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Seminar on Language Policy and Planning, University of Edinburgh 25 th January, 2007 ‘Technologisation’ Seminar on Language Policy and Planning, University of Edinburgh 25 th January, 2007 ‘Technologisation’ and the Gaelic Language: a new research agenda? Marsaili Mac. Leod University of Aberdeen

Structure of Seminar Context: lesser used languages in the digital age Gaelic’s technological ‘infrastructure’ Structure of Seminar Context: lesser used languages in the digital age Gaelic’s technological ‘infrastructure’ ‘Gaelicisation’ of the Net – Organisation led – The ‘participative Web’ Planning for ICT and the Gaelic language – Policy development – Research and development

Context: lesser used languages in the digital age Context: lesser used languages in the digital age

‘Technologisation’ – processes where technology and language converge Language Technologies Localisation, customisation, new prototypes ‘Technologisation’ – processes where technology and language converge Language Technologies Localisation, customisation, new prototypes PC Websites & web-based applications & interfaces Mobile devices User interactions ‘Technologisation’ of common discourse

David Crystal’s thesis: One of six postulated for minority language ‘revitalisation’ “An endangered language David Crystal’s thesis: One of six postulated for minority language ‘revitalisation’ “An endangered language will progress if its speakers can make use of electronic technology” (2002, 141) Provides an ‘even playing field’ for languages Enables identity to be no longer linked to geographical location “ Whereas, traditionally, the geographical scattering of a community through migration has been an important factor in the dissolution of its language, in future this may no longer be the case. The Internet, along with the growth of faster and cheaper means of travel between locations, is altering our scenarios of endangerment” (Crystal, 2002: 142)

He might also have added technology can: Make a language more accessible to second-language He might also have added technology can: Make a language more accessible to second-language learners Create a cultural resource through archiving, recording and digitisation Increase and improve language literacy Improve language status Increase language functionality

Technology a new threat to lesser-used languages? Is the Net enhancing English as the Technology a new threat to lesser-used languages? Is the Net enhancing English as the homogenising language medium of the ‘global village’? Is the Net hastening the shift to an already dominant language?

Internet users per language Source: OECD, 2006 Internet users per language Source: OECD, 2006

Growing increasingly multilingual! Formal, hierarchical structures – Rise in lesser used language material – Growing increasingly multilingual! Formal, hierarchical structures – Rise in lesser used language material – Multi-translations of web content to meet growth in global e-commerce Informal, populist activity – Participation in new web content – Development of new (open source) software – On-line blogs, chat rooms and discussion forums

Utopian vision? “…the fact remains that the Internet, at this point, is overwhelmingly dominated Utopian vision? “…the fact remains that the Internet, at this point, is overwhelmingly dominated by a handful of languages…even if some web sites arise which employ a local language, speakers of the local language will make greater use of the Internet in a non-local language. ” (Grenoble and Whaley, 2006: 10)

Concerns include: Volume of online material vs. active language use Unequal development of PC Concerns include: Volume of online material vs. active language use Unequal development of PC and Web-based language technology: – Lack of resources – Paucity of technical expertise – Small language markets

“The weakest language-groups in the EU – both very small state languages and regional “The weakest language-groups in the EU – both very small state languages and regional and minority languages, inhabit an IT environment that marginalises them through an absence of wordprocessors, spell-checkers, internet browsers, IT manuals in their language. There is a danger here that an Internet culture – indeed a computer culture – develops in which people either come to accept it as natural to use a language other than their own when using the Internet, or else feel excluded because of lack of fluency in another language” (Thomas, et. al. , 2000: 3)

Asking the following questions: How has the Gaelic language appropriated and benefited from digital Asking the following questions: How has the Gaelic language appropriated and benefited from digital technologies? Is Gaelic’s engagement in IT led by organisations, individuals, or embodiments of the State? Should the future development of technology form part of the strategy and planning functions of the new Gaelic language planning framework? What knowledge/evidence is required to underpin future developments?

The Gaelic Technological Infrastructure The Gaelic Technological Infrastructure

Differing language ideologies “The value of Gaelic lies precisely in the fact that it Differing language ideologies “The value of Gaelic lies precisely in the fact that it is not the language of commerce and technology, it is not the language of the mass media. It is the language into which one can retire from the hurlyburly of an over-busy world…It is a folk language, in which people still make their own songs and write their own poetry…Gaelic has no material value whatsoever and thank God for it. It is not the language of the rat race. That is its supreme value. ” (James Shaw Grant, 1972, quoted in Hutchinson, 2005: 99)

