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!

Catholic Action

James J. Burke, N. Y. State Secretary, New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan & Jere Cole, Jr. National Director &New Jersey State President attended a reception at Consul General of Ireland Niall Burgess’ Office in New York

Friendship, Unity and True Christian Charity.  This is the motto of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  What do you think of when you see the words “True Christian Charity?”  Does it mean giving of your time?  Your talent?  Your treasure?  Perhaps you think of charitable action, something you physically do for another person.  But what does charitable action look like?  Does it mean healing people like Jesus did?  Or perhaps trotting around the globe preaching the Good News to different cultures like Paul?  Maybe it means taking care of the widows and orphans, the poor and the marginalized.

True Christian charity can mean all of these things.  Different members of the church body are called to minister in different ways in the world.  But, when we think of Christian charity, sometimes we tend to focus on the “big things.”  What are the long range goals of a project?  How many people is it reaching?  Is it international?  While all of these can be good questions, Christian charity is not just about the “big things.”  Not all of us will heal people or travel the world working with the poor.

In fact, true Christian charity is really not about action.  True Christian charity begins in your heart.  You give because God gives abundantly to you.  You love because God overwhelmingly loves you.  You act on behalf of others because Jesus acted sacrificially on your behalf.  It is not the size or the scope of the action that matters, but the sentiment behind it.  You do not need to leave your neighborhood or start a new ministry to practice true Christian charity.  You can start right now in your own home, your own workplace and your own neighborhood.

Why not try it out for yourself.  Put one of these suggestions into practice this week:

1.            Take the first step in reconciling a broken relationship.

2.            Ask someone how they are doing, and really take the time to listen to their response.

3.            Tell someone who serves you in a store or at work that you appreciate them and what they are doing.

4.            Offer to help a neighbor with something.

These may seem like small acts, but I promise they will have big rewards – both for the recipient and for you!