Archive

Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Technology Updates

18/04/2021 Leave a comment

Summary reportInterest is growing in the new opportunities and facilities that may open up for Gaelic speakers and learners, as and when Automatic Speech Recognition in the language becomes a working reality. Island Voices has been following recent developments with interest through our “Same-time Subtitles” and “Creative Craigard!” posts. In fact, we’ve been participants in the process, as both contributors and beneficiaries, with 80 Gaelic videos now featuring subtitles enabled by the project team – from Guthan nan Eilean Series 1 and 2, plus further material from Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal and Guth nan Siarach! The project began with Soillse funding, and Will Lamb has now produced a short summary report on this initial stage of the work, including numerous links for further reading and examples. It’s available on the Soillse website.

Agus ‘s cinnteach gun robh spòrs gu leòr aig Alasdair MacLeòid aig a’ BhBC nuair a bha e a’ cur an aithisg seo ri chèile airson Radio nan Gàidheal. Èistibh ris an intro aige, agus e a’ cluich leis a’ ghuth air an satnav aige fhad ‘s a bha e a’ draibheadh mun cuairt air na rathaidean san Eilean Sgitheanach! ‘S e cuspair na h-aithisg Google Translate agus na leasachaidhean a th’ air a bhith ann le Gàidhlig thairis air na bliadhnaichean, a’ togail air a’ phost againn fhèin – “Google learns Gaelic“. Ach, a bharrachd air plug beag airson Guthan nan Eilean, bha beagan eachdraidh ann cuideachd, le Will Lamb a’ bruidhinn air mar a chuidich e Google aig toiseach a’ ghnothaich le bhith a’ cur Gàidhlig san t-siostam, cuide ri rabhadh glic bho Anna NicSuain mu dheidhinn cuid dhe na duilgheadasan a tha ann fhathast an lùib eadar-theangachadh, agus a dh’fhaodadh a bhith ann gu bràth…

Seo an tweet a sgaoil sinn ma dheidhinn:

Categories: CALL, Community, Research

Guth nan Siarach

22/03/2021 4 comments

“Guth nan Siarach” (or “Voice of the Westside”) is the name of a new Gaelic community group in Lewis, set up in response to the 2020 publication of the Soillse research book, “The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community”.

Members of this group recently attended an online Soillse workshop on “New Insights on the Vernacular Gaelic Communities in the Islands”, led by Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin. It was a refreshing opportunity for community members to take part in discussion with interested academics from a range of universities, both within the Soillse network and from outwith Scotland.

Some days after the event, Guth nan Siarach members met again on Zoom to record their thoughts, questions, and ideas after hearing Prof Ó Giollagáin’s presentation and taking part in the subsequent discussion. We’re very grateful at Guthan nan Eilean that Jane, Maggie, Christine, Catriona, and Calum were willing to share their thoughts with us.

“Mother tongue” issues are often very close to the heart, and it can take confidence, courage, and no little skill to talk about them openly and with consideration, especially when the language in question has been on the receiving end of prolonged disadvantageous treatment. It’s a privilege to hear the group talk among themselves about issues of concern. We look forward to hearing more in the near future!

We recommend finding the time to watch the full discussion. The contributions are varied, thoughtful, and expressed in good Lewis Gaelic. And thanks to the Gaelic Speech Recognition research team, we’ve added CC Gaelic subtitling, which you can turn on or off as you please – and which will also enable Google translation into other languages:

But if your time is short, you can get a taste of the meeting from these “criomagan”. (CC subtitling also available on this clip.)

And here’s Prof Ó Giollagáin’s presentation:

Categories: Community, Research, UGC, Video

Google learns Gaelic

20/03/2021 3 comments

Five years ago Island Voices posted about “Google Gaelic“, in wake of the excitement over the recent addition of Scottish Gaelic to the list of languages supported by Google Translate. The move, while welcomed in some quarters, was not an uncontroversial one, with many people voicing fears over how it could be easily misused, for example to the detriment of people working in translation services.

The pitfalls inherent in using Google Translate, in particular to try to generate well-formed Gaelic from English input, are still very much there. However, here’s a good news story relating to translation from Gaelic into English. Our five-year old post gave a sample of English text generated by processing the Gaelic voiceover script for our peatcutting documentary through Google Translate. Five years later we’ve just done the same thing again.

