On Wed, 1 Apr 1998, Jennie Murphy wrote:
> I agree that Celt-Mania is out of hand, but I do think that to some
> degree it does promote the languages. Not with everyone, for sure, but
> a small percentage pursue the languages that wouldn't have noticed them
> otherwise. Are these small gains worth losing for the sake of dignity?
> Does it matter *why* people learn the languages just so long as they do?
I'm sure at least a few people have noticed the languages who
otherwise wouldn't have done but I believe it must be a trifling number
of those who actually bother to learn one of them all the way through.
Time and time again I've seen Celt-maniacs express interest but then
turn away at the first sign of difficulty. And it's easy for them to do
so because nowadays you only have to claim an interest in the Celtic
cultures; to jump on the bandwagon it's not necessary to actually have
learned anything about them. So I'm not sure; I think there are far more
beginning learners in Gaelic than ever before but I don't see the number
of *fluent* learners increasing (if the use of Gaelic online is anything
to go by), so many of the beginners must be dropping out. Naturally,
anyone who remains a serious learner is a benefit to the language, no
matter what inspired them to begin -- I just don't know if there are that
many of them.