Attitudes to the Welsh Language, I

As I’ve mentioned previously, in this year’s Welsh Election Study voter surveys we covered a lot of ground. The core business of the surveys was to understand whether people had voted; if so for whom they had voted; and to try to gather some understanding of why they had behaved in the way that they did in the National Assembly election. But across the three surveys we ran we also took the opportunity to explore many aspects of public attitudes in Wales. This was partly to see how such attitudes were related to party support; but also partly out of simple curiosity, and to take advantage of the opportunity of being able to ask about various matters in the context of high-quality surveys of the people of Wales.

One of the things that we decided to run a few questions on was attitudes to the Welsh language. This is an interesting and complex subject, about which there has been periodic public attitudes research in the past. (The Welsh Language Board commissioned opinion surveys at various points; my colleague in Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, Jeremy Evas, has helpfully drawn my attention to other research). The broad picture that appears to emerge from this work is one of widespread public support for Cymraeg in principle, although matters maybe get somewhat more complex when one gets into further detail.

We didn’t have the time and space in the Welsh Election Study to explore every possible aspect of this subject by any means; but we did find the space to try to unpack some aspects of public attitudes.

The format we chose was to offer three, quite pointed, statements to our surveys respondents, and ask them to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with each one. The statements used were the following ones:

 

‘The Welsh language is a nuisance; Wales would be better off without it’

‘More should be done to preserve Welsh as a living language’

‘The Welsh language is in crisis and extreme measures are justified in order to preserve it’

 

These statements clearly suggest a variety of positions on the status of the language, and we would not expect many people, if any, to agree with all of them. The tables below show the levels of agreement and disagreement with each one. What overall picture do these results point to?

 

‘The Welsh language is a nuisance; Wales would be better off without it’

Response %
Strongly agree 7
Agree 9
Neither agree nor disagree 18
Disagree 22
Strongly disagree 40
Don’t Know 4

 

Clearly, Cymraeg continues to be the subject of some disagreement within Wales. But that disagreement does not appear to be equally distributed across the Welsh population. Fewer than one in six of our sample indicated any level of agreement with our first statement, which expressed hostility to Cymraeg; not far short of two-thirds of our sample evince outright disagreement with this statement. So the balance of public opinion in Wales is very strongly weighted against the idea of the Welsh language being a ’nuisance’.

 

‘More should be done to preserve Welsh as a living language’

Response %
Strongly agree 23
Agree 30
Neither agree nor disagree 24
Disagree 11
Strongly disagree 9
Don’t Know 4

 

By contrast, a clear, if modest, majority of our sample indicated support for the idea that more should be done to preserve Welsh as a living language. Of course this question was distinctly vague about what ‘more’ actually means. It would be quite possible to agree with this statement of principle while still failing to support many specific measures that were suggested to achieve the aim of strengthening the status of Cymraeg. But we again see an imbalance in public opinion in responses to this question, with only one in five of our sample indicating opposition to the proposition posed. Most people in Wales appear to support the Welsh language, at least in principle, and think that more should be done to support it.

 

‘The Welsh language is in crisis and extreme measures are justified in order to preserve it’

Response %
Strongly agree 10
Agree 22
Neither agree nor disagree 28
Disagree 20
Strongly disagree 14
Don’t Know 7

 

This final statement suggested a more militant pro-Cymraeg stance; what is striking is that even on this position public opinion appears to be quite divided. Roughly one third of our sample supported this statement, one-third opposed it, and one third chose the neutral options. Frankly, this surprised me. Perhaps I am displaying my ignorance here as a native Sais, but to find virtually one-third of a representative sample agreeing with a statement that explicitly refers to ‘extreme measures’ is quite striking. This is clearly not the majority opinion, but the findings nonetheless offer a strong reminder that many people in Wales feel very strongly about supporting the future of Cymraeg.

In a follow-up piece next Monday (and as a Christmas present to you all!), I will explore the patterns of results on these three questions amongst Welsh speakers and non-speakers, and also among supporters of the different political parties.

 

Source for all figures in this post: 2016 Welsh Election Study, pre-election wave (administered 7-18 March 2016). Number of respondents = 3,272. Data gathered by YouGov via the internet, and weighted for representativeness of the adult population in Wales. The 2016 Welsh Election Study was funded by a research grant from the Economic and Social Research Council: grant ES/M011127/1.

