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Attitudes to the Welsh Language, II

In this second of two pieces about attitudes to the Welsh language, I will, as promised, look at attitudes across different levels of Welsh-language competence, and among supporters of the different political parties.

Our Welsh Election Study surveys asked respondents about their level of competence in the Welsh language. We used quite a simple question on this, from which we can generate three categories of respondents: fluent Welsh-speakers, those with some competence in the language but short of fluency, and those who indicated that they did not speak Welsh. I will use these three categories in analysing responses to our questions that probed attitudes to Cymraeg.

On our first question, this was the pattern of responses:

 

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

Response Fluent Non-Fluent Non-speakers
Strongly agree 2% 2% 10%
Agree 2% 5% 9%
Neither agree nor disagree 5% 11% 18%
Disagree 8% 22% 22%
Strongly disagree 81% 59% 40%
Don’t Know 3% 1% 4%

 

This is surely very much the expected pattern. Even among non-speakers of Welsh there is clear majority opposition to the statement that Cymraeg is a ‘nuisance’: indeed, not far short of two-thirds of non-speakers of the language oppose the statement. There is no sign in our data here that non-speakers are some sort of ‘silent majority’ who generally harbour hostility towards Cymraeg. Some do, to be sure, but far more do not. But opposition to the statement in the question is notably stronger among non-fluent speakers, and substantially stronger again among fluent speakers, which is what we would expect.

Somewhat similar differences can be seen in response to our second statement, which offered a moderately pro-Cymraeg position:

 

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

Response Fluent Non-Fluent Non-speakers
Strongly agree 60% 36% 14%
Agree 24% 35% 28%
Neither agree nor disagree 8% 16% 29%
Disagree 4% 8% 13%
Strongly disagree 2% 3% 12%
Don’t Know 3% 2% 5%

Here we can see clear majorities of both non-fluent and fluent speakers of the language supporting the idea that more should be done to support it. Among fluent speakers, fully three-fifths of our sample actually endorse the ‘strongly agree’ option in relation to this statement. Among non-speakers, who do constitute the largest group, there is no majority position on this statement. But the balance of opinion clearly leans towards the positive side – a quarter of respondents indicate opposition to the statement, but more than two-fifths endorse it.

Our third statement, to remind you, offered a more hard line pro-Cymraeg position. Here we again see some differences between the three language groups. But it is again notable that the differences are ones of degree – we do not see starkly opposing positions. Thus, a narrow majority of fluent speakers endorse the idea of ‘extreme measures’ to support the language. But so also do a plurality of non-fluent speakers. And even among non-speakers we see opinion split. The balance of attitudes is towards the negative, but even so only just under two out of five indicate opposition to the idea of ‘extreme measures’, and nearly a quarter actually support this notion.

 

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

Response Fluent Non-Fluent Non-speakers
Strongly agree 24% 14% 7%
Agree 31% 30% 17%
Neither agree nor disagree 25% 28% 29%
Disagree 11% 17% 22%
Strongly disagree 6% 8% 17%
Don’t Know 5% 3% 8%

 

 

What about supporters of the different political parties? I broke the data down among those intending to vote for each of the five main parties on the constituency vote at the time when this survey was conducted. The three tables below show differences between supporters of the different parties. While these mainly again show expected differences – with Plaid Cymru supporters consistently being the most pro-Cymraeg, once more we do not see stark, ‘night-and-day’ chasms dividing the supporters of the different parties.

 

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

Response Con Lab Plaid UKIP Lib-Dem
Strongly agree 11% 5% 4% 14% 6%
Agree 11% 11% 5% 14% 9%
Neither agree nor disagree 23% 17% 8% 18% 15%
Disagree 25% 24% 14% 19% 29%
Strongly disagree 28% 42% 69% 32% 40%
Don’t Know 2% 2% 1% 2% 1%

 

Thus, for instance, we find majorities of supporters of all the parties opposing the statement that the Welsh language is a ‘nuisance’. That majority is particularly large among Plaid voters, but exists even among UKIP supporters – although UKIP’s support-base also featured the greatest proportion of supporters of this statement.

For our moderately pro-Cymraeg statement, the balance of opinion is clearly towards the positive end among supporters of all of the parties. It is, unsurprisingly, most strongly so with Plaid Cymru voters, but even clear pluralities of UKIP and Conservative supporters endorse this statement, while narrow majorities of Labour and Liberal Democrat voters do so.

 

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

Response Con Lab Plaid UKIP Lib-Dem
Strongly agree 14% 22% 46% 21% 13%
Agree 24% 31% 31% 22% 40%
Neither agree nor disagree 30% 25% 13% 23% 29%
Disagree 17% 11% 6% 15% 11%
Strongly disagree 13% 8% 4% 18% 6%
Don’t Know 2% 3% 1% 2% 1%

 

When it comes to our statement suggesting the possibility of ‘extreme measures’ in support of Cymraeg, we find only Plaid Cymru supporters inclined to agree. Interestingly, by a very narrow margin UKIP supporters are the second most supportive of this statement – perhaps indicating how many of their supporters are dissatisfied with conventional politics, and willing to contemplate other approaches to achieving political change.

 

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

Response Con Lab Plaid UKIP Lib-Dem
Strongly agree 7% 9% 19% 11% 5%
Agree 15% 21% 31% 20% 21%
Neither agree nor disagree 29% 29% 25% 22% 25%
Disagree 25% 22% 17% 20% 29%
Strongly disagree 20% 15% 7% 23% 17%
Don’t Know 5% 5% 1% 5% 3%

 

It is one of the clichés of Welsh life that the Welsh language is something that divides people. In many respects that may still be true. But not in all. The evidence presented in these two blog posts is that a clear majority of people in Wales endorse the support of Cymraeg, and reject the idea that the language is a ‘nuisance’ that we would all be better off without. And such attitudes are held not only by speakers of Welsh, or supporters of Plaid Cymru – while present particularly heavily among those groups, they appear to be distributed much more broadly across the population of Wales.

 

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

  • oldnat

    Fascinating! – especially to someone in Scotland, where attitudes to the Welsh language are rarely mentioned, and what we do hear is filtered through the London media!

    Looking forward to hearing more about our cousins in Wales in 2017.

    Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ùr, Roger

  • J.Jones

    I haven’t seen the complete tables yet Roger but there are some certainties that we can apply to your figures; take this for instance:-
    “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.” The modest majority referred to is 53%.
    Now I’m looking at Nomis DC2106WAla and the over 18 population of Wales at the last census was 2,430,049
    of whom 367,715 answered in the census that they could speak Welsh. This gives us two certainties; your sample of 3272 represents 2,430,049 over 18 years people in Wales and 491 of your sample speak Welsh and represent 367,715 or 15% of the sample representing 15% of voting age people in Wales.
    When it comes to fluency we can take the Welsh language use survey figure of 11% but this is less certain than that 85% of the population do not speak Welsh but, since I believe 11% is close to the 12% found in the last use survey and the 11% found in a large Beaufort survey, between the two I consider it to be a credible and robust figure.
    So; Non Welsh speakers in your sample amount to 2,781. Fluent speakers 360 and non-Fluent 131.
    For your second question:- “More should be done to preserve Welsh as a living language” the number agreeing would be 1563 or 48% of the sample representing 48% of the adult population.
    The second highest percentage are the “fence sitters” and I find these interesting. Some questions, depending on the context, are highly sensitive and a large number of people shy away from answering in a way that is contrary to what they perceive as being the “politically correct answer”. Are you a racist? is one question that many will lie about…or perhaps their opinion of themselves and their attitudes is nuanced. In Wales, “The Language” is such an emotive area that non Welsh speakers often feel obliged to answer in a positive or neutral way. So; amongst non Welsh speakers we have 34% or 945 “fence sitters” whereas only 11% of fluent speakers are on this fence (40) and 18% of non-fluent speakers; (24) so that’s 31% who don’t answer either way or “Don’t know what they think”.

