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!

 

Tomhas na Teanga

Táthar ag súil go mbeidh Éire aontaithe faoi cheann céad bliain, in 2016. It is hoped for that Ireland will be united within a hundred years, in 2016. Agus is féidir sin.  And that’s possible. Ar a laghad, is iontach an dul chun cinn atá ann ó 1910, céad bliain ó shin.  At the least, it’s wonderful the progress that has happened since 1910, a hundred years ago. Uaireanta, bíonn céad bliain de dhíth.  Sometimes a hundred years are needed. Bhí timpeall an méid sin ama ann idir deireadh Chogadh Cathartha Mheiriceá agus fíor-shaoirse na ndaoine gorma sa tír seo.  It was about that much time between the end of the American Civil War and true freedom for black people in this country. Bhí an t-irisleabhar Gaeilge An Gael as cló (mar iris na Gaeilge) le breis is céad bliain.  The Irish language magazine An Gael was out of print (as an Irish language publication) for more than a hundred years. Agus dóbair gur scriosadh cultúr na nIndiach Dearg i Meiriceá breis is céad bliain ó shin.   And it almost happened that American Indian culture was destroyed more than a hundred years ago. Ach, mar a tharla in Éirinn, thosaigh siad a gcearta a éilimh ó na seascaidí/seachtóidí ar aghaidh, agus tá misneach agus dóchas ag fás ina measc ó shin i leith.  But as it happened in Ireland, they started to demand their rights starting in the sixties/seventies, and courage and hope are increasing among them ever since.

Is mionteanga í an Ghaeilge, agus ní labhraíonn ach mionlach na nGael í.  Irish is a small language, and only a minority of the Gaelic people speak it. Ach sin na mílte duine (ní aontaíonn éinne faoin uimhir chruinn…).  But that is thousands of people (nobody agrees on the exact number…). Tá treibheanna na nIndiach ann nach raibh an méid sin daoine iontu riamh, atá ag caomhnú a dteangacha fós.  There are Indian tribes which never had that many people in them, which are now preserving their languages. Tá níos lú ná caoga daoine ann atá líofa i dteanga na gCeann Réidh (Saelis), ach tá dóchas ann fós dóibh, mar tá na daoine sin ag múineadh na teanga agus ag cothú suime inti.  There are fewer than fifty people who are fluent in the Flathead (Salish) language, but there is still hope for them, because those people are teaching the language and promoting an interest in it. Féach www.salishworld.com.  See… Agus tá treibheanna eile ag déanamh amhlaidh – féach www.pieganinstitute.org, mar shampla, chun obair na gCos Dubh a fheiscint.   And there are other tribes doing likewise – see…, for example, to see the work of the Blackfeet. Tá an dá threibh seo ina gcónaí in Montana, áit a raibh mé ar cuairt i mbliana.  These two tribes live in Montana, a place I visited this year. Níl a dteanga fágtha do gach treibh, agus níl sé ag éirí le gach treibh a theanga a choimeád beo, agus tá na céadta teanga Indiach ann (féach www.native-languages.org).    Not every tribe still has its language, and not every tribe is succeeding in keeping their language alive, and there are hundreds of Indian languages (see…). Mar sin féin, tar éis céad bliain, tá suim agus dóchas ann, agus cá bhfios? Nevertheless, after a hundred years, there is interest and hope, and who knows?

Níl sé éasca, agus tá na fadhbanna céanna acu agus atá againne.  It’s not easy, and they have the same problems we have. Bíonn daoine ann nach dtuigeann tábhacht a dteanga dá bhféiniúlacht is dá gcultúr, agus ní bhíonn sé éasca na daoine óga a mhealladh chuici.  There are always people who don’t understand the importance of their language to their identity and their culture, and it’s never easy to draw young people to it. Bíonn brú an Bhéarla ag cur isteach orthu, freisin.  English is always putting pressure on them, too. Ach mar atá ar siúl in Éirinn, tá siad ag bunadh scoileanna chun a dteangacha a roinnt leis na páistí.  But as is going on in Ireland, they are founding schools to share their languages with the children. Tá cearta daonna na nIndiach agus na nGael níos sábháilte ná riamh, ach mar sin féin, bíonn biogóidí ann fós, agus tugtar dímheas dár dteangacha i gcónaí.  Human rights for the Indians and for the Gaels are more secure than ever, but just the same, there are still bigots, and our languages are always being disrespected. Ar an láimh eile, tuigeann níos mó daoine ná le fada an lá go bhfuil sé rí-thábhachtach anam an phobail a chothú agus is cuid bhunúsach de sin teanga na ndaoine.  On the other hand, more people understand than have for a long time that it’s extremely important to nourish the soul of the people, and the people’s language is fundamental to that. Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam, deirtear.  A country with no language has no soul, it is said.