Comments

  • J.Jones

    Oh come on Roger! Those questions are a disgrace. Who chose them Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Cymraeg?
    There is a bigger question; who in the general population knows that the 2011 Welsh language act handed economic and social advantages to fluent Welsh speakers (11% of the population) that non Welsh speakers don’t enjoy? Who in Wales understands that the RIGHT to Welsh medium education is enshrined in law but that there is NO right to English medium education? The Welsh government and all Welsh parties, the BBC and academics like yourself are absolutely terrified of open and free dissemination of information on this subject. After years of FOI requests that uncovered the uncomfortable fact that pupils from English only homes underperform consistently in Welsh medium schools I asked the Welsh government for their own research on this. I received back all my own data requests and one single WG generated document…in Welsh only (no translation) where some youth ops statistician had done a comparison without taking SES into account. Brilliant. Take a look at John Jerrim’s PISA analysis…even he admits that he didn’t take SES into account but even then we have WM schools underperforming EM schools and pupils taking PISA in Welsh markedly underperforming those taking it in English. Welsh, with its attendant laws and measures, is pernicious in our society but its unquestioned totemic status means that we have an increasingly unjust society.

  • J.Jones

    And what happens when someone actually puts their head above the parapet and says something about language injustice? This is from todays Walesonline comments page directed at a vociferous critic of Welsh medium compulsion:-

    HOW DARE YOU LIVE IN WALES. YOUR OBSESSION WITH PUTTING THE WELSH DOWN NEEDS TO STOP. YOU ARE GOING TO GET HURT.
    YOUR AN ENGLISH SERB THAT LIVES IN A WELSH SPEAKING AREA.
    YOUR HATRED FOR ALL THINGS WELSH IS A DISGRACE AND SHOWS YOU FOR WHAT YOU ARE. IF YOU HATE WALES SO MUCH WHY DON’T YOU JUST MOVE?
    PEOPLE ARE OUT TO HURT YOU.

    Don’t worry, the police will do nothing. They have ignored such things repeatedly.

  • Vaughan Williams

    Extremely interesting Blog. Thanks for posting.

    As a Welsh teacher in an English medium school I’d concur with your findings – the results to the last question are interesting.

    Generally I find pupils who don’t speak Welsh fluently but are extremely proud of the language and want to learn it. Obviously there are some exceptions to the rule.

    10 years of teaching has taught me a few things about attitudes towards Cymraeg.

    In Aberystwyth a fair percentage of pupils came from Asia and Middle East. Normally parents working at Bronglais or the Uni. They were EXTREMELY supportive of learning Welsh. Normally they spoke two languages already.

    Since returning to my native home city… ok town of Holyhead I’ve noticed more younger parents… normally (but not solely) mothers speaking Welsh to their children. Like I say non scientific but experience.

    Nadolig Llawen to all at Elections in Wales. Let’s see what 2017 brings!

  • Geraint Day

    Very interesting article, will you be able to compare with any previous research to draw out any changes to attitudes?

  • J.Jones

    The problem with subjective “evidence”, like that from Vaughan above, is that the numbers just don’t verify his impression. Ceredigion has only a handful of English medium primary schools but the largest secondary school is the English medium school in Aberystwyth, Penglais, with 1272 pupils. The Welsh medium school in Aberystwyth is Penweddig with 598 pupils. Penweddig had 1.3% of its pupils from ethnic minorities in 2012 and 1.8% in 2016. Penglais had 8% in 2012 and 12% in 2016. Much though Welsh language supporters love to point to support from ethnic minority parents those parents actually vote with their feet. A parallel situation in Bangor is Friars school (EM) with 1204 pupils and 16% from an ethnic minority and Ysgol Tryfan, (WM) 500 metres away with 483 pupils and 2.6% from an ethnic minority.
    In fact a colleague of Roger Scully’s at WISERD education did a study comparing the attitudes of native Welsh pupils to the Welsh language with the attitudes of ethnic minority pupils; Ethnic minority pupils were less likely to value Welsh or expect to speak it as adults.
    An interesting finding is this; (all pupils) “How important do you think it is for Welsh to remain a living language?”
    Important: 72.6% Not important: 22.5%. All very positive and in line with national feeling but look at this question:-
    “36. How important do you think it is for you to speak Welsh?”
    Important: 54%. Not important: 41%.
    I found this enlightening because these children nicely replicate the attitude of Welsh society…we want Welsh to survive…but not enough to actually speak it.

