Dhá Bhliain de #FocalAnLae | Two Years of #FocalAnLae

Ar an lá seo dhá bhliain ó shin, chuir mé tús le haistear focal. Bheartaigh mé go roinnfinn focal nua Gaeilge ar Twitter gach aon lá. 

Ag an am sin, ní raibh sé i gceist agam feachtas fada blianta a dhéanamh de, ach ansin d’imigh bliain iomlán, bhíomar i lár paindéime agus bhí an oiread sin suilt á bhaint agam as #FocalAnLae a dhéanamh gur chinntigh mé leanúint orm. Ach d’imigh bliain eile ansin agus cé go bhfuil mé fós gafa le focail, agus go bhfuil mé fós ag iarraidh focail agus frásaí iontacha spéisiúla a roinnt le daoine ar líne, tá beartaithe agam anois an cúram laethúil a leagan díom. Tar éis dhá bhliain olltaitneamhacha, tá deireadh ag teacht le #FocalAnLae.

Nuair a chuir mé tús le #FocalAnLae, uirlis chruthaitheach dom féin a bhí ann. Ba nós liom focal neamhchoitianta éigin, ar tháinig mé air i leabhar, i ndán, nó fiú san fhoclóir, a thógáil agus a roinnt, le frása samplach dem’ chuid féin lena ais. D’fhan cuid mhaith de na focail sin liom, mar gheall ar an gcleachtas cruthaitheach seo, agus cé nach raibh mórán d’fhiúntas fileata ag baint leis na giotaí teanga a bhí á gcruthú agam, bhí sé ar cheann de na rudaí ba spraíúla a bhí le déanamh agam ar na turais fhada bhus abhaile ón ollscoil. 

Ach bhí dua ag baint leis an gcur chuige seo freisin; ba mhinic a sháraíodh an dúshlán cruthaitheachta m’intinn thuirsiúil nó sheachnaínn focail áirithe a bhí ‘róchoitianta’ gan fáth ceart. Ina theannta sin, cuireadh ar mo shúile cúpla uair go raibh úsáid ábhairín ró-neamhthraidisiúnta, abraimis, á baint agam as focail áirithe sna habairtí samplacha agus thosaigh mé ag cur ‘Mise a chum’ in aice le haon sampla mar seo ar eagla na míthuisceana. Faoi dheireadh, tháinig mé ar chur chuige nua. In ionad m’intinn bhocht a bhascadh gach lá, thosaigh mé ag roinnt focal a raibh bríonna suimiúla leo nó frásaí spéisiúla fúthu i bhFoclóir Uí Dhónaill leis an saol. B’fhusa dom féin an cúram sin agus tháinig mé ar an dúrud focal agus frásaí iontacha ar an gcaoi sin. 

Ach gan amhras ar bith, ba é an rud ab fhearr faoin aistear focal seo, agus an t-aon chúis a lean mé orm leis, ná an comhluadar a bhí agam feadh na slí. Spreag na focail agus na frásaí a chuir mé amach comhráite fada idir saoithíní aitheanta na Gaelghiolcaireachta agus is iomaí duine a chuir milbhlúiríní eolais agus saibhris leis na bunfhocail a roinn mé. Ba é an pobal daoine seo, daoine ar dúspéis leo an Ghaeilge agus ar breá leo cíoradh caidéiseach cairdiúil a dhéanamh uirthi, de mo dhála féin, ba iad siúd an chuid ab fhearr den aistear ar fad. I ndáiríre, is é pobal seo na Gaeilge ar líne, agus an fháilte phobalda agus an dáimh pharóisteach a bhraithim mar pháirt de, an t-aon fáth a chuirim suas leis an bhfearann fíochmhar Ifrinn a bhíonn go minic i Twitter.com.

Mar sin de, agus deireadh ag teacht leis an gcúram laethúil seo, caithfidh mé mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le gach duine a choinnigh cuideachta liom i gcríocha ceo na bhfocal le dhá bhliain anuas; agus altú speisialta d’Ailbe van der Heide, Eoin McEvoy, Dylan Bryans, Dennis King, Aonghus Ó hAlmhain agus Conchúr Mag Eacháin. Nach séanta é saol an tsaoithín.

Cé go bhfuil #FocalAnLae á scor agam anois, níl sé i gceist agam stad do roinnt na ndea-fhocal is na séadfhrásaí. Cuirfidh mé ceann nó dhó amach nuair a phriocann an seanfhonn aríst mé; ach idir an dá linn, fágfaidh mé sibh le rogha de na Focail an Lae ab aoibhne liomsa féin, maille le mo dhea-mhéin agus beannachtaí!

