Roadsigns recently have been causing mixed thoughts.
I have mentioned that I am a supporter of the motto, ‘Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste’ (Broken Irish is better than smart English). My level of Irish is such that I have to agree – my Irish not being fluent.
By commenting on written Irish, some might consider it support for the Heather Humphries position – ‘People who lecture others about not having fluent Irish and not being able to speak the language put people off speaking Irish and, sometimes, do more damage to the language.’
In all my attempts to speak Irish, I have never met any condescension or ill-feeling among fluent speakers with my efforts. Encouragement is nearly always encountered, together with a smile, a nod or facial expression of thanks for trying my best. I make mistakes, many of them.
But I can still have a discussion.
Part of extending my vocabulary is by reading bi-lingual roadsigns. ‘Entrance’, ‘hidden’ and ‘layout’ have all been learned from the comfort of the driver’s seat.
Maybe my Irish knowledge is improving that I can query what I read as to whether it is correct. It does provide the benefit of sending me home with a task to check on dictionary and grammar books – a very important benefit, for me.
But, should there be a responsibility on Councils to ensure that they are correct.
Councils engage ‘Official Translators’. I can only believe that they are not consulted on all signage.
If they were, the signs ought to be correct and of assistance to the learning of others.
‘Oibreachta Bóthair Soghluaiste
Foclóir says that ‘Oibreachta’ does not exist.
So assuming it might be ‘Oibreacha’ – it is the plural of ‘oibre’ and translates as ‘works’
‘Bóthair’ is the genitive (tuiseal ginideach) of ‘Bóthar’ and so translates as ‘of the road’
‘Soghluaiste’ is an adjective meaning ‘moveable’ or ‘mobile’.
As adjectives in Irish follow the noun it qualifies (generally), my understating as to the translation is:
‘Works of the Moveable Road’
‘Bóthar Nua Leagan Amach’
‘Bóthar’ is ‘road’ and is the subject
‘Nua’ is an adjective meaning ‘new’. So again, as noun precedes the adjective that qualifies it, we have ‘New Road’. The ‘new’ does not refer to’ layout’.
‘Leagan amach’ is a noun which translates as ‘layout’ or ‘arrangement’ . It is not in the genitive case (‘Leagain amach’) so it does not translate as ‘of the layout’ but does mean there are two subjects, one adjective and no verb on the notice.
So this appears to be two messages with two subjects
‘New Road. Layout.’
My best suggestions would have been:
‘Oibreacha Soghluaiste ar Bhóthar’ – ‘Mobile Roadworks on Road’
‘Leagan Amach Nua ar Bhóthar’ – ‘New Layout on Road’
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