You can compare the two texts here, with 2016 in the left column, and 2021 in the right. The later one is still by no means perfect, but it’s still clearly an improvement on the first version. Google is “learning”, and Island Voices welcomes that, particularly in light of the recent adoption of optional CC subtitles on our Series 1 and Series 2 films, meaning the original Gaelic can be machine translated into scores of other languages at the click of a mouse…

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Ceangal Caraibianach

01/03/2021 Leave a comment

Abair latha inntinneach a bh’ ann anns an “Taigh-tasgaidh Digiteach” (Digital Museum) air 21/02/21 – Latha Eadar-nàiseanta nan Cànan Màthaireil. A’ tòiseachadh ann am Bangladesh – far an do rugadh an iomairt airson cànain ar màthairean a chomharrachadh air làtha sònraichte air an son – bha 4 seiseanan eadar-dhealaichte air an cumail fhad ’s a bha a’ ghrian a’ gluasad chun an Iar, le Gàidhlig air a comharrachadh ann an Seisean 3 cuide ri Jamaican.

Gàidhlig cuide ri Jamaican? Seadh, agus le deagh adhbhar. Bha na bha aig an neach-teagasg cànain Audrey West ri ràdh mu dheidhinn dì-meas agus dà-chànanas fìor inntinneach, a’ leantail air òraid ghoirid leis an àrd-ollamh Conchúr Ó Giollagáin air Staing na Gàidhlig, agus còmhradh eadar Gordon Wells agus Jibunnessa Abdullah air Guthan nan Eilean. An uair sin bha òran Gàidhlig ann le Meg Hyland – ‘Air Tir an Raoir, air Muir a Nochd’ – a chòrd ris a h-uile duine, air a leantail le beagan deasbad, mus tàinig an tachartas gu crìoch le Yvonne Blake a’ toirt dhuinn “Colonization in Reverse” leis a’ bhàrd ainmeil Louise Bennett Coverley.

Chaidh an seisean air fad a chlàradh air Zoom, agus ‘s urrainnear fhaicinn saor an asgaidh (an dèidh clàradh) tron cheangal seo: https://tinyurl.com/HebrideanCaribbean.

Clàr-ama:

Introductions 00.00.00
Conchúr Ó Giollagáin
The Gaelic Crisis
00.12.50
Gordon Wells
Island Voices
00.31.50
Audrey West
Journey with Jamaican
00.50.45
Meg Hyland
Herring Gutters
01.09.50
Discussion
Question and Answer
01.23.20
Yvonne Blake
Colonization in Reverse
01.35.35
Conclusions 01.39.45

Thathas an dòchas gun tèid ceanglaichean a bharrachd a thogail eadar “muinntir nan Eilean” agus an cànain air an dà thaobh dhen Chuain sna h-amannan ri teachd!

Categories: Community, Research, Video

Stòras Beò: Magaidh

12/02/2021 1 comment

Maggie Smith, from Achmore on Lewis, has been doing a power of work collecting and recording Gaelic stories and poetry around and about the island for a number of years, many of them curated on her own website, and reproduced on the Island Voices page dedicated to her work. Nor has lockdown stopped her, as she reveals in this conversation with Pàdruig Moireach conducted over Zoom.

This is a new and experimental departure for the Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal team, seeking to make a virtue out of necessity. Indeed, in some ways community recording work may become easier as more and more of us get accustomed to using technology to overcome physical barriers. If this works well, we can expect more of this kind of material in the months to come.

In the first part, Maggie talks about early childhood memories and stories of Glasgow where she was born, though her Achmore roots go back many generations. Returning home she recalls the kind of upbringing island children of her age received, in which community links and mutual responsibilities were strong. Grandparental stories from work experience in Patagonia, and snatches of Spanish at the fank guarded against cultural introversion. She recalls her schooling, and the impact of television’s arrival on cèilidh culture, with traditional work on the land noticeably falling off in the 80s, particularly after oil work began.

A wordlinked transcript, with the video embedded, is available on Clistore here: https://multidict.net/cs/9169

In the second part Maggie and Pàdruig talk about trends in island work patterns over the years. The advent of the Arnish yard led to skills development opportunities for men across Lewis, which many later put to use in openings around the world. Weaving was a traditional occupation, frequently practised in combination with other jobs. Even as a schoolchild Maggie was accustomed to fitting her schoolwork into other duties, such as fetching water for the house. After a short spell working in Inverness after school, she returned to work with the family haulage firm for many years, before branching out into media work, tourism and other projects.

A wordlinked transcript, with the video embedded, is available on Clilstore: https://multidict.net/cs/9170

In the third part Maggie talks more about her cultural activity in the community, including community drama based on locally sourced stories, and the collection of local poetry. Moving to Zoom during lockdown has created a new platform for locals to share stories and for incomers and Gaelic learners to learn about the culture, recreating old communities and gathering new people. She also talks about the power of music and song in working with older people at risk of memory loss, and of collecting fishermen’s stories, mostly in Gaelic. The conversation ends with a discussion of changes that have come over Achmore and the use of Gaelic in the community.

