Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ag Filleadh go Bhreatain Bheag

Scríobh mé bliain ó shin faoi ag foghlaim mír Breatnaise. Anois, tá sé aon bliain go deireanach go díreach agus tá mé ag scríobh fúithi aríst! Is iontach liom go meachnú faoi Breatain Bheag ar feadh an geimreadh dár gcionn! B'fhéidir, ar mbeadh macalla na h-Imbolc ormsa féin ann?

Críochnaím stair litríochta le Emyr Humphreys, "An Traidisiún na Taliesin." Insíonn Humphries faoi an measc Bhreatnach go bhfuil miotasach agus sóisialta ar chéile. Déanann sé nascannaí leis aigne ghéar aige idir eisteddfodau agus cruinnithe, draíochtaí agus Lloyd George, an teanga agus an bíobla, an Prionsa Madoc agus an seanmóiri Meitidistigh.

Measaim go raibh Breatnais níos laidir faoi láthair chomh teangacha Ceilteach eile. Tá dála staid agus suíomh anois níos daingean fúithi. Ar ghualainn leis Gaeilge, ár ndóigh, ar radharc fairsing leis Breatnais go raibh níos geal.

Is maith liom a feiceáil tairbsí Gaelach ina focail Breatnaise. Gheobhaidh mé cosulachtaí, go nádurtha. Feicfidh mé ar an gcuma chéanna. Tháinig ina beirt teanga dealramh bídeach, nó géarr, go raibh ceangail nó scarann na cianta cairbreacha ó shin. D'inis "Bo" fúthu: "Gaeilge & Breatnais" (9 Feabhra 2008) agus "Gaeilge & Breatnais 2." (10 Feabhra 2008).

Tá mé ar an ngannchuid a tógáil agam aithne níos mhaith Breatnaise bheag. Ba mhaith liom leid a thabhairt domsa fúithi. Ní bheidh sí socair. Níor tugfidh sí liom a dhéanamh ach beagán agam gan dua.

Mar sin féin, is iondúil seo go foghlaimeoir fásta! Tá ábhar go leor as Breatnais a cabhar linn. Mar shampla, feicim sé ar an BBC & S4C. Fuair mé altannaí go cabhrach le Janis Cortese. Chruinnigh sí eolas anseo: "Foghlaim Breatnais."

Tá sí bean áitiúla agam; tá sí i gcónaí ina gCalifoirnea Theas! Bheadh sí dea-shampla a thabhair uaim. Tá muid ag foghlamtha in leann Ceiltigh cónaí i bhfad ó láthair inniu. Fágann muid go dúthrachtach triu ár intinní go dtí tíorthái agus teanglachaí níos faide. Éiríonn muid go fonnmhar ar an taobh thoir go doifheicthe.

Returning to Wales.

I wrote a year ago about learning a bit of Welsh. Now, it's a year later exactly and I am writing about it again! It's a wonder to me reflecting about "Little Britain" during the following winter. Perhaps, may there be an echo of Imbolc [the Celtic solstice] in me?

I am finishing a literary history by Emyr Humphreys, "The Taliesin Tradition." Humphries tells about a Welsh blend that's mythological and social together. He makes links with his observant mind between Eisteddfods and rallies, druids and Lloyd George, the language and the bible, the prince Madoc and the preacher Methodist.

I think that Welsh may be stronger at present than other Celtic languages. The historical situation and the position of it now are firmer. In comparison with Irish, of course, the wide prospect with Welsh may be brighter.

I like to see ghosts of Gaelic in words of Welsh. I will find similarities, naturally. I will see a tiny, or sharp, resemblance in the pair of languages, shared and diverging in the distant past. "Bo" tells about these: "Irish & Welsh" (February 9, 2008) agus "Irish & Welsh 2." (February 10, 2008).

I have a desire to build up a better knowledge of a little Welsh. I would like to get a feel for it in me. It will not be easy. I cannot understand it even a little myself without difficulty.

All the same, this is ordinary for an adult learner! There's material galore in Welsh to help us. For instance, I see it on the BBC & S4C. I found helpful articles by Janis Cortese. She gathered information here: "Learn Welsh."

She is a local woman to me; she is living in Southern California! She should be a good example for me. We are learning in Celtic studies, living faraway today. We leave in diligence through our minds to lands and languages farther off. We rise in eagerness eastwards invisibly.

