A meet-up to discuss online happenings in the Welsh language is taking place tonight at Chapter Arts Centre from 7.30pm. Here Rhys Wynne, founder and co-contributor of Welsh language hyperlocal Ein Caerydd, tells us what the get together – called Hacio’r Iaith Bach – is all about.
“Hyperlocal news is not a new phenomenon to Welsh language culture.
After all, we’ve had the local print-based newsletters known as papurau bro since the 1970s. The first of these was Y Dinesydd here in the fair city of Caerdydd. The paper continues to this day under that title, which roughly translates as The Citizen.
There are a few dedicated hyperlocal blogs in Welsh, and this is going to be one of the subjects covered at this week’s Hacio’r Iaith Bach, a meet-up of geeks (and non-geeks!) who like to do interesting things with Welsh online.
Because there is a bit of a suggested theme this time, we may find answers to the following questions. How do we bring together bloggers, local news and an active community of readers for the good of all? In hyperlocal news, what makes us distinctive and what ideas can we take from other languages? What else? Will hyperlocal kill the papur bro star?
The Hacio’r Iaith community originally formed by means of an unconference in January 2010 drawing in hobbyists, academics, storytellers, cake-baking bloggers, coders, podcasters and the unclassifiable.
The aim of the events was and is to provide a space to discuss, share ideas and collaborate on projects.
It has grown since then, not only in adding people from around Wales but in finding new ways to use and abuse technology and the barcamp event format for various ends. Hacio’r Iaith could be translated as ‘hack the language’.
Opportunities to use and enjoy the Welsh language in technology, especially online, form the overriding theme.
At a Hacio’r Iaith gathering you will hear the language being spoken – it’s the medium for most discussions although there are a fair number of Welsh learners of various ability levels who sometimes prefer to listen and occasionally mix and match languages.
Hacio’r Iaith Bach events were spawned when it became clear that one annual unconference would not be enough to satisfy the cravings. The ‘bach’ just signals that it’s a small gathering, often in a pub.
So that’s Hacio’r Iaith Bach, the small yet focused but still ultimately informal sesh looking at Welsh lang tech. Who knows what might result when we turn our collective attention to hyperlocal news.
The question ‘what’s Welsh for hyperlocal?’ turns out to be a very big one indeed.
Tonight’s meeting starts at 7.30pm in the bar at Chapter Arts Centre.”