Céad Seachtaine/Béal Feirste — First Week/Belfast

Haighea a chairde,

Tharla neart rudaí ón uair dheireanach a scríobh mé, gabhaigí mo leiscéal! Déanfaidh mé iarracht achoimre a dhéanamh ar an tseachtain a chuaigh thart gan a bheith ag scríobh barraíocht!

An chéad píosa nuachta ná bhí ár gcéad seachtain na ranganna againn. Seo ár sceidil i rith na seachtaine:

Dé Mairt:
12-2 Teanga na Nua-Ghaeilge
3-5 Gnéithe den tSochtheangeolaíocht

Dé Céadaoin:
1-2 Teanga na Nua-Ghaeilge (an scríobhnóireacht)

Déardaoin:
1-3 Abair Amhrán, Inis Scéal (an Béaloideas)
3-5 Gnéithe den tSochtheangeolaíocht

Dá bhrí sin, níl aon ranganna againn Dé Luain nó Dé hAoine! Ach, beidh an t-uafás oibre le déanamh againn le bheith ullmhaithe do na ranganna, agus ní bheith mórán seans againn ár scith a ligint!

Bhí na ranganna uilig iontach suimiúil agus tá muid ag súil go mór le bheith ag staidéar na hábhair seo i rith na bliana. Ach, bhí seachtain iontach deacair againn, caithfidh mé a rá, mar tá caighdeán chomh ard i gceist leis an chúrsa seo agus níl muid go hiomlán réidh dó. Ní thiocfadh linn a bheith go hiomlán réidh don chaighdeán seo seachas dá mbeadh BA iomlán sa Ghaeilge déanta againn, agus fiú ansin bheadh sé dúshlanach go leor. Den chuid is mó, tuigeann muid achan rud a deir na hollúna agus na mic léinn eile, ach tá sé i bhfad níos deacra na hailt acadúla a léamh/thuiscint agus a phlé i nGaeilge leis na daoine eile. Sin rud suimiúil, nach bhfuil? Tagann tuiscint i dteanga i bhfad níos gasta ná thagann an cumas í a labhairt agus do thuairimí a chur in iúl go deaslabhartha. Níor mhothaigh mé chomh bómánta riamh ná a mhothaigh mé sna ranganna an tseachtain seo caite… De gnáth, is scoláire maith mé agus is breá liom bheith i mo mhac léinn, ach le dreas buillí an chaighdeán Gaeilge agus gan a bheith cleachta a bheith i mo mhac léinn le fada (thart fá 5 bliana anuas), mhothaigh mé nach raibh mé ábalta aon rud suimiúil, éirimiúil a thabhairt don rang ar chor ar bith. Bhí muid faoi ghruaim ag deireadh na seachtaine, ach inniu tá muid ag éirí níos fearr agus tá a fhios againn nach bhfuil ann ach ár seacht ndícheall a dhéanamh, agus leanúint ar aghaidh leis an obair atá againn, agus de réir a chéile beidh muid san áit ba mhaith linn a bheith.

Leis sin, rinne muid an cinneadh dul go Béal Feirste ar an deireadh seachtaine, fá choinne an Bhreithlá Líofa. Is é “Líofa” scéim na Gaeilge i mBéal Feirste, agus tá siad ag bailiú sínithe as daoine atá ag iarraidh a bheith líofa sa Ghaeilge faoi 2015. Tá sprioc acu 5,000 duine a fháil, agus anois, i ndiaidh bliain amháin, tá 2,500 acu (muidne san áireamh). Dá bharr sin, chuir Roinn Cultúrtha, Ealaíona, agus Fóillíochta “cóisir breithlá” ar siúl i gcathair Béal Feirste. Bhí sé iontach deas agus bhuail muid le neart daoine suimiúla a oibríonn leis an Ghaeilge sa Tuaisceart. Agus rinne muid agallamh le stáisiún teilifíse fosta! Cuirfear an agallamh ar líne anseo, más maith leat é a fheiceáíl!

Dála an scéil, mura bhfaca tú CouchSurfing.org go fóill, agus is mac léinn/duine bocht tú a ba mhaith leat a bheith ag taisteal, mholfainn daoibh é seo a úsáid! D’fhan muid le cúpla duine iontach i mBéal Feirste (duine amháin arbh chainteoir dúchais na Gaeilge ó Ghaoth Dobhair!) agus bhí an-chraic againn. Anois tá cairde againn in mBéal Feirste agus tá cairde nua acu i nGaillimh!

Agus an píosa nuachtáin dheireanach daoibh: bhuaigh Dún na nGall i gcraobhchluiche phéile Gaelach Dé Sathairn!! WOO HOO!!! Chonaic muid an cluiche ar an bhealach ar ais go Gaillimh i dteach tábhairne i mBaile Átha Luain, agus ba chluiche iontach é! Ar an drochuair, bhí muid i dteach tábhairne le lucht leantóirí Mhaigh Eo seachas Dún na nGall, agus bhí orainn ár sceitimíní a choinneáil linn féin go dtí a bhain muid an carr amach… ionas nach gcaitheadh amach ar an tsráid muid! Tá an tír iomlán ag ceiliúradh fós (Tír Chonaill go háirithe!), mar ní raibh an craobhchluiche bainte ag an fhoireann sin ar feadh fiche bliain… tá sé tuillte acu, gan amhras.

Anois, ar ais go dtí an obair! Go n-éirí an bóthar libh,

Amanda

__________________________________________________________________________________

Hello friends,

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote, so sorry for the delay! I’ll try to sum up the week without writing too much!

The first piece of news is that our first week of classes happened last week. Here’s our schedule during the week:

Tuesday:
12-2 Language class
3-5 Aspects of Sociolinguistics

Wednesday:
1-2 Language class (writing focus)

Thursday:
1-3 Folklore (song and storytelling traditions)
3-5 Aspects of Sociolinguistics

And so we don’t have any classes on Monday or Friday! But we’ll have a ton of work to do to prepare for these classes, and we won’t have too much of a chance to relax or travel on those long weekends.

The classes were all very interesting and we’re looking forward to spending a whole year studying these subjects. But we did have a very difficult week last week, I have to say, because there’s an extremely high standard of Irish language needed for this program, and we’re not entirely ready for it. We couldn’t be ready for it unless we had done a whole BA in Irish really, and even then it would be challenging enough. For the most part, we understand everything that the professors and other students say, but it’s much more difficult to read/understand the academic articles/book excerpts and discuss them in Irish with the other folks in our classes. That’s an interesting thing, isn’t it? Understanding in a new language always comes faster than the ability to speak it and express your opinions eloquently. I have never felt more stupid than I felt in our classes last week… usually, I’m a very good scholar and I love to be a student, but with the combined blow of the standard of Irish in question and me being out of practice of being a student for a while (about 5 years now), I felt like I wasn’t able to contribute anything interesting or intelligent to the class at all. We were a bit depressed about this by the end of the week, but today we’re feeling better and we know that the only thing to do is our very best, and to continue on with our work… eventually we’ll be in the place we want to be.

Along with that, we made the decision to go to Belfast this weekend for the birthday celebration of Líofa. Líofa is an Irish language scheme in Belfast that’s trying to collect signatures (and pledges of learning) from people who want to be fluent in Irish by 2015. Their goal is 5,000 people, and today, after a year, they have 2,500 people registered (including us). Because of that, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure put on a “birthday party” in Belfast city. It was really nice and we met a bunch of interesting people who work with Irish in Northern Ireland. We also did an interview with a television station! The interview will be put online here this week, I think, if you want to see it!

By the way, if you haven’t seen CouchSurfing.org yet, and you’re a poor student/person who wants to travel, I would recommend it highly to you! We stayed with a couple of great guys in Belfast (one of which was a native Irish speaker from Gaoth Dobhair!) and we had so much fun. And now we have new friends in Belfast and they have new friends in Galway!

And the last piece of news for you: Donegal won the championship in Gaelic Football on Saturday!! WOO HOO!! We saw the game on the way back to Galway in a pub in Athlone, and it was an awesome game! Unfortunately, we were in a pub full of Mayo supporters rather than Donegal, and we had to contain our excitement until we got out to the car… so that we wouldn’t be thrown out onto the street! 🙂 The whole country is still celebrating (especially Donegal!), because this team hasn’t won the championship for 20 years… they definitely deserve it.

And now, back to work! Wishing you all well,

Amanda

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