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How to speak English like the Irish

| 256 comments | Category: particular languages

Ready to learn how to speak Irish with its charming accent? You may also enjoy my article about the Irish language itself (Gaeilge). Check out the most popular posts on the right for other topics you may find interesting, and subscribe to the blog for some unconventional language hacking tips!

Ah English, you have such a wide range of dialects that can cause many hilarious confusions!

I nearly got fired once for innocently suggesting that my 13 year old Mathematics students in New York “openly share rubbers without asking permission” (Rubber to me is an eraser to them, but in USA it’s a condom). And, at first, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what my blogger friends were talking about when they said they wanted to dominate a nitch”. Rather than being a really bad itch, it was actually a niche (“neesh” for me). And that’s just American vs non-American English differences!

In Ireland we are lucky enough to be exposed to quite a lot of different versions of English thanks to television/cinema/literature. As well as our own TV channels, we have BBC, lots of American series, Australian soap operas and loads more. However, the opposite just doesn’t seem to be as true (although Irish literature has indeed had a huge impact on the English speaking world).

Other than poorly imitated Irish accents in films, the Irish dialect of English seems to elude a lot of people. So today, I’m going to break it down for you! Maybe then you’ll understand us better, or at least not do such a terrible job when you try to mimic us :P

Why do the Irish speak like that?

Firstly, there’s no such thing as an Irish accent. Ireland may be a small island with a modest population, but the differences between regions and even within parts of cities like Dublin are vast and easy to pick up on. Of course, other countries also have the same phenomenon with dozens of English dialects within London alone and huge differences across America, but I’ll just focus on Ireland in this wee article ;)

Despite there not being a ‘single’ accent, there are commonalities that stem from a combination of factors, the most important of which being that just a few generations ago, Irish (Gaeilge) was the dominant language of the country. Even though less people use it now in comparison, and there are even some people who don’t have any Irish, the influence of the language on their English is huge.

For example, you’ll notice that I’ve just written have any Irish – it is more common in Ireland to say that you have a language rather than you speak it. This is originally due to Irish’s phrasing of Tá Gaeilge/Fraincis agam (“I have Irish/French”)

As well as this, there are some traits of old English (due to earlier English colonisation attempts than elsewhere) that we have maintained that have pretty much died out in other parts of the world. Shakespeare himself used the word mitch, a word still common in Ireland that the rest of the English speaking world would be confused to hear (it means to skip classes or “play hooky”).

However, the main differences are definitely due to influences from our own language, and they are what make Irish (or Hiberno) English so much more colourful!

Different grammar

English grammar is pretty consistent, but the standard spoken form in Ireland takes on a life of its own.

For example, rather than rely on “to have just done” for a recently completed action, we would say “to be after doing”. I’m after finding a euro on the road! You’re after stepping in dog sh*t! (This is due to tá mé tar éis / i ndiaidh… in Irish)

Another interesting influence from Irish is its absolute lack of the words yes or no, so when our ancestors were speaking English as a second language, they would translate how they would use such words originally in Irish.

Although international English influences mean young people do this way less nowadays, a lot of us Irish still simply don’t use these words. In the Irish language (and in other languages like Thai for example), this issue is resolved by simply repeating the verb of the question. Can you swim? I can! Do you like tomato juice? I don’t. Are you coming? I amn’t.

Yes you read that right: amn’t. This is one I’m surprised other English speakers don’t use! You say isn’t, don’t, aren’t… It’s logical if you ask me!

Also, come on rest-of-the-English-speaking-world. A single word for both singular and plural you?? What were yee thinking?? We can say yee, yez, or even yous (depending on the part of the country). Of course, Irish has and sibh… like pretty much every other language in the world! I’m pointing the finger at vi too, Esperanto!! :P

Some strange turns of phrase

Story? Don’t give out about your man! Where’s the yoke?

These are very common things you would hear from an Irish person, but sadly I’ve had to water down my English over the years to be understood when abroad and avoid such interesting words.

Story? or What’s the story? Is a translation of the Irish Aon scéal? / Cad é an scéal? – where “story” means “news”, i.e. What’s going on? / What’s up? Usually used as a greeting. The more rural of us prefer “How’s she cuttin?” (‘she’ being used in Ireland more than in other places for inanimate objects).

To give out has nothing to do with distributing leaflets. This is from the Irish tabhairt amach and means to complain. This is another one that Irish people are always surprised to hear isn’t international!!

Your man is a nice avoidance technique for not using someone’s name. It is usually clear from the context who you’re taking about, and the “your” definitely can’t be taken literally, he may have no connection whatsoever to you and even be a complete stranger (although close friend is just as likely). Your one is for women.

Yoke is a synonym for “thing” and usually refers to something that we may not be too familiar with and not know the actual name of. Think of thingamajig/watchamacallit, although it’s used way more often.

This is just a small sampling! There are a host of other words like Deadly, Desperate, Fair Play, Gas, Press, Shift that you may think you know the meaning of, but we would use them for things that are completely different, unrelated and unexpected. You can see loads of them (and a lot of things in this article) explained pretty well in the Wikipedia article on Hiberno English. Let’s see if I can give a few examples just to really confuse you…

Fair play to ya! You shifted your one, that was deadly! – The turnout was desperate last night. – I went to the press and found the yoke I had been looking for! … That’s gas!

Then, of course, there are originally Irish words that we use even when speaking English. The most famous of these is craic [Edit: this is an Irish word, but is actually borrowed from English], “fun” or enjoyment, but also used to ask how things are How’s the craic? Any craic?

The lovely Irish accent

Once again, I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed in the rest of the Anglosphere. Frankly the way you form words just doesn’t sound nice! South Africans are pretty much the only ones that could keep me in my chair without squirming uncomfortably and constantly glancing at the exit; non-Irish English has actually driven me to avoid the language entirely for most of the last 7 years!!

For example, other English speakers have this strange thing they do where they put their tongue between their teeth and blow a buff of air over the tongue. They call it the th sound.

Why??

We do away with that hideous noise in Ireland! [Edit: less likely in the north] To us, the th sound is simply replaced with a t (unvoiced) or a d (voiced). So do ya see the tirty tree and a tird trees over dere? Dat’s right! Sounds way better, doesn’t it!

My friends across the pond (both the Atlantic and the Irish sea) seem to love putting consonants together that never belonged next to one another in the first place. l & m for example – how can you say these so quickly at the end of a word? It’s totally unnecessary! So to us Irish, a film is pronounced fill-um. The Irish name Colm has two syllables. This is because Irish, like Latin languages, gives vowels the glorious importance they deserve, while Germanic and Slavic languages seem to have a thing for squeezing as many consonants together as possible…

And continuing from this, you end words in hard consonants! It’s like an abrupt and unexpected car crash! Let’s take things easy shall we? The ‘t’ at the end of right is softened almost to a sh sound in the Emerald Isle (or even done away with altogether in North Dublin, and pronounced roy).

We also “ch” up our t’s and “j” up our d’s if they would have a ‘y’ incorporated in them in British English. So the second day of the week is Chooseday, a tube is a choob, and ‘due’ and ‘jew’ are pronounced the same. And if you are spelling words for us, instead of imitating a pirate when you get to the 18th letter (aaaarrrrgh!!), just say it like ‘or’ please ;)

This post is only a small summary of the many differences, but hopefully it explains why us Irish sound so charming when we speak. :) So, soften up your consonants, “trow” away your ‘th’s, and stop giving out that you don’t understand us ;)

—————————

If I’ve missed anything, feel free to add it in the comments! Next time some eejit says “Top of the morning to ya” or “Stay away from my lucky charms”, to try to imitate us, I’ll either punch them in the face… or link them to this article ;) If you think someone else might enjoy this, share it through facebook, twitter and stumbleupon!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my brief series of posts related to Irish and Irish English while I was back home!

Cheers! (That means thank you or bye by the way; not drinks necessary! Although, that’s not just in Ireland! ;) )

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  • http://twitter.com/garmur Gareth Murphy

    Good stuff Benny. Being from Dublin myself, I always feel a bit sorry for the foreign people I work with who just don’t know what’s going on (even though their English is usually great)! The standard English courses don’t seem to prepare them for our ridiculous amount of idiomatic usages :P

    The amount of truly different regional accents is also pretty astounding, within Dublin alone there’s probably at least 3 distinct accents (Strong inner city, ‘D4′ and then my own ‘generic’ Dublin accent, which is sort of in-between), with different ‘regular’ slang etc. Although they all spill over a little bit. Then we have the Cork accent which is completely different, and there’s loads of others in between, throughout the country.

    Another thing you should probably add is that for most Dublin accents (apart from ‘D4′), and even some Laois/Offaly accents I’ve heard, we tend to leave out the ‘t’ at the end of some words completely (rather than pronounce it as almost an ‘sh’). ‘Right’ and ‘tonight’ are perfect examples, usually pronounced as ‘righ’ and ‘tonigh’. This is usually seen as a little bit ‘common’ (meaning lower-class in this context) in Dublin, but most do it naturally, including myself. The ‘sh’ sound in this case is associated with either ‘D4′ (posh) Dublin accent or ‘culchy’ (person from the countryside, not really derogatory any more :P).

    I’ve also noticed a lot of American/English usage expressions creeping in as well, probably inevitable because of the sheer amount of American and English TV shows, movies and other media we’re exposed to. Not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting. I wouldn’t say the use of ain’t is frowned upon, but it’s not really used in a ‘serious’ context. It’s used in a kind of fun, exaggerated way… for example, if a friend asks you to go somewhere you might answer “No I ain’t goin’ there you son-uva-bitch!” in a kind of mock-Texan accent. Not derogatory at all, and although it sounds stupid as I’m writing it here, you all do stuff like that ;)

    Of course there are variations like this in all countries, and just as interesting as our own! It’d be interesting to hear about this in other English speaking countries. Our Irish ears are tuned for noticing subtle differences of accents around us in our native country, so it’s not something we’d be ‘well up on’ (know a lot about)… through no fault of our own. I can only imagine that through globalization we’re going to see a LOT more mixing up of various countries dialects with each other, probably being especially influenced by American English through the media.

    Good stuff!

  • http://twitter.com/garmur Gareth Murphy

    Good stuff Benny. Being from Dublin myself, I always feel a bit sorry for the foreign people I work with who just don’t know what’s going on (even though their English is usually great)! The standard English courses don’t seem to prepare them for our ridiculous amount of idiomatic usages :P

    The amount of truly different regional accents is also pretty astounding, within Dublin alone there’s probably at least 3 distinct accents (Strong inner city, ‘D4′ and then my own ‘generic’ Dublin accent, which is sort of in-between), with different ‘regular’ slang etc. Although they all spill over a little bit. Then we have the Cork accent which is completely different, and there’s loads of others in between, throughout the country.