Breis is céad bliain ó shin, bhíodh na treibheanna thuasluaite ag troid in aghaidh a chéile.  Over a hundred years ago, the tribes mentioned above used to fight each other. Níl sé amhlaidh sa lá atá inniu ann. It’s not like that these days. Bhí tionchar na Críostaíochta ar a lán acu, agus bhuail mé le roinnt daoine de na Cosa Dearga ag Aifreann iontach in Browning, ag séipéal an Bhláithín.  Christianity influenced a lot of them, and I met some people of the Blackfeet at a wonderful mass in Browning, at the Little Flower Chapel. Ní bheadh an fháilte a fuaireamar ann céad bliain ó shin – bhíodh na daoine sin an-fhíochmhar fadó.  We wouldn’t have gotten the welcome we did a hundred years ago – those people used to be very fierce long ago. Agus cá bhfios nach ndéanfadh mo shinsir féin dochar dóibh, mar ba ró-choitianta san aois sin.  And who knows if my own ancestors wouldn’t have done them harm, as was too common in those days. Ach tagann feabhas ar an saol, minic go leor, agus ní mór dúinn go léir bheith dóchasach.  But the world gets better, often enough, and we must all be hopeful. Go n-éirí linn uile, mar chairde a thacaíonn lena chéile. May we all succeed, as friends who support each other.

Michigan Endorses Shelton

The members of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in Michigan are privileged and honored to endorse our sister, Maureen Shelton, for the office of National Vice President. Maureen led our State for two terms as President with much success and introduced many new programs and great ideas to our divisions while in office. We are proud to have a candidate with qualities that can enhance the office of National Vice President.  She is a reach out, hands on person, who believes that the success of our organization comes from hard work and dedication, both on the State and National levels. She truly believes in her motto, “We must move on to meet the needs of our changing times while preserving and protecting the ideals of our order”. She strives to live her campaign slogan “THE BEST NEVER REST” each day. On the LAOH National level, Maureen has held the office of Catholic Action and Irish Historian.  While serving as National Catholic Action Officer, she represented the LAOH at the March for Life and spoke at the Rose Dinner. Also part of her duties was to participate in Project St. Patrick and keep an accounting of the donations the Ladies send to PSP. While Maureen held the Office of Catholic Action, the Hibernian Relief Fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina was formed. She was in contact with the New Orleans State President to make sure our Hibernian Sisters were taken care of and was responsible for recording the monies that came in for the HRF. While holding the Office of National Irish Historian, she made sure that all State Historians received their information early enough so there were no problems getting it to the schools. To help the State Historians, she created a handbook for this office; the handbook includes all materials they will need throughout their term. In 2006, Maureen formed a new Division, Our Lady of the Gael, in her hometown of Monroe, MI and has been its guiding force since.  She is also a member of the LAOH Michigan St. Brigid Degree Team. Maureen was awarded the Hibernian Woman of the Year at our State Convention in 2009.  This was a well deserved honor. She is a dedicated Hibernian and a woman of principle and devotion to doing everything she does to the highest of standards.

Tomhas na Teanga

Táim i mo eagarthóir ar an leagan nua den tseaniris cháiliúil An Gael. I am the editor of the new version of the famous old publication An Gael. Ag deireadh an naoíú aois déag, bhí a bunaitheoir, Mícheál Ó Lócháin, fós ina eagarthóir uirthi.  At the end of the 19th century, its founder, Michael Logan, was still the editor. Duine an-suimiúil ab ea é, agus an-díograiseach i leith na teanga agus i leith saoirse d’Éirinn.  He was a very interesting person, and very enthusiastic about the language and about freedom for Ireland. Radacach ab ea é, le fírinne.  In truth, he was a radical. Agus ní raibh sé sásta ná foighneach le daoine nach n-aontaigh leis maidir le cúrsaí polaitiúla nó cúrsaí teangan.  And he was not happy about or patient with people who didn’t agree with him concerning politics or the language.

Rinne mé taighde ar an tseaniris le déanaí, agus fuair mé an tagairt seo, a scríobh MÓL in 1891, d’Ord Ársa seo na nGael:  A while ago, I did research on the old magazine, and I found this reference, which MÓL wrote in 1891, to this Ancient Order of Hibernians:

“In last Gael we asked our Hibernian and other Irish-society friends what they had done during their existence to preserve Irish nationality.  We have received no answer yet—nor never shall!”

Bhuel, a Mhícheáil, seo duit do fhreagra.  Well, Michael, here’s your answer.