Iómhá/Illustration: le Senán Ó Ruanaidh/ by Simon Rooney. "Ceiltigh d'Aois Iarainn/ Iron Age Celts:" suíomh sraithe ar lion/ site of series on-line.


Bo said...

I enjoyed this and ta for the links. It really is very much easier than Irish!

Here's a nice link -

Insular Celtic *est-ijo, 'who/which is', consisting of the 3st present of the verb 'to be' and a suffixed relative particle -ijo, gives -

Old Irish 'as', 'who is' (relative of the copula)

but Welsh 'ysydd', 'who is', relative of the present tense of the verb 'to be'

You'd never guess, would you, that they're exactly the same in origin?

I can't recall whether Irish now has 'as', but SGaelic does. You do get it fossilised inside the comparative, e.g. in your '...go raibh Breatnais níos laidir', where 'níos laidir' is ultimately
'ní as laidir', 'a thing/something WHICH IS stronger'.

Which is nice :)

Fionnchú said...

Bo, here's a bit on "as" as in "as Gaeilge," a ModIr preposition which translates closest in English as akin to "out of"-- but also having some quality "in" someone/thing. Interesting that we say to translate "into" a language; Irish takes the meaning "out of" it!

I never understood how until you showed me why the Irish superlative takes that form, truncated even as it's inflated from the comparative "níos" into the mighty if confusing for a few of us slower learners (given the copula!) two letters of "is."

Strange that Donna Wong in her (recommended to you as a grammar that reminds me of your herculean exploration of the far more treacherous bogs of OI recently on your blog, and a book that's reviewed on mine) "Learner's Guide to Irish," although more for linguists, does not include "is" among her list of lookalike traps for Gaelgeoirí, but maybe it's such an obvious one it does not deserve a danger sign for people stupid enough to confuse adjectives with verbs! She does, however, note the three uses of "ní" as "negative present of copula," "thing" as a noun, or a "negative preverbal particle."

Anthony ap Anthony said...

I've thoroughly enjoyed your various blogs about Wales and perhaps it is ironic that I'd stop here with a point of constructive criticism rather than running with one of your edifications, so in the shadow of all of your most excellent works I feel that I must start with an apology!

But it was your label of "Little Britain" which in context I have surmised you were applying to Wales as a subset of Great Britain, instead of Brittany which is marginalised by making "Little Britain" a subset of "Great Britain", instead of both of them being recognised as separate subsets of Britain that together make up its whole, which other than offending my knowledge of Venn Diagrams (hehe!) draws me to remark that, as all heirs of the ancient Britons are Britons, hence those with diverging ethnic roots are not Britons - such as those of Scoti-Anglo-Saxon extraction - then I've a propensity to be zealous with words and phrases that effectually marginalise the Bretons of Brittany, who, sailing the proud passage of time, are credited by most of the lighthouses along the way, as having defined the coastline of "Little Britain" in France.

To the contrary, identifying Wales as Little Britain surreptisciously raises those of Great Britain who are not in Wales, with greater significance than the Welsh in the general use of the word Britain despite that by large they are not practicing heirs of the ancient britons outside of Wales but within Great Britain.

Just raising a toast to the Bretons, our Welsh brothers and sisters abroad!

Fionnchú said...

Anthony, thanks for your comment. You may regarding pan-Celticism hunt down my review on Amazon US-- and searchable at "The Blanket archive" as "Eternal Elves of the West"-- of Marcus Tanner's doleful "The Last of the Celts" a few years ago. A perfect book for you; I'd be eager to learn your reactions.

In my blog, I was merely translating in my dutiful rendering in my bilingual exercises of my bog-Gaeilge into often semi-literal English the Irish for Wales, which literally is "Little Britain," perhaps not pejoratively but topographically.

I'm trapped by Gaeilge into using its own mindset about its insular and continental neighbors. One does wonder when that distinction with the telling adjective became incorporated into Irish, in ancient times maybe even predating Rome? I don't think it's disparaging, merely geographical, as the peninsular (in a generous if not precise sense) far-western chunk of Britannia closest to Ireland anyhow.

I agree with your definition of inclusive Briton identity, certainly. My use of the adjectival Irish may be lost in translation into the imperialist English. By the by, you will be heartened by the Irish for a Breton: the solidly in solidarity "Briotánach," with no diminutive attached! Similarly, for Brittany: "An Bhriotáin" which unlike the inhabitants takes the feminine.