Cymraeg a Facebook yn y Western Mail (erthygl lawn)

Trafodwch. Dydy Facebook ddim yn cyfrannu i’r broblem CYNNWYS agored ar y we. Mae cynnwys agored yn golygu agored i chwilio (Google ayyb) am blyneddoedd gyda dolenni.

Facebook ‘could point the way for the Welsh language’; Study claims site is proving to be vital for delivering boost

Claire Miller. Western Mail. Cardiff (UK): Apr 26, 2010. pg. 3

Full Text (688 words)

(Copyright 2010 Western Mail and Echo Ltd.)

FACEBOOK could be the key to the Welsh language surviving and thriving, an academic study has claimed.

Daniel Cunliffe, who carried out the study with Courtenay Honeycutt, said postings on the social networking site showed people becoming more accustomed to using Welsh in their everyday life and might give others the confidence to join the conversation, giving the language a boost.

The researchers had set out to study the use of Welsh on the social networking site and found a thriving community.

“The fact that the language is used on these sites makes people feel good about the language,” said Dr Cunliffe, of the University of Glamorgan.

“There certainly seems to be a vibrant Welsh community on Facebook and that’s an encouraging thing.”

The study looked at groups on Facebook where users communicated in Welsh and found, at the time of the study, 236 groups with an average of 398 members each, with the most central group in the network called How Many People Speak Welsh?.

In 41.5% of these groups users communicated only in Welsh, with participants discussing a range of topics from sport and music, to student groups and organisations.

The study also looked at profiles of users of the groups and found 58% of people used either just Welsh or Welsh and English for their personal details, although 29% of people had listed their details in English while having wall conversations in Welsh.

Dr Cunliffe, who is based at the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, at the University of Glamorgan, said: “What’s interesting is in those groups where Welsh is being used, they seem to have more than double the number of Welsh speakers than the proportion in Wales.

“It appears to be an important forum for bringing together Welsh speakers.”

Dr Cunliffe said the thriving community may encourage more people to use their language skills even if they have not been confident in the past.

“One of the nice things about this more informal environment is that people aren’t that hung up on the correct use of the language,” he said. “It’s not going to be hostile if their spelling isn’t right or they use an English word because they can”t think of the Welsh one.”

He is now keen to find out if young people who have attended Welsh-medium schools are using the language in their wall posts and text messages Aran Jones, who runs the website, said his experience of using Welsh on Facebook had been mixed.

“A lot of people are coming under pressure to not use only Welsh as they have English speaking friends,” he said. “I’ve put up Facebook updates in Welsh and had friends say, ‘I can’t understand, can you write it in English’.

“It’s a weird flashback to the 1950s or 1960s when if you spoke Welsh there was pressure to speak English.”

However, he said use of the language on the site could help people who do not speak Welsh see that it is a thriving community language.

Facebook has chosen to embrace the language, with speakers able to choose to experience the site in Welsh after volunteers helped to translate the site.

The Welsh Language Society is keen to see other businesses embrace their users’ enthusiasm for the language in order to get sites translated.

Vice-chairman Rhys Llwyd said: “The translation of Facebook into Welsh in such a small period of time by hundreds of volunteers was an amazing feat. It showed us that people, when given the chance, want to use their Welsh in all aspects of life including the latest technological developments such as social networks.

“Having said that, Welsh Language Society members see it bizarre that social and entertainment services such as Facebook become available in Welsh before basic day-to-day services such as online banking.

“Although it’s fun to Poke my friend and write on my brother’s wall in Welsh on Facebook, it would be more useful to be able to use my bank’s on-line service in my mother tongue.”