The Irish language is modernised with the new Béarla-Gaeilge dictionary

Muiris O'Cearbhaill

President Michael D. Higgins officially launched the latest edition of the Concise English- Irish Dictionary on October 30th. This is the newest edition of a major Béarla-Gaeilge dictionary in over 60 years, with 1.8 million words in contemporary English and Irish.

The entries were derived from the hugely popular focloir.ie, that reportedly attracts over two million visitors each year.

According to the official press release, the main aims of this project were to represent the current usage of both Gaeilge and English spoken in Ireland, the main dialects of contemporary Irish, and a broad range of language from technical to informal.

It’s widely regarded that much of these aims were to help spreag a bheith ag labhairt as Gaeilge, as we live in a new technological age. Evidence can be seen for this with new additions like “féinín”, “cibearbhulaíocht”, “baincéaracht ar line”, “bréagnuacht” agus “Breatimeacht”.

Dúirt an Uachtarán Uí Uigínn i teachtaireacht oifigúil faoin foilsiú seo, gurb “cúis áthais” dó a bheith páirteach san ócáid.

President Higgins thanked Príomhfheidhmeannach Fhoas na Gaeilge, Seán Ó’Coinn, for allowing him to be a part of the project.

President Higgins added “Tá deis againn inniu… ár n-aitheantas a thabhairt go poiblí agus go fíorúil, do gach éinne a bhí páirteach san oll-tógra, uile-Éireann seo.”

An acknowledgement was also given to Foclóir Uí Dhónaill, which provided the leeway for “Nua-Ghaeilge” back in 1977.

Other personalities were sharing their grá for and experience with our national language alongside President Higgins.

Among them were, comedian and presenter Dara Ó’Briain, who described the dictionary as “a rich, vibrant, modern document, as befits the language.”

Róisín Ní Threabhair, a journalism student and also a member of Cumann Na Gaeilge in DCU, said “by making this dictionary it draws attention to the Irish language, by it circulating around in the public, and by being on the news is kind of means that it’s like, i mbéal an phobail.”

Ní Threabhair also suggested that the modernisation can bring more relevance into the language for the younger Gaeilgeoirs.

Similarly, general nursing student Erin Murphy said “the accessibility of the language will be broadened to where we can use the language in more day-to-day situations.”

She speculated that the new modern words could help promote attraction to parents to be more open to the idea of enlisting their kids into Gaelscoils.

Murphy attended Scoil Chaitríona, an established gaelscoil beside DCU. She expressed that the switch to Béarla has been difficult.

However, she thinks “a move like this could mean that courses could be offered in both of our languages in the future.”

Muiris O’Cearbhaill

Image Credit: Fócloir