    Another thing you should probably add is that for most Dublin accents (apart from ‘D4′), and even some Laois/Offaly accents I’ve heard, we tend to leave out the ‘t’ at the end of some words completely (rather than pronounce it as almost an ‘sh’). ‘Right’ and ‘tonight’ are perfect examples, usually pronounced as ‘righ’ and ‘tonigh’. This is usually seen as a little bit ‘common’ (meaning lower-class in this context) in Dublin, but most do it naturally, including myself. The ‘sh’ sound in this case is associated with either ‘D4′ (posh) Dublin accent or ‘culchy’ (person from the countryside, not really derogatory any more :P).

    I’ve also noticed a lot of American/English usage expressions creeping in as well, probably inevitable because of the sheer amount of American and English TV shows, movies and other media we’re exposed to. Not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting. I wouldn’t say the use of ain’t is frowned upon, but it’s not really used in a ‘serious’ context. It’s used in a kind of fun, exaggerated way… for example, if a friend asks you to go somewhere you might answer “No I ain’t goin’ there you son-uva-bitch!” in a kind of mock-Texan accent. Not derogatory at all, and although it sounds stupid as I’m writing it here, you all do stuff like that ;)

    Of course there are variations like this in all countries, and just as interesting as our own! It’d be interesting to hear about this in other English speaking countries. Our Irish ears are tuned for noticing subtle differences of accents around us in our native country, so it’s not something we’d be ‘well up on’ (know a lot about)… through no fault of our own. I can only imagine that through globalization we’re going to see a LOT more mixing up of various countries dialects with each other, probably being especially influenced by American English through the media.

    Good stuff!

  • odiernod

    “Other than poorly imitated Irish accents in films, the Irish dialect of English seems to allude a lot of people.”

    I believe you meant to us “elude” here, as allude wouldn't make sense in this context.

  • holyrecklessness

    Oh c'mon! :)

    I agree with your thoughts on other English speaking countries as a whole, but what about places like south Louisiana? We have such a rich language (mixutre of Spanish, French, Native American, various African languages, etc.), and we have awesome food! We Cajuns are kind of like the Irish, I mean, everyone loves us!

    But regadless, I liked the post, haha. Lache pas la patate! :)

    • Charles Vaman

       Correction! Not everyone loves you down there… sorry!

  • ielanguages

    Some Americans use “ain't” a lot, especially for the missing contraction of am not, but also for a lot of other negatives. I ain't going. He ain't here. She ain't ready. We ain't got no..; etc. And southerners have a plural you: y'all

    I wish Irish English were taught more. I can't even find any published materials like with British or American. Not a large enough market to make a profit, I suppose. But ESL students should really know everything you mentioned considering that it's very different from the other varieties and even native speakers of English (whichever dialect) sometimes have trouble understanding too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1302692650 Wesley Arnold

      Actually, Jennie, while y’all is technically plural, it’s used in both the plural and the singular. The “proper” Southern US plural for “you” is “all y’all”…just to keep things interesting… :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1302692650 Wesley Arnold

      Actually, Jennie, while y’all is technically plural, it’s used in both the plural and the singular. The “proper” Southern US plural for “you” is “all y’all”…just to keep things interesting… :-)

  • http://wilsworldofwords.com/ WilsWords

    “there’s no such thing as an Irish accent. Ireland may be a small island with a modest population, but the differences between regions…”

    Same in England, are a Cockney and a Brummie the same?

    “South Africans are pretty much the only ones that could keep me in my chair without squirming uncomfortably and constantly glancing at the exit; non-Irish English has actually driven me to avoid the language entirely for most of the last 7 years!!

    For example, other English speakers have this strange thing they do where they put their tongue between their teeth and blow a buff of air over the tongue. They call it the th sound.”

    As lovely as the Irish 't' is, most English learners would prefer to sound like an American or a Brit with an unvoiced 'θ' rather than an Irish 't', same with the UK and US 'ð' compared with the Irish 'd'. Whilst I don't want to generalise, I think these phonetic symbols actually summarise most widely-used Irish accents.

    Also “So to us Irish, a film is pronounced fill-um” – Well, my grandma pronounces it that way, too and she's on the geordie (British), not part of the other, (Irish), side of my family.

    I am really upset about this article because after standing up to Steve Kauffman, in a series of interviews that really reflected my own views on language learning, you have lowered yourself to cheap shots on other versions of the English language without even making the effort to understand the linguistic diversity within England itself.

    I speak English at work but other languages for the rest of my life. I can still appreciate all the different varieties of English, though. It's one of the things that makes the language interesting.

    If you were a little more open-minded, you could start to look at the influence of Irish dialects on Australian English or US English rather than just moaning. You complained about the Parisians being closed minded, maybe it's time to look at your own views on English.

    • sian

      It’s a pity you found the article insulting.  It wasn’t meant to be so.  The tone of the article was meant to be an exaggerated kind of ironic humor.  From my reading of it, Benny certainly doesn’t mean that he’s been deliberately running away from English English speakers for the last 7 years.  That was supposed to be humorous hyperbole.  There was certainly zero ‘moaning’ in the article, it was more a ribbing of the wider worlds inability to faithfully reproduce our accents in films etc and also our turns of phrase that we have to rethink and translate when we’re with non-Irish English speakers.  I think you may have mapped an already established disposition you have onto the article without meaning to.  This article is tongue and cheek.  Benny is not saying that everyone should learn to speak like us.   Look at the sentence about the ‘th’s again.  Its deliberately ridiculous.  Of course he doesn’t mean people who already do should stop differentiating their two ‘th’ sounds and turn them into t’s and d’s.  He’s simultaneously glorifying and taking the mick out of our own accent.   He’s, as we would say, only messing.  As regards your pointing out the thing about Cockney and Brummie.  Of course they’re not the same.  Benny knows that!  The point he was making is that, almost everyone knows that (!)… BUT the wider world is not very aware that there are vast variations amongst accents in Ireland too.  For example, see Tommy Lee Jones in that film about the IRA in America.  Can’t remember what it was called but his accent was ATROCIOUS.  He literally jumped from province to province within sentences.  FIRE THE DIALECT COACH!!  It made it impossible for any Irish person to take in the dialogue and plot of this movie as every time Tommy Lee spoke it was like being on a geo-dialectic merry-go-round at hyper speed.  

      This reply isn’t meant to come down on you or anything but I really think you should try reading the article again through the sense of humor that was intended.  That being said, I’m new to this site and just saw ur reply was from 2010, so you probably already have!!!  All the best….

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Would you believe me if I said that we used allude differently in Ireland? No? OK, I'm just bad at English :P
    Have changed it, thanks for the correction!!

  • Sean

    I love the article Benny! I really like the accents of Ireland and Scotland, and hope to one day be able to speak in them. :) I could a typical rural Scottish accent if I tried hard enough, and possibly an Irish accent like yours, but I totally don't have the confidence to use them, as I have no idea how authentic they actually are. :P
    Ankaŭ, al mi malplaĉas, ke la Esperanto ne havas multenombran pronomon. >:[

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Oh come on! This article is a friendly tease of other versions of English. This incorporates Irish humour in it as well as anything else ;)
    I never suggested England or anywhere else weren't as diverse as Ireland. You've read the article totally arseways my friend! The whole point is to share points about Irish, not to claim inferiority of other Englishes or that nowhere else in the world has regional dialects or interesting features. All teases are in the interests of humour.
    Your comment shows that you really don't get the point of the article, or can't read read the pretty obvious humour within it. Go to the corner and think about what you've said!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    I love “y'all” :D “Ain't” has actually creeped into usage in Ireland/UK too, but it's still frowned upon, and would be quite restricted.
    Well, you can bet that I made a dent in the ESL world by teaching plenty of Irish English for the several years that I was an English teacher :)

    • guest.

      How has it “creeped” into usage in the UK and Ireland? It has been there since AT LEAST the early 1600s as “amn’t/ent/ant/int” and used in many notable literary works from that time and since. Thus, the word would’ve had to have travelled with the Mayflower TO them, NOT the other way around.

  • odiernod

    actually, based off of the Irish “turns of phrase” in the rest of the article I would have believed you!

    • robinjgraham

      I believe you meant to say “based ON the Irish “turns of phrase”…

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    I've added another sentence to say that yes, Ireland isn't the only place in the world with regional dialects and vast differences in English ;)
    Glad you liked the article!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Sean! It's worth a try to use what you know from the accents and see what people think of them :) Give it a whirl, why not? :D
    Mi pensas ke esperanto adoptis la francan “vous” por diri “vi” sed kuniĝis la ununombran kaj formulan versiojn. Estas pli-malpli logike… sed laŭ mi mankas “vij” (aŭ plej bela vorto) :P

  • http://twitter.com/garmur Gareth Murphy

    Good stuff Benny. Being from Dublin myself, I always feel a bit sorry for the foreign people I work with who just don't know what's going on (even though their English is usually great)! The standard English courses don't seem to prepare them for our ridiculous amount of idiomatic usages :P

    The amount of truly different regional accents is also pretty astounding, within Dublin alone there's probably at least 3 distinct accents (Strong inner city, 'D4' and then my own 'generic' Dublin accent, which is sort of in-between), with different 'regular' slang etc. Although they all spill over a little bit. Then we have the Cork accent which is completely different, and there's loads of others in between, throughout the country.

    Another thing you should probably add is that for most Dublin accents (apart from 'D4'), and even some Laois/Offaly accents I've heard, we tend to leave out the 't' at the end of some words completely (rather than pronounce it as almost an 'sh'). 'Right' and 'tonight' are perfect examples, usually pronounced as 'righ' and 'tonigh'. This is usually seen as a little bit 'common' (meaning lower-class in this context) in Dublin, but most do it naturally, including myself. The 'sh' sound in this case is associated with either 'D4' (posh) Dublin accent or 'culchy' (person from the countryside, not really derogatory any more :P).

    I've also noticed a lot of American/English usage expressions creeping in as well, probably inevitable because of the sheer amount of American and English TV shows, movies and other media we're exposed to. Not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting. I wouldn't say the use of ain't is frowned upon, but it's not really used in a 'serious' context. It's used in a kind of fun, exaggerated way… for example, if a friend asks you to go somewhere you might answer “No I ain't goin' there you son-uva-bitch!” in a kind of mock-Texan accent. Not derogatory at all, and although it sounds stupid as I'm writing it here, you all do stuff like that ;)

    Of course there are variations like this in all countries, and just as interesting as our own! It'd be interesting to hear about this in other English speaking countries. Our Irish ears are tuned for noticing subtle differences of accents around us in our native country, so it's not something we'd be 'well up on' (know a lot about)… through no fault of our own. I can only imagine that through globalization we're going to see a LOT more mixing up of various countries dialects with each other, probably being especially influenced by American English through the media.

    Good stuff!

