8. Béarla

There are countries out there where people speak English. But not like us – we have our own languages hidden in our carry-on luggage, in our cosmetics bags, only ever using English when we travel, and then only in foreign countries, to foreign people. It’s hard to imagine, but English is their real language! Oftentimes their only language. They don’t have anything to fall back on or to turn to in moments of doubt… . They may be understood by anyone at any moment, whenever they open their mouths. They must have to write things down in special codes. Wherever they are, people have unlimited access to them – they are accessible to everyone and everything! I heard there are plans in the works to get them some little language of their own, one of those dead ones no one else is using anyway, just so that for once they can have something just for themselves.

Flights, Olga Tokarczuk

Ceann de na deacrachtaí atá ag an Ghaeilge ná go bhfuil sí i gcomórtas díreach leis an teanga is cumhachtaí ar an tsaol, agus teanga na ndaoine is cumhachtaí ar an tsaol.

Mar a luaigh Olga Tolarczuk, is minic a bhíonn an cainteoir Béarla aonteangach. Ar bhealach, measaim nach smaoiníonn Béarlóirí gur teanga í ar chor ar bith, ach an córas nádúrtha cumarsáide lena rugadh sinn go léir. Sin an taithí atá agam ag labhairt agus ag éisteacht le muintir na hÉireann.

Rith sé sin liom agus mé ag ól pionta istigh i dTigh Hughes ar an Spidéal in éineacht le gaol de mo chuid.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Bhí gach duine eile ag ag caint i nGaeilge ag an bheár.

“How do they know how to speak Irish?” a d’fhiafraigh mo ghaol díom.

“They are native speakers,” a mhínigh mé, “this is the Gaeltacht.”

“Yes, I know,” a deir sé, “but where do they learn it?”

Mar a dúirt an scríbhneoir Céineach, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, “English became more than a language. It became THE language, and all the others had to bow before it in deference”[i].

Do chuid intleachtóirí, tá ardchéimíocht an Bhéarla ó thaobh na praiticiúlachta go hiomlán soiléir, cuir i gcás an tuairim seo a leanas ón scríbhneoir Feirsteach Malachy O’Doherty:

“I’m being excoriated [what’s the Irish word for excoriated?] for saying that English is a superior language to Irish. Which was tactless [what’s the Irish for tactless?] and a digression anyway. [Irish for digression?] But it is actually true. Try going round the world on Irish.”[ii]

Ar ámharaí an tsaoil, ciallaíonn uileláithreacht an Bhéarla san Eoraip anois gur beag an buntáiste é, glactar go bhfuil Béarla agat – in éineacht le do chéadteanga.

Is cuimhne liom maorlathach na hEorpa, de bhunadh na hÍsiltíre, ag inse dom, is mé thall i Strasbourg gur shíl sé gur míbhuntáiste é Béarla a bheith ag duine ó dhúchas mar is deacra iad a thuiscint agus gur bídeach an seans é gur féidir leis an té sin teangacha eile a shealbhú go hiomlán.

Dar leis an teangeolaí Meiriceánach Dr Timothy Currie Armstrong, atá bunaithe i Sabhal Mór Ostaig sna Oileán Sgitheanach, is ionann aonteangachas Béarla agus idé-eolaíocht.

Ní amháin sin, ach dar leis, go gcaithfidh daoine a bhfuil fonn orthu Gaeilge na hAlban a úsáid mar theanga tí an úsáid sin a chosaint ón idé-eolaíocht sin, ní ghlactar mar ghnáth-rud é:

“The overwhelmingly dominant and normalized language ideology in Britain is one of English monolingualism, so if parents wish to use a language other than English with their children, if they wish to use Gaelic with their children, they will have to self-consciously advance and defend a norm of Gaelic use in the home in direct opposition to this monolingualist Anglophone ideology.[iii]

 


[i] Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo (1986).

[ii] https://twitter.com/malodoherty/status/966377521859186688?lang=en

[iii]  Armstrong (2014).

Aon tuairim amháin ar “8. Béarla

  1. Ard-scríbhneoireacht ansin. Tá cuimhneamh agam de bhean as Gleann na Muaidhe ag cur iontas nuair a mhothaigh sí gasúr óg ag labhairt Gaeilge lena mháthair ‘God isn’t he awful good at the irish for such a young fella’. Caithfidh muid an meoin seo a mharú

    Moladh

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