  • J.Jones

    I would also point out, again from the WISERD study, that only about 22% of pupils thought that they would certainly speak Welsh as adults. That pretty well ensures that the percentage of Welsh speakers will continue to fall very slowly. So this is the conundrum…A very large majority think that the Welsh language should survive as a living (spoken) language. A quite large majority of pupils think that it is important that they are taught Welsh. Just about a majority think that they SHOULD speak Welsh and a quite small minority think that they WILL speak Welsh.

  • John R Walker

    Unless the respondents know more about the politics, logistics, expense, and serial disadvantages of using taxpayers’ money to prop up the Welsh language than they do about other issues, like who runs the NHS in Wales, then the answers are likely to be meaningless subjective emotional GIGO.

    If people were told in advance that propping up the WL costs several hundred million pounds a year, and that virtually all of it is top-sliced from front-line services, or that Welsh-medium education demonstrably under-performs English-medium on a like-for like basis when adjusted for deprivation, or that the lack of continuity in education between England and Wales (aggravated by the presence of compulsory Welsh) is negatively affecting recruitment and retention of skilled staff in the public and private sector…. I could go on and on…

    Then the answers to these questions may be rather different.

  • MW

    @J. Jones. The commentator at whom those quotes were directed at is an out right racist. Have a look at his website. Using him as an example as someone who puts his head above the parapet is a bad example.
    @J.Walker I am an ex-clinician. It’s so easy to blame the visible solutions in society. Patients used to say the women in hijabs are the ones clogging the waiting room. No- it was the men and women who continue to smoke and drink and eat poorly. Who took up 90% of our time. You can ‘t tell me that the 1% of the budget for Welsh ( Which is mostly spent on S4C/BBC Cymru and therefore covered by the license fee of Welsh speakers) is crippling our front line services any more than you could tell me that the Syrian refugee has led to somebodies disability benefit being cut. Likewise it is not he 500 million or so that the Arts council receives that is keeping education and health in North England at lower levels than the South. You just see the language on boards and road signs and schools and attribute our problems to a single issue of the language. Get real. 42% is spent on health. The assertion that a fraction of a percent to improve NHS Wales’ situation just doesn’t make sense. The health and wellbeing of a nation, like the health and wellbeing of an individual is complex but there can be obvious solutions. Why is it that Wales lags behind? Same reason why parts of North England I also don’t agree with your comment on WME performing worse than EM. They are equal when you control for depravity. Perhaps we’ve seen different figures.
    @J. Jones.
    -You mention ethnic minority speakers and a fewer proportion of whom are in WME. It’s not surprising though. Take other traditionally caucasian/native aspects of our lives. Just as an example rugby or theatre. The proportions are far lower for BEM. Why? Because these things have only been opened up to other minorities within the last few decades. Things are changing though. Ysgol Pwll Coch is 20% BEM and with another WM school opening in Grangetown (i think) this will go up. I’ve met welsh speakers from every ethnic minority. As usual who are the ones denigrating the minority of Welsh speakers. Yep, you guessed it the white middle class male.

    @J.Walker I am an ex-clinician. It’s so easy to blame the visible solutions in society. Patients used to say the women in hijabs are the ones clogging the waiting room. No- it was the men and women who continue to smoke and drink and eat poorly. Who took up 90% of our time. You can ‘t tell me that the 1% of the budget for Welsh ( Which is mostly spent on S4C/BBC Cymru and therefore covered by the license fee of Welsh speakers) is crippling our front line services any more than you could tell me that the Syrian refugee has led to somebodies disability benefit being cut. Likewise it is not the 500 million or so that the Arts council receives that is keeping education and health in North England at lower levels than the South. You just see the language on boards and road signs and schools and attribute our problems to a single issue of the language. 42% is spent on health. The assertion that a fraction of a percent to improve NHS Wales’ situation just doesn’t make sense. The health and wellbeing of a nation, like the health and wellbeing of an individual is complex but there can be obvious solutions. Why is it that Wales lags behind? Same reason why parts of North East England have lagged behind for decades- They are traditionally working class areas. These areas are always behind in health and education. In every country in the world this pattern is repeated. Once you appreciate and understand this and the epidemiology in the peer reviewed journals than the arguments that the Welsh language is to blame just falls apart entirely.

