybe becoming complacent about the language? It is perhaps easy to think that all is well with the language – the census suggests it is on the up, Welsh-medium education is in great demand, and so on – all that campaigning has paid off, the language is saved and now we can relax?
Set this against the falling density of speakers in many areas, concerns around competence and confidence particularly in writing Welsh, the uncertain state of S4C and the failure of Y Byd.
The continuing survival of the language depends critically on the continued vigilance and active engagement of speakers (and non-speakers) in ensuring that survival. UNESCO classify the Welsh language as “vulnerable” – it is hard to imagine a time when this will not be the case (in a positive sense at least!). Perhaps we need a new Saunders Lewis and a new Tynged yr Iaith to issue the call to action.
Hmmm… all too gloomy, so let’s end on a positive note – new Welsh language newspaper launched, Clecs Camwy from Menter Patagonia… makes you think…
Yet another Welsh language signpost story from the BBC. Laugh? Cry? I’m not sure anymore
Having been to a number of minority language conferences, I have come to recognise that rap music is the de facto standard for judging whether a minority language is being embraced by the youth (why?!). I am therefore pleased to commend to you The Chiel Meister on YouTube, demonstrating that Scots is alive and kicking.
Warning, caused several LOL moments – always embarrassing in a shared office environment.
Not sure what it is based on, but Indigenous Tweets http://indigenoustweets.com/ (yes, I know I haven’t made it a live link – sorry not my fault) is interesting. I haven’t made a comparison with the figures for Welsh produced by cy.umap.eu yet – perhaps IT actually draws its data from cy.umap.eu? Anyone know?
One of the problems faced by users and researchers of specific languages in web2.0 environments is the lack of an easy and reliable mechanism for finding content in that language. In many cases we are forced to use searches (but what terms to search for?) or following networks of some type (but the network relationships are rarely purely linguistic). This is where aggregators have a role to play, acting as linguistic portals to a particular web2.0 environment (though there are still issues in terms of their validity as a research tool).
http://umap.eu/ is providing such a portal for Twitter in Basque, Catalan and Welsh. For the researcher, the Welsh service http://cy.umap.eu/ gives a fascinating insight into what is hot (currently plaidcymru), how many Welsh Twitterers there are, who they are, how many of their Tweets are in Welsh and so on. Hopefully for the Welsh speaker it provides a handy way of finding people to follow and tapping in to interesting trends.
Sorry for the “dead” links, seems to be some issue with the blogging platform as this form of URL. Hopefully moving to new platform soon.
I was just idly converting currencies on the XE website when I found myself looking at the banner advert. Usually I tend not to notice such adverts, and I couldn’t quite understand why I was drawn to this one – then I realised, it was in Welsh! An advert from the Electoral Commission about the referendum. I think this is the first time I have come across a Welsh language advertisement on such a general purpose site (yes I was converting into GBP and realise that the advert was targeted to the UK – possibly to my IP address, anyone know?).
According to information from Symantec the Welsh language has reached a new level in its online use – it is now being used for scam emails. Is this progress I wonder?
WAGs proposed new Welsh Language Strategy is now open for consultation, or perhaps not as it appears to be listed as a “closed” consultation
Wales Online has provided a mildly diverting interactive map showing percentage of Welsh speakers, by age, by region. I am not sure that the title of the article is actually very helpful in understanding what the map is showing, or about some of the implications in the article. It’s also not clear what data it is based on – I guess the last census. Still mildly diverting on a wet Thursday afternoon.