Learn from Irish example

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Learn from Irish example

Post  Draig Werdd on Thu 29 Oct 2009 - 21:46

When the Irish Free State got independence in 1922 we Irish people foolishly thought that english speaking areas would revert to Irish and we focused on a vision of an Irish speaking Ireland. This is something Wales should not do ie an entirely Welsh speaking Wales. We have always focused policies on getting all people Irish speaking in entirely English speaking areas and neglecting Irish speakers in Irish speaking areas known as Gaeltachts. This has resulted in Irish speaking areas going from 250,000 speakers or 11 per cent in the Gaeltacht in 1922 to 22,000 in the Gaeltachts today. Also the policy of Gaelicising Ireland has not worked for the simple reason that English speakers do not want to speak Irish at all as their daily language and no amount of campaigning will convince them of that. We should have agreed to designate Irish speaking areas in 1922 as statutory authorities where only Irish would be used in services and likewise for English speaking Ireland.

I am a Welsh learner and an ardent Welsh nationalist I want an independent Wales and I am convinced people in Wales must be realistic about language goals. The Fro Gymraeg must be designated as Welsh speaking only and the rest of Wales as English speaking. Its pointless trying to get people in Newport or Penarth to convert to Welsh what is essentially a foreign tongue. What angers me is seeing English people in the Fro Gymraeg changing the language of an area to English by invading in large numbers and not bothering to learn Welsh.

Draig Werdd

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Re: Learn from Irish example

Post  Morry on Wed 13 Oct 2010 - 3:21

The situation in Ireland in 1922 was radically different to Wales in that Ireland had seen a rapid switch to English (to the degree that there were still native Irish speakers in most areas of Ireland, even though most of the population in those areas no longer spoke Irish). The problem wasn't just that the English speakers didn't want to speak Irish but rather that the state didn't want to change language either, other than using language for political purposes. The state still send English only speakers into Irish speaking areas, it still expected Irish speakers to deal with it in English and it did very little to promote the language in real terms in the Irish speaking areas.

As for 'Y Fro Gymraeg' - I'm afraid we are 20/30 years too late. These areas have suffered such a large influx of English speakers as to have nearly 50% of the people in many of the areas being born in England (or at least outside of Wales) and when one takes into account their children born here but ethnically English then we are talking about 55 to 60% ot eh population - the 'Fro' has been destroyed. What we need now is to look to places like Belfast and establish micro broydd - set up little villages (Kibbutsim) and take over certain streets in places like Cardiff - it could be done but it takes a will - this will be the only way to maintain the language.

Morry

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Re: Learn from Irish example

Post  Nay on Wed 22 Jun 2011 - 23:22

Hm well, I think micro broydd are one step, yes, but on the same time, we have to make learning to be fun. As an example, smaller villages should be promoted to teach welsh to those who want to learn it. As a very good example of an almost free way to do so is saysomethinginwelsh.com. This course recently recieved the IWA Global Wales award. After smaller towns, where it certainly it is more easy to achive welsh as a community language than larger towns, have adapted this, one could start to push a bit more focussed... something like welsh language shops instead of going to some which only provide monolingual services. Either, those who do not supply welsh language services whill somewhat change - and if they don't you still support those who do with it - and possibly give many learners, who may be learning the language because of work or whateverthe practice they need. After all, most of the things in matter of language boil down to money. "Cources are pricey" - SSIW is not - but it's highly effective. "learning languages takes time" It does not if it's done correctly. "but learning languages is boring" - if you have no one to talk to, maybe - but there come the welsh speakers into play: speak welsh! Don't just switch to english if someone is there in earsreach who can't udnerstand you - instead, give him SSIW (I'm leaning welsh with that course, so I'm a bit... biased... oh well give SSIW to EVERYONE in wales, even pupils in school.)

So yes, broydd are important, indeed, but at the same time, learners have to be shown that they are welcome to speak it with real welsh speakers without any force, so that they don't just jump off once they make some mistakes. After all, it's better if learners speak bad welsh to real welsh speakers, than none at all. They can only grow through speaking the language.
If the media is not on our side, then we have to make sure ourselves that people do know for example about SSIW. Plus the welsh speakers have to get a little more thickskinned, in terms of using the language. It isn't always helping if one always retracts and speaks english - after all, one of the most used arguments of people who are not willign to learn welsh is "Well, they speak english, so why should I learn welsh?" We need to create a real need. We need to unite as many welsh speakers as possible to support companies prividing welsh services, at the same time weakening those who don't. It's money they want - but they'll only get it if you are willing to give it to them.
One interesting thing would maybe a small discount for people who do order in welsh etc. I mean, no one would be excluded: they just need to know about the possibilities. Here in northern Germany, there was exactly something like that as well for Lowgerman (a language I speak - but which is on decline - it hardly is still a community language anymore anywhere). In a Pub there was once thsi action of, I think 5% or so, discount on beer if you order in lowgerman and speak a little with the waiter/waitress - but it was cancelled because most people can't speak the language anymore and there are only the school alternatives to learn it, and which are, frankly not very good. Welsh on the otehr hand, has to be reintegrated into social life - and that must be much more common, than just coccasional hearing the language by someone walking by.

Nay

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