    What concerns me of course is that your survey, dubious both because of the emotive nature of the questions and, I suspect, an exaggerated number of Welsh speakers and Welsh-fluent speakers has led to Cymdeithas Yr Iaith proudly quoting this article as justification for all Welsh medium schooling in Wales just a week after PISA found that Welsh medium schools underperform similar English medium schools.
    Cardiff is a Russel Group university but this part of your survey is a disgrace. How did YouGov control its sample…geographically, by age, by socio-economic status, by educational attainment…but for this particular question the whole sample needed to be weighted by Welsh language ability of course…did they do that?

  • Alex

    Some really interesting data here.

    For future studies it would be interesting to get specifics on what the “more” is people have in mind that should be done.

    The problem “more” or “extreme” naturally have is that they can be interpreted to mean whatever you want them to mean from bilingual signage to banning English only speakers from living in some parts of Wales.

    One would suspect asking the specific questions would prevent any ‘over interpretation’ by those with plans already in mind.

  • Russell

    My completely unscientific conclusion is that these results tend to chime with my life experience in Cardiff: a modicum of hostility/militancy at either end of the spectrum; a bit of ambivalence; but mainly a broad – but not homogenous – support for Welsh, within which is a constituency of people who regret that they didn’t have the chance to acquire the language themselves at a younger age.

    Interestingly, like J Jones is doing here, is the way the anti-Welsh lobby seek to appropriate the ambivalence for their own ends: claiming people are pressurised into expressing fake support or regard for Welsh is ludicrous.

    And then he/she calls the survey “dubious”! Shame the findings don’t support your world view of these things, but the anti-Welsh argument was lost years ago. People need to get over it

  • Iestyn

    Very interesting data, and surprising at times. Is there a breakdown by age available? I’d love to know how a) compulsory Welsh in EM, and the compulsion (from the pupils’ point of view) inherent in WM affect attitudes towards Welsh.

  • Ian HOPKIN

    We in wales really cannot afford the waste of money on the Welsh Language Bilingual traffic signs that clearly are a safety matter. Duplication of the very same sign in a hospital one for the welsh and one for the English. the only problem as the letters used to spell out the names in both English and welsh were the same. Times are hard, cut out such waste, use it to get better teachers who could then educate our children well, something that has not been done for this generation, Shame on the waste of money

  • Ben Screen

    @Ian Hopkin – Firstly, less than 1% (0.16%) of the total Welsh budget was spent on Welsh in 2015-16, and in fact this represents a cut. Now whilst I accept that there are some in Wales (a minority as we know given Roger’s work) who believe that not a penny should be spent on a language spoken by a over a quarter of a million people, the expenditure on the language is extremely low. The link to the Senedd document outlining this is here http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s30197/FIN4%20-%2015-16WGDB17%20The%20Welsh%20Language%20Society.pdf. Secondly, as you know because you’ve capitalized English, proper nouns require a capital letter, so it should be Welsh and Wales not welsh and wales. Very telling. Thirdly, if bilingual signs were detrimental to road safety they wouldn’t so ubiquitous the world over. If you can provide me with evidence to the contrary, I’d be more than happy to read it.

    Recent policy objectives and general tones of manifestos put forward in recent years by two strongly-Unionist and previously anti-devolution parties show that the above results are not only reflective of party supporters/members, but also of party policy makers. The Tories under Nick Bourne proposed to make Wales a truly bilingual nation and to support a new Welsh Language Bill, whilst emphasising the place of English in Wales and even offering to extend the work of the Welsh Language Commissioner by legislating to extend her role to investigating complaints by English speakers too. By 2016, this conciliatory tone had gone and all policies emphasised supporting Welsh in Wales without referring to the English language. UKIP in 2016 stated that ”the Welsh language is a source of great national pride”, followed by several different policy objectives that are actually well-thought out and far from anti-Welsh. Both manifestos were also available in Welsh. The fact that two strong Unionist and British nationalist parties, traditionally allied with the English language, have come this far speaks volumes and clearly lends support to the survey above. Parties don’t put forward policies that they believe will lose them substantial numbers of votes, and ordinary members will certainly influence the contents of policy documents. The future of the language is bright.

    @J.Jones – I’ve long given up on trying to debate with you as you’ve made up your mind that Welsh is a hindrance to Welsh life (much as the Victorians did), so no need to reply to my comment or interact with me in any way. Nadolig Llawen.

  • kevin bates

    The silent (significant) majority support the welsh language.

    However, you will see online many people with deep hatred for the language. They number in the 10s but they are active.
    They give a perception that their opinions are common in wales and they themselves sometimes think they are in the majority.

    I have lived all over wales and i have never once seen or heard anyone say anything bad about the welsh language but i have heard many positives. None of my family or friends run it down or former work colleagues. And believe me iv brought it up in 1000s of conversations.

    Among welsh born people support for Welsh easily 80% and even the majority of the english born welsh folk support the language.

    The old native tongue of this island is in good shape. For 100s of years many powerful people have tried to kill it off but they have failed. Demand is higher today than its ever been and the schools cant be built quick enough to satisfy demand.

    The anti welsh trolls that dedicate their lives to putting down the language have had no effect at all, none, zero, zilch and they never will. For as long as there is a welsh nation there will be the welsh language.

  • Russell

    @IanHopkin: “Welsh Language Bilingual traffic signs that clearly are a safety matter”

    Clearly? Evidence please. Unless it’s only you having problems on Welsh roads….

  • John Rogan

    One way that the WAG is trying to preserve Welsh is through making it compulsory in schools to GCSE.

    Let’s compare the results for GCSEs at Stanwell School in Penarth (where my children go) to A Level.

    2013 – GCSE (216 A* to C out of 271 pupils). A2 (2 Bs and 1 D) AS (1 A, 1 B and 1 C)

    2014 – GCSE (190 A* to C out of 266 pupils) A2 (1 B and 1 D) AS (0)

    2015 – GCSE (216 A* to C out of 271 pupils) A2 (0) AS (0)

    As can be seen, as soon as the element of compulsion is removed here, the uptake of Welsh drops to single figures (at best). Obviously, it is not down to results at GCSE level as the figures are very good here.

    What is to be done then? Well, it depends on your perspective and your priorities, I believe.

    Campaigners for the Welsh Language would see this as a need to put more emphasis in promoting the teaching of Welsh in schools. Indeed, even 100% Welsh Medium Primary Schools, perhaps. Except, I doubt there are enough fluent speakers able to teach through the medium of Welsh if that were to be promoted.

    I don’t think the type of questions that have been used in this survey are useful though. They are emotional and manipulative. Welsh “is a nuisance”, “more should be done” and “extreme measures are justified” seem aimed at gearing the respondents towards a particular conclusion by those who set the questions. This, of course, can then give a bogus credibility to the “more should be done” option.

    Unfortunately, for the Welsh language, the pupils of Stanwell show that their A Level options point to their educational priorities.

    One more thing, when the question of learning the Welsh Language in English Medium Schools was raised at a WAG Election Hustings in Penarth, the question was asked, “how many of the WAG candidates who could not speak Welsh fluently were learning it?”

    The answer was none.

    http://www.stanwell.org/school/exam-results/

  • Gorwel Owen

    Ian. If bilingual signs are genuinely a matter that affect safety for you then I’m rather concerned if you are in charge of driving a car.

  • J.Jones

    In most of those comments there is little that requires a response. Certainly putting up a link to a document fabricated by Cymdeithas yr Iaith as proof of anything is risible. Notably absent from all costing of the Welsh language is the cost of S4C and BBC Radio Cymru which costs fall on the British broadcasting service. All translation costs at National government and local government level aren’t taken into account.
    Anyway, I digress for no good reason. Since this is Roger Scully’s blog and polling is central to it I shall confine myself to a very relevant point made by Alex above:-

    “The problem “more” or “extreme” naturally have is that they can be interpreted to mean whatever you want them to mean from bilingual signage to banning English only speakers from living in some parts of Wales.”

