Tomhas na Teanga

Bíonn níos mó ná slí amháin ann chun rud ar bith a rá.  There’s always more than one way to say anything at all.  Tá stór focal an-mhór ag an nGaeilge, agus cora cainte go leor freisin.  Irish has a very big vocabulary, and plenty of idiomatic sayings, too.  I mbaile amháin, tá nós éigin ann, agus minic go leor, sa bhaile béal dorais, tá nós eile ann.  In one town, there’s one way, and very often, in the town next door, there’s another way.  Bíonn difríochtaí idir nósanna daoine áirithe, freisin, dar ndóigh.  There are different ways amongst particular people, too, of course.  Agus na difríochtaí is mó, is idir na canúintí iadsan.  And the biggest differences, they are between the dialects.  Tá seanfhocal ann a deir “ná déan nós agus ná bris nós,” ach ní thagaim leis an gceann sin – ró-shean-nósach, dar liom.  There’s a proverb that says “don’t make up a way and don’t break from a way,” but I don’t go along with that one – too old-fashioned, in my opinion.  Is fearr ann ná as é go mbíonn roghanna againn.  It’s better that we have choices.

An fhadhb is mó a bhíonn ag daoine maidir leis an gCaighdeán Oifigiúil ná go gceapann siad nach bhfuil ceadaithe ach nós amháin ar rud, agus síleann daoine áirithe nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge lena dtógadh iad ceart de réir an Chaighdeáin.  The biggest problem that people have regarding the Official Standard is that they think it only permits one way for a thing, and some people think that the Irish they were raised with isn’t correct according to the Standard.  Ach ní ionann ceart agus caighdeánach.  But correct and standard are not the same thing.  Agus fiú faoi rialacha an CO, is féidir a lán nósanna difriúla a úsáid.  And even under the rules of the CO, it’s possible to use a lot of styles.  Is iomaí abairt i leabhar an CO a thosnaíonn leis na focail “Is iondúil…”  It’s many the sentence in the CO that starts with the words “It’s usual…”

Tá sé níos fusa litriú agus gramadach caighdeánach a mhúineadh agus (don fhoghlaimeoir) a thuiscint.  It’s easier to teach and (for the student) to understand standardized spelling and grammar.  Sin an fáth go bhfuil sé ann.  That’s why it exists.  Ach níl aon amhras ach go bhfuil an teanga i bhfad níos saibhre ná an CO, agus níor mhaith le héinne bac a chur ar aon nós nádúrtha sa teanga labhartha.  But there is no  doubt that the language is a lot richer than the CO, and nobody wants to restrict any natural way of speaking.

An sampla is coitianta ná na trí abairt seo leanas:  Conas tá tú?  Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?  Cad é mar atá tú?  The most common example is the following three sentences…  Tá siad cosúil leis an mBéarla, How ya doin’?  How’s it going?  How are you?  They are similar to the English…  An bhfuil aon cheann acu sin mícheart?   Is any one of them incorrect? An bhfuil aon cheann acu sin dothuigthe?  Is any one of them unintelligible?  Nach méanar dúinn go mbíonn roghanna againn!  Aren’t we fortunate that we have choices!  Bheadh an saol i bhfad ní ba leadránaí gan a leithéid.  Life would be a lot more boring without such things.

Botún an dhéanann a lán foghlaimeoirí is ea go mbíonn siad ag iarraidh abairtí casta an Bhéarla a aistriú go habairtí casta sa Ghaeilge.  A mistake that a lot of learners make is that they try to translate complicated English sentences to complicated Irish sentences.   Ach ní bhíonn an Ghaeilge go maith nuair a bhíonn sí casta.  But the Irish tends not to be  good when it’s complicated.  Molaim i gcónaí na habairtí casta sin a shimpliú.  I always recommend simplifying those sentences.  Mar a thosaigh mé, bíonn níos mó ná slí amháin ann chun rud ar bith a rá.  As I began, there’s always more than one way to say anything.  Mura bhfuil na focail agat chun an chéad rud a ritheann leat a rá, déan athmhachnamh air, agus seans go bhfuil na focail agat chun an smaointe sin a chur in iúl ar dhóigh eile.  If you don’t have the words to say the first thing that occurs to you, think about it again, and there’s a good chance that you’ll have to words to express that same thought another way.

Is minic go mbíonn cainteoirí dúchasacha cumhal nuair a bhíonn siad le daoine nach bhfuil an canúint céanna acu.   Often native speakers are bashful when they are speaking with people that don’t speak the same dialect.  Caithfear a bheith níos misniúla.  Folks have to be braver.  Aon uair nach dtuigeann duine thú, ní bhíonn an locht ortsa, agus leis sin, bíonn tú ábalta an rud a mhíniú i dtéarmaí difriúla, más gá.  Any time someone doesn’t understand you, it’s not your fault, and also, you can explain the thing in other terms, if necessary.  Mar shampla, uair amháin, d’fhiafraigh duine díom “Cén tslí bheatha atá agat?” agus níor thuig mé.   For example, one time someone asked me “What do you do for a living?” and I didn’t understand.   Ní raibh fonn comhráite air ina dhiaidh sin, mar cheap sé nach raibh a chuid Gaeilge intuigthe do dhaoine ón taobh amuigh.  He didn’t feel like talking after that, because he thought his Irish wasn’t intelligible to someone from the outside.  Ach b’fhéidir leis “Cad a dhéanann tú gach lá?” nó “Céard é an post atá agat?” nó a lán rudaí eile.   But he could have said “What do you do every day?” or “What job do you have?” or a lot of other things.   Post, jab, slí bheatha – bíonn roghanna focal ann.   Position, job, living – there are lots of words to choose from.  Nó is féidir cabhair a thabhairt le comhthéacs.   Or it is possible to help with context.   “Is mise tógálaí – cén tslí bheatha atá agatsa?” mar shampla.  “I’m a builder – how do you make a living?” for example.  Bíodh misneach agat, lean ar aghaidh – agus ná hiompaigh go Béarla má tá Gaeilge ar bith ag do chomhpháirtí – ba mhaith leo í a labhairt!  Be brave, carry on – and don’t switch to English if the other person has any Irish at all – they’d like to speak it!

Tomhas na Teanga

Bíonn rotha mór an tsaoil ag dul timpeall. The wheel of the world keeps going ‘round. Bíonn an saol ag athrú, sin a rá. The world is always changing, that is. Agus ní athraíonn aon rud chomh tapúil agus a athraíonn an teicneolaíocht. And nothing changes as quickly as technology. Nuair a bhí m’athair óg, d’fheictí capaill agus cairteacha go coitianta gCathair Nua-Eabhrac fós.  When my father was young, it was still common to see horses and carts in NYC. Bhíodh tralaithe agus gal-traenacha  ann. There used to be trolleys and steam trains. In Éirinn, fiu le linn m’óige féin, ní raibh leictreachas ar fáil faoin tuath.  In Ireland, even in my own youth, there was no electricity to be had in the countryside. Is deacair a chreidiúint nach mbíodh teilifíseán ag an uile dhuine, ach ní bhíodh.  It’s hard to believe that everybody didn’t have a TV, but they didn’t. Ná ríomhaire, ná fón póca! Or a computer or a cell phone! Conas a b’fhéidir le daoine maireachtáil mar sin?! How could people live like that?!

Bíonn an t-athrú deacair mar rud, minic go leor.  Change is hard, very often. Sin ráite, is iomaí rud maith a thagann as.  That said, lots of good things come of it. Is beag rud sa saol seo atá buan, agus ní mór dúinn go léir dul i ngleic leis an saol mar atá, agus mar a bheidh – an teicneolaíocht san áireamh.  Very little in this world is permanent, and we have to come to grips with the world as it is, and as it will be –technology included. Tá daoine ann, fós féin, a dhiúltaíonn an teicneolaíocht nua. There are people, nevertheless, who reject the new technology. Tá aithne agam ar dhaoine gan teilifíseán, agus tá siad sásta lena saol.  I know people with no TV, and they’re happy with their lives. Bíonn roghanna againn mar sin – ach bíonn níos mó roghanna ann i gcónaí!  So we always have choices – but there are always more choices!

Éiríonn an saol níos casta agus níos éasca ag an am céanna, ar dhóigheanna áirithe. Life gets more complicated and easier at the same time, in certain ways. Cuir i gcás an ríomhaire.  Take computers. Tá an iliomad rud níos éasca sa lá atá inniu ann mar gheall ar an ríomhaire – taighde a dhéanamh, litreacha a sheoladh, ticéid nó rud ar bith a cheannach, srl. Many things are easier today because of computers – doing research, sending letters, buying tickets or anything at all, etc. Ach ní mór do dhuine foghlaim conas ríomhaire a úsáid.  But a person has to learn how to use a computer. Agus ceann a roghnú, roimhe sin.  And how to pick one, before that. Agus bíonn an bogearraí ag athrú i gcónaí.  And the software is always changing. Agus, Dia dár sábháil, má tá fadhb agat le do ríomhaire, is féidir mórán ama a chaitheamh amú ar thóir a réitigh. And, God save us, if you have a problem with your computer, you can waste a lot of time looking for its resolution. Rud a shábhálann am dúinn de ghnáth, is féidir leis am a ghoid uainn níos mó ná aon rud eile, idir fadhbanna agus cluichí nó súgradh ar an idirlíon srl.  Something that usually saves us time, it can steal time from us more than anything else, between problems and games or playing on the internet. Paradacsa is ea é.  It’s a paradox.

Minic go leor, nuair a thagann rud nua ar an saol, imíonn rud eile. Lots of times, when a new thing comes along, something else goes away. De réir a chéile a tharlaíonn seo, den chuid is mó. This happens gradually, mostly. Nuair a thánaig na Diesel chun tosaigh ar na hiarnróid, níor cailleadh gach gal-inneall traenach ar an lá céanna.  When Diesels took over on the railroads, every steam engine wasn’t lost on the same day. Ach d’imigh siad, agus d’imigh ní ba thapúla céim ar chéim.  But they went away, and did so more quickly step by step. Is breá le daoine mar mise iad, agus sábháladh roinnt díobh, ach ní úsáidtear iad ar chor ar bith chun fíor-ghnó a dhéanamh níos mó.  People like me love them, and some of them were saved, but they’re never used any more for real business. Is breá liom na traenacha nua, agus tá siad níos fearr, gan dabht.  I love the new trains, and they’re better, no doubt. Níos saoire, níos cumhachtaí, srl.  Cheaper, more powerful, etc. Ach tá grá agam do na sean-chinn freisin. But I love the old ones, too.

Tá clóscríobhán leictreach agam sa bhaile. I have an electric typewriter at home. Nuair a fuair mé é, bhí sé sean, ach i bhfad ní b’fhearr ná na sean-chlóscríobháin a bhíodh agam.  When I got it, it was old, but much better than the old typewriters I used to have. An cuimhin leat na ribíní agus an white out? Do you remember the ribbons and…? An bhfuil a fhios agat cá bhfuaireamar an giorrúchán ‘cc?’  Do you know where we got the abbreviation ‘cc?’ Is cuimhin liomsa.  I remember. Nuair a bhí mo pháistí óg, bhain siad sult as an gclóscríobhán leictreach mar rud aisteach suntasach.  When my kids were little, they had fun with the electric typewriter which was strange and interesting. Ní minic a fheictear rud mar é riamh níos mó lasmuigh de iarsmalann.  You don’t ever see such a thing any more outside of a museum. Tá ríomhaire ag gach éinne.  Everybody has a computer. Nach bhfuil sé ait anois sean-phictiúr d’oifig gan ríomhairí a fheiscint? Isn’t it strange when you see an old picture of an office with no computers?

Glacaimid leis na rudaí nua (de ghnáth), ach bíonn cuimhní cinn breátha againn de na stuif atá ag imeacht ón saol, minic go leor.  We accept the new things (usually), but we have fine memories of the stuff that’s disappearing, very often. Meascán a bhíonn ann idir an sean is an nua. It’s a mix of the old and the new. An t-aon rud buan, sin an t-athrú. The only thing permanent is change.