Cleveland Ohio Our Lady of the Rosary Elects new officers

Standing Left to Right: Margaret Lynch (Missions and Charity), Teresa Kowalski (Historian), Pat Lavelle (Financial Secretary), Una O’Leary Escolas (Secretary), Marilyn Madigan (Catholic Action), Rasa Chambers (Mistress at Arms), Mary Beth Smith (Sentinel).

Seated left to right:  Donna Leary (Vice-President), Maire Leffel (President), Shannon Corcoran (Treasurer).

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!