A wordlinked transcript, with the video embedded, is available on Clilstore: https://multidict.net/cs/9171

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Creative Craigard!

06/02/2021 6 comments

 

Our Craigard film was the first we ever made, and we keep returning to it for inspiration!

This week’s exciting news, following our posts last Friday and Saturday, is the addition of optional subtitles to the Island Voices Gaelic videos on our YouTube channel. When we asked who would be interested in such a development on our social media last weekend, the positive reactions quickly came back in their hundreds. (Some folk also wanted the reassurance that this would not mean the withdrawal of un-subtitled videos or of the Clilstore transcripts – we have no intention of doing either!)

Given the strongly expressed enthusiasm, the response from the Speech Recognition research project team has been instant and impressive. Systems have been set up to enable the automatic subtitling of all the Gaelic output on our Island Voices Videos YouTube channel, and all 20 films in Series One are already done – with the Craigard documentary in first place on the playlist. Keep an eye out for swift progress on Series Two and other films in due course!

The way in is through the CC “Closed Caption” button. To see any subtitles at all, that needs to be on. (So the default viewing remains clear of any textual additions.) You should now see the Gaelic subtitles.

But that’s not all – once you have them on, there’s another clever little trick that enables Google Translate to work on them. If you go into Settings (next to CC) and then click on “subtitles” you’ll find an “auto-translate” option, which then opens a wide range of languages into which the Gaelic subtitles can be translated.

Machine translation remains an imperfect science, of course, so any expectation of error-free renderings will inevitably be disappointed. Nevertheless, even without this extra facility, Gaelic learners stand to benefit just from using the Gaelic subtitles alone as an extra support for their eyes to help their ears recognise what they’re hearing.

So here’s the Craigard film again – this time with the new multilingual subtitle functionality added.

Nor is this the first time that the Craigard film has taken the lead in test-driving new innovations and community adaptations. Donald Mackinnon’s re-voicing of the original films in Gaelic and English was our first step along the road to the re-purposing of many of our films in Other Tongues. And, much more recently, it’s the film Valentini Litsiou chose for her Greek contribution. (Donald’s versions are actually hosted on a different YouTube channel, so the subtitling option is not available for them – but he did the film in both Gaelic and English, anyway!)

Donald in Gaelic:

Donald in English:

Valentini in Greek:

Who can say what the next innovation will be?

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video

Flòraidh “ioma-chànanach”!

05/02/2021 Leave a comment

Gàidhlig agus Beurla, gu cinnteach – ach a bheil cànain eile aig Flòraidh NicDhòmhnaill? Agus ma tha, cia mheud!?

Abair seachdain “techie” a th’ air a bhith aig Guthan nan Eilean. Bha fèill mhòr Dihaoine is Disathairne sa chaidh air na fo-thiotalan “automataigeach” a chaidh a chruthachadh aig Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann ann am pròiseact Shoillse, ach dè eile a thàinig a-mach à sin ach cothrom fo-thiotalan a chur air na bhidiothan Gàidhlig uile gu lèir a th’ aig Guthan nan Eilean air YouTube! Cha ghabh an obair sin dèanamh taobh-a-staigh latha, ach tha an sgioba ris a’ ghnothach, agus tha Sreath 1 deiseil mar-thà.

Chan e sin deireadh an sgeòil ge-tà. Le fo-thiotalan “san t-siostam” a-nis tha sin a’ fàgail gur urrainnear “eadar-theangachadh” a thabhann cuideachd tro Google Translate air na fo-thiotalan sna bhidiothan. Cha bhi iad gun mhearachd idir, ach can nam biodh càirdean agad aig nach eil Gàidhlig: an dèidh dhut “CC” a chur air, faodar an uair sin na settings air “subtitles” atharrachadh gu “auto-translate” airson tionndadh air choireigin a thabhann dhaibh ann am Beurla – no Frangais, Gearmailtis, agus iomadh cànan eile.

Seo Flòraidh, ma tha, ann an Sreath 1, ri “leughadh” cha mhòr ann an cànan sam bith a thogras tu.

Agus mar chuimhne air a’ chuspair air a bheil i a’ bruidhinn, cuir sùil a-rithis air a’ phost “Community Adaptations” airson tionndaidhean eile (gun fo-thiotalan) fhaicinn dhe na filmichean aithriseach a thòisich an còmhradh, le seann charaid eile aig Guthan nan Eilean na rionnag annta…

Categories: CALL, Community, Research, Video

Same-time Sub-titles

30/01/2021 3 comments

Archie Campbell’s peatcutting skills and lore – well-known to Island Voices followers – were given a sparkling fresh polish in the progress report from the Gaelic Automatic Speech Recognition project being led by Will Lamb – another Island Voices veteran.