  • http://twitter.com/garmur Gareth Murphy

    Good stuff Benny. Being from Dublin myself, I always feel a bit sorry for the foreign people I work with who just don't know what's going on (even though their English is usually great)! The standard English courses don't seem to prepare them for our ridiculous amount of idiomatic usages :P

    The amount of truly different regional accents is also pretty astounding, within Dublin alone there's probably at least 3 distinct accents (Strong inner city, 'D4' and then my own 'generic' Dublin accent, which is sort of in-between), with different 'regular' slang etc. Although they all spill over a little bit. Then we have the Cork accent which is completely different, and there's loads of others in between, throughout the country.

    Another thing you should probably add is that for most Dublin accents (apart from 'D4'), and even some Laois/Offaly accents I've heard, we tend to leave out the 't' at the end of some words completely (rather than pronounce it as almost an 'sh'). 'Right' and 'tonight' are perfect examples, usually pronounced as 'righ' and 'tonigh'. This is usually seen as a little bit 'common' (meaning lower-class in this context) in Dublin, but most do it naturally, including myself. The 'sh' sound in this case is associated with either 'D4' (posh) Dublin accent or 'culchy' (person from the countryside, not really derogatory any more :P).

    I've also noticed a lot of American/English usage expressions creeping in as well, probably inevitable because of the sheer amount of American and English TV shows, movies and other media we're exposed to. Not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting. I wouldn't say the use of ain't is frowned upon, but it's not really used in a 'serious' context. It's used in a kind of fun, exaggerated way… for example, if a friend asks you to go somewhere you might answer “No I ain't goin' there you son-uva-bitch!” in a kind of mock-Texan accent. Not derogatory at all, and although it sounds stupid as I'm writing it here, you all do stuff like that ;)

    Of course there are variations like this in all countries, and just as interesting as our own! It'd be interesting to hear about this in other English speaking countries. Our Irish ears are tuned for noticing subtle differences of accents around us in our native country, so it's not something we'd be 'well up on' (know a lot about)… through no fault of our own. I can only imagine that through globalization we're going to see a LOT more mixing up of various countries dialects with each other, probably being especially influenced by American English through the media.

    Good stuff!

  • http://twitter.com/garmur Gareth Murphy

    Good stuff Benny. Being from Dublin myself, I always feel a bit sorry for the foreign people I work with who just don't know what's going on (even though their English is usually great)! The standard English courses don't seem to prepare them for our ridiculous amount of idiomatic usages :P

    The amount of truly different regional accents is also pretty astounding, within Dublin alone there's probably at least 3 distinct accents (Strong inner city, 'D4' and then my own 'generic' Dublin accent, which is sort of in-between), with different 'regular' slang etc. Although they all spill over a little bit. Then we have the Cork accent which is completely different, and there's loads of others in between, throughout the country.

    Another thing you should probably add is that for most Dublin accents (apart from 'D4'), and even some Laois/Offaly accents I've heard, we tend to leave out the 't' at the end of some words completely (rather than pronounce it as almost an 'sh'). 'Right' and 'tonight' are perfect examples, usually pronounced as 'righ' and 'tonigh'. This is usually seen as a little bit 'common' (meaning lower-class in this context) in Dublin, but most do it naturally, including myself. The 'sh' sound in this case is associated with either 'D4' (posh) Dublin accent or 'culchy' (person from the countryside, not really derogatory any more :P).

    I've also noticed a lot of American/English usage expressions creeping in as well, probably inevitable because of the sheer amount of American and English TV shows, movies and other media we're exposed to. Not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting. I wouldn't say the use of ain't is frowned upon, but it's not really used in a 'serious' context. It's used in a kind of fun, exaggerated way… for example, if a friend asks you to go somewhere you might answer “No I ain't goin' there you son-uva-bitch!” in a kind of mock-Texan accent. Not derogatory at all, and although it sounds stupid as I'm writing it here, you all do stuff like that ;)

    Of course there are variations like this in all countries, and just as interesting as our own! It'd be interesting to hear about this in other English speaking countries. Our Irish ears are tuned for noticing subtle differences of accents around us in our native country, so it's not something we'd be 'well up on' (know a lot about)… through no fault of our own. I can only imagine that through globalization we're going to see a LOT more mixing up of various countries dialects with each other, probably being especially influenced by American English through the media.

    Good stuff!

  • http://holyrecklessness.tumblr.com/ Cameron Rachal

    Well, since I was SO offended… :) I think most of us got the humor in the article – no reason to change it up now!

  • http://twitter.com/garmur Gareth Murphy

    Good stuff Benny. Being from Dublin myself, I always feel a bit sorry for the foreign people I work with who just don't know what's going on (even though their English is usually great)! The standard English courses don't seem to prepare them for our ridiculous amount of idiomatic usages :P

    The amount of truly different regional accents is also pretty astounding, within Dublin alone there's probably at least 3 distinct accents (Strong inner city, 'D4' and then my own 'generic' Dublin accent, which is sort of in-between), with different 'regular' slang etc. Although they all spill over a little bit. Then we have the Cork accent which is completely different, and there's loads of others in between, throughout the country.

    Another thing you should probably add is that for most Dublin accents (apart from 'D4'), and even some Laois/Offaly accents I've heard, we tend to leave out the 't' at the end of some words completely (rather than pronounce it as almost an 'sh'). 'Right' and 'tonight' are perfect examples, usually pronounced as 'righ' and 'tonigh'. This is usually seen as a little bit 'common' (meaning lower-class in this context) in Dublin, but most do it naturally, including myself. The 'sh' sound in this case is associated with either 'D4' (posh) Dublin accent or 'culchy' (person from the countryside, not really derogatory any more :P).

    I've also noticed a lot of American/English usage expressions creeping in as well, probably inevitable because of the sheer amount of American and English TV shows, movies and other media we're exposed to. Not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting. I wouldn't say the use of ain't is frowned upon, but it's not really used in a 'serious' context. It's used in a kind of fun, exaggerated way… for example, if a friend asks you to go somewhere you might answer “No I ain't goin' there you son-uva-bitch!” in a kind of mock-Texan accent. Not derogatory at all, and although it sounds stupid as I'm writing it here, you all do stuff like that ;)

    Of course there are variations like this in all countries, and just as interesting as our own! It'd be interesting to hear about this in other English speaking countries. Our Irish ears are tuned for noticing subtle differences of accents around us in our native country, so it's not something we'd be 'well up on' (know a lot about)… through no fault of our own. I can only imagine that through globalization we're going to see a LOT more mixing up of various countries dialects with each other, probably being especially influenced by American English through the media.

    Good stuff!

  • russ

    Multaj tre amuzaj kaj interesaj ekzemploj! Dankon!

    Sed diable – vi plendas ke la “lm” de “film” malfacilas, tamen rekomendas “amn't” kun “mnt”…?! :)

  • Gilles

    “We also “ch” up our t’s if they would have a ‘y’ incorporated in them in British English. So the second day of the week is Chooseday and a tube is a choob.”
    Hey I pronounce them like that too, and I'm not an English native speaker, no idea where I picked that up. I also say “during” as “juring”

    • Melissa

      That’s how we say things in Australia, also. It’s much easier. :)

    • Nora

      I say in the same way. I hate that th sound and can’t learn to say properly, so instead I using t or d.
      I heard from some older people from the Checz R. say “z” instead of “th” sound sometimes or “s”: i sink, zere iz.
      I live in the UK (in the nort-west) and only spoke with one Irish women more (worked in the same place) and surprisingly I understood almost everything what she said. She spoke very clearly. I just didn’t understand one word something like “ee-elll” [vagy magyarosan valahogy igy hangzott: iiiöl, nem tudom hogy irjam át ezt angol kiejtésre pontosan. ] I guessed she said ill. I just curious since then. Many times I don’t like to ask back, for example in the 4th time I don’t understand something I just leave it… because i feel embarassed, just nowadays started to dare ask back more times (i live here almost 2 years).. and it’s very difficult (for me) to understand these dialects in the north.
      my favourite accents: scouse, scottish, irish

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Fakte, mi durus “am-ent” ;) Ni devus skribi same ol ĉiuj, sed la elparolo ŝanĝas kaj estas pli facile :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yep, we say juring too! :) I am sure that the Irish are not the only ones that say this, so you may have gotten it from another dialect. Although in Brazil they would do the same with a “Tiu” or “Diu” construction, so I found Portuguese a wee bit easier to learn because of that :D

    • myt

      Over year ago I started to notice a few similarities between the way some Irish words and some words in Jamaican patios sound. Jamaica has been associated with England but you don’t head much about an Irish-Jamaican connection even though the language pronunciation sounds so much closer in many ways.

      • Simon James Pryor

        I hear a great many Irish were sent as Slaves to the West Indies as punishment for various rebellions. It is my understanding that a great deal of Jamaicans have Irish names as a result.

        • myt

          yes, Simon. I did a google search using ‘irish jamaican’ after I posted this and all this info came up about all of the irish slaves (at least 300,000) that were takes to the west indies by the British. It seems to be a history that has been hushed, but it was such a significant influence on how places like Jamaica and Barbados evolved.

      • http://batman-news.com Keith

        A lot of missionaries from Cork went to Jamacia to teach ‘The christain ways’ to the slave workers in the plantations…even centuries later you can hear the influence of this in Jamaican patios. Sometimes if you are walking down the street in Cork you can be convinced the person behind you has to be a Rastafarian….you turn around and find a small pasty white Corkonian.

  • http://eldonreeves.wordpress.com/ Eldon

    Heh, I thought it was an amusing prod at us speakers of inferior versions of English :P I have to say, I laughed aloud though at “I amn’t” – logical genius!

    By the way, have you ever heard Malaysian or Singaporean English? From your description of Irish-English, I think they're quite similar in terms of the ways they've evolved (being influenced heavily by the other languages on the block). They even have the same “can you swim?” “Can!” thing going!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks for that! After my brief exposure to Thai, I'd imagine other Asian languages would have the same verb repetition thing for “yes” or “no”, so it makes sense that that corner of the world would do it too :)
    There's a game in French called “ni oui, ni non” that you play where you have to answer questions without saying “oui” or “non”, and I always win thanks to my Irish English background ;)

  • Les

    it's mostly younger generations (maybe just in my area) but we use the term “beast.” It refers to when someone is really good at something. ex: I'm beast at tennis.
    I live in the southern US.

  • http://wilsworldofwords.com/ WilsWords

    Ok, after half an hour in the naughty corner, I get it. I've been an English teacher-trainer for years and you would be amazed at how many people I've heard say this kind of stuff without a hint of irony. Maybe that's why I'm a little over sensitive.