Cheap Ó Lócháin nach rabhamar ar a thaobh maidir leis an teanga.  Logan thought we were not on the language’s side. Pé tuairim ia bhí aige agus pé dearcadh a bhíodh ag an ord san aois sin, is léir nach amhlaidh an scéal sa lá atá inniu ann (buíochas le Dia).  Whatever opinion he had and whatever outlook the order had at that time, it’s clear that that’s not the case nowadays (thank God). Ní mise an chéad cholúnaí Gaeilge ar an nuachtán seo, agus tá colún rialta agamsa ó Bhealtaine 2002.  I’m not the first Irish language columninst in this paper, and I’ve had a regular column since May of 2002. Tá a fhios agam go mbíonn ranganna Gaeilge ag an AOH in áiteanna éagsúla, agus tá taithí pearsanta agam ar Scoil Ghaeilge Ghearóid Tóibín, atá lonnaithe ag rannóg a dó sa Bhablóin ar Inis Fada, i Nua-Eabhrac.  I know that the AOH has Irish language classes in various places, and I’m personally familiar with the Gerry Tobin Irish Language School, which is located at division 2 in Babylon on Long Island. Tá SGGT ar an bhfód le breis is fiche bliain, le tacaíocht ón AOH.  The GTILS has been around for more than 20 years, with the support of the AOH. Agus roimh an scoil, bhíodh Gearóid Tóibin féin (ar dheis Dé go raibh sé) ag múineadh sa halla céanna.  And before the school, Gerry Tobin himself (may he be at God’s right hand) teaching in the same hall.

Bhí agus tá ranganna ag rannáin eile ar Inis Fada, r.8 in Selden agus r.7 in Islip Thoir, mar shampla.  There were and are classes at other divisions on Long Island, i.e. div.8 in Selden and div. 7 in East Islip. Nuair a bhí Vic Vogel (ag a bhfuil teastas gur chríochnaigh sé féin cúrsa sa Ghaeilge) ina uachtarán ar Bhord Chontae Suffolk, chruthaigh sé post Oifigeach na Gaeilge, agus tá an post sin ag Cathal Gaoidh.  When VV (who has a diploma saying he himself finished an Irish language course) was president of the Suffolk County Board, he created the position of Irish Language Officer, and Charlie Gee has that job. Insíonn sé don bhord faoin a mbíonn ar siúl a bhaineann leis an teanga, agus foghlaimíonn an bord roinnt paidreacha as Gaeilge, freisin. He tells the board about all that is going on with the language and the board learns some prayers in Irish, too.

Bhí Gaeilge ag an bhFeis Nassau le blianta fada, le Seosamh Ó hAllagáin á heagrú, ar dheis Dé go raibh sé. There was Irish at the Nassau Feis for years, organized by Joe Halligan (God bless him). Tá fós ag an bhFeis Suffolk le Bernard De Brún á eagrú.  Bernard Bruen still does this at the Suffolk Feis. Sa chomórtas amhránaíochta ar an sean nós a bhíonn ag an bhFeis Nassau, is iomaí duine a chanann as Gaeilge.  In the traditional singing contest at the Nassau Feis, lots of people sing in Irish.

Níl mórán eolais agam faoin nGaeilge ag rannáin ar fud na tíre, ach rinne mé scagadh ar an idirlíon, agus feicim go bhfuil cúpla focal agus cúpla nasc ar a suímh idirlín.  I don’t have a lot of information about Irish at divisions throughout the country, but I did a little checking on the internet, and see a few words and a few links on their websites. Tá daoine ag foghlaim na cúpla focal.  People are learning a few words. Molaim go dtabharfar níos mó aire don litriú agus do na hacmhainn nua atá ar fáil, fiú don colún seo, atá sa chartlann anseo:  I recommend that more attention be paid to spelling, to the new resources that are available, even this column, here is in this archive: http://www.scoilgaeilge.org/t_na_t/

Is iomaí ball den AOH ag a bhfuil Gaeilge. Lots of AOH members speak Irish. Ní bhfuair mé riamh, agus mé i mo bhall, go raibh aon duine diúltach maidir leis an nGaeilge. I’ve never found, since I’ve been a member, that anyone was negative about the language. Ceapaim go raibh Mícheál glan mícheart in 1891.  I think that Michael was totally wrong  in 1891. Gabhaim leithscéal don AOH ar son An Gael as an rud a dúirt ár n-eagarthóir fadó.  On behalf of An Gael, I apologize to the AOH for what our editor said so long ago.

Má tá eolas agat faoi stair na Gaeilge san AOH, scríobh chugam, le do thoil, ag JamusN@aol.com.  If you have information about the history of the language in the AOH, please write to me, at JamusN@aol.com