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I think this is a great new dictionary, very helpful and it will no doubt be even better when all the material is up online.
One point of criticism I would offer is that they could have marked dialectal words as such. If we look at “as well”, we are given four alternatives, all of them correct Irish but two of them would never be heard in Munster, and I’d say one is exclusively used in Munster and never in Connacht or Ulster. Of course most words are the same in all dialects with only minor pronunciation differences (I love the sound files!) but those few words that are different could perhaps have been marked. Anyhow, a great new tool for everybody interested in Irish!
I ABSOLUTELY love this dictionary and find myself using it continually. I agree however as Jonas points out that it would be helpful to get an idea of the dialect being expressed for a given entry. However, having said that, this is an exciting and stunning work. I am so so grateful to have it.
It also means “expectation”. I believe you can think of it for example…….. I went there “for the expectation” of dinner, etc.
Thanks Héilics. That makes it clearer. I remember the teacher saying such things (I may not have them just right).
Bhí mé ag casadh le cara liom fá choinne lón. or… Chuaigh muid go dtí an bhíalann fá choinne dinnéar.
Not understanding why you’re saying “fá choinne” is “out-and-out Béarlachas”. My first teacher was a native Irish speaker (professor at St Thomas University in Houston). Her mother was from Aran Mór (Donegal) and her father was from Waterford. She presented “fá choinne” as good irish in Donegal. She explained that it meant “for the expectation of” and said it was followed by a noun. She told us that it is the same as saying “le haigh” in more southern areas. Not quite sure what you’re saying here.
I met him the first time I went to Oideas Gael in 2010. I knew about 100 words in Irish because I had worked my way through 12 lessons in Tús Maith. He carried the conversation as he was pretty fluent in Irish. At Oideas Gael he invited me to eat in the little cantina with him and we were always surrounded by other fluent speakers who would sit and converse with him and they’d ask me the simple stuff (introductions etc) After the week there, I asked him if he would like to Skype. He was very savvy technologically because he was a retired telecommunications engineer with British Telecom.
The first few sessions we just followed a question sheet I had got at Oideas Gael. Stuff like, “Cad é a rinne tú inniú? Cad fath an ndearna tú sin? etc.” Then he suggested we read a book together by Tadhg MacDhonnaigan. It was a little story about Fionn MacCumhall. I bought the 4 book series with the CD and we would read several paragraphs to each other and then we would say what it means. Then he began asking simple questions about the story. Ex. Cá a raibh Fionn nuair a thosaigh an trioblóid? and stuff like that. I would stammer and struggle to answer it. IT GOT ME TALKING!
I saw him again when I returned to Oideas Gael the next summer. He invited me to spend a couple of night with him and his wife in Cildara. I went there and we ate great food and had a grand time. He took me all around Manooth and he spoke very little English to me ever. After that second summer, we were working our way up through more advanced books. and we were in the last chapter of “Gaeilge agus Grá” by Allen Desmond. He told me one day that he was worried because of soreness in his wife’s arms. He took her to the doctor the next week and she had cancer and died within 60 days. We waited a month to have our next Skype because he was so down. When we did, he was weak and looked horrible. He said he was tired. I tried to encourage him and told him I wanted to bring him to Texas at Thanksgiving. He was delighted and it seemed to cheer him up.
The following week he went to the doctor and found out he himself had lung cancer. My wife and I decided to go seem him, so 45 days later we did so (Aug 13). We read the last bit of our book together and then he said he would like go to the chapel together. We said prayers for him and he told a priest that walked in that he wanted us to take communion. We did and then we left. We then went to Derry to the Fleadh Cheoil. When I got home to Texas, I got an email from his daughter that he died the day after we returned. I am so so indebted to him for all he did for me. I am indebted to him for his patience and kind nature. I wouldn’t be able to converse without his help. That is why I sometimes sound impatient by perfectionists that I find on the forum. To strive for excellence is noble. But, perfection is the greatest enemy of good. You can accomplish a whole lot with “good”. Perfectionism often results in limited results that do not extend beyond self. Everything Criostóir Ó Nuallain did extended beyond himself. How incredibly blessed I have been on my Irish journey. Sorry to ramble, but I felt you should hear the highlights of my story.
