When teaching Welsh is a futile experiment

Tim Williams argues that teaching through the medium of Welsh in English-medium schools damages education

The Sioned Davies report represents a real threat to the education of the vast majority of Welsh children and indeed the rights of their parents. It also proves what many of us have believed for some time: that the Welsh educational establishment cares more about the Welsh bit than the educational bit.

First, some autobiographical details. I speak Welsh quite fluently and have broadcast and written in it extensively, but I learned it as a second language. My Ph.D is about the Anglicisation of Wales in the 19th Century and the (minor) role played in that by schooling. I am a qualified teacher who spent three years in the mid 1980s working for a teachers’ union. I have advised the Welsh Government on urban regeneration and was also a member of a Task and Finish Group on standards in Welsh education.

‘The fate of the language’

 

Tomorrow: Rebecca Williams says we cannot leave things as they are with teaching Welsh as a second language

 

And I say: with this background and with a wide knowledge of the linguistic and educational issues, there is no educational basis to the proposal in the Davies report that children in English medium schools should be taught any part of their curriculum in the Welsh language. I stress I believe all Welsh children from English-speaking homes should be taught Welsh as a second language in specific Welsh lessons as now. The fact that this is not effective in making Welsh speakers of such children is not a reason to extend the use of Welsh as a medium of instruction to other parts of the curriculum. Indeed, it suggests the reason why we should not go down such an anti-educational road. Why use a language in which children are not fluent to do something as vital as education?

Of course, Welsh educationists and patriots used to argue the opposite. The very basis of their opposition to English medium schooling for Welsh speaking children was that it did the very same they are now calling for in relation to English speaking children and the Welsh language. It forced the non-home language on children. They argued that this damaged their education, their self-esteem and indeed the future of the language.

Most educationists – as opposed to language revivalists – advocate the use of the home language in teaching, not a medium used rarely in the homes or the community. Strangely, we are hearing very little of these concerns from those who support the Sioned Davies report. But then such people have supported the absurd extension of Welsh medium education for English speaking children often from disadvantaged homes in the Valleys with the pretty inevitable consequence that neither language is developed maturely. An honest review of Welsh medium education in such places where the language is not reinforced outside the school, is that it is not even successful as a way of promoting long term use of Welsh after school.

And please, please be sceptical of the supposed excellence of such schools from a results perspective as no-one has ever shown how it is conceivably possible for children to do better in a second language they never use outside the class and which they speak and write without fluency as compared with their home and community language. There is no theory to back what is being done to English speaking Welsh kids in Welsh medium schooling and very little research has been undertaken by those who care more about education than language revival. Parents and children deserve evidence based policy-making and not what we are experiencing in Wales: policy – based evidence-making.

I add: in the 19th Century Welsh parents largely supported English medium education for their kids on the pragmatic basis that Welsh would survive as the home language but that even if it didn’t it was vital to the economic success and social mobility of their children that they become fluent in what was then and is, increasingly, the world’s dominant commercial language. And the effort of the school was, it should be remembered, of limited success in many parts of Wales where English wasn’t experienced outside school, in the streets, workplaces, chapels and media.

Where the linguistic world of the school and the linguistic world outside school were most aligned, the results were more decisive in terms of language acquisition. The same holds true today for any language, including Welsh. But of course the question needs to be asked as to why parents would wish their children to experience a total immersion educational environment in Welsh in the first place, given our national language’s insignificant global status. Might not Mandarin be a tad more economically attractive and useful to attempt to promote in our schools?

I stress, ‘attempt to promote’ as the same problem applies to Mandarin in our schools as to Welsh or German for that matter. Schooling alone has never been effective as a vehicle of language acquisition. And for those who ask why cannot we emulate those primary schools in Shanghai spending much of their afternoons immersed in English medium tuition, I say: even in Shanghai English has a compelling economic rationale which appeals to ambitious families. It is now everywhere, on the internet, in business and in popular culture. And by the way, the Chinese are not sentimental about language, with Cantonese now giving way to Mandarin and English as spoken languages. They are rigorously instrumental about language. As the majority of the Welsh have always been apart from a linguistically minority unfortunately over represented in public life.

