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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 06:11 GMT 07:11 UK
Language a hit in cyberspace
St David's Building, University of Wales, Lampeter
Lampeter university's Online Welsh Dictionary is popular worldwide
An online Welsh dictionary regularly accessed by people from 65 different countries has just received its 500,000th hit.

The dictionary, which offers a translation of more than 250,000 items, assists Welsh learners, business people, and those researching their ancestry.

Among the other regular visitors to the site are those who use it to help translate Welsh place names or family mottos and memoirs into English.

Current world news events are often reflected in the terms being searched for in the dictionary
Jennie Cranfield, University of Wales, Lampeter

The Online Welsh Dictionary, hosted and developed by the department of Welsh at the University of Wales, Lampeter, has been running since 2002.

Jennie Cranfield, of the department of Welsh, said: "It is very encouraging that so many people across the world are interested in the Welsh language and are enthusiastic users of the dictionary.

"This shows that if you have a high quality product you will always succeed."

The university says that most dictionary users are based in the UK, but almost a quarter of searches come from American commercial users.

It is also frequently visited by people in Belgium, Australia, schools and colleges in the United States, the Netherlands, Poland, France, Canada and Germany.

Grammar

In the UK, users include the private and public sectors as well as private individuals.

Mrs Cranfield added: "I have also noticed that current world news events are often reflected in the terms being searched for in the dictionary, and there are also clear seasonal patterns at times such as Christmas, Easter and St. Dwynwen's Day."

The university claims the dictionary is unique in that it is the only efficient online Welsh dictionary that can search for phrases as well as single words.

It also includes grammar notes for many words, as well as sound files to help with pronunciation.

The dictionary was launched in February 2002, but has been upgraded several times since then.

New words and phrases are added weekly and it allows users to make their own contribution to the lexicon if their initial search is unsuccessful.

The dictionary was initially developed for students studying Welsh online.

The university's department of Welsh has more than 2,300 students studying Welsh language, history, culture and society through more than 30 online modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level.


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