I agree with Daithi:
I spent about 150 hours (one hour each Sunday) for the last 2.1/2 years talking for 1 hour with a guy from Kildare. He had learned school Irish and
he was patient with me. He was a guy in his early 70’s and his goal was to be absolutely fluent before he died. We started with the most basic questions (a sheet I got at Oideas Gael) and then we read a total of 7 books together starting with the very basic wonderful series by Tadgh McDhonnagain. Unfortunately he got cancer, and suddenly died last month. It hit me really hard. I went to Ireland from Texas and visited him in hospital. He had lost his lovely wife just 60 days prior to cancer as well. It was all horrible. Although he wasn’t fluent, he knew good Irish and was always in the top Liofa level at Oideas Gael. We would read a paragraph and then he might ask me what was going on in the story. He just got me talking. He pulled me up to being an intermediate speaker from pretty much NOTHING. Before that I could read and write but couldn’t hardly speak. I now pick up new stuff on Gaeilge Amháin in Facebook. There are some top top level Irish speakers on there. Some work as official translators etc. I always give special attention to their posts. I also have started listening every day to RNG for 10-15 minutes/day just to pick up correct pronunciation etc. I would love to go through books with anyone who is out there at about my level or higher. I figure ANYTHING I/we can do to progress is better than nothing. I find many at our level have gone through different journeys and have different knowledge so we can actually help each other along quite a bit.
These people did not learn from their parents. If you watch the video you’ll see how they all took classes together. I think it’s pretty amazing
and it’s an encouragement to me that perhaps someday I can speak with some fluency. I listened to Radio na Gaeltachta this morning and although
I understand way more than I did a year ago, I’m astonished that I can’t understand more. I learned to be conversant in Spanish years ago in about 3 months. I’ve been in this language about 4+ years now and I’m flabbergasted at how little I really know. I think it is just that there is no one to talk
to. In Texas, Spanish is ubiquitous. Hence, with any effort at all a person can learn it. There are few people available to speak Irish with. I’m totally impressed with what the people in this video have done. I am sure their accent, etc would be assailed by purists, but they are doing so much even in an environment where it might have been politically dicey and dangerous to even show an interest in Irish. That is nothing but impressive.
Saw another interesting thing today on Facebook. These folks have given their lives to this language.
1) Are they and their children “native speakers” in some way? Interesting question.
2) Have they helped or hurt the survival of the Irish language?
3) Has each of us done as much for the language?
4) Have you raised your children in Irish/ or do you plan to raise your children in Irish?
I came across another article discussing this matter. It came out yesterday on Facebook on a site called “Gaeilge Amháin”. You would probably thoroughly enjoy the site and benefit from it. This article was just posted on it and on another site that Lughaidh has created dedicated to Ulster Irish. It mentions this Daltaí site. I don’t agree with everything in the article, but it is another perspective that you might appreciate.
Bain sult as,
His blog site says:
“My name is Ciarán Dunbar, I am a journalist specialising in the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages – I also speak English!
I am a currently a radio columnist on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta as well as being a print journalist and I am the administrator
of the independent Gaelic news site antuairisceoir.com. I specialise in the linguistic politics, conflicts in the world, Irish politics
and have written about Italian politics.
You can contact me through ciarandunbar – at – outlook.com and I am on Linkedin.”
If you’re really interested in what he means I would suggest that you ask him on his blog. His blog also states that he has
written two book involving dialects in the north of Ireland.
I think this article which was written by one of your fellow countrymen may address some of what you’re asking about.
Read his article: “Want to learn Irish? A word in your ear if I may”
I think it is a very well written article that expresses how many Irish people feel. It is obviously the opposite view of that view expressed by the majority of regulars on this forum.