The reasons for opposing the Sioned Davies report ideology are solidly educational and instrumental. But there is also a politics that the Welsh Government needs to be very wary of. The dog that has not yet barked in Welsh politics is the English speaking majority whose identity is not represented in the dreams of Welsh nationalists. They are keen to see the survival of Welsh and have supported full access to Welsh medium education for those that want it. But when this support becomes a zero sum game, with their children used in futile experiments at language revival, they get restless. Don’t stir them up. You may find the existing consensus is the first victim.

Tim Williams who blogs at (http://timwilliams.regen.net/) is director of the Publicani consultancy and is currently working on projects in Australia, where he now lives. He is a former special advisor to the Blair government and the Welsh Government. Prior to moving to Australia in December 2010 he was managing director of Navigant Consulting.

27 thoughts on “When teaching Welsh is a futile experiment

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this article Tim. Many of the points made are not new but it is certainly refreshing to see them in an actual IWA article as opposed to just in the comments section (if they havent already beed deleted/censored).

    Tell me though, after having this published in the public domain…. are you sure Australia is far away enough? Perhaps the moon would be a safer place for you as word of this article spreads amongst cymdeithas yr Iaith on twitter.

  2. Reading this article by Tim Williams one might be forgiven for thinking that the idea of teaching subjects in a language other than a child’s mother tongue was unique . That here in Wales we are contemplating an unproven method effectively experimenting with our children’s education.

    However that’s not the case. Countries across the world use this method and with success. I’m sure Tim Williams could list a number of them if he were asked.

    Poor teaching, methods and systems can be improved and there is huge scope for discussion on these. However there are no neurological reasons why we could not have a Wales where bilingualism is the norm. And if those who desire such a condition are said to be motivated by ideology; political or nationalistic then it’s difficult to accept that those who don’t are not.

    A “it’s about the education” response doesn’t satisfy me I’m afraid unless one believes that we are less intellectually capable than the say Dutch or Danes or that(other things being equal) a monoglot in England or Wales has no less opportunities in England and Wales as a bilingual from Wales has.

  3. Good article. However, is it an attack on the Davies report, i.e. on extending Welsh in the English medium sector, or is it an attack on WM education for English speaking children as well? I ask as an individual who actually learnt Welsh through an English medium school

  4. Very little to disagree with in this article except this:

    ” I stress I believe all Welsh children from English-speaking homes should be taught Welsh as a second language in specific Welsh lessons as now. The fact that this is not effective in making Welsh speakers of such children…”

    You’ve just shot yourself in the foot by explaining in the second sentence why your first sentence is wrong! The fact is that unwanted compulsory Welsh at any key stage in school is a total waste of school time, effort, and money. The world is full of potentially useful knowledge and skills that kids can usefully learn but Welsh isn’t one of them whatever questionable propaganda its missionaries might have told you! English and maths competence are the twin pillars upon which most academically ‘useful’ subjects and life-skills are built. Get those right, in an interesting and balanced learning framework, and everything else follows. The standards of English and maths coming out of primary schools are now so poor the secondary schools can’t do their job properly either and they waste too much time on remedial work. Some of this has to be the result of Welsh displacing English and maths and it seems to be getting worse not better. As a teacher who qualified in the 1970s I find the current standards depressingly low.

    If kids and their parents want to learn L2 Welsh then that’s fine. It’s a skill… If they don’t then let’s drop the dead donkey and spend the time teaching kids something useful and relevant like how to use the internet properly and how to deal with all the adult-level global themes they will come across before they have the life experience to deal with them. You only have to look at the low self-esteem, self-harm, and suicide rates to see that schools are not preparing kids for life. Universities say students are not prepared for Uni. Employers say kids are not prepared for work. All the evidence says education as a whole has not kept pace with society and it’s time to re-focus education on the life skills that really matter. Compulsory Welsh isn’t one of them!

  5. It is a good article. However, the issue for me is the fact that where children are taught bi-lingualy in other areas there are two languages available that are in widespread international use, for example French and German. There is a great benefit to the children to be able to use both languages and thereby gain access to a wider range of employment or business opportunities. However, Welsh is such a minority language that it does not give any greater access to employment – other than access to some local councils where they require competence in Welsh as a pre-requisite to applications to most jobs.