  • Quokka

    In Germany we have an other possibility to avoid saying yes nor no. “Jein” is made up of Ja (Yes) and Nein (No). It often comes in quite handy … ;-)

    • Rachel Hay

      Funny… in Australia, we say “yeah no”. It used to be because we really meant “no” but didn’t want to be rude, but now it’s just a filler. “Yeah” you said that, “no” I’m about to talk about something else…
      I had a relative to stay recently (from NZ) who sounds *so* English most of the time, but a deal giveaway of her ANZ heritage was that she started every other sentence, “Yeah no but um well uh…” (all said as one word).

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    I heard about that! There's even a rap song about it if I remember from a very brief visit to Munich. You can bet I'll be using that word ;)

  • Quokka

    Yeah, it is “Jein” by Fettes Brot
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VriPEbi2LSI

    Speaking of Fettes Brot there is another song you might find interesting:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7nPmn3soiM
    It's “Nordish by Nature”. In the beginning they rap in “Plattdeutsch” (Lower German)
    That language is still spoken by people (rather living in the countryside) in northern Germany.

  • Mark T.

    I dated a Newfoundlander once and it's amazing how thick of a accent she had. Almost all the of the details of this article existed in her speech; I always had trouble understanding her. She grew up in the Irish Coast of Newfoundland in a small town. She sounded pointedly Irish to me and she'd never even been to Ireland!

  • Sasha

    I've noticed you don't “speak” a little Irish, you “have” a little Irish.

    That's cuuute. :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Excellent observation!! This is another influence from the Irish language. There's no word in Irish for “speak” in the context of language abilities (there is for speak as in “I'm speaking now/loudly”), so we say Tá Gaeilge agam – literally, I have Irish ;)
    It's another thing I have to correct myself from saying with non-Irish because to me “Do you have any French?” is more natural than “Do you speak French”
    But the MOST important thing is that it's cute! :D

  • Johano

    Mi pensas, ke “imi” (eksklusiva ni) “ci” (ununombra vi), “ivi” (plurnombra vi) estu uzata. Tamen mi ne povas ŝanĝi la lingvon. Sed ili verŝajne estus komprenataj!

  • Johano

    An cúpla comments:
    (1) The Irish word craic is actually derived from the English crack, not the other way around.
    (2) Cheers is used here in America as well.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    (1) Really? Didn't know that! Do you have a source for that? Anyway we use it in English based on the Irish meaning rather than the completely unrelated English one, so it still counts :P
    (2) I know it's used in America as well for drinking, but is it used to say “thank you” and even “bye” in a completely non-drink situation? I've never come across this from Americans

  • russ

    I see “cheers” used by Americans (including myself) somewhat often for signing emails, for what that's worth. :) In my experience, it seems used more often in online writing than in speech…

    cheers,
    russ

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Cheers! ;)

  • Annette

    “Next time some eejit says “Top of the morning to ya” or “Stay away from my lucky charms”, to try to imitate us, I’ll either punch them in the face… or link them to this article”

    Probably the second option would be less likely to land you in jail. lol :p

  • Johano

    English language specialist Diarmaid Ó Muirithe wrote in his Irish Times column “The Words We Use” that “the constant Gaelicisation of the good old English-Scottish dialect word crack as craic sets my teeth on edge.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craic

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com Benny the Irish polyglot

    Wow, you learn something new every day! Good thing I didn't say anything more than a quick passing remark about Craic then :)
    I'll edit the article to reflect this so it's not as misleading to anyone else

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ GlobalButterfly

    Really interesting post! I do looove your accent. :)

  • http://learnalanguageortwo.blogspot.com/ reineke

    Well, you asked about this a while back and it's on-topic after all hehe

    “According to Guiora et al. (1972), adults do not have the motivation to change their accent and to acquire native-like pronunciation. These researchers attempted to mitigate the empathy level of their subjects by administering increasing amounts of alcohol. They found that the learners’ pronunciation of the target language sounds improved to a certain point and then decreased as they drank increasing amounts of alcohol.”

  • Diarmuid Hayes

    You can also say spraoi,sult agus spórt as Gaeilge for fun…ádh mór leis an teanga nua!

  • http://caitoceallaigh.com/ Katie

    Sigh. We say “Cheers” all the time.

  • http://wilsworldofwords.com/ WilsWords

    The 'can' is like a tag question in Malay and Indonesian so maybe that's why they do it in English, too.

    Kamu bisa berenang, kan? (You can swim, can't you?)

  • Keivn Maguire

    I stopped reading after the paragraph that began with this fallacy “Firstly, there’s no such thing as an Irish accent.”

    Just because there are different versions of an Irish accent, doesn't mean that all those version aren't Irish accents. German has about 50 different dialects and if you were to have ones from the north speak to those in the south they wouldn't even be able to understand each other. Teach any of these people English though and while there will be differences in how they speak it as their own dialect makes the accent different it is still a German accent.

    Irish accents do exist.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Please READ MY POST before commenting on it.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Please READ MY POST before commenting on it.

  • Ellen

    Just started reading your blog, and I really enjoy it – you've inspired me to go off on my own journey to become a polyglot as well. :) Irish Gaelic is one of the languages I've always wanted to learn (and an “Irish” English accent is something I've always wanted, as well!). Thanks so much for keeping up with this blog and sharing your experience. :D

    As far as English accents, I have to agree that I find the various Irish accents to be my favorites, followed by Australian ones. In America, I've heard some gorgeous accents from the South. I live in the west of Virginia, so I'm more likely to hear an Appalachian accent, or one that's more stereotypically “redneck” than that lovely, lazy drawl from the Deep South. I'll tell you, it was a shock to go to school in the north and hear all those crazy Yankees mispronounce my pretty vowels. ;)

  • Mike

    I'm from Donegal, and like most if not all of Ulster, we would never replace 'th' by a t/d sound :) My partner is from Athlone, and it's funny how many phrases we keep discovering that one would think common and the other had never heard of – like how I would say “done out”, which means “exhausted/really tired” up here. Maybe that corresponds to the big difference between Ulster Irish and Connemara/Munster Irish.

  • http://englishharmony.com/blog/ Robby Kukurs

    Hi Benny,

    One more thing about Irish accent – well, as you said there's no such thing as a single Irish accent, but here's the thing that struck me first when I arrived here 8 years ago.

    Namely, it's the way Dubliners (if I'm not mistaken) would pronounce nearly any word that has sound 'ah' (short) in it – funny, money, up etc. Such words turn into 'fooney', 'mooney', 'oop' (the 'oo' sound being pronounced very short). I love this type of accent and I guess your analysis of Irish English is a bit incomplete without mentioning this!

    And actually not only those words having a distinct 'ah' sound do change, but nearly any word having a similar vowel – work and burger become 'wook' and 'booga'.

    I was having laugh the other day with my Irish workmate – I was trying to resemble this Dubliner speech. I said something like 'I went to poob, had fooive pints, couldn't go to wook today' – he said that I got it so native!

    So yes, if I were asked what's the first thing about Irish English, I'd mention some phrase like – 'shoot oop!' :-)))

    Regards,

    Robby

  • http://englishharmony.com/blog/ Robby Kukurs

    Hi Benny,

    One more thing about Irish accent – well, as you said there's no such thing as a single Irish accent, but here's the thing that struck me first when I arrived here 8 years ago.

    Namely, it's the way Dubliners (if I'm not mistaken) would pronounce nearly any word that has sound 'ah' (short) in it – funny, money, up etc. Such words turn into 'fooney', 'mooney', 'oop' (the 'oo' sound being pronounced very short). I love this type of accent and I guess your analysis of Irish English is a bit incomplete without mentioning this!

    And actually not only those words having a distinct 'ah' sound do change, but nearly any word having a similar vowel – work and burger become 'wook' and 'booga'.

    I was having laugh the other day with my Irish workmate – I was trying to resemble this Dubliner speech. I said something like 'I went to poob, had fooive pints, couldn't go to wook today' – he said that I got it so native!

    So yes, if I were asked what's the first thing about Irish English, I'd mention some phrase like – 'shoot oop!' :-)))

    Regards,

    Robby

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Hi Robby – as I said, and as you repeated for me, there is no such thing as an Irish accent. The article had to be incomplete because I have to skip particular accents within Ireland.

    What you've mentioned is particular to Dublin and I would never say these things myself. A whole book could (and likely has) been written about the Dublin accent, but wasn't the purpose of this article. I tried to be general, but even then some things aren't so broad.

    I was reminded that, for example, my “right” example in Dublin actually has no consonant at all (rather than the soft sh sound I suggested), sounding basically like “roy”. Even saying “Dubliners” is misleading because Dublin has various different accents, the most distinctive being from the north of the city.

    Thanks for the contribution!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    See the sign I'm holding in the photo? I'm also from Ulster ;) :D

    I would understand “done out” I suppose, but I've never heard it before myself! I've heard more Irish saying 'th' but I presumed it was from greater internationalisation rather than unique to particular parts of the country. I was sure that those from Donegal replaced 'th' with a 't' sound – I spent 5 weeks there, but perhaps my memory is misleading me!

    Glad to see some more differences! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Speedwell

      My husband is a Tyrone man, from the Strabane area, and he does it occasionally, but he spent a long time in England during the Troubles. His best friend from his hometown lives in Bedfordshire and lost her Tyrone accent years ago when she found it didn’t help her at work. His mother (borne in Larne and still resident in Tyrone) doesn’t, as best I can tell, ever substitute “t” for “th”, at least not more than I, an American English speaker, do, despite the fact that she spent a year or two in Germany.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks a million for your comment Ellen :)

    That's so sweet to say I've inspired you, thanks!! Hopefully this blog will keep you motivated :)

  • http://englishharmony.com/blog/ Robby Kukurs

    All right, no bother at all! ;-)

  • Paul

    In defense of northern Hiberno-English which I feel deserves the same respect as other varieties of Hiberno-English I have to defend the “th” pronunciation. I know our beautiful language Gaeilge lost this pronunciation a long time ago but we in the more northern counties of the isle still pronounce it in English. The rest of the article however seems pretty universal for Hiberno-English.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Paul! Agreed on importance of northern Hiberno-English ;) I just don't like the 'th' sound as a matter of taste, but it can be as Irish as any other sound I guess!
    Cheers

  • Devin

    Irish humour is convenient, because it's only supposed to be a joke when someone is offended… or at least that's what I have come to find.
    Also, your dialect is so charming (nice way of saying “cute”) because the rest of the world thinks of leprechauns. See? I can tease, too!
    Here is where I try to excuse my “snarkiness” by saying I have Irish blood.

    too much pride in this world.

  • Devin

    It's so hard to wrap my head around the idea that you find it more natural to say “have” than “speak” because one suggests you possess (have) it, rather than you do (speak) it… since to have something, even the ability to do something, for instance, speak a language, suggests such a large amount of possibilities of what you DO have, rather than when you say “speak”, it suggests exactly what you mean… but i guess in the appropriate context, saying “I have French” can mean exactly what it was intended to. this is exactly why I can't speak any other languages fluently for the life of me, but can speak extremely broken spanish, portuguese, german, and turkish… some more broken than others.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Just to be clear, “Do you have any French?” is by no means arrogantly saying that you master the language. You can consider have and speak synonyms in this case ;)
    It's not due to posession, but actually due to Irish's more broader use of “have” (although to be really technical, we don't even say that! Word for word, we say that “LanguageX is TO me”, but the meaning is to have.

