This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
A social class represents some balance of forces in the population. It is therefore almost certain to become either more numerous or less numerous, either to increase or to decrease in influence, to change its opinion of itself and of other classes. An example of a declining class is found in a community which contains many immigrants of one nationality. These immigrants make a distinct class, with the language, religion, and other customs brought from their former home. But such a class loses its distinctive character and becomes Americanized in one or more generations according to the degree of communication which it is obliged to maintain with other classes. The successive stages in this process are much the same everywhere. The teacher should have some inkling of what they are, because a school in almost any part of the United States may have to accommodate its work to some foreign element.
Welsh communities in America have made a brave fight to preserve the language of their fatherland, which is so dear to them. . . . The longevity of the Welsh language varies in proportion to the size of the community, its geographical position, the proportion of Welsh in the community, and the degree of migration from Wales into the community. . . .
The average period of persistence of the Welsh language in Welsh communities is about three generations or about 80 years; sometimes more, and frequently less. Concerning the Welsh settlement in Ohio, briefly studied, . . . the following may be stated regarding the longevity of the Welsh language in them. Paddy's Run, settled over a hundred years ago, passed through its most flourishing period in the '30's and '40's. At present there are only four old settlers in Paddy's Run who can speak the Welsh language. ... In the Jackson and Gallia settlement, the strongest and best organized Welsh settlement in America in her palmy days, and the best fortified by natural environment against extraneous influences, the Welsh language is rapidly vanishing, and is being supplanted by English even in the church services. About one-third of the preaching done in the settlement is in English, perhaps more. About two-thirds of the Sunday School classes in the churches are conducted in the English language. Gomer in Allen County, settled in 1838, is rapidly changing its complexion linguistically. Half of the preaching services are in English and more than half of the Sunday School classes are carried on in that tongue. Vendocia in Vanwart County, settled in 1848, is gradually coming to recognize the need of English in the church. Vendocia is the latest of the large settlements, here considered, to be established and therefore the last to show signs of the decline of the Welsh language. Strictly speaking, the signs were evident long ago, but they were not discerned by the leaders in the Welsh church. . . . The Radnor settlement, in Delaware County, once a flourishing Welsh community, is now entirely English in society and church. But the inhabitants of the community are almost all people of Welsh blood, being the descendants of the early Welsh settlers who came to Radnor a hundred years ago.
The Welsh church is the great conserver of Welsh forces, linguistic and otherwise. The Welsh church is the last place to give up the Welsh language. When every other branch of social activity and every social circle, including the home, has ceased to use the Welsh language, the church demands it in public worship, even though every sign points to the need of a change. The main reason for this condition is that the older people cling to their mother tongue from sentiment, and the older people control in church affairs. . . .
In Columbus we have this interesting linguistic condition among the children of the Calvinistic Methodist Church, viz., there are more children, and a larger per cent of the children, of five years old and under, who can speak the Welsh language than there are in the next two age groups, viz., those between the ages of six and ten, and eleven and fifteen respectively. The reason for this is that some Welsh parents are faithful in teaching Welsh to their young children in the home, but as soon as the children go to the public schools and begin to associate with other children they pick up English and in a short time they refuse to express themselves in Welsh even at home, and soon thereafter they cannot speak Welsh at all.
One Ohioan, who has been an officer in the Calvinistic Methodist Church for over 40 years in one of the large cities, and who is American born, said to the writer in a conversation on this question: "Our fathers who laid the foundation of our denomination in this country never dreamed of the present condition of things. They believed that our church would always remain Welsh."
Beginning with the twentieth Century things began to change. One sermon a month was preached in English on Sunday evenings. English classes in Sunday School began to multiply. For a time the linguistic struggle waged in Sunday School. Teachers insisted on teaching Welsh to their pupils during the Sunday School hour, and Welsh children left Sunday School because their teachers insisted on their learning Welsh when they knew nothing of Welsh on the street, in the public school nor even in the home. But the strong Welsh prejudice was overcome in the Sunday School as time went on, and to-day about 28, or perhaps more, classes out of 36 are conducted in English. By the latter part of 1007, English sermons were introduced into the Sunday evening service, regularly every Sunday. The Christian Endeavor Society is now carried on entirely in English.
The fond dream of the Welshman of the past has been for a community in America strictly Welsh, uncontaminated by the extraneous influences, and in which the Welsh language might ever flourish. But this is not to be. The process of Americanization will prevail over the efforts of any foreign group to the contrary. . . . Local groups or communities may try to stay this process, if they will, by clinging to some cardinal custom of their respective father-lands or mother-tongues, but ultimately all must be melted into a uniform American people. - Williams, The Welsh of Columbus, Ohio, pp. 100-112, 124, 129, 130, 135, 136.
An example of a growing class is found in the leaders of organized labor. Teachers constitute a class which is growing slowly, both in numbers and in influence. Feminism is an example of growth of influence of the female sex without growth of numbers.