While the overall aim of the project is more ambitious still, the new Gaelic audio alignment tool was unveiled as a step along the way, using videos from our Series 2 collections, particularly featuring the ever-popular Peatcutting documentary plus the talking head interview clips of Archie talking about the work and associated social customs.

Will’s tweet shows a short sample clip.

But you can see the videos in full (plus another documentary sample looking at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig) by following this link. (Clips 724-726 for the peatcutting, 746 for SMO.)

This raises an interesting question for Island Voices, going forward. We’ve generally avoided adding sub-titles to our videos – with some specific exceptions – though we have made a point of supplying scrollable read-along Clilstore transcripts in almost all cases. This latest innovation suggests on-screen same-time sub-titles may be about to become an additional option – for our Gaelic films at least. What do our followers think of that?

 

Categories: Audio, CALL, Community, Research, Video

Gaelic Speech Recognition

29/01/2021 2 comments

Island Voices have made a significant contribution to this fascinating project led by Will Lamb, formally of Colaisde Bheinn na Faoghla and now at Edinburgh University.

Follow the tweet, or this link, not just for a full techie description that is clearly laid out, but also to see how the transcribed videos created by the Guthan nan Eilean project have been visually enhanced by Quorate‘s text aligner to automatically produce same-language Gaelic subtitles.

It’s dazzling stuff! And this is still the beginning, thanks to the seed funding from Soillse for collaborative work. Next stages promise to bring in additional partners and much wider applications. Watch this space!

 

Categories: Audio, CALL, Community, Research, UGC, Video

“Oral Literacies”

18/01/2021 Leave a comment

Following her major project on Reading Aloud, in which she included research on Gaelic as well as many other languages in England, Scotland, and Wales, Sam Duncan has now written a book about it. The title, “Oral literacies”, nicely encapsulates the challenge to many established orthodoxies around language and learning that Sam clearly, yet warmly articulates within its pages.

This is, in fact, the second substantial publication emerging from the project, following the special issue of Changing English last year which compiled a number of papers from the UCL symposium on the same topic. These included Gordon Wells’ paper on Island Voices, which focussed on the primacy of speech while freshly acknowledging the porosity of the boundary with written language.

While proponents of established language teaching regimes (and writers of census questions) may still find it appropriate to categorise linguistic behaviour in terms of a traditional “four skills” matrix, it’s refreshing to find research work which interrogates a rigid compartmentalisation of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Approaching, as she does, from a quite different perspective to that of Gaelic revitalisationism, it may nonetheless be significant for those engaged in the latter that “orality” features highly in Sam’s treatment.

And the book’s comprehensive index enables the selective reader to focus in on particular interests, such as Gaelic, psalm-singing, or indeed Island Voices!

Here’s the full back-cover description of the book.

This is the first book to focus exclusively on an examination of early 21st-century adult reading aloud. The dominant contemporary image of reading in much of the world is that of a silent, solitary activity. This book challenges this dominant discourse, acknowledging the diversity of reading practices that adults perform or experience in different communities, languages, contexts and phases of our lives, outlining potential educational implications and next steps for literacy teaching and research.

By documenting and analysing the diversity of oral reading practices that adults take part in (on- and offline), this book explores contemporary reading aloud as hugely varied, often invisible and yet quietly ubiquitous. Duncan discusses questions such as: What, where, how and why do adults read aloud, or listen to others reading? How do couples, families and groups use oral reading as a way of being together? When and why do adults read aloud at work? And why do some people read aloud in languages they may not speak or understand?

This book is key reading for advanced students, researchers and scholars of literacy practices and literacy education within education, applied linguistics and related areas.

There was an online launch at Lancaster University in early January, for which Sam wrote this blogpost:

https://literacieslog.wordpress.com/2021/01/04/oral-literacies-when-adults-read-aloud-launch-of-the-book-by-sam-duncan-on-8th-january/

The scholarship is meticulous throughout the book in its treatment of a fascinatingly wide-ranging and ambitious topic. Nonetheless, Sam’s writing style (of which the blogpost gives us an example) remains clear, approachable, and fundamentally humane – while pleasingly sprinkled with evocative surprises:

“… and in the background we might hear the sounds of Gaelic karaoke…”

The interested readership may well extend beyond the purely academic!

 

Categories: Community, Research
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: