Posted: Sep 28, 2012 7:23 pm
by Saim
zulumoose wrote:From the wiki page, commenting on the 2011 census information.

Of the 1.77 million who indicated they could speak Irish, 77,185 said they speak it daily outside the education system. A further 110,642 said they spoke it weekly

So just 10.6% of those who CAN speak it, and live in its country of origin, where it is an official language, find a use for it once a week or more, despite artificial promotion of the language. It is less used than Polish IN IRELAND.

Useless and pathetic to force the issue, particularly in a population of 4.58 million, where only 77000 speak it daily, less than 2%. Consider also that those sub-2% of people are largely concentrated in isolated rural areas, making the political promotion of the language among the unwilling (as shown by the high failure rate after 14 years of teaching) in other areas seem particularly false.

The unwilling? Let's look at some actual statistics, shall we:

The above tendency was also confirmed by responses to the statement ‘I think the
Irish language is central to Irish culture and history’. 72.62% responded positively,
22.86% answered ‘not really’ while only 4.52% said ‘no’. This attitude to Irish
correlated to a certain knowledge of the language. The vast majority of respondents
claimed (correctly) that Irish exists in three main dialects and that before the Great
Famine (1845-8) more than 50% of the population spoke Irish natively (see Figures 4
and 5 below). Knowledge of speaker numbers today was also fairly accurate: 5.88%
believed that there were about 500,000 native speakers currently, 31.82% thought this
number was around 100,000 while 62.30% believed (correctly) that the number was
less that 50,000. Future prospects for the Irish language were generally seen
optimistically with 70.26% believing that the language would survive through the
twenty-first century
. This belief was reflected in the statistics for respondents’ personal
assessment of the future for the language: 55.53% would regard the demise of Irish as a
cause for considerable concern, 27.53% for reasonable concern, 10.82% for mild
while only 6.12% would see it as no cause for concern.

So at very best you can say 4.5% of the population is "forced on" with Irish (those who say it's not at all central to Irish history and culture). On the 70% who have very positive opinions of Irish, how can this be "forcing" just because they're not native speakers?

This 70% hasn't learned the language simply because the quality of Irish instruction is (or at least was) shit in English-medium schools. That's why I don't really care if Irish instruction is compulsory in English schools, what's important is that there are more Irish schools. Given the opportunity to learn it (most people aren't crazy like me and learn languages in their free time), most Irish would learn the language. So what's wrong with making it easier for people to learn it?

HughMcB wrote:Well to be fair, some are private and some are not. Depends really.

I'm still not too sure how a public Irish speaking school is more of a drain than a public English speaking school.

They still teach the same subjects, give the same certifications, pay the teachers the same money. etc.

I'm wondering the same thing. :scratch:

Scot Dutchy wrote:
HughMcB wrote:I'm not too sure I get your drift here. In societies there are always snobs, these snobs often pay a premium for their children's education. What does it matter if it's some snooty school or an irish speaking school?

The air of superiority they carried with them; "we all speak Irish at home". It is very much who you know gets their kid in.

That's actual a good sign for the language, believe it or not! When a language has prestige, it is more likely to expand and less likely to die out.

Anyway, this phenomenon would exist anyway. In Ireland, just as in other Anglophone countries, there is a prestige dialect of English that is used in the same way you've described Irish here. So why does it matter if it's "the Irish language" instead of "upper-class Irish English" that's being used this way?

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Yes even to me it sounds rough. I understand it alright. A sort of simplistic Dutch. The grammar is less complicated.
I used to read a few Afrikaans rugby books. It quite funny at times.

This is a bit of an aside, but only its morphology is more simple, not it's grammar as a whole. It's a great deal harder to measure how much "grammar" a language has, because grammar isn't just morphology (which is indeed simpler in Afrikaans: ik is, jy is, julle is, hulle is, as opposed to the Dutch ik ben, hij is jij bent, jullie zijn and so on). I think this was talked about this in one of Zwaarddijks posts in the "introduction to Linguistics thread", check it out.