Saturday, July 28, 2007

Teaching Welsh in Gwent

I've been wanting to teach Welsh for Adults for some years, but have always been put off by the fear that my knowledge of grammar (Welsh or English) is virtually nil. In recent years, Coleg Gwent, who are the main providers of of 'Welsh for Adults' in the south east have been very short of tutors, so I've been attending training sessions to become a tutor, with the hope of being given a class in September, ideally in the county of Caerphilly.

As normal classes have now finished for the summer, there's no opportunity for me to sit in a class observing, but fortunately there was a summer school at The Hill. I had the chance to sit in two classes, one for complete beginners and one for students who'd already completed one ear of study

There were classes for 7 different levels, and the Summer Schools and Saturday schools run by Coleg Gwent are extremely popular, so much so that some people are regularly turned away. this year the summer school was full up with 164 people attending - I later found out that a further 140 had been turned away, which is a big shame. Next year they hope to offer two weeks of Summer School to accommodate everyone. You often hear people say that the people of Gwent have no interest in the Welsh language, but apart from a young woman from Holland on her second year and a lady from France in the beginners class, the rest were local people.

During our training sessions, the organisers of the various courses:
  • normal weekly classes in community centresl
  • Welsh for Parents
  • Welsh in the Workplace
have been trying to persuade us to teach in their classes when we'll be trained. At the moment I'd like to teach the Wlpan, but there's not as many of these classes being held. The reasons I'd prefer Wlpan are:
  • I feel that it's the most determined students who'll take this course as they've commited themselves to attend classes many times in a week (between 2 and 5)
  • Students are more likely to pick up more vocab in a short period of time and less likely to feel that they're not progressing as I've seen with a few students in the past
  • more emphasis on speaking, less on grammar
We'll see what happens in September

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

dotCYM Forum, July 19 in Bangor

Taken from Murmur blog:

On Thursday, July 19th a special dotCYM forum has been organised and sponsored by ITWales and CMC. The event will be held in the evening at the Technium CAST on Parc Menai, Bangor.

The following members of CMC are kindly sponsoring the location and buffet., Draig Technologies, Language Technologies Unit (Canolfan Bedwyr) and Meddal.

The forum will be an opportunity to learn more about the dotCYM bid, to hear of the success of the first successful year of puntCAT and how and why software developers from CMC are supporting the bid.

The event is FREE to attend, however advance booking is required.

To book your place e-mail or go online to Alternatively you can contact Rob or Judith at ITWales Bangor on 01248 388245

1730 : Registration and buffet

1800 : Presentations

(i) Sion Jobbins from dotCYM

dotCYM is a grass-roots initiative to gain .cym as a sponsored Top Level Domain (TLD) for the Welsh linguistic and cultural community of interest.

The .cym TLD is the only viable and credible bid to represent the Welsh community. It will be available for websites in Welsh, partly in Welsh or of Welsh interest but in English or another language.

dotCYM promises an excellent way to promote the use of Welsh language online and of branding Welsh services and products in a readily, easy recognisabile identifier for the Welsh IT sector .

Siôn Jobbins, is a co-founder and Chairman of the dotCYM, Siôn works in the Marketing and Access department at The National Library of Wales. He writes a regular media column for Cambria and Barn magazines and was founder and editor of Ffocws Welsh media magazine. Siôn has worked both as a freelance journalist and television researcher and also in various capacities as a press officer. Siôn graduated in History at Aberstywyth in 1989 and was Mayor of the town in 1999.

For more information :

(ii) Dewi Bryn Jones from CMC

The Association of Welsh Language Software (CMC) has been created following exciting developments in the field of information technology and the Welsh language. It brings together those involved in Welsh language information technology from the private, public and voluntary sectors, in both open and closed source technologies

It encourages :

· the use of the Welsh language in every sphere of information technology.
· the development of original Welsh language software and language technologies
· the translation and adaptation of high quality software into Welsh
· the creation of high quality content in the Welsh language
· the creation of training material and courses in information technology through the medium of Welsh

CMC was launched officially by Councillor Dafydd Iwan at the National Eisteddfod (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Eryri a’r Cyffiniau), 2005. CMC wishes to thank Gwynedd Council for initially sponsoring CMC.

Dewi Bryn Jones, is the current chairperson of CMC and works at the Language Technologies Unit in Canolfan Bedwyr. He is also a member of, a team of volunteers who localise Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera, Mandriva Linux, and other popular software into Welsh. Dewi has worked for a number of years in Finland with Nokia where he first encountered popular IT use in a non-English speaking environment and thought why not for Welsh as well. Dewi graduated in Computer Science from the University of York in 1994.

For more information :

1900 : Discussion

2000 : End

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Prion on Nestoria

While searching unsuccessfully on Google a Flickr for photo's of my old school (Ysgol Pantpastynog, Prion), I came across Houses for sale in Prion on Nestoria. Nestoria is an on-line service for advertising houses for sale/rent, which uses a 'mashup' of information from various sources which might be of interest to potential purchasers/tenants. I'm familiar with the name Nestoria as it's a company called CodeSyntax (creators of Tagzania) that's responsible for the mapping side. You can make selections so that the map shows:
  • nearest train stations
  • local schools
  • the local MP (but not the local AM, possibly as they're not covered by TheyWorkForYou)
  • pictures of the area
  • the local council tax band (compared to the English! average)
I really like the way it works and looks, although it has some way to go to be fully relevant to Wales. Maybe I'll e-mail them with suggestions, or they might read this post after receiving 1000's of hits (maybe not).

I think it started concentrating on London, and if you search for the postcode SW11, there's even more info like:
  • nearest police station (because it's such a dangerous place to live!)
  • and more importantly where's the nearest pub (from Beer in the Evening)
But if I search via the post code LL16 rather than the name 'Prion', it then also shows pubs in the area - not that I need any introduction.

Nestoria are also responsible for the first Facebook application to be in a language other than English. Hopefully this will encourage Facebook to get their shit together regarding internationalisation/localisation.

and... you can also get RSS feed or e-mail notification for any search (place name or postcode)
Prion - property for sale

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pob lwc Mick

My friend Mick and his mate Sean are going to be taking part in Le Tour Challenge to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust a Latch. The race follows the route of the Tour de France, an takes place two days prior o the big race itself. Mick has been training hard for the race, spending most evenings and all weekends cycling all over the south east - he's lucky he lives in Wales where there are plenty of hills to replicate cycling in the Pyrenees!

They've been give a camera by BBC Wales to record their experiences, and you can keep track of them via their blog. If you can spare a quid or two, please consider donating, what they're doing is a bit more challenging than sitting in a bath of beans.

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