  • MW

    Sorry for the double post above

    Maybe there would be different answers to the polls if people had the right information. Maybe if they were told about the Brad y Lyfrau Glesion, maybe if they were told about the flooding of Welsh speaking towns, maybe if they knew of the slaughtering of the Bards by King Edwards. You’re right maybe if they were told of the language oppression for the last 500 years they may have a different answer….

    But thats in the past and let focus on the future. I’m confident for the language. Living in the capital, I can see that Welsh has really reinvented itself. Yes- whilst the overall number of fluent speakers is down slightly (as the older generation passes), the overall number is up in Wales and undoubtably a proportion of those will move into fluency. There are thousands and thousands of people learning Welsh all across Wales and many in England to. Duolingo aimed to have 50,000 using the Welsh service by the Eisteddfod in August. There were 100,000 in April, smashing the target. People want to learn it, and almost everyone I know learning it is doing so for cultural reasons- to get that connection back to the land and culture and community. Here in Caerdydd there is a thriving Welsh culture scene with film music art and culture. I’m not quite fluent yet, but I get everything a non welsh speaking person gets and a second culture too. Thousands and thousands of people are learning welsh and with more WME schools, social media and technology at our disposal I think the numbers will increase soon.
    http://www.saysomethinginwelsh.com

  • Simon G L Howell

    Maybe Mr. John R. Walker would prefer a World where the Universal Language would be English and therefore negating Politics, Culture, Colour, Race or Creed. Maybe we should be forced to forget our Ancestry. Has he forgotten that had our forefathers not fought in two World Wars and for our continuity, then our first language would be German! This is recent History! Do we hear cries of despair from across the Irish Sea, where our Celtic Cousins have had Gaelic and English signage,for instance, for many years. Waste of money and resorces? I think not! Personally, I hail from South Wales, my Father being Welsh Speaking and my Mother not. My Father was not fluent in English until he was seven years of age! My Great Grandfather was a victim of The Welsh Not!! I was fortunate enough to receive my Education through the medium of Welsh. It enabled me to further my Education, albeit in England. Whilst being in England, I formed friendships with many different peoples of different languages, cultures and creeds! The fact that I speak my mother tongue does not necessarily make me a Nationalist, Liberal, Right or Left wingers. That is my personal choice. As a passing note, it is incredible how many people (Welsh) I have met rue the fact that they cannot speak Welsh and many of those have enroled in Welsh speaking classes. You tread a very precarious path my friend. Be very aware of the consequences.

  • Stanley Hopkins

    J. Jones seems to make the common false assumption that ‘Welsh medium schools’ are not bilingual schools. They, of course, teach Welsh and English to an equal standard with the aim of giving their pupils equal skills in both languages.
    English medium schools, however, are just what they claim. I’m not sure which law gives pupils a right to Welsh medium education, but if there is a right, it simply tries to counterbalance the predominance of English medium education in most parts of Wales. If J. Jones worries that pupils are equally capable in Welsh and English in Gwynedd, does he really want them to miss out on both languages?
    J.R Walker claims that several hundred million pounds go to ‘prop up’ the Welsh language. I suppose that English medium education in Wales – 75% or our schools – costs nothing and is run by volunteers?

  • Dylan

    Interesting, but not surprising. These are the attitudes I find across Wales.

    Also interesting that J Jones does not believe he is obsessed, but spams this comments page with his exceptional views.

  • Phil Jenkins

    Thank you John R Walker (and some others in fairness). You’ve made me giggle out loud before I go to sleep. Good night/Nos da.

  • Graham Burnby-Crouch

    I was born in England of an Englsh Father, but my Mum was fiercely Welsh, I even remember her expressing sympathy for Meibion Glyndwr. I have discovered a love for the old language and have been learning bits and pieces mainly through listening to songs, in the New Year I intend to learn it more concertedly. I believe that it is right for investment into the language, ideally this should come from the UK government because of the years it was suppressed.

  • Sian

    Everyone should get the opportunity to learn Welsh and should be encouraged to do so. That people suffer injustice if they don’t is wrong but to deny people the chance to live and work in their mother tongue and to let the country’s language die would be a tragedy as it’s what makes Welsh culture so unique. I do think we need to encourage and welcome people to learn and enjoy the language, to see the huge benefits of being able to think in more than one language. I understand why people are militant, my great grandfather was whipped for speaking Welsh as a little boy and he vowed ever since never to speak English, but I think we need to focus on making the Welsh language as accessible as possible and I think sometimes the aggression puts people off. We need to encourage people to see how beautiful, visual, joyous, poetic and vital the language is to Welsh culture. It is a truly positive thing that enhances Wales and is for everyone who lives here to enjoy.