  • slimdave420

    Oddly enough the word the U.S. uses for ‘skipping class’ is ditch. I wonder if that was derived in some way from the OE ‘mitch’ you mention.

  • Olivia

    You missed fek off.. as opposed to fuck off.. otherwise i loved the article. I have a lot of family in Ireland so i often find my self toeing the line between the two languages.. :)

  • Bridie

    I love it! On a student exchange in the northeast USA, we left with the whole dorm peppering their speech with 'Grand so, grand'… Funny how language disseminates – they never caught onto what we were saying as Gaeilge when we were discussing who exactly we fancied in the building thank God…

  • Orla

    I'm American, but my parents are Irish. I always thought I was the master of American English (I still love making fun of my parents for spelling “tire” with a “y”) but it just goes to show how oblivious we are to the ways our parents differ from the norm – I had no idea “giving out” was a specifically Irish phrase (I sort of still don't believe you).

    The only phrase I've ever really noticed to be non-American is “making strange” – as in, when a baby is about a year old and starts to get fussy around people she's not familiar with, she's making strange. Do you know if that's Irish specific? To be honest I'm starting to suspect it's something my family just made up. :P

  • sarah

    haha i like this! being from Nireland myself I never really notice the differences that much, I recently moved to England and a LOT of people don't understand me.. next time someone attempts to imitate me or doesn't understand I'm going to link them to this.. thanks!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    haha, that's hilarious! I've watered down my accent and turns of phrase a lot over the years to be understood abroad, but when I first travelled, I really felt like I was speaking a secret language…

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Ditch? I view 'ditch' more as discarding. You would 'ditch' a class, but it's not specific to that context, as you could 'ditch' your friend and many other things too.

    This could be just a slight similarity in meaning and no actual connection between the words, although perhaps I'm wrong. I'd only consider ditch important in this context if it doesn't have to be followed by a noun. If I say (in Ireland), that I was mitching it's clear what I mean. If you just say that you were ditching, is that clear that you mean “your classes” or would you need to say it afterwards?

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    A good example, but feck isn't “opposed” to fuck, it's just a lighter way to say it. I'd equate “feck” to damn/darn in American English. We still have the same actual curse words ;)

    • Speedwell

      My Irish husband blames Father Ted.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    If you don't believe me say it to any of your American friends unlikely to have Irish family and see what happens :D
    I've never ever heard “making strange” before, sorry!! Could be Irish, but perhaps just not used in my part of the country. I'm afraid I'll have to suggest your family made that one up :P

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks!! Being aware of Irishisms has helped me communicate better when abroad. It's quite annoying to have to avoid these lovely turns of phrase – I wish Irish English was more prominent internationally!! Speaking some watered down business English for international purposes is boring :P

  • John T. Mood

    I would invite you to visit my home town, Charleston, SC where we don't use ain't in quite the same way as the rest of the world, and we don't sound like 'hicks' as some would believe. A mixture of English, Gullah, and Charlestonese, genuine Charlestonians have a smooth and slightly sophiticated sound, with a Southern lilt. I think you would like it. And NO, we don't use Y'all in avery singel sentence we speak or write.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BSSLYD2M7DGRVAZ4YJBAREXR4Q Jack

      So, you are saying you are snobs? Got it.

  • sineadthewannabelinguist

    “We also “ch” up our t’s and “j” up are d’s if they would have a ‘y’ incorporated in them in British English. So the second day of the week is Chooseday, a tube is a choob, and ‘due’ and ‘jew’ are pronounced the same.”

    I've always figured that this was because the Irish “u” is pronounced just like the name of the letter 'ee-oo' rather than just 'oo'. Like in italian and spanish, in particular (but also in Slavic languages like Polish and Romanian for example), a slender vowel softens the consonant it follows (e.g. It.; cucina, giornata. Sp.; ciudad, cena. Pl.; cień [cheñ], na wsi [v-shee] etc.). This is the same in Irish where 'e' and 'i' soften most consonants; Déardaoin (jer-deen) verses dúirt (doort), Sinéad (Shin-aid) verses Sasanna (soss-anna).

    I'd say that the reason that Hiberno-English softens consonants like this is because the 'ee-oo' or 'iu' pronunciation was carried across the languages. So, using your examples, 'Tuesday', 'tube', and 'due', we can see why they'd be pronounced as 'Choos-day' (which would have sprung from Ti-ooz-dei), 'choob' (from ti-oob), and 'joo' (from di-oo).

    I could go on forever, but I'll stop there. I hope it helps a bit. I have a bit of a soft spot for linguistics.

  • Nick K

    Great article, thoroughly enjoyed it. Being Irish and living in Canada (after a stint in Englend, Scotland and Switzerland) I love to bore people about the peculiarities of 'English as the Irish speak it'. I would like to add a couple more odd ones of my own and tweak a few that I see in the article and in the comments.
    Glad to see someone observed that fil-um also shows up in the north of England in particular Geordieland (where I lived for a while). That makes me think of the way Irish people say book, we say it with two 'o's so rather than saying 'buck' we say 'boo-k', like hallowe'en boo with a k on the end. but so do people in Manchester who take it a step further and say 'look' to rhyme with 'book'!
    'Cheers' for 'thank you'? Em, not an Irish origin, that one we imported from England for sure. I moved from Ireland in 1985 and we NEVER would have said 'cheers' in that context, it sounded very english. So when I was exposed to it I tried very hard not to adapt it but in vain. And when I would inadvertently use it back in Ireland it was greeted with derision. But time changes things and now it is very common in Ireland.
    The 'th' sound. Now I know that the article was in a 'tongue-in-cheek' mode but I would liek to add that most educated people in Ireland pronounce 'th' with a sound that derives from Irish and does not exist in english. Though some people drop the h completely, esp in Dublin, most don't, it is just a sound other english speakers are unfamiliar with. The Irish touch their tongue against the back of the teeth rather than leaving a gap like the English do. The Irish word 'Dáil', meaning 'parliament' is an example in Irish.
    The amn't one is great, makes more sense and appeals to my logical engineering brain. I would add that the plural 'aren't' is pronounced in a weird and unique way in Ireland too. Instead if the usual ar-ent sound we say art-ent, a 't' sound appears in the middle, funny.
    Irish people speak english more literally than the English do (apologise that I am making more observations about Ireland vs England rather than US, Canada, etc. but that is where I noticed much of this). They say 'change the baby', we say 'change the baby's nappy [diaper]'; they say 'make the bed', we say 'dress the bed', they say 'make some tea', we say 'wet some tea'. And Irish people tend to crucify people in a fun way by playing on these differences, because our use of language is often more precise and therefore less prone to misinterpretation. By the way, I associate the term 'making strange' with English english, not sure if that is the origin.
    Here's a new one. The Irish use the word 'bold' to mean naughty. We are familiar with the use to mean brave but when we talk about a 'bold child' we are referring to a misbehaving one, not a brave one. And another one. To describe something as terrific, can mean it is really bad, such as a 'terrific storm'. That again is rooted in older english, because the word 'terrific' derives from 'terrify'.
    Now moving to North American english as it relates to the Irish english.
    A brief word on Newfoundland english. The accent there to me does not sound remotely Irish. It sounds more like a mix of generic Canadian english mixed with West Country England english. However some of the accents in Nova Scotia are eerily like some Dublin accents.
    In my time in Switzerland, hanging out with people from multiple english-speaking countries I began to notice that middle-class Irish english was quite hard to distinguish from east-coast USA and Canada. It explained to me why so many English people would sometimes thing I was American. I guess it is an indication of how much the Irish have influenced the accents in NA. By the way I also noticed English, Australian, New Zealand, and RSA accents began to blend with each other like the Irish and North American accents did.
    OK, though I could go on, now I'm done, I have a day-job to get back to

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Isn't it pronounced “ee-oo” in other places?? That's news to me!
    I liked your analysis though! Thanks :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Wow!! Fantastic contribution there, thanks a million for taking the time Nick :D
    A few people have pointed out the “Cheers” meaning to me, so I'll edit the post as to not imply that it's just Irish ;)
    Are us Irish the only ones who use 'bold' for naughty?? I didn't even realise that :D Makes sense now, I've never heard anyone really use it like us. I always thought Star Trek's “to boldly go…” was weird to be honest :P
    Thanks for sharing your break from your day job with us, stop by any time ;)

    • Newfie

      We use bold in that manner in Canada as well.

  • SeosamhOFluent

    That Nick fella is only a chancer. Sure he wouldn't know his arse from his elbow. And I'm the brother!
    Here's another one – I live in county Offaly in Ireland and they use an expression here I had never heard elsewhere in Ireland. When something is very good or going well they say it's 'the finest!'
    And don't get me started on Northern Ireland! My wife is from Larne (I'm originally from Dublin via Mayo parents, grand-parents and further back into the mists of time) and after 25 years of marriage she still can come out with expressions I never heard. Larne is about 130kms from Dublin by the way. When something is just sufficient she will say 'that'll do rightly'. She will say 'scunnered' to mean tired, fed up -you have to hear it to understand. A lot of Northern Ireland English is very close to Scots English and a lot of the dialect is similar. They say about a child who is crying in a cranky way 'the ween is gurnin' (ween pronounced somewhere between 'wee-un' and 'wain' as they would say in Scotland.
    It's all great fun.

  • Nick K

    I have to add one more! One I love is the way Irish say 'I slept it out' where the English would say 'I overslept'. and we all generally say 'I slept in' when it was an intentional action. Oddly the Swiss say 'ausschlaffen' (sleep out) and the Germans say 'einschlaffen' (sleep in), can't remember the precise meaning right now.

  • Nick K

    This will have to be a regular stop for me on the web. If you can find an old book (referred to in my rant) called 'English as the Irish speak it' from the early 20C there are some fascinating ones in there, such as 'can't hold a candle to him' (not in the same league as him, apparently originates from the servant holding a candle for the master)) and 'put it on the long finger' (put off a task or similar, apparently from the wooden block with a spike seen on people's desks for small bits of paper).

  • Terry Stone

    Could you speak on why every sentence ends as a question?? “I'm a woman?” “The sky is blue??” There is an up tone at the end of so many sentences that are statements but sound like a question (??)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    All languages and dialects have different musicalities, however this is not a feature of Irish English that I'm aware of. If we do it, it's because of this musicality feature, but it doesn't seem like it to me…

  • Nick K

    I've noticed that in particular with younger people in North America. Never noticed it in Ireland though.