    My own view is that it is fundamentally wrong to impose Welsh upon children at Primary school age. I am not sure of the current situation in all parts of Wales, but I can say that in Gwynedd ALL Primary schools teach only in Welsh, from day one. This means that every new child from an English speaking family entering a Primary school intake class is faced with a totally new language, and no help is given to any children to express their needs in English – even for things like needing to go to the toilet.

    It may well be that this uncompromising policy is unique to Gwynedd.

    I have also lived in mid and South Wales, but that was forty and twenty five years ago. The situation in those areas may well have changed a lot since I lived there, and was better informed on language use in local schools. One thing I do observe is that the teaching of Welsh in the North and the South takes a very different role. In the South Welsh seems to be taught very much as a tool to help children understand grammatical construction, and a feeling for languages generally – much as I did Latin when I was at school. Whereas in North Wales the stance is that Welsh is hammered into children because of the desperate need to save a dying language. In my view this is a great injustice to children, and is a waste of public resources. It is using the education budget and children’s lives as a political tool.

    Language should be about personal choice. That is why I always say that nothing should ever prevent two people from communicating together in any shared language. But there should never be any pressure put upon people (especially children) to learn or use a language for the sake of the language itself. We did not learn Latin at school in order to keep the use of Latin alive!

    In the course of history many languages have fallen out of common use, but they do continue in academia. Welsh will inevitably go that way simply because it cannot survive as a universal mainstream tool of communication. Whilst I am sure that there are many who will sorely lament that fact, the sooner we all accept the situation the better!

  6. John Nicholson: So very true!!! I’ve put the champagne on ice for the day that Welsh draws its last breath. You, and all those who’ll toast its demise, are welcome to celebrate at mine.

  7. @John- why do you assume that languages must be ‘universal’ in order for them to survive? Lingua francas exist the world over along side smaller languages. A language does not have to big to survive, and people who are bilingual will their languages for different things, using the lingua franca for some things and their native language for another. I despise the assumption that English is an international language; Spanish is growing in America and if you think the Chinese are learning English you can think again. You are clearly unable to come to terms with a smaller language. Maybe the sooner you realise how stubborn Welsh is the better, it has survived the vicissitudes of a millennium and will survive those of the next.

  8. In the 17th Century Wales became the first fully literate country in the world. The Sunday Schools reckoned they could teach an adult to read and write in 6 weeks from the Bible. Since then we seem to have regressed hand in hand with Anglicisation.

    Even the English are down almost the bottom of the league of literacy. The only one below them is the other great bastion of attempted monoglot Englishness, the USA.

    When I went to scwl in the 1960s Wales had a good education standard. The system is another matter. But it all went wrong with the adoption of the “Comprehensive” model.

    There seems to be nothing intrinsically wrong with Comprehensive education per se, the problem was the model adopted and the manner it was done. To cut a long story short the education establishment have since had their heads in the sand and refuse to accept that they should do anything other than more of the same. In general educational terms we must learn from the best, whether that be from the private sector or other countries.

    Other countries show us that Welsh is one of the best educational tools at our disposal. So use it.

    Flanders has recently shown that teaching children from French (language) homes to read in Dutch gives them an advantage over their French educated contemporaries that they never loose. Reason – Dutch is much more phonetic than French.

    When hasn’t the teaching of second languages in the UK not been very, very poor? Maybe most of the problem is that the teaching of first language English is so bad, or even virtually non-existent?

    I’m from a partially Welsh-speaking home and went to English medium schools in Cardiff. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the Welsh lessons my education would have been negligible. But the Secondary Modern schools were a dumping ground. Now we have, effectively only Secondary Modern Schools except for the Welsh Medium ones.

    Largely I disagree with what Tim says above. All countries are very defensive and protective of their languages, except when they’ve been conquered. It’s the conquerors who care nothing for their language. Threaten Mandarin Chinese and see how tetchy they can be!

    The Davies Report seems to be on the right lines of international experience and the suggestion, yesterday, of a trial in SW Wales is a good idea.

    Welsh is an excellent tool for education, but more importantly it’s ours!!!

  9. An utterly ridiculous article full of contradictions and inaccuracies. Would this be the same Tim Williams (living in Australia since 2010) who was the leading NO figure in his opposition to devolution in 1997 and has been vociferous against language equality in Wales for the last three decades, now trying to politicize the language again? I have news for Tim Williams and the anti-Welsh usual suspects who have commented above – the dragon has two tongues, and we Welsh speakers will not let the militant monolinguists whose poisonous hatred of the language divide Wales. They know nothing but the language of hatred.

