Whilst an accelerating factor, I doubt that this is the main reason for the languages decline. I personally think that anywhere where people speak 2 languages, that the dominant language will eventually win out.
Every Welsh person will need to be able to speak English to get on in life and this is increasingly the case. The same is not true for Welsh. As a teacher I'm skeptical of the ability of schools to properly teach somebody a language. For people to learn Welsh it will need to be passed on to the next generation and no matter how fervent the parents, you will never get 100% of the next generation speaking it. Some will get out of practise and some will actively not want to speak it. They will all learn English.
The same is true in Ireland. The government has gone to great lengths to preserve the language through Gaeltacht areas but this has had little effect and the Gaeltacht reduces all the time. I actually think it is a hindrance to Ireland as Gaelic is the official language of Government and everything has to translated into both (even in the North) costing money and time when everybody realistically can read the English version.
I don't mean this to sound patronising, I like regional languages and suspect if I spoke one that I would be a most fervent advocate of preserving the language. However, I think large scale attempts to preserve them are always going to fail. Sheer necessity and globalisation will lead to their eventual death.
Agreed on all of that. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Welsh is now the most subsidised language per capita in the world. Quite a turnaround in a short time, but likely to fail in the long run.
Edited by Futtocks, 22 February 2013 - 02:34 PM.