Key organisations/developments Expansion of the BBC Gaelic media service from the 1970 s onwards Key organisations/developments Expansion of the BBC Gaelic media service from the 1970 s onwards Delivery of tertiary courses at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig from the 1980 s SMO and BBC Gaelic ‘division’ constitute major adopters of technology in service delivery – Majority of employees working ‘in’ Gaelic – Technologically skilled, Gaelic speaking work force Can add to that, Gaelic medium education (GME) and the institutions involved in its delivery

Content creation tools Development of a range of online dictionaries – Stòr-dàta – Faclair Content creation tools Development of a range of online dictionaries – Stòr-dàta – Faclair na Parlamaid Sgrìobh word processing software and Gaelic keyboard from Iletec Open Office Gàidhlig 1. 1 – Scottish Executive funded – Targeted at GME An Dearbhair / spellchecker

Search engine Search engine

E-Learning resources Online version of GRD established 1999 Gàidhlig-air-loidhne established in 2004 Gaelic ICT E-Learning resources Online version of GRD established 1999 Gàidhlig-air-loidhne established in 2004 Gaelic ICT Implementation Group Primary and secondary education material – IT-based learning Gaelic ‘profile raising’ interactive, multi-media, initiatives

Localisation Linguistically and culturally appropriate – Standard translated terminology – Standard IT terms – Localisation Linguistically and culturally appropriate – Standard translated terminology – Standard IT terms – Standard abbreviations and acronyms Differences in locales, alphabets and characters – Number, data and time formats – Gaelic alphabet 18 letters – Gaelic grave accents a e i o u

Language Resources An historical dictionary of Gaelic – Online dictionary – Online resources Tobar Language Resources An historical dictionary of Gaelic – Online dictionary – Online resources Tobar an Dualchais – Digitisation of audio archives – Online resource

To summarise: A combination of educationally derived, public funded initiatives and other ad hoc To summarise: A combination of educationally derived, public funded initiatives and other ad hoc developments The primary components of Gaelic content creation are being developed – But could they be more widely disseminated? There remain some gaps in the infrastructure – Grammatical aids – Email software – Machine translation, speech-technology – Mobile devices

‘Gaelicisation’ of the Net Formal, organisational developments ‘Gaelicisation’ of the Net Formal, organisational developments

The bilingual homepage Type 1: monolingual English with ‘button’ for ‘Gàidhlig’ version (common) Type The bilingual homepage Type 1: monolingual English with ‘button’ for ‘Gàidhlig’ version (common) Type 2: monolingual Gaelic with a ‘button’ for the English version (occasional) Type 3: homepage designed solely to offer language choice (rare) Type 4: entirely bilingual (rare) Type 5: No Gaelic version offered (common) – None identified with registered domain in English and Gaelic

Type 1: Gàidhlig version Type 1: Gàidhlig version

Type 2: English version Type 2: English version

Type 3: Language choice page Type 3: Language choice page

Type 4: Bilingual homepage Type 4: Bilingual homepage

Type 5: No Gaelic version Type 5: No Gaelic version

Bilingual content Bilingual Interface – Gaelic projects, ‘Gaelic organisations’ Selected Gaelic ‘content’ – Major Bilingual content Bilingual Interface – Gaelic projects, ‘Gaelic organisations’ Selected Gaelic ‘content’ – Major public organisations – Clear navigational route to Gàidhlig and all content – Gaelic language versions of own institutions documents Bilingual policy or statement – Rarely available

Entirely bilingual interface Entirely bilingual interface

Bilingual content – clearly listed Bilingual content – clearly listed

Reduced Gaelic version Reduced Gaelic version

Inconsistency – a disservice? Poor navigation between English and Gaelic Company names inconsistent with Inconsistency – a disservice? Poor navigation between English and Gaelic Company names inconsistent with language of domain name – e. g. Comhairle nan Leabhraichean and www. gaelicbooks. net – e. g. Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig and www. gms. org. uk Gaelic domain names inconsistent with email addresses – e. g HIE Innse Gall and [email protected] hient. co. uk Terminology inconsistent – e. g. ceanglaichean and làraichean (links) Gaelic language documents in the centre of English monolingual sites

Organisational web bilingualism Ad hoc development of Gaelic on public organisations websites Content online Organisational web bilingualism Ad hoc development of Gaelic on public organisations websites Content online reflecting: – The role of Gaelic in the organisation – Strategic policies for bilingualism – The geographical ‘reach’ of an organisation – The type of online content Growth in Gaelic content relative to English evident Gaelic Language Plans could act as a platform for more structured design and development

Gaelicisation of the Net Informal, participative web developments Gaelicisation of the Net Informal, participative web developments

Informal, democratic developments “The Gaelic community has embraced several aspects of the information and Informal, democratic developments “The Gaelic community has embraced several aspects of the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution, utilising the democratic and informal nature of the internet in particular to great benefit” (An Dreachd Plana Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, 2006: 37)

