Tomhas na Teanga

Cé gurb amhlaidh go mbíonn an dúlra ina namhaid dúinn uaireanta, mar a bhí leis na stoirmeacha uafásacha a tharla i mbliana, níos minice is cara, fiú máthair dúinn é.  Even though sometimes nature is our enemy, as it was with the terrible storms that happened this year, more often it is a friend, even a mother to us.  Agus go háirithe san earrach agus sa samhradh, bíonn deis againn taitneamh a bhaint as.  And especially in the spring and summer, we have a chance to enjoy it.  Stadaimis agus bolaímis na bláthanna, mar sin!  So let’s stop and smell the flowers!

Is caitheamh aimsire breá an gharraíodóireacht, agus táim cinnte go bhfuil garraithe thar barr ag a lán ball dár n-ord seo.  Gardening is a great hobby, and I’m certain that a lot of our order’s members have great gardens.  Níl an ceann atá againne chomh galánta.  The one we have isn’t so fine.  Tá plandaí éagsúla ann, an iomarca luifearnach ina measc…  There are various plants, too many weeds amongst them…  Ach táthar ag súil go bhfaighimid glasraí dár gcuid féin as.  It is hoped that we will get our own vegetables from it.  Agus dar ndóigh, tá bláthanna ann, freisin.  And of course, there are flowers, too.

Mura bhfuil spás nó am go leor agat chun do gharraí féin a chur is freastal air, is iomaí garraí pobail atá ann.  If you don’t have space or time to plant and attend to your own garden, there are lots of community ones.  Tá ceann ag mo pharóiste.  My parish has one.  Tugann scaifte daoine ón gcomharsanacht aire dó.  A group of people from the neighborhood tend it.  Ar mo shlí ón traein go dtí m’oifig i mBrooklyn, siúlaim thar cheann eile, ar leis an gcomharsanacht é.  On the way from the train to my office…I walk past another one, which belongs to the neighborhood.  Níl na cinn seo an-mhór, ach tá siad go deas agus cé nach n-ithim na glasraí, bainim taitneamh as na bláthanna agus an boladh deas atá orthu (agus ar na luibheanna, freisin).  These aren’t very big, but they’re nice and although I don’t eat the veggies, I enjoy the flowers and their nice smell (and that of the herbs, too).

Tá garraithe móra poiblí ann, freisin – crannlanna ina measc.  There are also big public gardens – including arboretums.  Bhí an aimsir go dian ar na crainn i mbliana, agus cailleadh roinnt mhór díobh, faraor, ach fós féin, mhair an chuid is mó díobh, agus is breá an rud é am a mheilt i measc na gcrann galánta éagsúil.  The weather was hard on the trees this year, and a lot of them were lost, alas, but just the same, most of them lived, and it a fine thing to while away the time in the midst of various noble trees.  Ar na sean eastáit ar Inis Fada i Nua-Eabhrac, cuireadh crannlanna agus gairdíní breátha, agus tá roinnt mhór díobh seo ina bpáirceanna poiblí anois.  On the old estates on Long Island in NY, arboretums and fine gardens were planted, and a lot of them are public parks now.

San earrach, thug mé cuairt ar ghairdíní Hershey in PA.  In the spring, I visited Hershey Gardens…  Bhí na tiúilipí faoi bhláth ag an am, agus b’iontach an radharc iad.  The tulips were in bloom, and they were a wonderful sight.  Tá na garraithe seo ar bharr cnoic, agus is féidir Hershey Park a fheiscint uathu.  These gardens are on the top of a hill, and you can see…from them.  Crannlann atá ann chomh maith, agus tá fiú crónghiúisí acu.  There’s an arboretum too, and they even have redwoods.  Tá cróghiúis na caomhaire againn sa bhaile.  We have a dawn redwood at home.  Tá a lán acu seo sa Bhablóin, ar Inis Fada, mar atá.  There are a lot of these in Bablyon, on Long Island, as it happens.  Ach tá na cinn ón gcósta thiar – Sequoiadendron gigantea – acu in Hershey.  But they have the ones from the west coast…  Níl siad chomh mór leis na cinn in California, ach tá siad mór go leor.  They’re not as big as the ones in CA, but they’re big enough.

Tá Garraithe na Lus (na luibheolaíochta) mór le rá againn sa Bhroncs (agus in áiteanna eile), i Nua-Eabhrac.  We have big Botanical Gardens in the Bronx (and in other places), in NY.  Agus tá a leithéid ann ar fud na tíre, más níos lú an chuid is mó díobh.  And there are similar ones all over the country, even if they are usually smaller.  In Éirinn, tá Garraithe Náisiúnta na Lus ann i nGlas Naíon, sráidbhaile ó thuaidh ó Bhaile Átha Cliath.  In Ireland, the National Botanical Gardens are in Glasnevin, a town north of Dublin. Tá an méid seo leanas (agus níos mó) fúthu le fáil ar an suíomh idirlín www.heritageireland.ie/ga: The following (and more) can be found on the website…:  “Bunaíodh Garraithe Náisiúnta na Lus sa bhliain 1795.”  The NBG were founded in… “Tá clú agus cáil orthu as na tiomsacháin bhreátha de phlandaí ina bhfuil breis is 17,000 de speicis agus de chineálacha plandaí as áiteanna ar fud fad na cruinne.”  They are famous for their fine collection of plants, which includes more than [15,000 sa leagan Béarla atá acu – tá sé difriúil ar fad!] species and kinds of plants from places all over the world.  “Tá cáil orthu de bharr na ngairdíní áille tírdhreachtaithe agus na dtithe gloine, go háirithe Raon Cuarlíneach Turner agus Teach na Pailme Móire, atá athchóirithe go fíor-ornáideach agus plandaí curtha iontu.”  They’re famous for the beautiful landscaped gardens and greenhouses, especially the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House, which have been restored very ornately with plants planted in them.

Agus is iomaí gairdín eile atá ann i mBaile Átha Cliath agus ar fud Éireann agus ar fud Meiriceá.  And there are many other gardens in Dublin and all over Ireland and all over America.  Tabhair cuairt ar cheann nó dhó sa samhradh seo!  Visit one or two this summer!

Tomhas na Teanga

Bhí deis agam tamall ó shin bualadh le daoine deasa in Astoria ag teach tábhairne darb ainm Lavelle’s.  I had a chance to meet some nice people a while ago at the pub…in…  Daoine as an nGaeltacht roinnt díobh, agus a sleachta na daoine eile.  Gaeltacht people and their children.  Thaispeáin mé cóipeanna den irisleabhar An Gael dóibh.   I showed them copies of An Gael Foilsítear An Gael sna Stáit, as Gaeilge amháin (is mise an t-eagarthóir – féach www.angaelmagazine.com).  An Gael is published in Irish only in the States (I’m the editor).  Bhí siad an-sásta leis.  The liked it a lot.  Ach dúirt duine  liom nach léann sé mórán as Gaeilge níos mó, mar níl sé cleachta leis an gcló Rómhánach ná an litriú caighdeánach.   But one person told me he doesn’t read a lot in Irish any more, since he’s not familiar with the  Roman type and standardized spelling.   Thaispeáin mé dó go mbíonn ábhar sa seanchló ar chúl na hirise, agus bhí sé sásta leis sin.  I showed him that there’s always material in the old type in the back of the magazine, and he was pleased with that.  Ach is iomaí duine cosúil leisean atá ann, agus ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a scríobh faoin gcló nua agus an caighdeán oifigiúil.  But there are lots of people like him, and I would like to write a few words about the new type and the official standard.  (Tá alt maith ar an ábhar seo ar fáil ar vicipéid – sin wikipedia as Gaeilge:  ga.wikipedia.org).

Is léir nach raibh cló ag aon teanga go dtí timpeall 500 bliain ó shin, mar ní bhíodh ann ach lámhscríbhinn.  Clearly no language had print until around 500 years ago, as they just had hand written manuscripts.  Bhíodh a nósanna féin ag tíortha éagsúla chun a dteangacha féin a scríobh.  Each country had its own ways of writing their languages.  Nuair a thosaigh tíortha chun leabhair a chur i gcló, roghnaigh cúpla tír a gcló féin a úsáid, a bhí cosúil le nósanna na lámhscríbhinne a bhíodh acu.  When countries first started printing books, a few chose to use their own type, which resembled the way they wrote those  manuscripts.  Bhí an Fraktur sa Ghearmáin, agus an cló Gaelach in Éirinn.  Germany had… and Ireland had the Gaelic type.  Roghnaigh Éilís a hAon an cló Gaelach a cuireadh i bhfeidhm, mar a tharlaíonn.   Elizabeth I chose to use the Gaelic type, as it happens.   Ach tá sé bunaithe ar sheantraidisiún na lámhscríbhinne in Éirinn.  But it is based on the writing in traditional Irish manuscripts.

Ar ball, d’iompaigh beagnach gach tír i dtreo an chló Rómhánaigh, mar bhí sé ní ba shaoire chun an cló sin a cheannach agus a úsáid, agus tá sé níos simplí le léamh.  Eventually, almost every country turned in the direction of the Roman type, because it was cheaper to buy and use, and was easier to read.  Ní raibh ríomhairí ann, ach clóphreasanna agus clóscríobháin.  There were no computers, but rather  printing presses and typewriters.  Ní raibh sé éasca cló Gaelach a fháil chucu sin.   It wasn’t easy to get the Gaelic type for them.   Nuair a chéad fhoilsíodh An Gael (An Gaodhal) sa naoú haois déag, níorbh fhéidir an iris ina hiomlán a dhéanamh as Gaeilge, mar ní raibh a ndóthain litreacha as an gcló Gaelach acu, mar shampla.  When An Gael was first published in the 19th century, it couldn’t be all in Irish, because they didn’t have enough Gaelic letters, as an example.

Bhí sé de rún ag rialtas na hÉireann chomh fada siar leis na fichidí aistriú ón gcló Gaelach go dtí an cló Rómhánach.  The Irish government intended to convert from the Gaelic type to the Roman as far back as the twenties.  Ach bhí sé sin an-chonspóideach.   But that was very controversial.   Bhí na múinteoirí ina éadan go háirithe, mar bhíodh na leabhair scoile go léir sa seanchló.  The teachers were especially against it, since all the school books were in the old type.  Níor éirigh leis an rialtas cúrsaí a athrú go huile is go hiomlán go dtí 1963!  The government didn’t succeed completely until…  Mar sin, is iomaí duine atá againn fós atá níos compordaí leis an gcló Gaelach.  So we still have a lot of people who are more comfortable with the Gaelic type.

Níorbh é sin an t-aon rud a athraíodh, dar ndóigh.  This wasn’t the only thing changed, of course.  Rinneadh caighdeánú (is simpliú) ar litriú (agus ar ghramadach) na Gaeilge, freisin.   They standardized (and simplified) the spelling (and grammar) of Irish, too.   Bíonn gá le caighdeánú i dteanga ar bith, ionas go mbeidh gach duine i ngach áit ábalta an rud céanna a léamh, agus ionas go mbeidh córas amháin in úsáid sna scoileanna.  All languages need standardization, so everyone everywhere can read the same thing, and so there will be one system in the schools.  Tá cúrsaí casta sa Ghaeilge mar gur teanga bheag í, agus níor mhaith le héinne nósanna na gcainteoirí dúchasacha a chailleadh.  Things are complicated with Irish, because it’s a small language, and no one wants to lose the native ways of speaking.  Mar sin, de ghnáth, ní bhacann na cainteoirí is fearr leis an gcaighdeán, cé go bhfoghlaimíonn beagnach gach foghlaimeoir é.  So, usually, the best speakers don’t bother with the standard, even though almost all learners learn it.  Tuigimid a chéile, ach is iomaí saghas Gaeilge atá ann fós.  We understand each other, but there are still lots of varieties of Irish.

Rinneadh iarracht chun gnéithe na gcanúintí go léir a snaidhm le chéile sa chaighdeán, agus mar sin, níl aon chainteoir dúchasach sásta leis.  They tried to weave together traits of all the dialects in the standard, and so no native speaker is satisfied with it.  Ní teanga nádúrtha atá ann sa chaighdeán.  The standard is not a natural  language.  Ach is amhlaidh i dteanga ar bith.  But that’s the way any language is.  Bíonn difear ann idir teanga oifigiúil scríofa agus teanga an tí.  There’s always a difference between the official written language and language at home.  Ní mór don uile dhuine an dá nós a fhoghlaim, chun a bheith dea-oilte.  Everyone needs to learn both ways of speaking, to be well educated.  An ndéanann sé dochar do na canúintí?   Does it hurt the dialects?  Ní dóigh liom.  I don’t think so.  Ach ní bhíonn aon teanga socraithe go deo – bíonn an fás is an t-athrú ann.  But no language is settled for ever – there’s always growth and change.  Is fiú d’aon duine an iarracht a dhéanamh chun gach saghas Gaeilge a thuiscint.  It’s worth it for anyone to try to understand every kind of Irish.  Níl sé chomh deacair sin!  It’s not that hard!