    What he is saying in essence is that the questions posed are generalised beyond having particular meaning; that each individual answering may not actually know what specific language measures are in place and therefore cannot envisage what “more” means.
    I found this when I and a group of interested people tacked a question on to one of Roger’s barometer polls:-

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/76v79zg5t4/J.Jones_Results_December15_English_Medium_Schools_w.pdf

    The interesting thing about this poll is not that the majority who have an opinion are against a significant policy of the Welsh government which aims to increase Welsh medium schooling in Wales; it is the fact that 31% of non Welsh speakers had no idea that that policy existed whereas of the clued up Welsh speakers only 16% had no knowledge or opinion. As I observed, and as J.Walker remarked on the previous blog; what makes anyone think that Welsh people know what their government is doing?
    So we can say that, from the J.Jones poll, that with the exception of Plaid supporters, but in every area of Wales, people believe that the imposition of Welsh medium schooling without surveying parental preference for EM schooling is wrong.
    There was another poll; you can look at the report here:-
    http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2015-07-10/exclusive-poll-64-oppose-compulsory-welsh-to-age-16/

    So the headline there, not very long ago, is that those surveyed most certainly want LESS Welsh language imposition on their children.

    Roger has the details here:-
    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/wp-content/uploads/sites/100/2013/07/June-2015.pdf

    In the details you can see that only amongst Welsh speakers is there a majority supporting the Welsh government’s PRESENT policy aimed at preserving the Welsh language.
    The Irony is that 96% of Welsh speaking parents actually have their children in Welsh medium schools and but are quite willing to see the imposition of Welsh language tuition on other people’s children in English medium schools.
    What these two polls point up is the absolute folly of the questions that Roger, acting in the name of a once reputable university, chose to ask.
    Make a question vague and emotive and the polling world is your oyster.

  • J.Jones

    I have to apologise for suggesting earlier that YouGov had designed or allowed poor questions in this poll or that they were responsible for failing to weight responses to the 15%/85% split in the population able/unable to speak Welsh.

    I have received a prompt reply to my query about this apparent lapse in YouGov’s high standards of integrity and professionalism

    “These questions were part of the Welsh Election Study, a large academic research project where YouGov act as fieldwork providers only rather than researchers and so do not produce tables, interpret the results or design the questions. All of this is handled by the client themselves so my suggestion would be that you could raise any concerns with the academic team who conducted the project.

    Best wishes,”

    So Roger himself is totally responsible and I have to ask; Where does bonafide research end and proselytising on behalf of culture and language nationalism begin?

  • Ben

    Alas a certain old gentleman with too much time on his hands has got the better of me.

    Right then J.Jones, here’s something for you to do over Christmas, why don’t you try and prove that the amount spent on Welsh (by Welsh government) and also by local government (WM education, translation, Mentrau Iaith etc) and other bodies is actually a significant amount of their overall expenditure? I’m talking double figures. You won’t be able to, because as I correctly said above, the amount spent on Welsh is tiny.

  • J.Jones

    I remain fascinated by something that is central to all polls about governance in Wales; just how much do people who answer a poll actually know about what the Welsh government has done…not just legislation around the Welsh language but around any of those areas of responsibility which they have control of.
    Famously around half of the people polled in one of the Barometer polls didn’t realise that the Welsh NHS was controlled by the Welsh government.
    So, once again, how many people who answered this poll could actually name what measures the Welsh government had already taken to “preserve Welsh as a living language”?
    Critically how many people could quote that bombshell 2011 Welsh language act that gave Welsh speakers and the Welsh language superiority over non Welsh speakers and the English language:-

    “In Wales, the Welsh language should be treated no less favourably than the English language.
    Persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so.”
    How many people realise that, in Wales, to put up an official sign that has the English version above the Welsh version actually contravenes the 2011 Welsh language act?
    That the legal necessity to provide a Welsh language service so that Welsh speakers can, if they choose, live their lives through Welsh, means that even in Newport or Blaenau Gwent Welsh speakers are more secure in public employment than non Welsh speakers?
    I couldn’t know of course how many people polled by YouGov had any inkling of what Welsh language measures are in place but there is some research into how many people in Wales have “seen or heard about the Welsh government”:-
    A great deal….8%
    A fair amount…29%
    Just a little…….41%
    Seen or heard about their work but know nothing about it:-….12%
    Not seen or heard anything about their work….11%

    So, to extrapolate from that we can say that 64% of the sample for this poll is VERY unlikely to know much at all about what the Welsh government has in place to “preserve Welsh as a living language”. I would go further and say that even those who have seen or heard a “fair amount” about the Welsh government would be unlikely to have the background knowledge necessary to answer the Scully propaganda exercise.
    Here is just a small example to think about; I recently wrote to the Education minister asking some questions about her Welsh in education policy.
    “What instructions has she, or her predecessors, given to the LEAs to ensure that, everywhere in Wales, pupils who have English as a first language have the opportunity to learn through the medium of English?”
    And the answer:-
    “While the Welsh Government has a strategy which encourages local authorities to improve
    the planning and delivery of Welsh-medium provision it does not extend to involvement in
    such decisions since they are best taken at the local level. Successive Governments have
    subscribed to this position. ”
    So the situation is that the WG encourages LAs to increase WM schooling but does nothing to ensure that EM schooling remains.
    So, would Kirsty consider free transport for pupils to the nearest EM schools where the medium of a school was changed to WM?
    Answer:-
    “In cases where learners do not attend the nearest suitable school, local authorities use their
    discretion to provide free transport to Welsh Medium schools regardless of the distance
    criteria in order to promote access to education and training through the medium of Welsh. Local authorities have a general duty
    to promote access to education and training through the medium of the Welsh language
    when exercising functions under the 2008 Measure.”

    So free transport to the nearest WM school but travel 10 miles to the nearest EM school at your own expense.

    Just how many answering Prof Scully’s poll know anything of the reality of Welsh language measures on the ground…but they know that they want more of them!

  • Russell

    @JJones To criticise a small survey for its lack of rigour while suggesting absolutely that your interpretations are more robust, despite the regular bias (and bile) against Welsh on many websites suggests a conceitedness on your part that is quite breathtaking.

    As I say, the anti Welsh argument has been lost. Your lobby had state backed support and sanction for decades. Thankfully that has ended

  • Michael

    The incredible J Jones came up with this little gem:

    “How many people realise that … the legal necessity to provide a Welsh language service so that Welsh speakers can, if they choose, live their lives through Welsh, means that even in Newport or Blaenau Gwent Welsh speakers are more secure in public employment than non Welsh speakers?”

    But he becomes blind, deaf and dumb when faced with this equally valid statement:

    “How many people realise that … the legal necessity to provide an English language service so that English speakers can, if they choose, live their lives through English, means that even in Newport or Blaenau Gwent English speakers are more secure in public employment than non English speakers?”

    When put side by side, there’s nothing remotely contentious about either statement, is there? Poor, self-deluded Mr Jones has never appreciated that this is not a matter of Welsh speakers as opposed to English speakers, but is instead about the real and very obvious advantages that a person who speaks both languages has, and will always have, over a person who can only speak one of them.

  • J.Jones

    I will set aside the increasingly personal comments about me as far as I can but of course I am wounded that anyone would consider me an “old gentleman with too much time on his hands” or that I am “Blind deaf and dumb” “obsessive” or any of the other things that I am accused of being.
    To stay with the theme of this blog and whether its findings really warrant the confidence with which it was greeted in the press:-
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/passionate-supporters-welsh-critics-12314837
    No one knows better that Prof Scully that the way a question is worded and its context have an impact on how many people answer it one way or another. On the subject of whether a person speaks Welsh or not the question change between the 1991 census and the 2001 census (from Do you speak Welsh to Can you speak Welsh) resulted in a positive increase in the percentage answering “yes”. The Welsh language use survey finds that even amongst Welsh speakers who could “speak a fair amount” 6% never spoke Welsh at all. The 2001 change in question resulted in an artificial boost to the census figures on the Welsh language.
    Another piece of research highlighted another interesting aspect of polling on Welsh language ability; Lucy Haseldon for the ONS, found that;
    “The answers a respondent gives to one question may be affected by the context it is
    asked in. The context will vary according to the main subject matter of the survey,
    the social and political climate of the day, the way the survey was introduced as well
    as the answers respondents have given to previous questions.”