Wikipedia – online encyclopaedia Wikipedia – online encyclopaedia

Learning support Generate language networks Language acquisition support materials Using Gaelic in a supportive Learning support Generate language networks Language acquisition support materials Using Gaelic in a supportive environment – MSN ‘an t-Seòmar-Chòmhraidh Gàidhlig’ http: //groups. msn. com/gaidhlig – Free. BB, Fòram na Gàidhlig http: //31. freebb. com/gaidhlig. html

Fòram na Gàidhlig - membership Source: http: //31. freebb. com/gaidhlig. html (accessed 30 November) Fòram na Gàidhlig - membership Source: http: //31. freebb. com/gaidhlig. html (accessed 30 November)

Blog portal and meeting space Blog portal and meeting space

Promoting literacy… “Gu ruige seo, tha mi air a bhith a-mach air ciamar a Promoting literacy… “Gu ruige seo, tha mi air a bhith a-mach air ciamar a tha daoine a’ dèanamh conaltraidh le bhith sgrìobhdadh airloidhne agus is math dh’ fhaodte gum bi thu den bheachd gur e rud math th’ann an sin airson sgrìobhadh sa Ghaidhlig, ach dè a tha e a’ dèanamh airson na cainnt? ” “Up until now, I have been on about how people communicate through writing on line, and perhaps you are of the opinion that this is a good thing for Gaelic literature, but what is it doing for the language? ” (Scholes, 2005: 37)

“The growing usage of modern technology by a sizable proportion of the dispersed Gaelic “The growing usage of modern technology by a sizable proportion of the dispersed Gaelic community is potentially a very significant bonding agent in the linguistic, social and cultural processes which shape and define the community” (An Dreachd Plana Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, 2006: 37)

“Chan eil mise a’ faicinn nan tachartasan air-loidhne mar roghainn ma bhàsaicheas a’ Ghàidhlig “Chan eil mise a’ faicinn nan tachartasan air-loidhne mar roghainn ma bhàsaicheas a’ Ghàidhlig buileach glan sna coimhearsnachdan traidiseanta. Tha fhios agam nach eil coimpiutair aig a h-uile neach-ionnsachaidh no fileantach ach, dhomhsa, tha a’ Ghàidhealtachd ‘mas fhìor’ na pàirt de shaoghal na Gàidhlig a tha fhathast beò agus tha i na pàirt den strì airson an canan a shàbhaladh. ” “I am not seeing these online events as an option if Gaelic dies completely in the traditional heartlands. I know not all learners and fluent speakers have a computer but, for me, the ‘virtual’ Gaidhealtachd is part of the Gaelic world that is still alive and it is part of the struggle to save the language. ” (Scholes, 2005: 37).

Lobbying and campaigning Informing on topical, language-related, issues Stimulating discussion on topical issues Political Lobbying and campaigning Informing on topical, language-related, issues Stimulating discussion on topical issues Political campaigning and lobbying – Save. Gaelic. org – Iomairtean Gàidhlig http: //groups. yahoo. com/group/Iomairtean_Gaidhlig/ Knowledge networks

Campaigning online Campaigning online

The online Gaelic community… “Gu ruige seo, chan eil ann ach dithis bhlogair aig The online Gaelic community… “Gu ruige seo, chan eil ann ach dithis bhlogair aig an robh Gàidhlig bho thùs a tha a’ cur an cuid sgrìobhadh air Tìr nam Blòg agus tha sin air deasbad a thòiseachadh am measg nam blogairean…Thuirt Blogair bho Mhassacheusetts gun robh eagal air gun robh sin a’ toirt seallaidh air a’ Ghàidhlig dhan t-saoghal bho shùilean luchd-ionnsachaidh amhàin. An e rud math no dona a th’ann an sin no a bheil fiù ‘s boinne dànadais na lùib? ” “Up until now, there are only two bloggers who are native Gaelic speakers that are putting their material on Tìr nam Blòg and that has started a debate amongst bloggers…A Blogger from Massacheusetts said that he was concerned that this was portraying the views on the Gaelic language to the world from the perspective of learners only. Is this a good or a bad thing or is there perhaps even a touch of arrogance in this? ” (Scholes, 2005: 36)

Planning for ICT and the Gaelic Language Evidence Based Policy Planning for ICT and the Gaelic Language Evidence Based Policy

Learning from the Welsh experience Benefits from a centre for Welsh Language Technologies Research Learning from the Welsh experience Benefits from a centre for Welsh Language Technologies Research Unit : Canolfan Bedwyr First Strategy for IT and the Welsh Language (2006) Bilingual software standards and guidelines (2006) Monitoring of websites of organisations with Welsh Language Schemes A range of collaborative, partnership initiatives towards mainstreaming Welsh in the IT culture

BBC Vocab Service BBC Vocab Service

Guidance on Gaelic Language Plans Communications and interactivity Websites – Gaelic incorporated into home Guidance on Gaelic Language Plans Communications and interactivity Websites – Gaelic incorporated into home page – Gaelic and English web addresses – Gaelic version of content based on Gaelic or bilingual printed material published – Gaelic pages – Gaelic website Evidence based guidance?

