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

Bíonn an aimsir go breá an t-am seo bliana, agus is breá liom a bheith amuigh faoin spéir ag spaisteoireacht.  The weather is fine this time of year and I love to be outdoors walking around. Tamall ó shin, fuair mé comharsanacht an-suimiúil in Brooklyn agus mé ag siúlóid.  A while ago, I found a very interesting neighbourhood in Brooklyn while I was on a walk. Vinegar Hill a thugtar uirthi.  It’s called… Tá sí taobh leis na Brooklyn Navy Yards.  It’s next to… Tá cúpla alt suimiúil ann faoi ag www.forgotten-ny.com, faoi “na comharsanachtaí.” There are a couple of interesting articles about it at…under “neighborhoods.” Ainmníodh an áit in ómós do Chnoc Fíodh na gCaor lasmuigh d’Inis Córthaidh i gContae Loch Garman, mar a raibh cath tábhacht ar 21 Meitheamh, 1798.  The place was named in honor of …outside of Enniscorthy in Wexford, where there was an important battle on June 21st, 1798. Ár agus slad uafásach ar na Gaeil sin, fiú ar mhná is páistí, agus is iomaí uafás a rinne arm Shasana ar na Gaeil ina dhiaidh mar gheall air.  A slaughter and massacre of the Irish that, even of women and children, and many a horror was done by the English army to the Irish afterwards because of it. Tubaiste d’Éirinn ab ea an cath seo (tá alt maith faoi ag ga.wikipedia.org). This battle was a disaster for Ireland. Nach aisteach go mbaisteadh an t-ainm sin ar an gcomharsanacht seo?  Isn’t it odd that this neighborhood was given that name? Ach rinne an duine a thóg na tithe seo amhlaidh chun na hÉireannaigh a mhealladh chuici.  But the person who built these houses did so in order to attract the Irish to it. Is dócha go mbíodh Éireannaigh ina gcónaí ann, ach ina dhiaidh sin tháinig gach saghas duine, agus ní raibh dea-chlú ar an áit i gcónaí.  I suppose there used to be Irish living there, but afterwards every kind of person came, and the place didn’t always have a good reputation. Ba í seo an chéad áit a raibh Al Capone ina chónaí!  This was the first place where AC resided!

Chuaigh Capone go Cicero agus Siceágo Illinois, áiteanna a maraigh sé a lán coirpeach de shliocht na hÉireann, mar a tharla. Capone went to …and Chicago…, places in which he killed a lot of criminals of Irish descent, as it happened. Ar dtús, ghlac sé seilbh ar rialtas Cicero ó choirpigh le hainmneacha mar Myles O’Donnell, agus mharaigh sé daoine le hainmneacha mar Bill McSwiggins.   First he took over Cicero from criminals with names like…, and he killed people with names like… Ansin, in Siceágó féin, bhí cogadh ann idir drong Capone ó dheisceart na cathrach agus drong thuaisceart na cathrach, Bugs Moran i measc a cheannairí.  Then, in Chicago itself, there was a war between Capone’s gang from the south side and the north side gang, …among its leaders. Ba é dúnmhárú duine darb ainm Dion O’Banion a thosaigh an cath a chríochnaíodh le Sléach Lá ‘le Valaintín. It was the murder of a person named… that started the battle which ended with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Deirtear uaireanta go bhfuil droch-chlú ar shliocht na hIodáile mar gheall ar na coirpigh, ach ní lú ná iad líon na gcoirpeach ab ea de shliocht na hÉireann, is oth liom a rá!  Sometimes people say that the Italians have a bad reputation because of the criminals, but there were no fewer criminals who had an Irish background, I regret to say!

I Nua-Eabhrac ag an am céanna sin a bhí drong i gCistín Ifrinn darb ainm an Gopher Gang, agus ba de shliocht na hÉireann a bhaill uile.  In New York at that same time there was a gang in Hell’s Kitchen called the…,, and all its members were Irish. An duine ba mhó díobhsan ná Owney “The Killer” Madden. The biggest of them was… Sea, is dócha go bhfaca a lán daoine an scannán The Gangs of New York.  Yeah, I guess a lot of people have seen the movie… Ba iad na hÉireannaigh sna Cúig Phointe a bhí i gceist, agus cé nach raibh an scannán sin cruinn go huile is go hiomlán, is iomaí drong Éireannach a bhí ann gan aon agó, agus bhí droch-chlú ar an gcomharsanacht sin.  The Irish in the Five Points were the subject, and although that film wasn’t perfectly accurate, there were a lot of Irish gangs, without question, and that neighborhood had a bad reputation. Théadh na daoine saibhre go dtí na Cúig Phointe chun na bochtáin a fheiscint agus sin as a bhfuaireamar an téarma ‘slumming.’  The rich people used to go to the Five Points to see the poor people and that’s where we get the term… Bhí na daoine sin thíos leis an mbochtannas agus leis an gcoireacht ina dtimpeall.  Those people suffered from poverty and the crime all around them.

Bhí mo shinsir féin ina gcónaí sa chomharsanacht sin, mar a tharlaíonn, agus níorbh coirpigh iadsan.  My own ancestors lived in that neighborhood, as it happens, and they weren’t criminals. Agus ní gá dom a lua an méad Éireannach a bhí agus atá ina bpóilíní, srl.  And I don’t need to mention how many Irish were and are policemen, etc. Ní mór dúinn a bheith bródúil as ár sinsir agus as na hÉireannaigh a rinne mórán rudaí maithe sa tír seo.  We need to be proud of our ancestors and of the Irish who did a lot of good things in this country. Ach leis sin, ní mór go n-admhaímid nach raibh gach mac máthar díobh go maith!  But along with that, we need to admit that every mother’s son of them wasn’t good! Tarlaíonn a leithéid…  These things happen…