“It just is” – er yn oyr dy vel eh

I woke up at silly o’clock this morning and for some reason went straight to my Windows 8 laptop and started making Manx notes for our last class.

In our last class, we were taking the fragmented Manx we’ve been learning over the past months and shunting it together. So “Ta mee maynrey” and “Ta mee cummal ayns Rhumsaa” could be turned into something meaningful and worth saying, “Ta mee maynrey cummal ayns Rhumsaa”. We also stretched this further, saying why we felt happy living in Ramsey; “Ta mee maynrey cummal ayns Rhumsaa er yn oyr de vel eh yindyssagh” (I am happy living in Ramsey because it is wonderful).

So with these phrases buzzing round my head, I decided I’d come up with a means to help me remember the glue for these phrases:

  • er yn oyr – because
  • s’liklee – it is likely
  • er lhiam – I reckon
  • dy vel eh – that it is
  • nagh vel eh – that it is not

Ren mee jannoo pabyragh coonee son gynsaghey Gaelg er yn oyr de vel he beggan dooillee cooniaghtyn shoh!

Based on Adrian’s notes, I put some sentences (that would fit) on PowerPoint slides, with colour coding for highlighting the “glue” between the fragments of the sentence and what they mean. I’ve followed a friend’s advice who has been helping me by printing them all off and pinning them around my house.

I’ve created a little file area for my Manx work on my SkyDrive and you’re welcome to have a look in and see if it helps you. Both a PDF version and the original PowerPoint version is there if you’d like to take the file and improve on what I’ve come up with. And with Office Live, you do not even need Microsoft Office or even a version of PowerPoint to edit it!

Taggloo – an early look at user behaviour

Taggloo, my experiment with Manx translations is proving to be surprisingly popular. Even at this very early stage, a select few people are using it regularly and are providing me with excellent feedback.

I thought I’d just have a quick look at the analytics I’m collecting on the usage of the site (not personally identifiable) this morning. Bearing in mind that this site is an experiment, I was surprised by the results. I was further pleased by the correlation of translations with work we’re doing in class.

At the time of writing, in the first month of use the site has had over 1,200 queries, which will be sourced from both the web-site and clients using the API, such as the Windows Phone 7 application.

The most popular word is the English “because” . This is particularly interesting as it is exactly what we’re learning in class at the moment. This word has a complex structure in its Manx form, with one translation being “er yn oyr”. Literally, “on the reason”.

The second most popular query is for the Manx “poyll faarkee”, which is “swimming pool” in English. Some queries are clearly unexplainable!

By far, the most popular platform for conducting queries is the Apple iPhone web browser, with over 450 individual requests. This is probably due to most of the users who I’ve asked to try out the service having Apple devices and maybe will serve to encourage some kind soul to volunteer to write an iPhone client.

The Windows Phone 7 application accounts for over 150 requests, not bad for the 13 downloads this application has obtained so far. Due to the current lowly position of Windows Phone 7 in the smartphone space and the very niche community of Manx speakers who may be involved with this experiment, I’m obviously not expecting this download figure to be high!

This weekend was spent working on an improved index and rebuilding the current word lists to match it. This will serve faster and more accurate lookups and paves the way for further additions to the served content in the future. Having had such surprisingly good feedback, I just wish I had the time to get stuck into the other ideas I have. It’s all very exciting, I’m working towards a social, living dictionary. Who needs Google Translate?

Yn shiaghtyn shoh chaie aym

Ta mee screeu ayns Gaelg  son yn chied traa as t’eh foddee feer agglagh! Ansherbee, ta mee gynsaghey. Beeym ginsh shen dhyt eddyr mychione yn shiaghtyn shoh chaie aym.

Jeheiney, ren shin goll dys Nerin Twoaie son jeeaghyn lught thie. S’mie lhiam Nerin Twoaie agh cha nel mee geearree cummal ayns shen er yn oyr dy vel eh feer political. Foddee ayns feed bleeaney (1). Ren shin goll dys droghad ayns Carrick-a-Rede as fakin Yn Giant’s Causeway (ren Finn McCooil jannoo!). Cha ren shin fakin Yn Titanic, agh neemayd goll reesht. 🙂

Ren shin goll dys valley er Jelune as ren mee ram cadley. Va mee feer skee. Cha ren mee gobbraghey, neesht! Jemayrt, ren mee goll dys obbyr reesht. S’mie lhiam obbyr. Ta obbyr feer interesting nish :).

Noght, ren mee goll dys Bar Shorys son cloie Scabble ayns Gaelg. V’eh feer vie as gynsagh mie. Ren mee cloie marish Brian Stowell, v’eh feer interestingal (2)! Atreih, cha nel mee skee nish son cha nel mee cadley. 😦

Mairagh (Jerdein), neeym goll dys obbyr reesht as goll dys Jerdein Trass son jinnair marish Ellan Vannin Social Media Club. T’eh feer vie as ta shin loayrt rish ram sleih. Ta mee jeeaghyn roym lesh fakin uss ayns shen!

Jesarn, neemayd goll dys Thie Vannanan son gynsagh Gaelg reesht. Gaelg abboo! Er lhiam dy vel shin gynsagh “er yn oyr” shiaghtyn shoh.

Ansherbee, ta mee goll as jeeaghyn Takeshi Kitano er DVD nish. Heeym shiu!

(1) Not sure of lenition here.

(2) It’s a Gaelic twist to add “-al” to English words to Gaelic-ise them if you’re unsure of the word or there is no direct translation.

New blog design

I have been meaning to apply a new design to my blog ever since I transferred it to WordPress last year. However, my knowledge of PHP is limited to what PHP actually stands for and therefore it was difficult to allocate very much time to it, let alone apply new designs.

With the development of Taggloo and learning Manx, I felt it was time to develop some improved presence, and this is the result.

Since the revitalised Windows Media Centre user interface, and then Windows Phone 7, I have become a big fan of the Metro user experience. It is super simple, smooth and is an experience that is easily portable between the “three screens” of Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 and XBox 360. The design applied to this blog was drafted quickly on the back of a piece of paper in the office as the idea hit me. What I have ended up with is a slick and distinctive result that I feel is sincere to Metro’s philosophy of clean lines and content-first.

The blog runs on the Umbraco Content Management System, and is affording me the opportunity to re-assess the CMS for other projects I may become involved in. It feels like a very mature product, if a little difficult to grasp at first and not entirely suitable for the non-technical user. However, it feels like where Sitecore is, in terms of the importance attached to XSLT. The intricacies of Umbraco notwithstanding, once I’d figured out the XSLT structure, I was away!

The blog would not be possible without the help of Andreas Heinakroon, who very kindly adapted my back-of-fag-packet scratchings to an all singing, all dancing HTML template that could be applied to my blog, complete with winking tiles. Until I worked with Andreas, I thought I could come up with designs – at least mediocre ones! How wrong I was! Never underestimate the power of a good designer. I would definitely check out his blog, for a refreshing outlook.

Also, thanks to Owen Cutajar, who hosted my blog on his WordPress platform while I continuously prevaricated in trying to get a new design sorted and the necessary time to devote to learning PHP and WordPress specifics.