    But Wales has moved on, you have been left behind Tim bach, perhaps that’s you’re problem. The Welsh language is a cultural treasure – one of Europe’s finest. We should have had the courage to tell its enemies where to go years ago.

  10. “I’ve put the champagne on ice for the day that Welsh draws its last breath. You, and all those who’ll toast its demise, are welcome to celebrate at mine”

    I think that sums up a mindset here.

  11. @Bob Jones- you will have drawn your last breath before Welsh does so you may as well drink the champagne now or take it back to Aldi.

  12. M Owen:
    It would have been useful if you had listed even just one of these “contradictions and innacuracies” before launching into a 13 line attack on the poor chap. No wonder he lives in Australia if this is what you get for pointing out the elephant in the room!

    With some amusement I note your description of anybody who questions the removal of choice to learn Maths and Science in your first language as ‘militant’. The irony seems lost on you! I’m afraid one only has to google a picture of the Free Wales Army and the term ‘militant’ is forever entwined with the cause of Welsh Nationalism… certainly not us 81% monoglots merely questioning the quality of education that has been delivered since devolution.

  13. “I stress I believe all Welsh children from English-speaking homes should be taught Welsh as a second language in specific Welsh lessons as now. The fact that this is not effective in making Welsh speakers of such children is not a reason to extend the use of Welsh as a medium of instruction to other parts of the curriculum”

    Supposing just for the sake of argument you’re right (although the likes of the long established Welsh medium Ysgol Rhydyfelen/Garth Olwg in Pontypridd would suggest otherwise). The corollary to your argument then is that ‘specific Welsh lessons’, currently less than effective, need to become intensified. Rather than say a modest 2 or 3 hrs a week, what may be needed is something along the lines of 10 hrs a week, or 15 hrs a week. Something closer to ‘immersion’ rather than a ‘tokenistic’ approach. After all, languages are ‘acquired’, not ‘learnt’.

    The question then becomes, how far must we go with ‘specific Welsh lessons’ to ensure that no Welsh child leaves the school system without being comfortably and happily bilingual in Welsh and English/English and Welsh? At what point along the curve does a successful model of ‘specific Welsh lessons’ morph into a model of ‘Welsh medium’, where education and language acquisition go hand in hand?

    Therein lies the limitation of your argument, I suspect.

    “And please, please be sceptical of the supposed excellence of such schools from a results perspective as no-one has ever shown how it is conceivably possible for children to do better in a second language they never use outside the class and which they speak and write without fluency as compared with their home and community language”.

    The answer, of course, is that Welsh-medium schooling from Ysgol Feithrin to Primary through Secondary makes Welsh the mother-tongue at school, leaving English the mother-tongue at home. That’s what makes it more than ‘conceivably possible’.

  14. Bob Jones is so mistaken that people like me who speak for the reality of the future of the Welsh language will therefore celebrate its eventual demise. Sometimes inevitable facts of reality are sad. Likewise the loss of the rural landscape of Wales, old stone buildings, hand made wrought iron gates, and so many beautiful Welsh Chapels that my Father painted when I was a child. We simply can’t live perpetually in the past.

  15. In response to John Walker: “The world is full of potentially useful knowledge and skills that kids can usefully learn but Welsh isn’t one of them whatever questionable propaganda its missionaries might have told you!”

    As a trilingual person (Welsh is my first languages despite the fact that my mother from Scandinavia), I disagree with your comments, and find your language offensive. You deliberately, and irrelevantly connect Welsh language advocates with (no doubt ‘irrational’) religious zealots. You talk about global themes, and the internet as the most relevant educational priorities. The internet is growing fastest in the non-English speaking world, and thinking globally clearly means embracing languages as something of value (not a disease ‘imposed’ on any one). There are 65,000 languages worldwide! Learning Welsh goes far beyond obvious transferable skills (although all language learning develops cognitive skills). Respecting the fact that we live in a multilingual world is the first step away from a parochial mindset- a real hinderance to the TRUE cosmopolitan!

  16. To quote from the article “..the absurd extension of Welsh medium education for English speaking children..”.

    The people ‘driving’ this extension in the south Wales valleys are English speaking parents who want their children to be able to speak Welsh.

    Does Tim Williams believe they are being ‘absurd’ for wanting their children to have a Welsh medium education?

    If so, then he himself is being absurd for making such a ridiculous assumption.

  17. I’m a former Welsh speaker who grew up in a partially welsh speaking home and went through the Welsh ‘education’ system from the mid 90’s. I grew up with one parent not being able to speak Welsh and the other refusing to speak English, not to mention refusing to let her son (i.e. me) even learn English! This, unfortunately left me and my father unable to communicate without an interpreter until I hit the age of eight years when something happened that made my mother see sense in that one thing at least.
    I call myself a former Welsh speaker, partly because outside of the school environment during my teenage years there was simply no compelling reason to use Welsh other than if I wanted to keep something secret from my father! After leaving school I joined the army where the use of one language was vital to unit cohesion and operational effectiveness. I simply had to use English and as such my English improved enormously while my Welsh just faded away. After all, a group of soldiers can hardly be expected to get anything done if they can’t understand each other!
    I subscribe to the idea that in the real world Welsh simply isn’t needed anymore, it’s an idea that has been borne out in my experience in life so far.

    As I got older and ‘matured’ (I use that word loosely), I started to apply one of the principles that my maternal grandfather impressed upon me as a child before he died. That principle was “trust, but question”. In short, I asked the Welsh speakers I knew “why”. In asking that, I never received a response that made any sense. Invariably, on sharing my thoughts and confusion on the language, I was confronted by an emotional tirade rather than an active and thought provoking debate. In fact, I have had otherwise intelligent and rational friends suddenly turn on me and start berating me as a “bad Welshman” for simply questioning the unquestionable; the idea that Welsh is #1.
    Stifling debate rarely, if ever does any good. If something is not questioned or criticised, flaws that would otherwise be detected and corrected or compensated for are left to fester. *This cannot be a good thing*.
    I hear it every time whenever this debate comes up. The person who rightfully questions the status quo is shouted down and derided in a great tidal wave of emotion that sweeps away their capacity for reason. Instead of thinking “What does Welsh do for us” the nationalists I have encountered simply screech “you can’t say that!” (among other things). So what does Welsh do for us? What do we gain from it? What does it cost us? What does Welsh enable us to do that English or any other language does not? These are questions I’ve asked more than a few times and I have not yet had an answer.
    In my experience, debates on this topic take a similar pattern to debates on immigration, race and the like. It seems to me that the Welsh language has been taken up into the menagerie of political correctness. From my days in school, all I can remember was how Welsh was forced upon us in every corner of the day. We weren’t allowed to speak anything but Welsh anywhere in the school and would sometimes find ourselves in detention if we were caught speaking anything but Welsh regardless of the reasons why we were speaking in a different language. Indeed, even the subjects that in the real world are conducted in almost anything but Welsh such as the sciences and mathematics were taught in Welsh with no reference made to the English translations of technical terms that were being taught in Welsh. Hell, even the English lessons were taught in Welsh, the modern languages lessons too despite most of my classmates being more proficient in English. Surely that is putting a lot of them at a disadvantage when it comes to their learning? Not to mention when they leave school for the wide world, whatever route they take in life.
    Unless of course they take the rather more insular route of going to Aberystwyth university to study Welsh. Something else my grandfather taught me; “To every rule, there is an exception”.

    @john
    I don’t agree about language being about “personal choice”. It should be about what works and what gets the job done. The whole point of a language is not so that we can feel warm and fuzzy, it’s about communicating complex ideas in a reasonably efficient manner so that shared goals are achieved.

    @M Owen
    Your post is an excellent example of the banshee-like screeching that is heard whenever this debate comes up. That is an emotional post that consists of nothing but ad hominem attacks with no attempt to discuss the issues at hand. You claim that he has been against language equality, but have you considered what equality is and what is actually the case in this country of ours*? If the languages were equal, then neither would be favoured over the other and yet in my experience Welsh has been pushed an incredible amount. There was a Welsh language board, there are numerous Welsh language societies in existence like “menter iaith” and “merched y wawr”. But are there such societies in Wales for the other languages? If they exist I have not heard of them. I also very much doubt that such societies for other languages would gain as much traction.
    Equality =! “Use this because it’s ours”. Equality = “use what you like”. Many people seem to miss that little distinction.

