Posted: Sep 30, 2012 6:55 pm
by zulumoose
Saim wrote: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%
[size=50][/size][size=50]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?

Your comprehension doesn't seem to be very objective here. The conclusions you have drawn do not follow from the facts.

Let's say I found a survey that showed only 5% of English people did not think Shakespeare was central to culture and history. Does this mean that 95% of the population would want to study Shakespeare at school, or that their knowledge of it after school would only be poor if the teaching of it were sub-standard? Nonsense.

What people say in an easy attitude survey has little relation to what children are prepared to spend years studying at school, particularly if only 2% of them have any use for it afterwards. To imply that the easy survey answer means 95.5% are willing to study enough to become speakers and fail only because the teaching is poor is really pathetic.

Do you understand now?

Now please point out to me where the survey shows "70% who have very positive opinions of Irish", because I only see "70.26% believing that the language would survive through the twenty-first century" which would have a lot to do with compulsory teaching would it not? The use of the word "optimistically" was not regarding peoples positive opinion of the language, but their estimation of its chances of survival, which would be regardless of whether they loved it or hated it. You have misconstrued again.

Saim wrote:"This 70% hasn't learned the language simply because the quality of Irish instruction is (or at least was) shit in English-medium schools."

Please back up that statement. I find it absolutely ludicrous that you think a language almost nobody has any use for is only unsuccessfully taught at school as a compulsory subject because the teaching is poor. Kids are kids, and they almost universally hate being taught things they have no interest in or use for, with impractical languages high on the list of things they detest.

I have been through this, with Latin and French classes in the U.K and Afrikaans classes in S.A. My kids now have Zulu classes as well, and I have yet to meet the kid who learns enthusiastically a language unless they already have intentions of using it in the future. A very small percentage indeed.