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

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!