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!

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.

Tomhas na Teanga

Táimid i lár an tsamhraidh um an dtaca seo, ach tá mé ag smaoineamh faoi chúrsaí scoile.   We’re in the middle of summer right now, but I’m thinking about school stuff. Is iomaí duine a fuair céim ó scoil amháin agus atá le tosú ar scoil nua san fhómhair.  Lots of people got a degree from one school and will be starting a new school in the fall. Athrú mór i saol duine a leithéid.  That’s a big change for someone. Beidh mo mhac féin chun bheith ina chónaí ag an ollscoil i mbliana.  My own son will be going off to college this year. Is rud nua sin dósan, agus dá thuismitheoirí, freisin!  That’s a new thing for him, and for his parents, too!

Nílimid go léir sa ghlúin chéanna in Ord Ársa na hÉireann. We’re not all in the same generation in the AOH. Tá gach saghas duine again.  We’ve got all kinds of people. Ina measc, tá fir óga gan pháistí fós, agus tá seanóirí le garpháistí.  Among them, there are young men with no children yet, and seniors with grandchildren. Agus tá daoine mar mise ann atá idir eatarthu.  And there are people like me somewhere in between Is cuimhin liom nuair a bhí mo mhac ag tosú ar scoil don chéad uair, agus gheallfainn nach raibh sé ach tamall beag ó shin!  I remember when my son was first starting school, and I’d swear it was just a short while ago! Imíonn an t-am.  Time flies.

Imíonn an tAm.  Sin teideal ar dhlúthdhiosca le Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin.  That’s the title of a CD by… An-albam is ea é, agus molaim go hard é.  It’s a great album, and I highly recommend it. Tá an chuid is mó de as Gaeilge, ach tá cúpla rud ann as Béarla, freisin.  Most of it is in Irish, with some English. Is as Contae na Gaillimhe é.  He’s from Galway.  Mar a tharlaíonn, bhí deis agam bualadh le Tadhg i Nua-Eabhrac tamall ó shin.  As it happens, I had a chance to meet Tadhg a little while back, in NY. Níl sé ina cheoltóir amháin.  He’s not just a musician. Scríobhann sé don teilifís go minic, agus is é an fáth gur bhuail mé leis ná go raibh sé ag déanamh cláir don teilifís, faoin bhfile Raiftearaí.  He frequently writes for TV, and the reason I met him was that he was making a TV show about the poet Raftery. Rinne mé agallamh gearr leis mar táim i mo eagarthóir ar An Gael, agus tharla gur fhoilsíodh an dán cáiliúil ‘Mise Raiftearaí’ don chéad uair riamh in An Gael, sa naoú haois déag.  I did a short interview with him because I’m the editor of An Gael, and it happened that the famous poem…was first published in An Gael.

Ní daltaí scoile iad, den chuid is mó, ach tá eagraíocht i limistéir Nua-Eabhraic darb ainm Daltaí na Gaeilge.  They’re not students at school, for the most part, but there is an organization in the NY area called…(students of Irish). Bíonn siad an-ghníomhach ag eagrú ócáidí chun an teanga a mhúineadh agus a úsáid.  They’re very active organizing occasions to teach and use the language. Is minic go reáchtálann siad deireadh seachtainí na Gaeilge.  They often put on Irish language week-ends. Nuair a thug Tadhg a chuairt ar Nua-Eabhrac, chaith sé am le Daltaí na Gaeilge ar dheireadh seachtaine, agus chan sé dóibh.  When Tadhg was visiting NY, he spent time with them on a week-end, and sang for them. Tá físeáin de ar an idirlíon.  There are videos of it in the internet. Tá Tadhg ar Facebook (mar atáimse), agus is féidir iad a fháil ansin.  Tadhg is on…(as I am), and you can find them there.

Déanann Tadhg leabhair agus ceol do pháistí, freisin.  Tadhg makes books and music for kids, too. Más mian leat Gaeilge a mhúineadh do pháistí, b’fhiú duit súil a chaitheamh ar a shuíomh idirlín:  www.futafata.com.  If you would like to teach kids Irish, you ought to look at his web site. Tá nasc ann go stuif do dhaoine fásta freisin, Imíonn an tAm san áireamh.  There’s a link there to stuff for grown-ups, too, including…

Is iomaí duine a d’fhás aníos in Éirinn ar cuimhin leo Gaeilge a fhoghlaim ar scoil.  Lots of people who grew up in Ireland remember learning Irish at school. Sách minic, níor thaitin sí leo ag an am.  Very often, they didn’t like it at the time. Ach tá daoine eile ann agus is cuimhin leo go raibh sár-mhúinteoirí acu, agus bhain siad an-sult as na ranganna Gaeilge.  But there are other people who remember having great teachers, and they really enjoyed the Irish classes. Chuaigh roinnt díobh go coláistí samhraidh sa Ghaeltacht, agus bhí clubanna ann a spreag iad chun a gcuid Gaeilge a úsáid.  Some went to summer ‘colleges’ in the Gaeltacht, and there were clubs that encouraged them to use their Irish. D’fhoghlaim siad a lán amhrán agus dánta, agus is cuimhin leo fós iad.  They learned a lot of songs and poems, and still remember them. Dánta mar ‘Mise Raifearaí’ agus amhráin mar ‘Cill Aodáin’ (a scríobh Raifearaí).  Poems like…and songs like…(which Raftery wrote).

Dóibh siúd atá ar scoil fós agus, tá súil agam, don uile dhuine againn, tá laethanta saoire againn i rith an tsamhraidh.  For those who are still in school, and I hope for all of us, we have vacation during the summer. Bíodh sos maith againn go léir, mar sin, agus go bhfaighimis fuinneamh, neart is misneach nua, ionas go mbeimid ullamh do gach dúshlán atá romhainn.  Let’s all have a good break, then, and may we get new energy, strength and courage, so that we’ll be ready for every challenge to come.

Go n-éirí le gach duine atá ag leanúint ar aghaidh lena gcuid oideachais, sa bhaile nó ar scoil.  May everyone who is continuing their education, at home or in school, be successful. Ná bíodh deireadh leis an bhfoghlaim!  May there be no end to learning!