    I’ve heard quite a few people use a little slogan regarding Welsh learners. “You don’t need to be Welsh to speak Welsh”. I like to turn that around and make it “You don’t need to speak Welsh to be Welsh”. If we don’t need to speak it to be Welsh, and we don’t really gain all that much from it, why bother? If the bible could be translated from it’s original language countless times, then surely the relatively small amount of literature we have can be translated as well?

    *Yes, I’m Welsh. Just the same as you and the author.

  18. Isn’t the issue here more to do with the matter of culture, Welsh culture, as expressed through the language of Welsh, rather than the Welsh language itself.

    In truth, I don’t much buy into the idea that teaching all the kids in Wales to speak Welsh will do much for that part of the culture of this land that is uniquely identifiable (and assimilated and appreciated) through the Welsh language. Rather, I think we’d be better off just agreeing that we have an English speaking Welsh culture and a Welsh speaking Welsh culture. And, by all means enjoy as much of these two cultures as you can but be sensible enough to realise that they are different, very different. As different as an English speaking Welsh person and a bi-lingual speaking Welsh person.

    Neither one is better, they are just different. And thoroughly enjoy being different.

  19. @Kp most people agree with you, myself included who as a Welsh speaker can enjoy the two, different but closely linked, cultures of Wales. Wales has two languages not one. This is why Welsh should be taught, so that every one has an equal opportunity to take part in all areas of social and cultural life in Wales.
    @John Nicholson- As I said, you will be long gone before Welsh is, and in all likelihood Welsh will still be being hotly debated in another 100 years, with over half a million speakers in Wales, over half of which are young , such a assumption is far from far fetched.

  20. This subject continually goes round and round and will continue to do so until the language brigade and its appeasers in the WAG finally face the truth and accept Welsh is dead! No good can come from stuffing children’s brains with a foreign difficult language of absolutely no use to them at all. Further more the Welsh language is used as a tool to force an alien culture onto Wales and do us harm by trying to partition us from the rest of Britain. I too will lift a glass when the powers that be have the strength to dump the futile Welsh language obsession.

  21. @GIF
    “… I grew up with one parent not being able to speak Welsh and the other refusing to speak English, not to mention refusing to let her son (i.e. me) even learn English! This, unfortunately left me and my father unable to communicate without an interpreter until I hit the age of eight years…”

    Sounds like a rather surreal experience you went through. Producing a TV dramatization of your early life might be possible. Have you thought of contacting S4C?

  22. Thanks Mo!
    But I do still say that nothing shoud ever prevent two people from speaking to each other in any shared language.
    We do need to put pressure upon people to challenge the waste of public money trying to force people to learn and use Welsh, when they do not wish to be part of that campaign. Language use must be one of personal choice. I also am very concerned that teaching children entirely through the medium of Welsh is having a dramatic negative effect upon standards of English and Maths on entry to Secondary schools. This is a great diservice to children, and to quote from the title of this article is worse than a futile experiment.

  23. This is Tim on his usual crusade. Credit to him for being consistent, and for reminding us that these views still persist in 2013.

  24. S4C is subsidised by the TV licencing agency. 9 percent of the programs have no following.
    There are no newspapers written in welsh (as far as I am aware) if there were would these need be subsidised, as I doubt there would be no readers.
    Industry these days are demanding, mathematicians, engineers, technicians etc. (where would welsh language come into this)
    My opinion. Welsh language is a folly, an expensive one, a language whose roots were based in europe ie Welsh or Walhaz (which means foreigner)

  25. Er no, the Welsh language is not based in Europe. The word ‘Welsh’ does mean Foreigner but in Old English( Anglo-Saxon), and it was the Anglo-saxons who were the invaders, and the welsh who were indigenous to the whole of Britain.

    As for the Welsh language being dead, go to Caernarfon, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bethesda or Portmadhog or Pwllelli , and you will find otherwise.

  26. The white elephant in the room.

    English is only the dominant language in the world due to the violence committed by the British empire when it invaded most of the world – same goes for most of the other languages

    The mepire is responsible for over 100 million innocents around the world through famine and war – due to destroying other people’s families ancient cultures –

    Its a miracle the native British language of Welsh still exists……..mainly because its speakers never uprose in rebellion against England as much as the much crushed Irish speakers

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