Hiberno-English and Irish words

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As it was St Patrick's Day last week, many of my recent conversations have been about Ireland and Irish-ness, with accent nearly always the most popular subject.

I was reminded of a print out I had with 22 examples of Hiberno-Irish dialect - and while I agree with most of the examples, some are very 'stage leprauchan'.

The examples are:

1. Is it Commerce he's studying in College?
2. Peter asked John was he at the match on Sunday and did he see Sheila there.
3. They spoiled her as a child and she's a very bold girl in school.
4. How long do you know Margaret?
5. It's a right mess he's after making of it.
6. I saw two sugawn chairs and a pine table for sale.
7. My brother learned me how to drive.
8. Did you ever hear her talking about anything only study?
9. I caught a fine salmon but the rod broke on me and it got away.
10. He has no sense for an eighteen year old: I saw him out walking yesterday without a coat and it raining.
11. He's hopeless to study now: he usen't be like that when he was younger.
12. Is it Sunday the match is on?
13. See is it on the shelf.
14. Are you going to town? I am. Is it a message you are wanting?
15. He's dead sound, a real sincere young fellow altogether.
16. We were here ages before he came.
17. How can she study with the state she's in?
18. I was just after putting down the phone when I realised I forgot to tell you about the party.
19. Her face was all swollen with the mumps.
20. I do be falling over that yoke about ten times a day.
21. I'm on the pension nearly three years now.
22. Every morning I do be after missing the bus.

Numbers 1, 5, 9, 12 and 14 use an odd-for-English sentence structure, mainly (I think) as it comes from a direct translation from Irish (Gaelic).

3, 11, 14 and 20 have words for other words which may be specific to Hiberno-English: bold for naughty, the contraction usen't, message for shopping and yoke for thing. These are my favourite, and there are many more, such as:

press for cupboard
'give out' for 'tell off'
'copy book' for 'note book / jotter'