Carmanach: Very interesting and honest analysis. I have only spent two summer stints in what is called the Gaeltacht and I was quite surprised at how reluctant, unable, or indifferent most people were to even speak Irish in those places other than the families with whom I stayed. I was surprised because those areas are the supposed areas where the Irish Language is cherished and protected. Perhaps they didn’t understand what I was saying, but it’s not too hard to figure out: “Dia duit! agus Cad é mar atá tú?” etc. They usually answer me in English and say, “I’m sorry, I really don’t speak Irish”. It makes it seem like there is a lot of pretense or dishonesty or something about Irish-Speaking numbers of people, but I do not know. I recently saw a map that Benjamin Burroughs posted on Facebook that showed what he called the “Fhior Gaeltacht” now. You could barely see any color (it was in green in the Gaeltacht) at all. I always watch his travels as he’s an enthusiastic Irish speaking traveler. He goes all over Ireland to the various Gaeltachtaí and he usually talks about the Irish speakers he finds in terms of a few families or a person or two he might meet in a pub (or NOBODY) within what is called a Gaeltacht. And, he’s the kind of guy that’s out there talking to anyone and everyone in Irish. I asked him how many everyday fluent Irish speakers he thinks there are in Ireland and he said 100,000. I realize that is a number he might have pulled out of his hat (or elsewhere) but it seems grossly overstated given the “communities” he himself reports back to as having been visited and having found handfuls of Irish-Speakers. I think maybe the 26,000 or whatever someone put here might be way more realistic if not an exaggeration in itself. That is astonishing given the fact that I live in a sparsely populated rural county in Texas that has about the same population. As you point out, that doesn’t appear to be a critical mass of any kind. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m having fun with the language and value it as part of my cultural journey, and hope to improve upon it as time goes by. But it does adjust my thinking as to any real use of it in a community setting. I still couldn’t read the thread so if someone could email me the PDF document I would enjoy having the opportunity to read it.
“As to the Irish language, toleration and patronage have come too late. It cannot be saved alive by any human power. As a spoken language, it can hardly survive the present generation. The fathers and mothers will retain it until their death, but by the children it will be neglected and forgotten. The time for educating them in the native language has gone by forever. It is not the language of business, of modern civilisation, and will not enable a man to get on in the world. Its doom is inevitable.”
That quote is more that 160 years old. It shows that the inevitable death of Irish within a generation or two has been predicted for a very long time already. Given that nobody can predict the future, I don’t really see the point. If anyone had predicted in 1985 that the Baltic states would soon be both independent and in the NATO, he would have been though mad, to take a non-linguistic example.
I can’t open the link you put up for us.
Féabar, with all due respect to yourself, and I accept your bona fides completely, but is it not at all possible that I might have that teeny bit more experience of the situation here on the ground? Would you concede that that it is possible? Would you concede that what I say might have some basis in reality?
Secondly, would you agree that it is unhealthy to stifle legitimate criticism and dissident viewpoints? Would you also agree that constantly ignoring the problems and only permitting a sort of rose-tinted view of the world doesn’t help much either?
Few native speakers will come on here for two reasons: 1) few Gaeltacht people read or write in Irish on a regular basis and 2) this forum is specifically for learners of Irish so by definition most posters on here will be non-native speakers. The odd native speaker might take an interest in helping out learners (which is a wonderful thing) and go on line and help out but most won’t. That’s not a criticism of them. The factors involved are complex and this is not the right post to go into them in detail.
Féabar, why not work with me in tackling the very real problems that we have? The problems are not insurmountable; I never claimed they were but attitudes do need to change. Burying our heads in the sand is not particularly helpful.
I don’t know everything and never claimed to know everything. What I probably do have is, on the whole, a greater knowledge of the language itself and the sociolinguistics of it, than most, but not all, of the contributors on this site. I’m at my happiest helping people with grammar or vocabulary questions and anything else that comes up. And yes, there are people who know more about the language than me, both native and non-native speakers and yes, I bow to their superior knowledge.
“Something is better than nothing” is very honourable but when the “something” stays jammed on “something” year in, year out, then someone has to ask why.
My comments are not levelled at anyone in Texas learning Irish but to a certain group of people here in Ireland and how they view the language and its development. I happen by accident of circumstance to live in that particular world and to witness it everyday. That is where my comments come from.