Addressing the gaps - provision The ‘Gaelic infrastructure’ – Collaboration: knowledge-sharing, learning from elsewhere, Addressing the gaps - provision The ‘Gaelic infrastructure’ – Collaboration: knowledge-sharing, learning from elsewhere, technical and linguistic expertise – Capacity: Develop expertise, and funded research, into language engineering, machine translation, speechtechnology and learning tools – Software research and development On-line provision of web-based services – Development of guidelines for software and webdevelopers? – Guidelines on bilingualism and the Web as part of Gaelic Language Plans? – Best practice be recognised?

Addressing the gaps – interaction Participatory forms of Internet usage – Research related to Addressing the gaps – interaction Participatory forms of Internet usage – Research related to the participation in informal environments and their affect on language acquisition and use – Research on Gaelic language choice and Internet usage – Guidance and information on Gaelic web-based services Gaelic ICT training

Concluding Thoughts The Gaelic community has grasped the opportunities presented by ICTs Future development Concluding Thoughts The Gaelic community has grasped the opportunities presented by ICTs Future development constrained by lack of strategic coordination, funding and resources, and knowledge and expertise Gaelic language learning profited from digital technologies, in schooling and in new emerging virtual language communities No evidence to suggest that (as Crystal claims) it is positively affecting language ‘revitalisation’ Further normalisation of Gaelic in IT culture required to support it’s day to day continuance in every day lives of Gaelic (place-based and virtual) communities

Mòran taing/Many thanks marsaili. macleod@abdn. ac. uk Mòran taing/Many thanks marsaili. [email protected] ac. uk

Related references Brown, E. and Mitchel, C (2005) Adapting Open Source Software for Education: Related references Brown, E. and Mitchel, C (2005) Adapting Open Source Software for Education: Challenges, methodologies and result. Paper presented at Open Source for Education in Europe: Research and Practise, Open University of Netherlands, Heerlen, Netherlands 14 -15 November 2005. Online. Available HTTP: Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg/Welsh Language Board (2006) Information Technology and the Welsh Language: a Strategy Document. Online. Available HTTP: (accessed 15 January 2007). Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg/Welsh Language Board (2006) Bilingual Software Standards & Guidelines. Online. Available HTTP: (accessed 15 January 2007). Charalabopoulou, F. , Carayannis, G. and Steinhauer, G (2005) Deploying ICT to Empower Linguistic Diversity, paper presented at the 7 th Hellenic-European Conference on Computer Mathematics and its Applications, September 2005, Athens. Online. Available HTTP: (accessed 5 November 2006). Crystal, D. (2001; 2 nd edn 2004) Language and the Internet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Related references (contd. ) Crystal, D. (2002) Language Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Erikson, Related references (contd. ) Crystal, D. (2002) Language Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Erikson, Jim (1998) Cyberspeak: the Death of Diversity. Will the English-dominated Internet spell the end of other tongues? Asiaweek 3 July 1998, 15. Online. Available HTTP: (accessed 4 November 2006). Gandal, N. (2006) Native Language and Internet Usage, in International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 182, 25 -40 Grenoble, L. A. and Whaley, L. J. (2006) Saving Languages: an Introduction to Language Revitalization, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scholes, D. (2006) Conaltradh Air-loidhne: dè am feum a th’ann? On line Conversation – of what use is it? in Cox, R. (ed. ) Gath, 5, Berwick-upon-Tweed: Foillseachaidhean Ghath Earranta. Thomas, N. , King, A. . and Gruffydd Jones, E. H. (2000) Linguistic Diversity on the Internet: assessment of the contribution of machine translation, European Parliament: Stoa Publications. Online. Available HTTP < http: //www. serv-inf. deusto. es/ABAITUA/konzeptu/ta/Euro. Parlament. html>(accessed 5 November, 2006).

Related references - websites Open source community: – Manilla: <http: //www. mozilla. org/projects/l 10 Related references - websites Open source community: – Manilla: – Open office: Minority Language Technology – Kevin Scannell: – Canolfan Bedwyr: – SATMIL Network – Speech and Language Technology for Minority Languages: Gaelic language tools – Sgrìobh: – Open Office Gàidhlig: – An Dearbhair: – Stòr-dàta: – Faclair na Gàidhlig: – Faclair na Parlamaid: – Caoimhín Ó Donnaile, Gaelic online: