Monthly Archives: November 2015

Telsa Gwynne, 1969-2015

At their request, I’ve written something for the Hacio’r Iaith blog about Telsa, a dear friend, who died recently. It’ll be published there later today, I expect, but I thought it reasonable to put a (fairly rough) English version here too. As a note, many translator’s liberties have been taken, so this is more a gist translation than a clause-by-clause rendition. I believe you can mouse-over the text to get some of the original Welsh.

About two weeks ago, we heard the very sad news of the death of Telsa Gwynne, after a long illness. She was well known to many of us within Hacio’r Iaith, as a friend and fellow traveller.

It’s extremely difficult to do justice to the various activities with which Telsa has been involved. Suffice it to say that she bridged the technological, linguistic and literary spheres in an entirely natural manner, without the merest awareness that they might have been separate worlds in the first place. She learned Welsh as an adult, starting in 2002, but it’d be a mistake to think of her as a ‘Welsh learner’ of any kind. A mere nine years after starting her Mynediad course for absolute beginners, she graduated from Swansea University with a first-class honours degree in Welsh, after performing exceptionally well in her studies. Immediately after graduating, she embarked on doctoral research. Her PhD would have been innovative and greatly influential – examining, as it did, linguistic aspects of the Welsh language as presented on digital and social media. It built on a brilliant undergraduate dissertation. 

In Hacio’r Iaith’s latest podcast, Telsa is described as a ‘pioneer’: a perfect description of her in so many areas. Sioned Mills spoke about Telsa’s contribution towards the Hacio’r Iaith gatherings, and her ability to put people from diverse backgrounds at total ease within quite a ‘techie’ environment.  That, in itself, is a talent and a half, but it also reflects Telsa’s nature: magnanimous, amenable, and someone who delighted in those who contributed towards technology and the Welsh language.

She was one of those contributors too, of course. She was an integral part of the efforts to translate the free desktop, GNOME, to the Welsh language, and re-reading her excited emails during that period, reporting on the project’s progress, is a bitter-sweet experience now. Self-effacement prevented her from calling herself a ‘translator’, but that’s what she was, and her attention to detail served to refine and polish the end result. She was also a key contributor to the Welsh Wikipedia for several years, and was very active with the Association of Welsh Language Software.

That wasn’t the end of her involvement with computing, by a long way. Telsa kept an online diary (no, not a blog – she was adamant that her diary wasn’t that, and the term didn’t exist anyway in 1998, when she started using the web to record bits her life), she documented many free software projects, and she was passionate about bug-reporting in free software, also wonderfully explaining to others how they could do the same.

She loved the Welsh language too. One of her favourite poets was Waldo Williams, someone who, according to Telsa, shared much of her outlook on life. And while I’m no sentimentalist, Waldo’s famous line about the nature of existence, translatable, roughly, as ‘a great hall between narrow walls’, encapsulates Telsa’s life for me. The hall she created teemed with rich activity of many kinds, and the walls, to her, were as nothing.

Goodbye, Telsa. We’ll miss you greatly.

Rhys Jones

With profound condolences to Alan, Terry, Deborah, and the rest of the family. Donations in Telsa’s memory can be given to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Data rhesymol fawr / Reasonably big data, 2015-11-17, 13:00


CODAH – Centre on Digital Arts and Humanities
CODAH – Canolfan y Celfyddydau a’r Dyniaethau Digidol

Reasonably Big Data – #DataRhesymolFawr
SURF Room, Fulton House, Singleton Campus
1pm, Tuesday 17th November

Dr Rhys Jones: Department of Languages, Translation and Communication, Swansea University/Adran Ieithoedd, Cyfieithu a Chyfathrebu, Prifysgol Abertawe
Dr Daniel Cunliffe: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science, University of South Wales/Cyfadran Cyfrifiadureg, Peirianneg a Gwyddoniaeth, Prifysgol De Cymru

Traddodir y sgwrs trwy gyfrwng y Saesneg – This talk will be given in English

We outline our work in progress on the use of Twitter by the political parties who contested the 2014 European and 2015 UK general elections in Wales. We build on our existing work (Cunliffe, 2008, 2011) which examined the relative levels of Welsh-language provision on party websites during the 2007 Welsh Assembly and 2010 UK elections, and bring to it our previous research (Jones, Cunliffe and Honeycutt, 2013) on Twitter and the Welsh language.

However, this will mainly be a talk about the challenges of ‘data rhesymol fawr’, or, in English, ‘reasonably big data’. We now have a corpus of over 40,000 tweets from 12 political parties, and we will outline the challenges we face in analysis and discuss possible methodologies for constructing and discovering meaning in what we have collected.

Byddwn yn amlinellu ein gwaith ar-y-gweill ar y defnydd o Twitter gan y pleidiau gwleidyddol hynny a ymladdodd, yng Nghymru, yr etholiadau Ewropeaidd yn 2014 ac etholiad cyffredinol y DU yn 2015. Mae hyn yn adeiladu ar ben ein gwaith blaenorol (Cunliffe, 2008, 2011) a archwiliodd y lefelau cymharol o ddarpariaeth Gymraeg ar wefannau’r pleidiau yn ystod etholiad y Cynulliad 2007 ac etholiadau’r DU yn 2010. Byddwn hefyd yn ymwneud â’n gwaith ymchwil blaenorol (Jones, Cunliffe a Honeycutt, 2013) ar gydberthynas Twitter a’r iaith Gymraeg.

Bydd y sgwrs hon, fodd bynnag, yn bennaf yn trafod heriau ‘data rhesymol fawr’. Mae gennym bellach gorpws o dros 40,000 o negeseuon trydar gan 12 plaid wleidyddol, a byddwn yn amlinellu’r heriau o ddadansoddi, ac yn trafod methodolegau posibl ar gyfer adeiladu a darganfod ystyr yn yr hyn yr ydym wedi ei gasglu.