  • Huw Meredydd

    Responses to any aspect of the Welsh language, such as those by J.Jones (above) used to be much more common, but are these days increasingly noticeable by their absence. The generations (different in different areas of the country) that felt they had to throttle the language for whatever socio-cultural reason (in order to ‘get on’) are fading from memory. People now see that more than one language is actually closer to the norm, realising, too, that language is a learnable skill. Their reaction is consequently much more likely to be constructive and nuanced and accounts, in my opinion, for the changes in the Election Study. The revolution that is needed to bolster and strengthen the language is to extend even the least attempt to learn it, in all ages, as it gets over the hurdle of it being ‘other’. Welsh belongs to us all whether we speak it fully or fitfully.

  • David Williams

    I am proud to be Welsh and always describe myself as Welsh, not British even through I do not speak it (wife does). However we both agree that it should be voluntary, not compulsory and there is too much emphasis by Welsh Government on promoting it. The cost of printing everything in 2 languages & by lingual road signs must be enormous apart from safety issue having to take eyes off road for longer to read signs. The focus on employment of welsh speakers also reduces best applicants for jobs especially in Welsh NHS. How many from England, Scotland or Ireland know where Hywel Dda or Betsi Cadwalidwr etc are located?

  • S Bytts

    I’m pretty shocked by this! Did anybody in the ‘Welsh (nationalist) governance Centre’ run this by a department with any understanding of research methodology whatsoever? It is so far below the standards expected of a credible piece of research it’s astonishing!

    Most significant is the fact that there are 2 pro-Welsh language responses and only 1 against. The “middle” answer (more should be done…) is nowhere near neutral which immediately prevents any meaningful data being obtainable from this “survey”.

    Even more shocking is the wording of the (only) response available for those who are less enthusiastic. The inclusion of the word ‘nuisance’ is totally inappropriate and ensures that pretty much only a bigot would select that response. Of course that is exactly what the “researcher” responsible for putting together the “survey” wanted.

    Cardiff university should be ashamed of this… I’m sure the School of Social Sciences would be! I’m literally crying laughing at the thought of this tripe being submitted as a piece of coursework on the Social Science Research Methods MSc

  • Phil Evans

    Our Celtic tongue is a national treasure which has survived in adversity down the ages and should be a source of pride for all of us, speakers and non speakers alike. I learnt the language as an adult and found it to be a very fulfilling experience which i would recommend to anyone.

  • J.Jones

    It’s hard to know where to start with that barrage of righteous indignation but, in no particular order:-
    MW; ” … I also don’t agree with your comment on WME performing worse than EM. They are equal when you control for depravity. Perhaps we’ve seen different figures.” Ah if only we could control for depravity! In fact PISA, when they compared WME with EME did not control for the advantages that WM school pupils enjoy. WM schools have very few first generation immigrants (those immigrants underperformed in PISA) they have more girls than Boys, the 2015 WM school cohort had an average free school meals entitlement of 10.7% and the EM schools had an average entitlement of 20.2%. To give you some perspective in GCSE Maths in 2016, of pupils who were eligible for free school meals, 43.6% gained A*-C and, of those who were not eligible for free school meals, 73.2% gained A*-C.
    Amongst parents whose children went to WM schools in the PISA sample 48% had one parent at least educated to degree level. In the EM sample 36% had a parent educated to degree level.
    In short PISA did not adjust for Socio economic status and WM schools should have been out of sight better performers than EM schools. Instead what do we find, when PISA looked at reading scores for pupils taking the test in Welsh they scored 455 on average whilst the EM cohort scored 480.
    It remains to say that Wales actually scored well for those pupils in deprived circumstances but disastrously for those pupils from the 25% most well off homes. Science:- England 561, OECD average, 540. Wales 517. Reading was worst.