Dáimh - Fellow-feeling/Natural affection
Mór mo dháimh le cairde caomha; mór mo bhrón m’imeacht uathu (Great my affection for dear friends; great my sorrow on leaving them)

Muirn - Confused noise/Tumult/Festive mirth/Affection
Muirn is meadhair na coirme (Festive revelry and mirth)

Glonn - Deed of violence/Evil deed/Disgust/Loathing
Glonn liom do ghlór, do ghnúis is do gháire (I loathe your voice, your face, your laugh)

Suaill - Sea-swell/Small/Insignificant/Nearly
Is suaill nár éag sé (He nearly died)

Lainn - Excites/Enraptures
Is lainn liom do scéala (You bring me glad news)

Teidhm - Disease/Sickness/Plague/Calamity
Ar scáth a chéile a mhairfimid an teidhm seo (We will survive this sickness together)

Leatra - Urgent need to urinate
Ní deifir go deifir leatra agus ní sásámh go sásamh leatra (There’s no hurrying like hurrying when dying to pee and there’s no satisfaction like satisfying an urgent need to pee)

Mochean - Fortunate/Happy/Welcome
Mochean do theacht (I welcome your coming)

Aoibh - Smile/Pleasant expression
A haoibh a shoilsigh dom gairdeas is grá (Her smile revealed to me joy and love)

Foirceann - End/Extremity/Limit
Gan cheann gan foirceann (Without beginning or end)

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On this day two years ago, I began a journey of words. I decided to share a new Irish-language word on Twitter every single day.

At the time, I didn’t intend to make it a years-long campaign, but then a year went by, we were in the middle of a pandemic and I was enjoying #FocalAnLae so much that I decided to keep it going. But another year has gone by and although I’m still obsessed with words, and I still want to share marvellous interesting words and phrases online, I’ve decided to set aside this daily duty. After two wonderfully enjoyable years, #FocalAnLae is coming to an end.

When I began #FocalAnLae, it served as a creative outlet for me. I would take an uncommon word, which I had found in a book, or poem, or even in the dictionary, and I’d share it, with a sample sentence of my own making beside it. Many of these words stayed with me, due to this creative practice, and although there wasn’t much poetic brilliance to be found in the language fragments I was creating, it became one of the most pleasurable things I had to do on the long bus rides home from university.

But this was not the easiest approach; the creative challenge would often be too much for my tired brain or I’d avoid certain words that were ‘too common’ without any real reason. Additionally, it was brought to my attention on a couple of occasions that my use of certain words in the sample sentences was sometimes somewhat non-traditional, let’s say, and I began adding ‘Mise a chum | Created by me’ to samples like these to avoid misunderstanding. Finally, I decided on a new approach. Instead of tormenting my poor brain every day, I started to share words that had interesting meanings or which were used in interesting phrases in the Ó Dónaill dictionary with the world. This was indeed an easier task and I also came across a plethora of wonderful words and phrases this way.

But without a doubt, the best thing about this journey of words, and the only reason I continued with it, was the company I had along the way. The words and phrases I put out sparked long conversations amongst the renowned wise-ones of the Irish-language Twitterverse and many people would add some honeyed nugget of knowledge or richness to the words I shared. This community of people, people who were enthralled by Irish and who loved to inquire and examine the language in a congenial way, like me, were the best part of the whole journey.   Really, the online Irish-language community, and the congregational welcome and parochial affection that I feel as part of it, is the only reason I put up with the fierce hellscape that Twitter.com often is.

Therefore, as I set aside this daily duty, I must thank everyone who kept me company in the foggy lands of language for the past two years; with a special thanks to Ailbe van der Heide, Eoin McEvoy, Dylan Bryans, Dennis King, Aonghus Ó hAlmhain and Conchúr Mag Eacháin. ’Tis a charmed life; the life of a saoithín.

Although #FocalAnLae is ending now, I don’t intend to stop sharing wonderful words and phrases. I’ll put one or two out whenever the old desire strikes again; but in the meantime, I would like to leave you with some of my favourite #FocalAnLae words, along with my farewell and good wishes!

Dáimh - Fellow-feeling/Natural affection
Mór mo dháimh le cairde caomha; mór mo bhrón m’imeacht uathu (Great my affection for dear friends; great my sorrow on leaving them)

Muirn - Confused noise/Tumult/Festive mirth/Affection
Muirn is meadhair na coirme (Festive revelry and mirth)

Glonn - Deed of violence/Evil deed/Disgust/Loathing
Glonn liom do ghlór, do ghnúis is do gháire (I loathe your voice, your face, your laugh)

Suaill - Sea-swell/Small/Insignificant/Nearly
Is suaill nár éag sé (He nearly died)

Lainn - Excites/Enraptures
Is lainn liom do scéala (You bring me glad news)

Teidhm - Disease/Sickness/Plague/Calamity
Ar scáth a chéile a mhairfimid an teidhm seo (We will survive this sickness together)

Leatra - Urgent need to urinate
Ní deifir go deifir leatra agus ní sásámh go sásamh leatra (There’s no hurrying like hurrying when dying to pee and there’s no satisfaction like satisfying an urgent need to pee)

Mochean - Fortunate/Happy/Welcome
Mochean do theacht (I welcome your coming)

Aoibh - Smile/Pleasant expression
A haoibh a shoilsigh dom gairdeas is grá (Her smile revealed to me joy and love)

Foirceann - End/Extremity/Limit
Gan cheann gan foirceann (Without beginning or end)

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