    I raise this here because the WES was diverse and far reaching and amongst the questions asked were a series of questions on prejudice.
    So from Rogers previous blogs in October we know that 64% of the sample of people asked had a positive view of Welsh speakers…they scored their “favourability” rating between 6 and 10.
    Similarly we know that only 9% answered that they viewed Welsh speakers unfavourably…they scored their attitude towards Welsh speakers at 0-4.
    The question is; where do the prejudice questions come in relation to the questions which asked the present set of questions on whether the respondents thought that more should be done to preserve Welsh as a living language?
    “Are you prejudiced against Welsh speakers? No I’m not!…And I’ll prove it by agreeing that MORE should be done to preserve Welsh as a living language!”

    Of course those two sets of questions couldn’t be asked in the same survey without each having an effect on the other.
    It’s disappointing but I’m certain that Roger knows that.

  • MW

    The comments on the wales online article can be dismissed. The language will always attract the extremes from both parties. Though one thing I have noticed from media articles is that proponents of the language do seem to out number those against it anyway.
    Here though, the main criticisms are that 1) the questions were biased 2) other studies on education show differing results. i’ll deal with both
    Indeed the way a question is phrased affects the response. But what is interesting is that in the realms of research leading questions can be more useful in certain circumstances than neutral ones. Neutral one. There’s nothing more annoying than a bunch of ‘don’t knows’ or ‘neither agrees or disagrees’ when conducting surveys/research. Now you would correctly say that question 1 is biased and leading, HOWEVER, the researcher has ‘controlled’ (not quite a control, rather than its leading in the opposite direction) for this in question 3. 1 is anti and 3 is pro. These two questions actually provide us with MORE information than a single neutral question. Lets look at question 3. 17% of non speakers disagree with extreme measures. That doesn’t mean that 17% are anti Welsh, it just means that they don’t agree with it being critical situation or extreme measures being taken. These 17% could be in favour of it, but just not agree with extreme measures. This is where q1 is useful. It is clear in it intent and would highlight proportions firmly against the language. There is 19% who are. The survey confirms that there is no silent majority against Welsh.
    Another important thing to note is the scope of the questions. These are rather open questions which lack detail, but it is exactly in these sorts of questions where you can get an idea of the general consensus, rather than drilling into one area of policy like education. Consider the following example. I could ask two questions 1) Do you think we should spend money and time on better transport links in Wales? 2) Do you think we should spend money and time on an M4 relief road? Whilst both questions are regarding transportation, the latter is more specific and is actually more likely to be subject to bias. That is, if you live in the area, are affected by the traffic, if you will use it etc etc. The responses will be biased against or favoured by their opinion of just one aspect of transportation. The first question is more vague, but in doing so actually provides a better picture of what people think about the topic at hand. As such using attitudes to WME will be heavily skewed to whether your child is in one or not etc. Whilst question two is quite open, we have to rely on questions 1 and 3 to tease apart how many people actually feel about Welsh in general rather. This is far more informative than using opinions about Welsh in the classroom as a very poor surrogate

    What I do find odd is the way people discuss the language on forums and comments sections. If people spoke about Polish or Swahili in the way they do about Welsh, then they would be branded a racist. My worry is with the 19% who agree that the language is a nuisance. For this we can thank the right wing media for blaming something, which takes up 1% of Welsh budget (majority on S4C, which id like to remind you all is mostly recuperated from the license fee, and has every single show subtitled into English, and is a benefit to the economy).
    I do think things are changing. People tell me they hear Welsh more on the streets of Cardiff than ever before. A guy in my office said the same thing about Swansea. Circumstantial, yes, but the Welsh for All class at CU was oversubscribed, WME schools are full to the brim. There are positive signs
    What I am surprised about, as somebody from England, is that in Cardiff and the SE not more is being done to encourage people to learn Welsh. I have yet to see a single advert on the TV, radio, magazine, newspapers, billboard, notice board in the hospital encouraging the good folks of Cardiff to give it a go.

  • J.Jones

    Just to add to what I would consider to be firm evidence that calls this survey into question consider this 2014 YouGov poll here:-

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/wp-content/uploads/sites/100/2013/07/Feb-2014.pdf

    On page 5 you can see a list of areas where local authorities should, according to the respondents, aim to reduce spending.
    Number one on the list, most popular with 82% of the 1,250 respondents…Senior Council Staff. A popular target.
    Number two on the list? 56% wanted less money spent on the Welsh language.
    A majority in every area of Wales. A majority at each social class. A majority from each political party except Plaid of course.

    So time and time again when polls are asked about a specific of Welsh language policy or about the cost of Welsh language policy a majority of people want less done to preserve the Welsh language. The exception being this survey.

  • MW

    I’m not quite sure why its taking so long to moderate my comment so I will post it again. The comments on the wales online article can be dismissed. The language will always attract the extremes from both parties. Though one thing I have noticed from media articles is that proponents of the language do seem to out number those against it anyway.
    Here though, the main criticisms are that 1) the questions were biased 2) other studies on education show differing results. i’ll deal with both
    Indeed the way a question is phrased affects the response. But what is interesting is that in the realms of research leading questions can be more useful in certain circumstances than neutral ones. Neutral one. There’s nothing more annoying than a bunch of ‘don’t knows’ or ‘neither agrees or disagrees’ when conducting surveys/research. Now you would correctly say that question 1 is biased and leading, HOWEVER, the researcher has ‘controlled’ (not quite a control, rather than its leading in the opposite direction) for this in question 3. 1 is anti and 3 is pro. These two questions actually provide us with MORE information than a single neutral question. Lets look at question 3. 17% of non speakers disagree with extreme measures. That doesn’t mean that 17% are anti Welsh, it just means that they don’t agree with it being critical situation or extreme measures being taken. These 17% could be in favour of it, but just not agree with extreme measures. This is where q1 is useful. It is clear in it intent and would highlight proportions firmly against the language. There is 19% who are. The survey confirms that there is no silent majority against Welsh.

    Another important thing to note is the scope of the questions. These are rather open questions which lack detail, but it is exactly in these sorts of questions where you can get an idea of the general consensus, rather than drilling into one area of policy like education. Consider the following example. I could ask two questions 1) Do you think we should spend money and time on better transport links in Wales? 2) Do you think we should spend money and time on an M4 relief road? Whilst both questions are regarding transportation, the latter is more specific and is actually more likely to be subject to bias. That is, if you live in the area, are affected by the traffic, if you will use it etc etc. The responses will be biased against or favoured by their opinion of just one aspect of transportation. The first question is more vague, but in doing so actually provides a better picture of what people think about the topic at hand. As such using attitudes to WME will be heavily skewed to whether your child is in one or not etc. Whilst question two is quite open, we have to rely on questions 1 and 3 to tease apart how many people actually feel about Welsh in general rather. This is far more informative than using opinions about Welsh in the classroom as a poor surrogate. This is where many of the other surveys find difference as the ones posted above. As soon as you mention cuts or money, the discrepancy appears- people get emotionally involved and start digging for loose change between the sofa.

    What I do find odd is the way people discuss the language on forums and comments sections. If people spoke about Polish or Swahili in the way they do about Welsh, then they would be branded a racist. My worry is with the 19% who agree that the language is a nuisance. For this we can thank the right wing media for blaming something, which takes up 1% of Welsh budget (majority on S4C, which id like to remind you all is mostly recuperated from the license fee, and has every single show subtitled into English, and is a benefit to the economy).
    I do think things are changing. People tell me they hear Welsh more on the streets of Cardiff than ever before. A guy in my office said the same thing about Swansea. Circumstantial, yes, but the Welsh for All class at Cardiff University was oversubscribed, WME schools are full to the brim. There are positive signs. The number of welsh language schools that are being planned and opened, the number of users on saysomethinginwelsh.com. It’s hard to quantify these things. In medicine, enough case studies can accumulate and to point towards a conclusion.

    I would agree that actually by funding bilingual classes in low speaking areas may be putting the cart before the horse. What I am surprised about, as somebody from England, is that in Cardiff and the SE not more is being done to encourage people to learn Welsh. I have yet to see a single advert on the TV, radio, magazine, newspapers, billboard, notice board in the hospital encouraging the good folks of Cardiff to give it a go.

  • J.Jones

    Finally. I am very grateful to MW for at last sensibly addressing both the narrow issue of this poll and some of the wider issues thrown up by it, and actually doing so without making nasty personal comments about me.
    I’ll start in more or less reverse order. The financial cost of the Welsh language in Wales is unknown but S4C and Radio Cymru don’t come out of the Welsh budget. The financial cost is not something that bothers me but when Welsh medium schools in Cardiff, which on average have taught just 9% of Cardiff’s pupils over the last 10 years, have drawn down £millions extra in WM supplement and pupil weighting I wonder that parents aren’t up in arms. Perhaps it is because they agree with this discrimination?
    On the new WM schools that are full to bursting in your experience WM. In my experience (I was a school governor for several years) I see WM schools closing and pupil number falling through the floor. It depends where you live. The great migration towards Cardiff and Swansea which has taken place over the last 30 years means that young Welsh speaking parents now demand the WM schools for their children that they left behind in Gwynedd. They have been the catalyst and the educated middle classes in the cities have been eager to take advantage of WM education…when did the middle class ever ignore a perceived advantage?
    To put some meat on those statements you could read:-
    http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/academic-achievement-free-school-meals/?lang=en

    This gives you the pupil numbers at key stages that are assessed in Welsh and you can quickly see how advantaged those WM pupils are. At KS1 (foundation) WM pupils are assessed only in Welsh and EM pupils only in English and so you can see that in 2012 there were 7229 WM pupils and in 2016 there were 7693 WM pupils but in every year WM pupils made up 22% of all pupils. To see the Socio-economic status of those pupils you can work out the EFSM (Eligible free school meals) for the two groups. WM schools have 22% of all pupils but 24% of non EFSM and 18% of FSM pupils. A very elite group.
    When it comes to new primary schools you can look at the school census at the numbers:-
    In 2012 there were 461 WM primary schools and in 2016 there were 428 WM schools.
    The impression of an explosion of WM schools is a false one. RHAG and proponents of WM schooling are very keen to emphasise a “rolling bandwagon” of expansion but the bigger picture is one more of migration of Welsh speakers over a generation and the failure of LAs in the Fro Cymraeg to acknowledge and provide for the demand for EM schools to replace WM schools. The Welsh language contingent are organised and funded by government; English L1 parents merely mumble their discontent behind closed doors.

  • J.Jones

    To address this comment:-
    “If people spoke about Polish or Swahili in the way they do about Welsh, then they would be branded a racist.”

    This isn’t an appropriate analogy MW. There are no laws or measures concerning Polish that have an impact on non-Polish speakers in Wales. If people in Wrexham suddenly found that all the English medium schools had been changed into Polish medium schools and that speaking Polish was increasingly a requirement for public sector employment then I’m quite sure that you would find some vociferous complaints on forums.
    Welsh language measures have an impact on non Welsh speakers. In the South and South East you don’t feel it…but you will.
    On the questions asked.
    One question has an impact on the response to other questions; if you ask a question that is pejorative and extreme such as “do you agree that…The Welsh language is a nuisance; Wales would be better off without it?”
    You don’t only get an answer, you get a reaction and that reaction to an extreme statement has an impact on the other responses.
    There had to be 5 questions, one neutral and all avoiding any emotional “dog whistle”.
    It is farcical to come up with a poll which shows a majority wanting MORE to be done to preserve Welsh as a “living” language when several specific polls show a majority wanting, not just the status quo, but a rolling back of specific measures already in place.
    There is one aspect of this poll that you haven’t touched on and that is the language ability of the sample. As I have pointed out, only 15% of the over 18 population are Welsh speakers and so this sample should be corrected to 85% non Welsh speakers.
    What have we got?
    7% of the sample strongly agree that “The Welsh language is a nuisance…” so on a sample of 3272 that is just 229 people.
    We know that 10% of NON-Welsh speakers strongly agree that “the Welsh language is a nuisance…” which means that the sample can only be made up of about 60.5% non Welsh speakers.

    That isn’t a minor error.

  • MW

    Well most Welsh speakers I think are reasonable. The problem is when such a critical part of their lives are spoken about in a derogatory manner. It’s an unfortunate sign of the times where minorities are demonised and all the problems of society are laden on their shoulders. I am a passionate learner but as I am not born and raised in Wales, I guess I find it easier to be a bit more level headed. As a son of immigrants, if there were comments about my background as sections of the media talk of Welsh, then I’d find it difficult to hold back- but back to the issues at hand.

    My thoughts on the questioning was not intended as an inditement of the study.
    This was an important piece of work. Its not perfect, and there should have been more questions. Perhaps question 2 could have come before question 1 etc. The questions were clear though I agree that the other studies should be taken into account and it’s important that we ask the important questions.
    Indeed gut reactions are more likely to play a part here, but as I mentioned the question 3 leads in an opposite direction to question 1 in an equally strong manner. I actually prefer surveys that ask more polarising questions as then you can decipher populations that genuinely and strongly believe things.

    Polls and surveys are full of inherent bias. Its unavoidable. Just by being a Welsh speaker or a non welsh speaker will. So when you mention education policy and 75-80% of parents don’t speak welsh, i’m not surprised to hear a larger contingent not supportive. We all support art and culture. Any polling questions about supporting them would be positive. But if we were to ask people what they thought about the £400 million given to the art council I would bet EVERY penny I had that we would have a far harsher response accompanied with the usual economically illiterate drivel of ’think of all the nurses and the roads we could repair blah blah’. I’d like to point that just because people want less money spent on something doesn’t mean they don’t want any money spent on it or don’t support it. And there are many other surveys which show support for the language.

    With your last point about the proportion of non speakers being 60.5%- I didn’t follow how you got to that. You said ’7% of the sample strongly agree that “The Welsh language is a nuisance…We know that 10% of NON-Welsh speakers strongly agree that “the Welsh language is a nuisance”.
    But even if the percentage isn’t 80-85%or within that range, it wouldn’t matter. The analysis is made from the proportions, not the raw numbers. The sample size is big enough that it wouldn’t matter if the fluent, non fluent, non speaker proportion was 10:10:80, 15:15:70 or 20:20:60 because we are comparing within each group. 15% of 500 would be 15% of 1000, 5000. etc. Lets be conservative and say 60% were non speakers. thats still over 2000 people. That is huge sample group with a high levels of certainly and we can make good extrapolations from this. Most phase 3 medical trials could only dream of having 500 patients.

    Now this was about ‘Attitudes to the Welsh Language’. It was not about attitudes to Welsh schooling education policy, what people think about public services or individual aspects of the language. I’m not quite sure why political affiliation was taken into account-this was rather uninformative. Socio-economic level, level of education would have been far more useful. Now I could walk across the hall to the statisticians and ask them to assess all of these studies, not just this one and get ten different opinions.
    But lets just look at the non speakers as a stand alone case. 19% (agree+strongly) believe the language is a nuisance. From the 3 questions it is this faction which is the most anti-Welsh. They are outnumbered 3 fold by those who categorically do not (62%) believe this is a nuisance (btw there were 18% of non speakers who neither agreed/disagreed- clearly the language isn’t a nuisance enough for them to have agreed). They are outnumbered by the 42% of non speakers who believe MORE should be done to make it a living language. Heck, they are outnumbered by 24% of non speakers who believe that critical measures are required!

    The biggest bias here Mr Jones, seems to be your own. I agree with the conclusions of the author. There just is no silent majority. The overall attitude to the Welsh language amongst non speakers is positive. But there is a disconcerting 1/5th. This is clearly laid out and i’ve laid it out above aswell. Whats farcical is discarding the conclusions of this work (and this is useful work) because of what seems to be a personal deep rooted rejection of the Welsh language in modern society. Care to share why this is?

  • MW

    Education;
    Haverfordwest is getting a new 3-16 school. Ysgol Hafan Y Mor opened in Sept in Pembrokeshire. Port Talbot is getting one at the site of old Sandfields Comprehensive. Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Is Coed has already opened in Newport (voted through 25 to 3). Croesgoch primary will become WM in pembrokeshire in 2018. I also read about plans to expand Ysgol Bro Morgannwg….
    I think the stagnation in % of the numbers (according to Wikipedia) can be due to the failure of the labour government to meet the demand. I think we will see the proportion rise in the next few years.

    So lets talk about the demand…
    It’s extremely cynical and in my opinion just not true to fob off the reason why parents want WEM for their kids as wanting them to have better jobs (as though they have somehow earmarked them for thin sliver of public sector jobs which require this). Almost all the parents I have spoken to who send their kids there do so because they are welsh speaking, or that they want them to be Welsh speakers. So the question follows why do they want them to learn Welsh. Well quite simply becuase of the cultural argument. People realise the bilingual future of Wales. After Cool Cymru of the 90’s and 00’s, people genuinely wanted to be part of Welsh culture, and that included the language. There is a thriving Welsh arts scene that people can be part of. People took note of it and they wanted their kids to be able to enjoy it. Thats only fair.

    The local authorities are adapting to the demand of the parents. Take the example of cardigan primary in Ceredigion 2012. http://www.tivysideadvertiser.co.uk/news/10046519.Town_primary_school_to_become_Welsh_medium/
    ‘Cardigan Primary School has provided both a Welsh-medium stream and an English-medium stream for its pupils. In recent years fewer parents have been opting for the English-medium stream and this trend required the school to re-organise the teaching groups in order to accommodate the falling numbers within a sustainable structure.’

    The problem is that people have trouble understanding that this is not a zero sum game. Every aspect of English language Welsh culture can be enjoyed just as much, but then they also have the Cymraeg culture. Its a BOGOF as far as I’m concerned.

    I havent seen the PISA results in detail but the BBC article said ‘Officials also say there is no difference in results between pupils in Welsh medium schools and those in English language schools – 24 of the 140 schools taking part in Wales were Welsh medium’. Could the difference be that More WM school are in the Fro Gymraeg, in area of more deprivation and therefore explains the difference. The recent article about Cardiff secondaries showed results from 2/3 Cardiff WM school compare well with the top EM school in Cardiff (Although I concede that its difficult to compare 2 WM schools against ~15EM- results for Bro Ederyn weren’t published). I will look at the PISA results in due course.

    http://ifanmj.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/why-i-send-my-kids-to-welsh-medium.html
    Take a look at this blog post if you get the chance. You can tell what it’s about from the name! Importantly look at the dialogue in the comments section and from two posters- Ioan Teifi and the author Ioan Morgan Roberts, the author. They pretty much sum up what I would try to say here about educational need and why English speakers are NOT getting a bum deal- this is hyperbole. Cardiff is one of the wards where there has been an increase in Welsh Speakers. It seems to be where the movement is growing out of. If there was an imposition I’m sure we would have felt.

    Rather, now that the language has been kickstarted, there is an incredibly rich seam of Welsh language music, theatre, film which we should celebrate and encourage people of all ages to do what they can so they can enjoy it too.

  • J.Jones

    Actually I accept this statement because I have never seen any poll that has said differently:-
    ” There just is no silent majority. The overall attitude to the Welsh language amongst non speakers is positive.”

    But all my caveats about this particular survey hold true.
    Apalling Questions, Context likely to lead to bias, No cross tabulations so that we can see the demographic mix being polled and a clear indication that weighting to the true Welsh speaking/Non Welsh speaking census data hasn’t taken place.
    Now MW I don’t question your right to hold a strong personal view on the Welsh language. My view is my own and I have argued it rationally and without resorting to abuse or innuendo.

  • J.Jones

    What I am quite surprised at MW is your insistence that this poll is slightly incorrect but that it doesn’t matter.
    Prof Roger Scully and his 5 co-investigators have been granted some £226,616 to carry out the WES.
    It is a major piece of work under the auspices of Cardiff University. It DOES matter that it is poorly done.
    Let’s just deconstruct one question from the extreme end of the list:-

    “The Welsh language is in crisis and extreme measures are justified in order to preserve it”

    The respondents are asked to agree or disagree.

    What are they agreeing to?
    “The Welsh language is in crisis….” Do they agree to that? Is it a question or a statement? If it’s a statement on the authority of the pollster then it is assumed to have validity. If it is a question then the respondent may agree with it…or not.
    Then we have this:-
    “extreme measures are justified in order to preserve it”
    A question again in the form of a statement and with the unspoken assumption that these (unspecified) “Extreme measures” actually will preserve the Welsh language.
    A cardinal rule of polling is “don’t confuse the respondent”; ask only a simple question not a compound question and certainly not one that appears to make definitive statements of fact.

    Then you say that it doesn’t matter whether Prof Scully has actually weighted his sample to the known Welsh speaking ability of the population. The Gold Standard of 15% able to speak Welsh amongst adults in Wales actually has an impact on the integrity of the work so that when Roger makes this statement:-

    “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.”

    So Prof Scully nails his reputation on that phrase “representative sample” because to put in the public domain the information that “one third” of welsh people agree with “Extreme measures” invites this from Cymdeithas Yr Iaith:-

    ” There is a clear message to everyone in a position of authority in these results – our politicians, public bodies and private companies.

    “To everyone who says that our demand for Welsh-medium education for everyone is too ambitious, or the right to bank online in Welsh is unreasonable, you should listen to the voice of the people.

    The public are right behind us.”

    And shortly after this comes the announcement that Cymdeithas have signed up 100 people to refuse to pay their TV licence fee in a move which they clearly believe is sanctioned by public support for extreme measures.

    Of Course even this utterly execrably worded question actually had only 28% support and, depending on quite how many “fluent” Welsh speakers Roger found, probably less.

    So MW I think that it DOES matter when an erstwhile reputable University starts to push a political viewpoint in the name of academic research.

  • J.Jones

    I’m sorry MW but I didn’t notice a post from you on the 30th December until today.
    You have mostly dealt with your views and your evidence with regard to Welsh medium schooling and demand for it.

    I would like to start by saying that there is no subject in Wales that has been more consistently the subject of misinformation and deliberate lying, much of it led by dishonest surveys and polls, than Welsh language issues.
    For much of my life the Welsh Language Board was the main culprit. Given the task of both collecting statistics and information about the Welsh language and simultaneously increasing the uptake of Welsh and particularly increasing WM schooling, unsurprisingly the WLB used surveys and statistics to dishonestly further its ends.
    Here you can see what happened when I made a FOI request for the data sets to one survey from the WLB:-

    http://www.iwa.wales/click/2011/06/english-speaking-wales-jumps-language-barrier/

    The release of the findings made several media outlets but here you can see where I passed the FOI results to “Straight Statistics”:-

    http://straightstatistics.fullfact.org/article/welsh-language-board-disowns-survey-its-chair-extols

    The trouble is that the original made the headlines but the revelation that it was mendacious rubbish was an un-noticed footnote.

    This is my gripe with the present set of results from Prof Scully’s WES; his findings have already had far reaching consequences, any finding that those results were unjustified will be ignored. This isn’t the first time that Roger has vehemently supported a suspect survey as you can see here:-

    https://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2013/08/14/187/

    As you can see from my comments, once again I requested data sets and you can see the reply from the Silk Commission. Just as (I suspect) Roger used an unrepresentative polling sample, top heavy with Welsh speakers, Silk did the same.
    Silk had 40% of his sample able to speak Welsh and 14% fluent in Welsh. Unsurprisingly he had a level of support for further devolution un repeated in any poll since. Roger actually supports this unbalanced sample because (I suspect) he is a dedicated devolutionist or, as his membership of “Cymru Rhydd Mewn Ewrop” suggests, he is an avowed Welsh Nationalist.
    The Head of his department, Professor Richard Wyn Jones, is a founder supporter of Dyfodol i’r Iaith Cymraeg and there is obviously scope to suspect conflict of interest, at least until all of the data is out and there is some independent analysis of this survey.

    Because so much that is “headline news” or is written by Welsh language pressure groups goes unchallenged it is no wonder that people, like yourself MW, gain a false impression.
    For instance you float the idea that any weakness in PISA results amongst Welsh medium school pupils is because many of the WM schools tested were in the more deprived local authorities which make up the “Fro Cymraeg”.
    If you look at the “Welsh index of multiple deprivation” on Statswales and isolate just “Education” you can see the deprivation levels experienced by pupils in the Fro Cymraeg.
    The highest levels of child deprivation are in Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr, Cardiff and RCT. The lowest levels of deprivation are in Powys, CEREDIGION, Monmouthshire (all equal), ANGLESEY, then GWYNEDD, Conwy, Flintshire, Pembrokeshire and CARMARTHENSHIRE (all equal).
    Within every single LA Welsh medium schools have much lower levels of free school meals pupils than the average for that LA. You can see my comment on PISA and WM schooling in the Western Mail Letters pages on Saturday:-

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/western-mail-letters-saturday-december-12396652

    All in all it’s no wonder that many in South Wales are putting their children into WM schools but just look at the other side of the coin; In Anglesey there is one Dual Stream primary school. The Welsh medium stream died out completely some years ago and now no pupil is assessed in Welsh. It is the biggest school in Anglesey in one of the smallest villages and draws pupils from up to 20 miles away.
    The 2011 census and the Welsh language use survey paint a similar picture…fluent Welsh speakers disappearing from the Fro Cymraeg but appearing in RCT and Cardiff.

  • MW

    My point was about views within the non speaking contingent. It wouldn’t matter if you asked 2000, 3000, or 10000 people what their views were- the proportions would be the same.

    Context- provided in italics below the tables.
    Deconstruction of question 1. I think this is over analysis. If they believe the language is a nuisance they are almost certainly going to believe the last part. One follows the other, give the electorate a bit of credit.

    How could we make a survey devoid of any bias. ‘Welsh language- give your view on a scale of 1 to 10’. What possible information could be drawn from this? As mentioned in my previous posts biased questions are not necessarily bad ones- they need to be controlled for and balanced in both ways. The simplest addition would be the question ‘Less should be done to preserve Welsh as living language’. (we can infer this as between 19-25% amongst non speakers- Most likely weighted to the elder generation- and probably declining). But how much would responses have been biased if we assume that the electorate are hysterical, dog whistle responders? One or two points each way? I don’t know exactly, but i doubt it would be enough to overturn the impressions of non speakers provided here.

  • MW

    Education- I’d be amazed if the differences came to a statistical significance.

    Wales lags behind the rest of the UK. But given that only 20% of schools are WM, they can hardly be blamed for the country’s downfall in this region. Those regions as a whole perform poorer- and as they have more WM schools the language is incorrectly being used to justify the regional performance.

    These numbers will never be able to counter the cultural imperative to make Wales bilingual. Nor will hyperbole. Unfortunately the previous generation of school management got tricked into thinking that fact based exams and league tables were the way forward. Exam based schooling is a failure.

    And I say this with straight A* and A’s at GCSE and A-level.

  • J.Jones

    “My point was about views within the non speaking contingent. It wouldn’t matter if you asked 2000, 3000, or 10000 people what their views were- the proportions would be the same.”

    The poll has been reported in two posts remember MW, and it was the first post, the one that dealt with attitudes of the entire sample/adult population that was used in the press.
    Thus exactly how many of the sample were non Welsh speakers did make a difference to the outcomes.
    There is another question though and that is; if the number of Welsh speakers in the raw sample is double the national percentage is there other bias in the sample?
    For instance, other questions asked in the WES were about prejudice against Welsh speakers and English immigrants. If you have double the percentage of Welsh speakers you reduce the probability of finding that there is prejudice against them. Similarly with English immigrants. 28% of adults in Wales were born outside Wales and most of those were born in England. Only 8% of people born in England speak Welsh so you can see that if a sample has 32% Welsh speakers you have to suspect that people born in England may not have been proportionately sampled.
    Does it matter? I think so. There are key phrases which are used when describing the outcome and one of the most potent is “majority”. “A lot” or “the largest percentage” don’t have the same inpact.
    For Cymdeithas Yr Iaith, whose slogan “Welsh language is in crisis” was used in one question, this poll lent itself to all sorts of semi-legitimate interpretations; “Only one third of people in Wales disagree that extreme measures should be used to safeguard the Welsh language”??

    The point that I would make quite strongly is that, since no particular “extreme measures” are mentioned, we can consider those used previously. Cottage burning? A leading language campaigner starving himself to death perhaps? Wall daubing with slogans like “English Colonists Out”? Painting abusive slogans on the homes of English people living in Wales? Occupying political party’s offices or the Senedd? “Ble’r mae Cymraeg?” sprayed onto the outside walls of targeted buildings? Blockading estate agents?

    Take your pick, this poll legitimises the lot.

    If it is a reflection of the informed opinion of people in Wales fair enough. I’ll quietly slip away while they are still searching out their aerosols..

  • J.Jones

    I’m not sure that I understand what you are saying here:-

    “These numbers will never be able to counter the cultural imperative to make Wales bilingual.”

    But to be honest even the phrase “Bilingual Wales” is understood in different ways so I’m not sure what the imperative is.

    Certainly for language activists like Cymdeithas and Cardiff University’s Governance centre, bilingual Wales is one where one of the 4.4% of people who are “more comfortable speaking Welsh” can “live their lives through the medium of Welsh”. In other words the ability to speak English becomes unnecessary and it is possible to be a monolingual Welsh speaker in Wales.
    Meri Huws this morning has stated that to achieve one million Welsh speakers by 2050 all pupils must be taught through the medium of Welsh in the foundation phase.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38573057

    Leaving aside the findings of Prof Scully’s poll (the 1 million speaker mark is only a heartbeat away!) if Meri Huws gets her way then, since pupils taught through the medium of a language other than their first language do not reach their full academic potential:-

    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002437/243713E.pdf

    and since every study done in Wales shows pupils from English only homes underperforming in WM schools, I would say that Wales is heading into even more trouble in the education department.

  • MW

    I feel this thread has come to an end, but I’m certainly not convinced by the picture painted. Clearly the balance of injustice is against the Welsh speaker. and I must stress my own research before I even began learning Welsh.
    I’m not surprised that Children from English speaking backgrounds in WM schools do poorer- but as one English parent put it rather eloquently on another forum-the likely reduction in performance on fact-based exams caused by imperfect understanding would be vastly outweighed by the improvement in cultural breadth and general mental expansion’- I couldn’t agree more. I would happily trade in some of my meaningless A* ‘s for the ability to speak a language, play an instrument etc.

    Alas the philosophy of the Western education is broken as as whole, with the previous generation doing little to change the dogma of grades driven schooling.

  • J.Jones

    “Clearly the balance of injustice is against the Welsh speaker.”

    I find nothing more suspicious than statements beginning with the word “clearly”.

    Is this a historic imbalance of which you speak? Do you suggest that since, at one time, pupils were caned for speaking Welsh in school it is quite acceptable to now punish pupils for speaking English in WM schools? Perhaps groups of people who have suffered pogroms in the past should be allowed to seek out the perpetrator’s present generation of descendants and deliver retribution?

    Of course not.

    Yet that is the situation in Wales. By the age of 9 my own child had been taught the potted, anti English, version of the “Welsh Not” in each and every year group. In her Welsh medium school she and her fellow pupils from English speaking homes would play in the furthest corner of the playground so that the teachers on duty wouldn’t tell them off for speaking English amongst themselves. All the first language Welsh speaking kids played close to the school maintaining the social links with the adults that is key to good teacher-pupil relations.
    The 2011 Welsh language act gives legal superiority to the Welsh language and its speakers in every walk of life in Wales.
    Government policy has resulted in the parents of children in Llangennech having the availability of English medium schooling removed from them;

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-38668914

    no doubt this is what you mean by redressing the historical imbalance.

    “-the likely reduction in performance on fact-based exams caused by imperfect understanding would be vastly outweighed by the improvement in cultural breadth and general mental expansion”

    The problem is MW that your multiplicity of A*s is a measurable thing. Whilst acquiring them you were broadening your intellectual capacity and you now reap the reward in a well paid job perhaps and a lifestyle that allows you to indulge your interests.
    All mental activity enriches and changes the individual and language acquisition does this as does learning to play a musical instrument.
    Linguistics departments the world over churn out reams of research that “proves” the value of….linguistics. Similarly pharmaceutical firms churn out reams of research proving the value of their particular products. Perhaps you see the link?

    The problem comes when you try to quantify the benefit. By how much does learning a language to fluency “improve cultural breadth and general mental expansion”?
    Could it even be that people with a particular attitude to life are more likely to learn a language and people who are more intelligent more likely to attain fluency? How do you measure the enrichment given by learning a language to fluency…against the “control” of the same sample of people who haven’t learned a language?

    One of the most commonly held beliefs in Wales is that pupils who go through a Welsh medium schooling find learning another foreign language easier…that we in Wales are the natural source of linguists in the UK.

    Where is the evidence?

    This is from the 2015/16 Welsh language trends survey by the British Council:-

    “This year’s survey has found further evidence that in both primary and secondary
    schools, there are perceptions that MFL and Welsh are competing with – rather
    than complementing – one another, and that a poor pupil experience of Welsh as a
    second language negatively affects their subsequent experience of MFL. Although
    the Language Trends research did not focus specifically on provision for Welsh, the
    issues have been well documented elsewhere.(39)
    The testimonies of many teachers and pupils provide further evidence that the
    acquisition of Welsh in school is not, in many cases, providing pupils with a generic
    understanding about how language works, or equipping them with language learning
    skills which they can transfer to other languages. Children who have been
    exposed extensively to two languages at an early stage in their education should
    find the acquisition of a third language to be a straightforward experience because
    they already have the basic building blocks of language they need. However, in this
    research, both schools and pupils report that this is not the case. ….., a poor experience of learning
    Welsh in primary school can put pupils off wanting to learn another language.”

    https://wales.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/language_trends_wales_2016_english_0.pdf

    For 2016 I did the analysis of entry for GCSE MFLs in Welsh medium and English medium schools (taking socio-economic status of the schools into account).

    In schools where less than 7% of pupils were eligible for free school meals:-
    Welsh medium:- 27.2% entry for any MFL.
    English medium:- 38.7% entry for any MFL.
    For schools with between 7% and 14% of pupils eligible for FSMs:-
    Welsh medium:- 21.3% entry.
    English medium:- 25.1%
    For schools with between 14% and 21% of pupils eligible for free school meals:-
    Welsh medium:- 17.8% entry.
    English medium:- 18.6% entry.

    All other secondary schools (50) are English medium schools and for each EFSM group, as deprivation increases, entry for MFLs decreases.
    In Wales just 21.9% of pupils enter at least one MFL at GCSE. The link between WM schools and poor uptake of MFLs was investigated in 2004 by Estyn. They cited attitude of parents and pupils to foreign languages as a cause.

    The problem is that everything that we in Wales THINK we know about Welsh and the world is either disproved by analysis, un provable in any way or not quantifiable.

    Nevertheless I believe that learning any language will benefit the person learning it in some way and such activity is to be encouraged…but can’t be enforced.

    But I reiterate; third rate, biased and politically motivated surveys like the one carried out by Cardiff university only serve to further increase the disinformation prevalent about the Welsh language’s place in society and further serves to encourage the pernicious damage done by language issues to Wales as a whole.

  • MW

    I wouldn’t normally revisit this post, but as I’ve seen your name time and again posting on similar topics I thought I come back.

    With regards to your last post. I can see your concern but again so much is just hyperbole.

    ‘Clearly the balance of injustice is against the Welsh speaker.’

    I’m not sure how interpreted this as meaning that punitive matters must be employed!

    Your anecdotal story of your child is just that. An anecdote. Your always going to get anecdotal stories like this. I’ve heard of Welsh speaker getting spat on and had gorilla chants made at them for speaking Welsh. Don’t paint them with the same brush. There have been events uncalled for by language activists-I’m not denying that. But nobody is calling for retribution. When I see the hanging of the English not and caning of English speaking children, English only health and Safety signs leading to the death of pit workers, an English language society of Wales, or legislature banning the speaking of English from all public life or the flooding of English only villages and valleys for water that neighbouring cities don’t need and sell for profit, Welsh celebrities and politicians mocking the English language refusing to acknowledge the rich contribution of English literature, music and poetry, or a hysterical tabloid press week after week churning out fake news and frothing at the mouth about the English language causing global warming then I will be right by your side Mr Jones at the protests calling out against this.

    Nobody is looking for retribution but at the same time we can’t deny that there was state sponsored decline of Welsh. Figures thrown around suggest 1-2% of Welsh GDP used to support the language. Given that a far higher percentage of people are speakers…thats fair enough.

    The time of resenting Welsh is over, the shackles are off and the game is over- it has been for a long time. We may see a flat lining in figures as older generations pass in the Fro, but with 20% of schools (and growing) being WM, and a renewed interest in Welsh, no political party will leave out ‘the Welsh speaking vote’. Indeed ALL the major parties have a Welsh language policy, as it is too important to ignore. Ironically with S4C moving to Caerfyrddin, cosmopolitan Welsh culture is going to move with it. And with speakers and non speakers overwhelmingly supporting it, I honestly can’t see the language disappearing anytime soon.

    The dragon has two tongues. I respect that.

    But I’ll throw you a bone…I actually disagree with mandatory 2nd language GCSE Welsh. The recent news article on S4C showed more than a doubling of learns in Abergyfenni. People are being turned away at the door of night classes. They need to focus on actually getting enough people to teach Welsh to those who want it.

    It’s always an issue when a majority finally has to give an inch to a minority. The media have bunched the Welsh language, with the poor, disabled and and immigrants as the cause of their woes when tax evasion costs more than the aforementioned combined.

    I’m sure you are a nice man Mr Jones, I just think your personal experience has led to a deep seated sided bias. But having lived all your life in Y Fro and not having learnt it- theres something to be said about that and if you had, I’m sure this would have been an altogether different discussion

    ‘How do you measure the enrichment given by learning a language to fluency…?’

    Precisely. The answer is in the rhetorical nature of the question. How do you measure the joy of 70,000 Welsh people singing Hen Wlad fy Nhadau? How do you measure the environment of 300 young people packing out clubs to hear Welsh bands play. How do you measure the value of a mother who has learnt Welsh singing Welsh and English lullabies? How do you measure being able to watch Game of Thrones one night and then Y Gwyll the next? The answer of course is, you can’t. There are things which are just immeasurable. And it is within the things that we can’t measure or attribute a grade or statistic too that are the most valuable. We simply cant live just knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  • Patrick Powell

    For J Jones info) Welsh Language Act 2011 does NOT give Welsh superiority over English. Many Welsh medium schools are opening due to popular demand, despite Labour run local councils trying to stop them. There is not a shred of evidence according to PISA tests that pupils from English monoglot families ‘that go to WM schools) are a full year behind pupils who come from Welsh speaking families who attend WM schools- another fairy story told by J Jones.

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