  • Shinn

    I'm Indian and I'm often surprised by how similar Irish and Indian English accents sometimes sound. “Fillum” is *exactly* how many Indians pronounce “film”. Sadly, anyone saying “fillum” is looked down upon by certain other Indians with their boring, sterile and neutral accents as some sort of country hick who learned to speak English two weeks ago at a call centre while harassing hapless Americans or something. Either that, or saying it for comedic effect. I for one would love to abandon my own boring, sterile and neutral accent and speak like the Irish; perhaps I should go back to listening obsessively to Fearghal Mag Uiginn on Giota Beag!

    Also, your rubber joke is strangely familiar. Most Indians (country hicks or not) say rubber, not eraser. There's this one (American) movie I saw where an Indian student in the US makes a fool of himself when he asks an American girl to lend him some stationery, insisting that she must have a “rubber” in her purse and everyone has a nice little laugh at the poor guy's expense.

    On a different note, I was watching “The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain” (whew!), set in Wales. The beginning bits of dialogue are said in what I presumed was a Welsh accent and for a moment I actually thought it was an Indian speaking.

    Anyway, I've been reading your blog for some time now, and heartily recommending it to anyone who listens and decided the time was ripe for some feedback on one of your many amazing posts.

  • Stabi

    Hey Nick, I don't know why you find these two German words odd because they don't mean the same thing as far as I know. “Einschlafen” describes that you start sleeping and “ausschlafen” means that you sleep until you wake up without an alarm clock or something. Of course I can only talk about German as spoken in Germany but we know and use both words here but they have different meanings.

  • johnny

    Saying do be. “When I do be cutting the grass”

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Great observation Johnny!
    This is also from the Irish, as we have a verb for the habitual “to be”, that doesn't exist in most other languages. The reason I decided not to include it here, is because it's use in Irish English isn't widespread enough. I forget where it is common, either in the west or south. I personally wouldn't say this, and you wouldn't hear it in Dublin either.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Shinn! It's true that Irish English does have some random similarities with Indian English! It's great, I never had any problems understanding Indians :D

    Rubber is actually used in British English and Australian English (I believe) – that's why I used it in the example of just American vs non-American English, so an Indian, a Brit, or an Australian would be equally likely to be embarrassed as in that movie you mentioned!

    Thanks a lot for commenting! Hoping to read you again ;)

  • Guest

    I've lived in his benighted pit of a country for thirty years now, and every single thing you named as being positive about Irish pronunciation drives me daily up the wall with a furious gnashing of teeth thrown in for good measure. Particularly the “ch” t, “amn't”, “Fillum” and “podaydoes”. It's nothing to celebrate.
    Glad you like it though.

  • Hildegard

    I enjoyed that Benny and it was great gas. Thank you for taking the time to entertain us all.

  • Cauleen Curran

    Luv ite!

  • Brunhilda

    When I lived in Germany my friends used the words Einschlafen as in having a pet euthenized when they would say Ich muss mein hund einschlafen lassen. Sorry if there is any spelling or grammatical errors here as have forgotten so much German and had never really much need for the written form. Languages and dialects fascinate me too and this blog is great gas altogether. Life can be so serious and it is good to have a chat and a laugh about something light-hearted. Enjoying all blogs on this subject.

  • leslie

    have you ever spoke with a newfoundlander? a quick jaunt to that lovely canadian province would make you feel right at home, b'y!

  • Timshel_2

    Interesting that “do be” was brought up, although I would point out that there is a TENSE for the habitual “to be”, not a verb as you say. Think about it, another anomoly of Irish is that there is no verb “to be” or “to have”. But I agree that English is found lacking in a continuous present tense.

    Also, in regard to GIVING OUT, my understanding was always that “ag tabhairt amach” was actually an awful Béarlachas (Anglicism). At home I would take “ag tabhairt amach” to mean that someone was throwing up! So the phrase is taken from the English, rather than the other way round.

    By the way and for anyone who's interested, I think “ag cnáis” is probably a better phrase to use there. Eg “An bhfuil tusa ag cnáis faoi sin arís?”

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I absolutely adored your surely comment!! :D Thanks!!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Cheers!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Might have to check it out and see how Irish they are ;)

  • kevs46

    The article is somewhat tongue in cheek and I really think you need to lighten up a little.

  • Nolan

    First: Fantastic article. Very interesting and entertaining.

    There is a saying in America they use all the time, “Ain't ain't a word so I ain't gonna say it.” They teach it to school children to discourage use. But if you ask me, I think it serves a purpose and might as well be used willy-nilly as anyone pleases.

  • http://www.massiliabalivilla.com Massilia

    Very interesting. Nice article,bro!

  • J. Wilkes

    I have a question. Which English dialect is it that uses the 'f' sound for the 'th'? One, two, free. That's also used in the United States by people of color. By that I mean 'black'. I'm not sure where that came from.

  • Liam

    “English grammar is pretty consistent, but the standard spoken form in Ireland takes on a life of it’s own.”

    There should be no apostrophe in “it's”.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Almost 90,000 people have read this article so far and you're the first one that noticed that :D haha, ironic that I'd have a mistake like that in a sentence talking about grammar :P
    Thanks, have corrected it!

  • tartntiny

    Great post! I'm an American living in Ireland. “Yer man/yer one” confused me a lot when I first heard it, as did “giving out.” In the States, to “give out” means to be promiscuous. But I've twigged by now. Sure it's great craic, learning about the differences.

  • Xenstefur

    Just a bit about where “hows she cutting?” comes from.
    I presume “cutting” refers to cutting turf in a bog.
    So is the feminine in context the farmers wife? or the actual bog land?
    And I've also heard (not cattle) “am are” being used in place of “I am”

    • http://id.andrewg.com/ Andrew Gallagher

      “She” refers to the tool, surely?

  • http://starboardport.com Jessie

    Since my first visit, I've been in awe of the preservation of so many dialects on such a (relatively) small island. A friend from Belfast could mark a Donegal speaker in one sentence and likewise for every native speaker there.
    I've always wondered where the cadence comes from as well…
    Thanks for a great article!

  • JOHN

    Idiot, he's taking the piss! To take any kind of remote offence is simply not to understand the humour in the article. And the 2 people who “liked” this comment are also idiots (or eejits, should I say”).

  • WC

    I read this and liked it enough to bookmark it and come back and re-read it. ;)

    Any tips for cultivating an 'Irish Accent' (yes, I know you just said there is no such thing, but I don't have another term for it) and learning a lot of these phrases? Books, movies, etc would be awesome, but I never come across them naturally. Thanks!

  • S Mcgov

    good article benny

  • Rosalie

    Not made up–we also use this expression in Canada. r.b.

  • Cmos1981

    I would have thought that it's only American English speakers that pronounce Tuesday like Twos-day.

    Very good article :D

    • Rachel Hay

      I think it must be confusing for Americans to be unable to tell the difference between “due” and “do”… (I’m an Australian with an English father, Irish mother who grew up in SA’s Cornish country, two Scottish grandparents and one Kiwi one…)

    • http://www.biologylabreport.com/ adam

      Bernard Matthews says Twos-day

  • Cmos1981

    It's funny you say this. I saw a documentary on Newfoundland and I was sure the people in it were Irish from listening to their accent. I am Irish myself.

    I suppose it's pretty remote out there.

    • Gord

      Cmos1981,    Irish was, at one time in Newfoundland’s history, the predominate language in parts of the Avalon Peninsula. Some say the language was still spoken up until the mid 1900s although by a very few older folks. Many folks from Wexford and Waterford made their homes here rather than travel back to Ireland every fall from Talamh an Eisc. 

      And yes, many of the phrases, words, pronunciations etc, in Benny’s original post are still very common here in Newfoundland.  You’ll still find very strong Irish accents depending on where you travel.

  • http://twitter.com/bridge615 bridget mcauliffe

    ah it’s mighty craic to hear this, so it is. after living in ireland for two years i learnt a lot about a language i thought i knew; hilarious thanks for the great post!

  • http://twitter.com/bridge615 bridget mcauliffe

    ah this post is mighty craic, so it is! haha after living in ireland for the last two years (moving from the states) i learnt a lot about a language i thought i knew! hilarious- thanks for the great read!

  • Luke

    ‘Ello!

    My Wigan accent has a lot of these features:

    ‘for a recently completed action, we would say “to be after doing”’ – Yep

    ‘Your man is a nice avoidance technique for not using someone’s name’ – Sometimes hear people saying “them men”

    ‘Fair play’, ‘craic’- yup

    ‘So to us Irish, a film is pronounced fill-um’ – another!

    ‘The ‘t’ at the end of right is softened almost to a sh sound in the Emerald Isle (or even done away with altogether in North Dublin, and pronounced roy)’ – kind of, sometimes

    ‘We also “ch” up our t’s and “j” up our d’s if they would have a ‘y’ incorporated in them in British English’ – yes!

    All Irish immigrants in potato famine must of contributed to lingo more than I could of imagined. Do you have any opinions on Lancashire accents? Never partial to a bit of corrie?

    Interesting article!

    • http://id.andrewg.com/ Andrew Gallagher

      I’ve never heard “them men”. Perhaps you meant “themmuns”?

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    My mum watches Corrie all the time ;) I’m sure the Irish influenced other English dialects in many ways! Thanks for the confirmation!

  • the_chancer

    I’m Irish, and I would say only a minority of Irish people pronounce the letter “R” as “Or”. I find it pretty annoying!

    And I prefer the “th” sound to be pronounced distinctly, to avoid confusion, e.g. when “lathe” sounds like “laid” (crap example, but it was off the top of my head)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      I’ve never heard an Irish person say “R” like the Americans do. I find the pirate “aaargh” to be annoying. I’d listen to the snobbyish Received Pronunciation (British) “aww” any day over that. Perhaps an American influence is creeping in? Or maybe it’s different in certain towns? I hope not…
      Yes, “lathe” is a crap example :P I can’t imagine many situations were context wouldn’t make it clear that a “th” is implied rather than a t or d.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Ah I stand corrected! So “to make strange” is Irish then – just not that widespread.
    Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    Glad you enjoyed it! :) What dream am I living? It takes a €30 ryanair ticket and some guts to move to a new country. Give it a try ;)

  • Erika

    Well I’ve never heard amn’t but in the southern US might hear “aint” which strangely is the same as “am not”. I have not yet heard the use of “your guy/man/gal” here but at home we would use the similar convention for not explicitly stating someone’s name. We say instead, “old girl/boy”… anywho…I love the blog. As I am trying to wrap my mind around Turkish at the moment. :-)

  • Anonymous

    “Also, come on rest-of-the-English-speaking-world. A single word for both singular and plural you??”

    I’m from Texas and we actually address this with the well known phrase y’all. This is a conjunction of you and all and is ONLY used for the plural form of you.