  • J.Jones

    On the “Welsh Not” and treachery of the blue books; what would repay your time well would be to read the 1846 inspection of schools report that is available on the National Library web site. You will find that those inspectors were a lot more intelligent and perceptive than your average ESTYN variety. They are SCATHING of the “Welsh Not” brought in by native Welsh “teachers” (mostly pensioned off labourers with a bit of English), not so much the punishment (they were brutal times for kids) but the utter futility of trying to stop pupils speaking in the ONLY language in which they were fluent. Similarly they were contemptuous of efforts to teach subjects such as Maths and Geography through the medium of English when the pupils had no English. In other words, in 1846, those inspectors knew what we won’t admit…Immersion teaching is folly, particularly at foundation stage when reading and number skills are not easily acquired through the medium of a foreign language.
    I suggest you read pages 17-19 in the North Wales section of the 1846 inspection report.

  • J.Jones

    On the actual poll itself; I concur with Seamore Bytts, its a disgrace (as I said earlier) “Nuisance” is a pejorative term and I’m quite surprised that you got as high a percentage as 16% in agreement but overall such polls are defeated by a generation of mis-information about the Welsh language and its speakers. In particular this perpetual representation of Welsh as “Living” or “Dying”, the anthropomorphising of Welsh is guaranteed to call forth sympathy. In fact a language has no life and cannot die. It is a tool to be used to communicate by those who prefer its use. The Welsh language use survey finds that just 4.4% of the population state that they are most comfortable using Welsh. My concern is that in Wales, in order to preserve the language rights of that small minority, we have actually taken away the rights of non Welsh speakers and those who can speak Welsh but prefer not to. In particular we have taken away the right to school our children through the medium of the home language if that language is English. This contravenes the United Nations convention on the rights of the child and ignores the UNESCO policy paper (24) “If you don’t understand how can you learn”.
    The irony should not be lost that, in 2016, we are doing exactly what the perspicacious inspectors of 1846 warned against…trying to force pupils from English only homes to learn through the medium of a language that is foreign to them.

  • J.Jones

    But to throw you all a bone I would state sincerely that I would be sad to hear the Welsh that I hear every day of my life disappear but I do not believe that we can or should continue to damage the rights and freedoms of a large majority of the population in pursuit of a nationalist political and ideological aim. The provision of Welsh medium schooling for pupils from Welsh speaking homes is vital but those pupils are not suffering immersion; they merely learn the fundamentals through their own language. It is the pupils from English speaking home backgrounds, those with no access to a Welsh speaking parent who are harmed.
    To answer another statement somewhere above. Pupils who come from English only homes and are put into Welsh medium schools DO NOT ACHIEVE THE SAME PROFICIENCY IN WELSH as pupils from Welsh speaking homes.
    I have done this data check time and again; for 2015 you can see it in the Ad-hoc statistics for 31st of October :-

    http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/ad-hoc-statistical-requests/?tab=previous&lang=en

    And only last week I canvassed local authorities to check on literacy and numeracy test outcomes for year 6. Powys has already replied:- For all pupils, those speaking Welsh at home outperform those not speaking Welsh at home by 3 points on average except in English where they are even.
    The telling statistic and the tragedy for Welsh education is there in the subset for pupils from a deprived background; those eligible for free school meals. Bearing in mind that 85 is the age appropriate minimum expected achievement level the AVERAGE scores for EFSM pupils was:- English 76.1; Welsh 78.9; Maths (p) 84.2 and Maths (R) 91.4.
    In contrast the pupils who had Welsh speaking home backgrounds, ie those learning through their first language, English 89%, Welsh 85.5% Maths (p) 87.5% Maths (R) 98.5%

    All those learning through their first language were at the low end of the age appropriate learning continuum. For those learning through a foreign language the die is cast…they will not recover.

  • Bob Bendith

    J. Jones, how is it, in the Internet age, you never seem to provide direct links to the statistics you quote? Are we expected to trawl through the gov.wales statistical request page on the off chance your figures may match?

  • S Bytts

    “Responses to any aspect of the Welsh language, such as those by J.Jones (above) used to be much more common”

    What you mean people using factual data to reach evidenced conclusions as opposed to reactionary nationalist myopia? If that’s true then what a sad reflection of a once free thinking and intelligent Wales that is!

