Skip to main content

WordNet Cymraeg helps lay foundations for Welsh language technologies

23 November 2017


A Cardiff University project to help promote Welsh in the community and Welsh language technology has been awarded funding as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Get Creative with Cymraeg initiative.

WordNet Cymraeg is a joint innovation from the University’s School of Computer Science and Informatics and the School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

It aims to construct a database for the Welsh language that will group words together based on their meaning. The database will be accessible to humans and computer programs alike. The latter will facilitate the development of Welsh language technologies. Their applications will enable the use of Welsh when interacting with smart devices.

Professor Irena Spasić, School of Computer Science and Informatics, who will lead the project said: "WordNets are widely used in natural language processing to support understanding of meaning expressed in written and spoken language. As such, WordNets are vital for language technology applications such as question answering, information retrieval and machine translation..."

"These technologies will enable development of user-friendly interfaces of smartphone and smart home apps, which will drive the use of Welsh-medium digital technology for Cymraeg 2050."

Professor Irena Spasic

Expert in Applied Linguistics Dr Dawn Knight, School of English, Communication and Philosophy who directs Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes – the National Corpus of Contemporary Welsh (CorCenCC), added: "WordNet Cymraeg will provide a rich resource focused specifically on the Welsh language, representing groups of Welsh words as synonyms, and the semantic relationships between them..."

"Such a resource can be informed by, and also used to tag data from CorCenCC, a project that enables users to examine patterns in language based on how it is 'actually' used by the Welsh speaking population."

Dr Dawn Knight Reader

The project will also benefit from the expertise of Dr Steven Neale, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, who brings extensive experience of working with WordNets in other languages.

Announcing the grants, Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgan said: "We want the use of Welsh to be a routine part of everyday life so that speakers at all levels feel confident in using it in formal and informal situations..."

"The projects announced today will make it easier for people to use the language, whether face to face in the community and in the workplace or through digital platforms."

Eluned Morgan Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning

Get Creative with Cymraeg and the Cymraeg 2050 Grant are key elements of the Welsh language strategy, Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers.

Share this story

From information about scholarships to staff funding, discover what our Coleg Branch can provide for Welsh medium students and staff.