    For some reason people don’t realize this is addressing the missing plural you. This has been misused countless times by people not from the Southern U.S. (I’m especially looking at you Hollywood) and is very irritating when heard misused (though we may be too polite to tell you).

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      I think someone else mentioned it in a comment above. Good thing other parts of the English speaking world have different “yous” too ;)

  • http://twitter.com/TrishGroves Trish Groves

    Story, horse? Bleedin’ deadly post.

    When I moved to Ireland with my family as a child, I was very upset to discover that the local shop didn’t sell bread. All the shopkeeper had was a ‘large sliced pan’ or a ‘batch’.

    Of course, I had no idea that a loaf of bread in Ireland is called a ‘pan’ – presumably from the French ‘pain’.

    As for a ‘batch’, that’s a compact dense white loaf with a chewy black crust that bloats you for a week. (A must-have if you ever visit Ireland!)

    School was awful too – there were no pencil sharpeners (only ‘parers’) and instead of cupboards they had ‘presses’. And the teachers had leather straps until 1982.

    The Irish language was made immensely difficult because plurals don’t have an ‘s’, and the pronunciation of a word depends on how you use it (Mammy – Mamaí – is pronounced A Whammy if you’re talking to her) and random letters appear at the beginning of words depending on context as well, such as Dún na nGall (spot the mysterious small ‘n’ before the capital ‘G’?)

    And there are different ways for counting things – aon, do, trí – a haon, a do, a trí and for added fun if you’re counting people ‘duine, beirt, trúir’.

    In fact, it’s so difficult to read, write and spell, that nowadays dyslexic Irish children can be excused from having to study it.

    As an oral language thought, Irish is beautiful. It’s a shame they destroyed the written form it when the Celtic alphabet was abandoned.

    Good luck with your language hacking! (Am heading straight over to your Irish language pages for some inspiration!)

    Trish

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Hey Trish! Glad you liked the post :) Interesting observations! I forgot we say parer haha

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

    So I hear! Our influence is pretty vast ;)

    • Bob

      Which films that are entirely in the Irish language, would you recommend to listen to or study to?

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

        Go to the TG4 website http://www.tg4.ie/ and you’ll have access to TV shows and even a soap opera that you can watch streamed from anywhere in the world!

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

        Go to the TG4 website http://www.tg4.ie/ and you’ll have access to TV shows and even a soap opera that you can watch streamed from anywhere in the world!

  • Cara

    I’m a Newfoundlander and almost all of the above is true for us as well. That “th” sound does not exist in my vocab. Also a mainlander friend of mine just the other day, mocked my pronouncing “throw” trow. We also say “I’m just after doing some ting” as oppose do I have just done. I love the Irish accent it’s so much closer to home for a Newfie than the rest of Canada it’s number one on my places to visit.

  • http://www.tourabsurd.com Katrina

    Hello! Originally found out about your site when I was looking for packing tips for a big trip. Found a video on YouTube, I believe, for putting one over on RyanAir and the like. ;)

    Now that I am living in Ireland and writing my own blog about the differences between US, Italian, and Irish culture, I am finding even more useful and fun things here. Thanks for this post in particular! I’ve shared a bit of the magical language differences with some of my friends, but this is a great summary.

    The only thing I can see that’s missing might be a Corkonian thing, but I’m not sure. It’s frequent and gratuitous use of the word “like.” It’s often tacked on to the ubiquitous, “Do you know what I mean?” As in, “Do ye know what I mean, like?” Another one is, “He was off his face with coffee, like!”

    Hilarious stuff, like! Love it when my landlord comes over and gives us a bit of a tale. We always wish he’d stay longer. Cheers!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Glad you enjoyed it, thanks! :)

  • Tashodwulf

    This was amazing! I’m taking notes and will probably come back and read this a few more times. I pick up accents when I’m around them, but not lingo, and certainly not to this extent! Hopefully when I finally move to Ireland I won’t be completely out of the loop now!

  • http://johnmc.net johnmc

    Go h-iontach ar fad. Tá mé tar éis tú a fháil trí Lifehacker. Apprendo Español a hora pero tengo amigos quien hablan Tagalog.

  • http://www.rosettastoneallset.com Rosetta Stone

    exactly right! interesting and entertaining.

  • eamonncy

     Ye is such a useful word as modern International English makes no distinction between you singular and you plural. It’s a shame that you will never hear people in Irish media use it now, preferring the Americanised “you guys” as if ye is somehow wrong, which as you point out here it isn’t – just old. If  it was good enough for Shakespear, it’s good enough for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001194331635 Kaitlyn Clark

    i love your article i have never had the Irish explained to me like that it is very putting out or as others would say revealing.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001194331635 Kaitlyn Clark

    i love your article i have never had the Irish explained to me like that it is very putting out or as others would say revealing.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001194331635 Kaitlyn Clark

    i love your article i have never had the Irish explained to me like that it is very putting out or as others would say revealing.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001194331635 Kaitlyn Clark

    i love your article i have never had the Irish explained to me like that it is very putting out or as others would say revealing.
     

  • http://twitter.com/bryana_dickens Bryana Dickens

    I agree that English isn’t the most audio-friendly language in the world. After speaking Spanish for awhile, English feels guttural, choppy. Thanks for sharing the Irish charm. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/bryana_dickens Bryana Dickens

    I agree that English isn’t the most audio-friendly language in the world. After speaking Spanish for awhile, English feels guttural, choppy. Thanks for sharing the Irish charm. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/bryana_dickens Bryana Dickens

    I agree that English isn’t the most audio-friendly language in the world. After speaking Spanish for awhile, English feels guttural, choppy. Thanks for sharing the Irish charm. ;)

  • Cheri

    I loved this article. It truly does explain the differences. I stumbled upon it when I was searching for ways to associate myself with Irish dialects. I’m American and I’m planning a trip to Ireland in October 2011 and don’t want to have to ask people to repeat themselves! I’ve met people who speak with Irish accents (sorry I don’t know how else to refer to it) and I’ve been able to understand them, but I’d love some audio files of the kinds of things I’ll be running into, perhaps the thicker accents?

  • Cheri

    I loved this article. It truly does explain the differences. I stumbled upon it when I was searching for ways to associate myself with Irish dialects. I’m American and I’m planning a trip to Ireland in October 2011 and don’t want to have to ask people to repeat themselves! I’ve met people who speak with Irish accents (sorry I don’t know how else to refer to it) and I’ve been able to understand them, but I’d love some audio files of the kinds of things I’ll be running into, perhaps the thicker accents?

  • Cheri

    I loved this article. It truly does explain the differences. I stumbled upon it when I was searching for ways to associate myself with Irish dialects. I’m American and I’m planning a trip to Ireland in October 2011 and don’t want to have to ask people to repeat themselves! I’ve met people who speak with Irish accents (sorry I don’t know how else to refer to it) and I’ve been able to understand them, but I’d love some audio files of the kinds of things I’ll be running into, perhaps the thicker accents?

  • Anonymous

    This was so funny to read as an American married to an Irishman who has lost a lot of his accent because no one knew what the hell he was saying. But when we go back to visit, I’m used to yokes, that’s diabolical, your one, eejits, gimps, and Choosedays. Thanks for making me smile :)

  • Anonymous

    This was so funny to read as an American married to an Irishman who has lost a lot of his accent because no one knew what the hell he was saying. But when we go back to visit, I’m used to yokes, that’s diabolical, your one, eejits, gimps, and Choosedays. Thanks for making me smile :)

  • Anonymous

    This was so funny to read as an American married to an Irishman who has lost a lot of his accent because no one knew what the hell he was saying. But when we go back to visit, I’m used to yokes, that’s diabolical, your one, eejits, gimps, and Choosedays. Thanks for making me smile :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/snuffleorc Marianne Cassidy

    Ah lads, sure it’s fierce mild out!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Your comment makes no sense. Did you read this article…? I don’t talk about dialect superiority at all – there is only a sneaky indication that I think it sounds nicer, the seriousness of which you are going overboard with.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Your comment makes no sense. Did you read this article…? I don’t talk about dialect superiority at all – there is only a sneaky indication that I think it sounds nicer, the seriousness of which you are going overboard with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hassan-Albrahime/100001626785095 Hassan Albrahime

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hassan-Albrahime/100001626785095 Hassan Albrahime

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hassan-Albrahime/100001626785095 Hassan Albrahime

    good morning i am hassan ibrahim

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hassan-Albrahime/100001626785095 Hassan Albrahime

    good morning  i am hassan ibrahim  from sudan i need speak english and i need friend speak me englsh and send me a messsage

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hassan-Albrahime/100001626785095 Hassan Albrahime

    hi my name is hassan ibrahim  i am a business man  i need friend by an e-mil and skype my an e-mil ibib80

  • http://twitter.com/belldandy34 Maggie Ogier Luke

    I just found out that I’m almost a third Irish in heritage sharing with UK and Germany. :) Love your article!

    Maggie
    Fleming Island,, FL
    Interestingly enough called Hibernia during the American Civil War as the Fleming’s were from there. :) No wonder I love everything about here and there!

  • Cynthia Conlin

    Love this! Read it to my fiancé (in Dublin) over Skype. He always says “your one…” and I’m like, “who??” … And, for instance, when he took his driving test, he told me about a Teary (theory) test, and I was like, “What? The test is that sad??” Ha ha but yes (and I say yes) it’s a gas. Can’t count how many times we’ve argued over how to pronounce a Th- word! Lol!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    In English there are two ‘th’ sounds, and the way we pronounce it in Irish depends entirely on which one is used.
    There is a VOICED ‘th’, like in “the, these, there”. We pronounce these ‘d’. There are not SO many of these in English.
    There is also an UNVOICED ‘th’, like in ‘three’, ‘thank you’ etc., which is the majority of cases and we pronounce these as ‘t’.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    In English there are two ‘th’ sounds, and the way we pronounce it in Irish depends entirely on which one is used.
    There is a VOICED ‘th’, like in “the, these, there”. We pronounce these ‘d’. There are not SO many of these in English.
    There is also an UNVOICED ‘th’, like in ‘three’, ‘thank you’ etc., which is the majority of cases and we pronounce these as ‘t’.

  • Ricki

    If your looking for english speakers who don’t drive you mad, maybe you should check out Newfoundland. This article is a guide to speaking like the Irish, but you may as well just tack Newfoundland on after that. It seems that so many of you(yee)  moved here that the accent stuck. I was laughing through the whole article at how much you must sound like my family

  • Tarasheridan

    Brilliant.  I actually did ‘Laugh Out Loud’.  Will definitely share on Facebuke.  Have you seen de buke ‘Stuff Irish People Love’?   I’d be after buying it if I was you.  I tink you’d enjoy it.   After livin in Oz for a couple of years, I was made aware of how many Irish-isms I had.  Gas!!!

