Academics launch app to promote Welsh language

Academics at Cardiff University are looking to capture the words and phrases used by Welsh speakers through the launch of a specially designed app.

The app, which has been developed by a team of language specialists at the university, provides Welsh speakers from all walks of life with a way to record their conversations.

It forms a part of the Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes (CorCenCC) project, which aims to amass a large-scale collection of Welsh words to help preserve the language.

Led by Cardiff University’s School of English, Communication and Philosophy, the project is being supported by the likes of the Welsh Government, BBC, WJEC and the National Library of Wales.

This is a landmark milestone in the development of the CorCenCC project, according to the university. It offers a way to record and curate under-resourced languages across the world.

Dr Dawn Knight, who is leading the project, said: “The CorCenCC project is revolutionary, in that it is community-driven, using mobile and digital technologies to enable public collaboration.

“The use of crowdsourced corpus data is relatively unheard of, and represents a new direction to complement more traditional language collection methods, so in that sense the app is really one of the first of its kind.”

Steve Morris, from the department of Welsh at Swansea University, has also been working on the project. He said the app makes it easier for Welsh speakers to contribute to the work.

“The app makes it easy for Welsh speakers to engage with the project, and allows people to contribute at their own convenience, making it a much more personal experience,” he said.

“By putting speakers themselves in charge of their contributions to the corpus, they can be sure that the recordings they share will be the most natural and accurate representation possible of their everyday Welsh.”

CorCenCC is being supported by a number of high-profile ambassadors, including poet Damian Walford-Davies; musician, radio and TV presenter Cerys Matthews; TV presenter, producer and researcher Nia Parry; and international rugby referee Nigel Owens.

Nia Parry said: “CorCenCC will shape the future of Welsh language teaching and learning. It will provide a window into our beautiful, rich, exquisite, poetic, ancient language.

“We will learn about how we use sentence structures, mutations, slang, text talk and e-mail, how we abbreviate, what we say and how we say it.

“For future generations this will prove to be an invaluable resource and in my opinion this work is of real historic importance, not only linguistically but as a record of our essence as a nation and our place in the world.”

Nigel Owens added: “The corpus will include examples of Welsh from all domains: from the rugby pitch and the TV studio, to political speeches and academic text books.”

“Learners, dictionary makers, broadcasters and all of us who use the language every day will have a record of real life language which will help us to see how modern Welsh is actually used.”