Monday, September 4, 2017

Sarwar is seething, Leonard is livid and Rowley is raging as two new subsamples show the SNP way ahead of Labour

I find it pays to aim for maximum alliterative inclusivity at moments of particular chaos for Labour.

The Scottish subsample from the new Britain-wide Survation poll shows something quite rare and exotic - a Tory lead.  The figures are: Conservatives 36%, SNP 33%, Labour 21%, Liberal Democrats 10%.  Survation's subsamples are particularly tiny, and the Tory lead can be explained by the fact that there are too many Tory voters from June in the sample.  By contrast, the SNP's sizeable advantage over Labour can't be dismissed quite so easily - there are too few respondents who recall voting Labour in June, but there are also too few who recall voting SNP.

Meanwhile, a new Scottish subsample from YouGov, which unlike Survation's is probably weighted correctly, puts the SNP into the 40s for the first time since the general election.  The full figures are:  SNP 40%, Labour 26%, Conservatives 23%, Liberal Democrats 5%, Greens 4%, UKIP 1%.

It seems to me there are grounds for cautious optimism here.  Thirteen subsamples out of the twenty conducted since the election have shown the SNP ahead of Labour.  Eleven out of twenty have given the SNP an outright lead, with seven putting Labour ahead.  Survation's new subsample is only the second one to put the Tories in front.  As the Tories have been third most of the time, it seems highly unlikely that they hold the lead - it looks very much like an SNP v Labour battle at the moment, and it also increasingly looks like the SNP have the upper hand.

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Stephen Daisley has today continued his determined quest to make himself the laughing-stock of linguists throughout the world.  There may be continued debate over whether Scots should be regarded as a language in its own right or as a dialect of English, but nobody who understands the subject - literally nobody - describes Scots as "slang English" or an "accent".


Actually, I do have another question as well.  Stephen is well known for regarding himself as a "Zionist", to such an extent that he once penned an article that referred to the 1967 invasion of Palestinian-dominated East Jerusalem as "the liberation".  (Seriously.)  So what I'm wondering is this.   If Stephen had been around more than a century ago when Hebrew was a dead language but was in the process of being artificially revived, would he have advised people not to bother with it and to learn a "real language" that might be of some use in a job interview?  I mean, if enough people had taken that attitude, self-evidently Hebrew would not currently be the dominant language in the State of Israel.  Would that be a good thing or a bad thing, Stephen?

32 comments:

  1. Last ten subsamples average:

    SNP 34%
    Labour: 29%
    Cons: 27%

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    1. It might help James if he also looked and how those in Scotland in the samples voted in June. You can't do this for YouGov (they already have the information on file for their panel) but if you look at the small Survation sample of 75:

      http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/MoS-Poll-Tables-010917.pdf#page=9

      It shows Con 33%, Lab 19%, Lib Dem 13%, UKIP 3%, SNP 32%

      which puts the current Tory 'lead' into perspective. There seems no great changes for any party since the election involved.

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    2. I didn't express myself that well there because I do realise that James made the point about the sample bias. But it is useful to put numbers on it - and if you compare with the actual result:

      SNP 32% (actual 37%)
      Con 33% (29%)
      Lab 19% (27%)
      LD 13% (7%)
      UKIP 3% (0.2%)
      (given how few voted UKIP in Scotland last time it was quite an achievement to find two)

      it shows Labour were worst represented and the 'drop' in their vote illusory. Equally the figures don't show any Labour surge since then. The figures are very static in fact for all Parties.

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  2. An excellent point about Hebrew.

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    1. You nat sis are hardly friends of Israel or the Hebrew language. I can guess what taxpayer subsidised school you lot of fash attended!

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    2. State of this. "Whit school did ye go tae?"

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  3. Is the reasoning here that if Scots is encouraged it will one day become the dominant language of an independent Scotland?

    I can see the use from the point of view of understanding Burns and other historical Scottish texts. But it is pretty far down the list of priorities. Many children can't count or read or write in the language spoken by 99% of their fellow citizens. Fixing that is the priority. Regards, Tom.

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    1. The answer to your first question is no, and I'm puzzled as to why you asked it. Why do you think it is unimportant that Scottish children can communicate well in Scots, a language spoken by roughly 30-40% of their fellow citizens?

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    2. I asked it because you referred to Hebrew becoming the dominant language of Israel. Had Israel adopted another language would it really have been so important? Presumably they'd still be a fairly powerful middle eastern state.

      30-40% of their fellow citizens? Are you sure? So there is a formalised language called Scots that 40% of Scottish people learn? Or is it simply local dialect influenced by social class? Should Scottish children be told to say "Ah Ken" rather than "I know", even those on the west coast where no one talks like that? And with limited educational resources and an education system in crisis, is it really a priority? Tom.

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    3. You entirely misunderstood my point about Hebrew, which was about the fact that it was once a dead language, and thus "useless" in Daisley terms. And yet the revival of the language was a key component of the Zionist project, which Daisley is a wholehearted supporter of.

      I did not use the word "formalised", and neither was it implied. Scots is a non-standardised language which is, yes, spoken by roughly 30-40% of the population. Of course such a widely-spoken language is an educational priority - it would be distinctly odd to suggest otherwise.

      Where are you getting "education system in crisis" from, by the way? This seems to be pretty hysterical stuff.

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    4. If it's not standardised, then it's not a language. And to teach it as a language it would first have to be standardised.

      It's no secret that the government is having some serious problems with its curriculum for excellence and falling literacy and numeracy. This has to be sorted first before trying to teach a language that doesn't really exist? Tom

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    5. "If it's not standardised, then it's not a language."

      That's an absolutely ridiculous statement, which is as clueless as anything Daisley has said. The vast majority of the world's languages are non-standardised.

      Do some reading on the subject and then get back to us.

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    6. If it's non standardised then it's a collection of languages as one word can be spelled and pronounced in a multitude of different ways and one concept can have a multitude of different words associated with it, all with different spellings and pronunciations. Do we teach all of them? And what would be the use in teaching such a thing when the basics needs strengthened and English, Chinese Mandarin and Polish are immeasurably more relevant to success in 21st century Britain? Tom

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    7. You don't seem to have registered what I've just told you. The vast majority of the world's languages are non-standardised, just like Scots. What is your reaction to that fact, which you appear to have been completely unaware of until ten minutes ago?

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    8. But the bigger more widely spoken languages - the important ones, dare I say it, are standardised and therefore easier to learn / remember. If something is both more useful and easier to learn, then this is what you teach in the 10-15% of their lives in which 3-18 year olds are in school. Tom

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    9. For someone who was essentially unaware of the concept of non-standardised languages twenty minutes ago, you've developed hard-and-fast opinions about their place in the education system at remarkable speed.

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    10. I know that English, French, Spanish, Polish and Chinese Mandarin are infinitely more useful than Scots. Hell, never even mind any of that - just get them competent in reading, writing and arithmetic first - and basic social skills. These are sorely lacking in todays pupils, as any employer will tell you. Tom

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    11. You are yet to credibly explain why teaching Scots would hinder the teaching of those other subjects, as opposed to helping (as seems far more likely) or having a neutral effect. Doubtless you are about to do so.

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    12. It hinders them because it takes up time. A child leaving school at 18 will have spent 10% of their life up until that point in a school. Educational time is too important to be spent on things that are surplus to requirements - like dead, poorly defined languages that are really just a warping of another language. I am an educator so I have some idea of what I'm talking about. Children - especially poor children in deprived areas - need the basics reinforced and then delivered a curriculum that is of some practical use to them. Tom

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    13. And now of course you'll need to explain why you're disregarding the strong evidence that bilingualism makes learning new languages (such as French and Polish) a much easier and quicker process. I'm sure you must have a good reason, even if I can't imagine what it would be.

      Scots is not a 'dead' language, and you're making yourself look ridiculous by saying things like that. It's spoken by more people than Icelandic.

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    14. Why the emphasis on Scots though? If we're going to teach bilingualism then surely English and Polish would be a better bet in modern day Britain? All the people who speak Scots speak English anyway. In fact, Scots is just a variation of English - a collection of local dialects, based upon English. I can read a passage in Scots and tell what all or most of it means. I have never been educated in Scots - but it is so similar to English that my knowledge of English is enough to get by. That's because it is English, just spelled and pronounced in a funny way. I would prefer children to learn contemporary English. It is simply more useful. Tom.

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    15. "Why the emphasis on Scots though?"

      Because one of the basic goals of education is to help children master their own native tongue, and also because it's a great deal easier for a child to achieve bilingualism in languages he or she is already familiar with.

      "All the people who speak Scots speak English anyway"

      Apart from the very youngest children, practically everyone who speaks Swedish also speaks English. That hasn't rendered Swedish redundant - and just try telling a teacher in Stockholm that helping children to communicate well in Swedish is a distraction from the really important stuff.

      "In fact, Scots is just a variation of English - a collection of local dialects, based upon English."

      No, I'm sorry, but you're very poorly informed about this. Scots and English both descended from the same ancestor language. They're sister languages - one is not "based" on the other. As for the 'collection of dialects' point, yes, Scots has dialects. It's not unusual for a language to have dialects. English has dialects. Hadn't you noticed?

      "I can read a passage in Scots and tell what all or most of it means...that's because it is English, just spelled and pronounced in a funny way"

      This is fast turning into 'Ignorance of Scots Bingo'. Speakers of Spanish and Portuguese have little problem understanding each other's language in written form, regardless of whether they've had any formal education in it. That does not mean Portuguese is "just Spanish, spelled in a funny way".

      One thing that has become clear from your most recent comment, though, is that you're probably not from Scotland yourself, which may explain a lot.

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    16. Latin is probably your real preference James.

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    17. Having once read an account of the linguistic and etymological contortions involved in the creation of the French Academy's first dictionary in the 1690's, I am inclined to regard standardised languages as artificial constructs imposed on the living. Indeed I have heard one or two very formal and precise speakers of my acquaintances criticised on the grounds that "he/she talks like a book".

      Am I justified in my suspicion that you previous contributor is monoglot ?

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  4. Wonder what Daisley thinks of the BBC website news pages in pidgin. Is it a dialect or an accent, Daisley? Should they be forced to learn proper English?

    https://www.bbc.com/pidgin

    Although, to be fair, the BBC probably produce it to try and influence West Africans rather than because they have any respect for it's existence.

    (Have a look, folks, if you haven't seen it yet, it's fab)

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  5. I have no doubt at all that Scottish Labour figures will be deeply troubled by this important polling information. They know another election could happen at any time. Their "success" in June was absurdly overhyped, and it now looks like it could be very short-lived indeed. Worrying times for my party.

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  6. Dunno why anyone is interested in what another Daily Heil racist columnist has to say....

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    1. You English hater would be familiar with fascists.

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    2. Like you, you mean? Yes, we're all too familiar with your ultra-right-wing ravings...

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  7. We also speak doric in Scotland...Aberdeen. I love our languages..Watching Shetland was great..like knowing a secret language..i did not need subtitles! It is a shame we are losing so many with the passing of the 'auld yins'! xx

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  8. My family has always watched a lot of bbc tv shows etc ...exactly how many people in england speak a version of english that is standardized? Benedict cumberbatch calls penguins pen-kins...just saying.

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