    I’m yet to see anyone critically pull apart the argument that J.Jones has presented… but I’ve seen plenty call him/her all sorts of names. Gosh no wonder you nationalist hate the critical, independent and free thinking “London media” so much. I think you’d much rather the situation of North Korea for your vision of Wales

  • S Bytts

    Good to see Stanley Hopkins spreading mistruths as well:

    “They [WM schools], of course, teach Welsh and English to an equal standard with the aim of giving their pupils equal skills in both languages.
    English medium schools, however, are just what they claim”

    Of course the reality couldn’t be further from the truth…. In an English medium primary school you will learn Welsh in formal lessons and experience the Welsh Government’s ‘Incidental Welsh’ policy outside of Welsh lessons from day 1 (age 4). Conversely, in a Welsh medium school you will not hear a word of English until it is introduced in formal lessons at age 7… you will never hear it outside of formal lessons. That ladies and gentleman is 100% fact – so in actual fact it is only EM schools that are bilingual… particularly in their environment.

    Of course Mr Hopkins knows this very well! He must do… because as I’ve just highlighted, the alternative is that he’s completely ignorant.

  • Neilyn

    Can any one of you anti-Welsh types name a single country of Europe beyond these little isles that does NOT ensure fluency in it’s native language to all it’s young people via the country’s education system (whilst also teaching English and other languages of course)?

  • Jms

    Oh please, nobody was asked in my town, how many people took part in this survey and from what parts of wales? To use the term nuisance is such an infantile question, of course no language is a nuisance, ants in your house are a nuisance, cats pooing in your garden are a nuisance, really? REALLY. IDIOTS,!!

  • J.Jones

    Bob Bendith:- I have provided a link to the Welsh statistics page Ad hoc statistics. The data is in PDF so I can’t get you any closer. Detailed PISA information was published by the Welsh government on the 6th Dec and doesn’t take much finding. Information gained by FOI from the local authorities may be on a disclosure log somewhere but not all LAs put out information they don’t like…Gwynedd for instance.

  • J.Jones

    Neilyn:- At one time Welsh was the first and only language of people in Wales. Now it is the first language of about 8.5% and the only language of no-one. Setting aside blinkered ideology, everyone in Wales can thrive with only the English language.
    Other countries educate initially through the language of the home and introduce major foreign languages to education at a later date. Most commonly English is taught for practical not ideological reasons. There is no practical reason to learn Welsh no matter how the government tries to make employment depend on its acquisition. Some people love learning languages and are adept…most get on with other hobbies.
    The Advantages of bilingualism most often quoted by Welsh language supporters actually haven’t been found in Welsh/ English bilinguals. Prof’s Clare and Gathercole both tried to replicate research from other countries within Wales in 2014 but found no bilingual advantage. You can see similar research in the Basque country (and a link to Gathercole) here:-
    http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00398/full

  • Mr Jones

    What ridiculously biased questions. More social engineering by WAG and it’s cronies to further waste public money. Meanwhile we’re bottom in Europe.

  • J.Jones

    Yes JMS cats pooing in the garden are a nuisance…next door has 5 cats and mowing the lawn is just going through the motions much of the time.
    In relation to this poll…how indeed can an inanimate language be a “nuisance”? But would this poll have ever considered asking those three questions if it had been designed by someone who wanted information rather than confirmation?
    In Wales we habitually use the terminology usually reserved for the Snow Leopard or fluffy baby seals at culling time. One person here refers to the Welsh language being “Throttled”, presumably by an English language made flesh, but this emotive jargon should be found only amongst Welsh language zealots (and politicians of course) and I am frankly dismayed that Cardiff university would lend its name and reputation to this particular part of its study.

  • Neilyn

    J.Jones: The Welsh I’m sure will continue to maintain, teach and re-grow our native language for one reason above all; it’s our native language. ‘Blinkered ideology’ doesn’t come into it. Are the nations of continental Europe phasing out their native languages now that English is the established inter-national language? No. Why not I wonder? ‘Blinkered ideology’ I suppose.

  • J.Jones

    Neilyn: “The Welsh I’m sure will continue to maintain, teach and re-grow our native language…”
    Well I refer you to an answer I gave earlier which draws on the WISERD education study. My point is illustrated by this poll..53% believe that MORE should be done to ensure that Welsh remains a living language. Assuming that that 53% includes the 11% who are already fluent it only remains for the remaining 42% to learn Welsh to fluency level and use it.

    Vague, politically correct goodwill is meaningless and, ultimately, hypocritical.

  • Neilyn

    “Vague, politically correct goodwill is meaningless and, ultimately, hypocritical”…

    Hence education, legislation and a general renewal of pride and confidence in Welsh identity, but you don’t seem happy with that either J.Jones! Ah well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *