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!