Carmanach: I think you need to go back and read my posts. I am not now and hopefully have not tried to quantify in any way what you do or don’t know about Irish, Ireland, etc. I would hope to heaven you know more than me at the very least. I am a Texan who only started learning some 4 years ago. You ask me to “concede” that, but no concession is needed as it is readily and happily admitted. I’m okay with that. That is why I come on here to learn. I think it is your tone that puzzles us. You seem hostile when you answer us or post things here. We’re not the enemy. We’re not the reason. (hey…we didn’t do it whatever it is!) I don’t even mind you giving a dire prediction however true if you believe Irish will be totally dead in X number of years. You may be absolutely correct. I just think the guy that started this thread was asking for a little encouragement. I know you must see some things “there on the ground” that encourage you. Maybe try to share some of those with us. If you can read census statistics your summations appear true. Maybe share if you think Irish is doomed, how it can still be a good topic to study and if so why. Maybe share with us what role it may still play in Ireland when it is done. Regarding “good” not being “good” enough over time. My mother took Spanish classes when I was a boy. Mom never got beyond the “good” of ordering a margarita and a plate of food at a Mexican restaurant, but mom at least exposed me to another language as best she could. She took lessons year after year and only remained “good”, but that was better than nothing. She would take me to her night lessons where I heard her learning. When I became fluent and worked as the only bi-lingual lawyer in my county, I think it pleased mother greatly to think that she had a part in that, and oh she so very much did. I am glad she at least got to “good”. As I said, I don’t promote mediocrity, but my comment was to encourage others just to give it a shot instead of just not ever trying. I appreciate that you’re there on the ground. With respect, Féabar
“To promote and teach the Irish language” is the Mission of this forum per the website. That should be the final purpose of our posts. This forum is not to hurl insults and grind out differences of non-native speakers of this language arguing about how and what native speakers should or should not do. I think it is telling that as far as I know there is only one native speaker in this conversation. That is very revealing. I’m not judging anyone, but it should be noted. Native speakers either don’t know about it, or, they know about it and don’t think it’s relevant or important, or they have some other reason to not participate in these discussions. I intimated in a previous post that if “native” Irish is to survive, then it is people that speak it that will desire and cause it to survive. No one else can do that. My farm is surrounded by many German-Texans who used to speak a form of German. My fence neighbor is a lady in her 80’s who has lost all of her friends who spoke her language. They have died out to the point where many like her no longer have anyone to speak it to. It is their own fault as they chose not to teach it to their children. I cannot do anything to “save” their language.
I study Irish and love to speak the little bit that I am able to do. I have been stunned in the learning process at how critical and unsupportive many have been (all non-native speakers) to the learning process other than one guy in Teelin who criticized the Glance Card I was studying in his house. It is just plain weird and incredibly destructive. While trying to “perfect” it they are destroying the very thing they say they wish to preserve. I live in Texas, a bi-lingual state. MILLIONS of learners and children of native speakers here speak Spanish at a very rough level.(I am fluent) MILLIONS of people here speak English at a very rough level (some are native Texans and some are recent immigrants). The two languages have co-existed for a couple of hundred years, and native speakers and learners of both languages seem to enjoy just trying to communicate. I try to write here and on Facebook to encourage all those who have any interest in Irish to just jump in and learn something. (inevitably a non-native speaker jumps in and criticizes whatever learning resources are available). Something is better than nothing. Let me repeat that “Something is better than nothing”. “Perfect” gets in the way of “Good” and inhibits people to try new things in life. I am not advocating mediocrity so please don’t interpret my comments as such. I have accomplished much in my life with the help of God and hard work because I realized “good” is a necessary step to get to “excellent”. Let’s each try to do our part “to promote and teach the Irish Language” if we choose to enjoy this forum. Otherwise, I guess someone should start a forum called ” Forum for Communicating you know more about Irish, Hiberno-Irish, or Ireland itself”. We readers may indeed be mistaken, but some of these posts seem needlessly hostile. I mean they are REALLY hostile. I have in frustration attacked some of you here from time to time, and I may have been wrong in doing so. I just always imagine the genuine seeker who stumbles across us and surely leaves disgusted. That is a loss for them, a loss for us, and a loss for any interest on any level in the language. As for Hiberno-English, I will leave the experts to those who speak it. They obviously know as much about it as I do of my Texan dialect which is a form of native English as well.