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!

 

National Supplies

Hello Sister Hibernians. I would like to say just a few words about supplies. I have updated the supply form with the new prices. Our newest item is the notebook for the Constitution and Ritual. The design and size is new.  The book is now one and a half inch instead of one inch as per the request from our members, many of you want to add other items such as state bylaws to the book and now you have a little more room. The old design with the silk screening was very nice but expensive; to replace them with the cost of printing today would have added several dollars to the cost of the book. Many of our members have expressed concern over the cost of supplies so we felt it was better to go with the new design and lower the price of the book. The new price is now $6.00 per book.

The certificates of appreciation and achievement are also complete, costing $2.00 each.

Please visit the web site as the most updated forms are posted.  I would like to thank everyone for your input and patience with the supplies.

If you have any questions or suggestions Please feel free to email or call.

Veterans Affairs

From time to time, we see comments to the effect that in our references to our veterans or our members of the armed forces that we neglect the Coast Guard. That certainly is not the case, at least in my intentions, in this column and in any other activity involving veteran’s affairs.  I recently came across a stream of questions and answers on Yahoo! that started with the question, “If you are in the Coast Guard, are you considered a soldier?” That certainly generated a rather lengthy stream of responses, some humorous, some serious. “Coasties” is certainly not an official term, and one which I do not use. Some have suggested the formal term is “Coast Guardsman” or “Guardian”. Could be. But when I go to the official Coast Guard web site and see references to the “Sailor of the Quarter” award, that is good enough for me. Therefore, whenever I refer to “soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen”, you current and past members of the U.S. Coast Guard are included as “sailors.” Semper Paratus!

As I write this, it is mid-October. I have to get this in to our National Hibernian Digest early, because in a few days I am off to Ireland, so I’m not sure when this will be published, however I need to point out that in November, we have a couple of significant days, namely Veterans Day on November 11, and the 235th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. Semper Fidelis! Also, on November 11 we will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. I have mentioned in the past that the Archdiocese gets no funding from the U. S. government. I encourage you to visit their website at www.milarch.org and make a donation to that fantastic organization that provides pastoral services to all our military, their dependents, federal employees stationed outside the United States, and patients and staff at 153 VA hospitals in the United States and her territories.

A few words about our VA health care system. We currently have about eight million veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. With new veterans entering the system every day and approximately 174,000 Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom patients receiving VA health care, it is clear that the VA has a daunting task. In addition to the 153 medical centers, there are about 770 Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) available to serve the needs of our veterans. Clearly it is the goal of VA to make sure that these resources provide our veterans with treatment that is timely and appropriate to their medical needs. If you are a veteran, are enrolled in the VA health care system, please let the VA know if the treatment you receive is not timely and appropriate. We all deserve the best treatment available in a timely fashion. Help the VA know where they are doing well, and where they are not doing well. And make sure your records are complete and accurate with VA! If you haven’t done that, it makes it more difficult for the health care system to respond in the best possible manner.

Finally, please remember to thank a vet or an active duty soldier, sailor, airman or marine. They are a constant reminder that our cherished freedom is not free.

National Supplies

Hello Sister Hibernians. I would like to say just a few words about supplies. We are updating many of the forms and putting them on the website. The reprinting of the other items is being worked on as we speak. I will have the new dues cards, Revised Rituals and Constitutions soon. If you have any questions Please feel free to email or call.

Check the web site for my info on the supply forms.