  • M Eve

    Hi, Benny! I simply love your blog. I teach English in Argentina and have Irish ancestry, so this info has been so interesting to me. Tks for sharing it. Warm regards 

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Glad to hear it! :)

  • http://www.bohemiantrails.com/ Megan Eileen McDonough

    Love this! I’m both a US and Irish citizen so this gives me more motivation to speak like a real Irish local :)

  • http://twitter.com/avalonmel Melissa Hogan

    You really should visit Newfoundland, Canada some day. I bet you’d feel like you found a little bit of home across the Atlantic. We have to explain to mainlanders what we mean when we say something like “What’s after happening now?” or “What’re y’at?” (literally What are you at?). When my Dad and I visited recently some people thought his accent was maybe a distorted Wexford one. Too funny.

    One thing I noticed that the Irish say a lot instead of just “thanks” is “thanks a million”.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    I haven’t heard the words you say are Cavan particular myself. Perhaps I’m a generation off?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Enda-Power/100001860692564 Sean Enda Power

    Great article — thanks! After living in England and Holland, which isn’t that many countries, but with people who speak English quite well (which the dutch do, though it’s not the first language) I’ve become very aware of my use of ‘film’, and also, for some reason, ‘dearer’ (I’ve been told that there is no English word ‘dearer’; it’s ‘more dear’. Meh). I find that this sentence (got from my brother) seems to throw non-Irish English speakers off the most:

    ‘I’m after putting the messages in the press’.

    (Mainly, I just argue with English people about how to pronounce ‘yoghurt’ and Americans about how to pronounce ‘process’.)

    (Also, on our inability to put consonants together: Steven Pinker, in his book ‘The Language Instinct’,  writes that Japanese doesn’t cluster consonants. I haven’t got the book in front of me but the example he uses is something like ‘Strawberry ice-cream’ becomes something like ‘Sotorawebereri icecareamo’.)

  • Guest

    The letter “h” is pronounced weird in other countries too, they seem to say “ey-ch” as oposed to our “hay-ch” and I am living with an american roomate and it drives me spare the way they leave off the ‘h’ in herbs, and the pronunciation of vitamin as “vite-amin”.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    They do, but they call it the “naughty” corner. I get called bold all the time now, and I keep having to remind myself that it’s a compliment :P I always think of Star Trek “To boldly go…” to remind me :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Crepi!!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    I know – I always try to force a non-Irish Th on some words that don’t have it to begin with…

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Voiced: you make a little hum sound, which you could do with your mouth closed. Unvoiced: you don’t.
    Say “the” and “three” and you’ll hear the difference. In Ireland we replace the “th” in “the” with a ‘d’, as we do for “there”, and we replace the “th” in “three” with ‘t’, as we do for the vast majority of “th” words.
    I’d say “Mother Ireland” as “Mudder Ourland” (Note that we pronounce Ireland as “Our-land”, not “I.R.-land” as in America.)

  • Cokain86

    This was very helpful… Thank you!…

  • Jrclark122275

    Tagalog

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Listen to the Irish speaking online – lots of stuff on Youtube! Also, Frank McCourt’s books have some spellings to represent the sounds I believe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000704616791 Edmund Yong

    Haha . They are ‘speaking’ in Esperanto. I learn just enough to recognise it.

  • Matthew Robinson

    Interestingly, a lot of the descriptions of the Irish dialect(s) you gave here could also be used to describe the Cumbrian dialect. Have you done much research into it in the past? I think you’d be very interested. In fact, here’s a link to the wiki page ;) 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumbrian_dialect

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=644863660 Nancy Maguire

    leigh maitg

  • Rosyposy

    i just read dis article to me dad an he told me mum  mary i speaking gaelic, thats why i can’t correct myself.  i was born to early my grandfatter flanagan and campbell was still livin.   
    he cannot order american cheese sliced tin.    and he cant go to the post office and order tree books of stamps so he asks for four.  the last time he order tree books, the postal man gave him books with bonsai trees on dem.  its not easy being a humble american man raised in the 30′s with iish immigrants then transplanted to mainstream.   when us kids kids were wee.  he always referredd to us as yee, whether one of us or all five.   after reading this article to him,    now he says doesn’t have to be ashamed of the way he talks, he taught he wasnt brouht up da right way, but i was the one dat shouldda been correcting your smart mom.

  • http://twitter.com/niall_dooley Niall Dooley

    Great blog post Benny. Hilarious and so true. From a meath man living in London. 

  • Cloulouu

    Good article but I disagree with this: “To us, the th sound is simply replaced with a t (unvoiced) or a d (voiced). So do ya see the tirty tree and a tird trees over dere? Dat’s right! Sounds way better, doesn’t it! ” That depends on where you’re from in Ireland. I’m from Dublin and was always taught to pronounce the ‘th’ sound with the ‘huh’ of the ‘h’ because it’s not a silent ‘h’. I know a lot of Dubs who do say ‘tirty’ or ‘tird’ but most people I know, whether from the northside or the southside do pronounce it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Ciaran12 Ciarán Harper

    Howayeh there Benny! A fellow Polyglot Dubliner here. Just one other thing about Dublin Irish English that I thought I’d mention, yeh know how we put an kind of secret ‘d’ in after ‘r’ before ‘l’ or ‘n’? As in ‘herald’ pronounced ‘her-dald’ or ‘world’ as ‘wur-dld’ and ‘spluttering’ as ‘splutter-den’. I always thought that was quite unique to us, nach bhfuil? Ní cheapaim go bhfuil sé fuaimnithe mar sin ar fud na tíre, ach i mBÁC amháin. Tenemos un gran número de dialectos distintos en Irlanda. Un poco raro para un país de tamaño tan pequeño.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiachra.oleachain Fiachra Ó Leacháin

      another one different in America:
      they pronounce Mr. (contraction of “mister”) the same as they pronounce mister, and rightly so, yet they pronouce Mc (contraction of Mac) different from Mac. :/

      no idea how they came up with dat, but dey pronounce “Mc” like “Mick” and Mac as Mac. instead of pronouncing both the same, as dey shud b. :/
      McDonalds is pronounced as MickDonalds.
      and MacDonalds is pronounced normal…. whereas in Ireland (and Scotland) they ar d’exact same name, just McDonald is a shorter spelling.
      anyone else contract a “the” preceded by a vowel to “d’” like… d’aiport, d’internet. I do, but here in America where I’ve been living for almost half a year, they find it strange :/

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FWHDCI2LVP3TKFEOKYWNNWJWQI Vincent

    I’ve to say wow. I’m Maltese colonized by the British. We pronounce ‘there’ as in dare.
    We pronounce ‘the’ as in de. Thirty we pronounce as ‘tirty’ . I love the Irish accent. I can come close to an Irish accent but I find it hard to imitate an Indian accent.

  • Songwind

    Nice article, and lots of fun. I believe that where my parents were born in Appelachia must have had a fairly high percentage of Irish immigrants. Some of your unusual uses listed here are perfectly familiar to me, and some are just a little different. What’s the story? is a perfect example. I wouldn’t bat an eye.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Appreciate the shares, thanks!

  • Daniel

    Ha, ha – so much true in this article :) Thumbs up! I am not the one who can judge the topic(because I am Czech :) ) However a friend of mine, who is Irish, speaks exactly according your “rules”. It is a truly nice piece, I had thiiiiiis much fun while reading it and remebering my friend speaking :) Daniel, Prague

  • sarahmb

    “We can say yee, yez, or even yous…”

    Lol, I’m from Eastern Pennsylvania and the people I grew up with would say ‘yous,’ and I have absolutely no idea why (they’d also put a ‘t’ on the end of ‘cousin,’ making it ‘cousint’).

    But thanks for such a great explanation. It certainly explains a lot about the way characters talk in Martin McDonagh’s plays.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maecken Markus Pettersson

    This is great! I’m from Sweden heading for studies in Cork this spring, I could really use lots of those things. But I don’t understand your unwillingness to squeeze consonants together, that’s what we swedes do :)

  • Ellen

    I’m from Chicago and I’m thinking of attending university in Ireland so I thought I’d learn a little about the dialect. You made me laugh and I want to try out softening my “th’s” but I don’t think my friends will appreciate it. :)

  • lu

    in waterford we always greet people with well, like well boi or well gurl oh and we dont pronounce our ts at the end of a word so “that” immediately becomse “dah”.

  • http://twitter.com/SandraNiDara 산드라

    I never coped (noticed) that I pronounce film as fill-um until I read this.
    Something else I think only us Irish say is “plug out” instead of “unplug”. My ex used to think (thought) that it was hilarious when I said it.

  • http://twitter.com/chewurbrain chew brain

    Story? or What’s the story? Is a translation of the Irish Aon scéal? / Cad é an scéal? – where “story” means “news”, i.e. What’s going on? / What’s up? Usually used as a greeting.

    Quite interesting, this. In Malaysia, “Apa cerita?” is a literal translation of “What’s the story”, also used as a greeting, albeit between people on more familiar terms, or acquaintances of similar age groups.

    Have always loved the way the Irish speak, guess I’ll have to be content to just hearing Roy speak in IT Crowd :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/chanti.em Justyna Maciejczyk

    What about the word “meet”? I heard it means “kiss”, so “Will you meet me?” means “Will you kiss me?”, is that true? :P You should warn us, haha XD

  • disqus_BbzcpiLHk5

    As well as this, there are some traits of old English (due to earlier English colonisation attempts than elsewhere) that we have maintained that have pretty much died out in other parts of the world. Shakespeare himself used the word mitch, a word still common in Ireland that the rest of the English speaking world would be confused to hear (it means to skip classes or “play hooky”).

    Interesting! Here in the states we say, “ditch” rather than “mitch” and it means the same.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      It doesn’t mean the same. You can’t just “ditch”. You have to ditch something. Ditch class, ditch your friend, etc. It means something completely different and much more general depending on the object. We use ditch in Ireland too. Mitch is much more specific.

  • Juan de la Loma

    How about the Nor’n Ireland proclivity for slenderizing vowels: e.g., car becomes kyar. Also, how about the way Irish tell time?

  • Caroline

    My Dad and I are American, but my Mam is Irish and our family lived in Blackrock for two years when I was a child, in times long past. Our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a raft of cousins all lived within a square mile and we had loads of fun together at the fill-ums, on the strand, and down country. Reading this article was like revisiting that time again. Brought tears to my eyes, so it did. Many thanks to you, Sir.

  • niamh fellowes

    I truly enjoyed reading this! I was gigging and saying things out loud as I read it. My family moved from Dublin to the U.S. when I was 7. Although I mostly grew up in the states (summers spent in Dublin), I can still switch between my Dublin and American (CA) accent. It’s tricky though! It truly is a different version of English — our version of English. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard someone try to imitate an Irish accent and end up sounding like a pirate or a leprechaun. It’s insulting and frustrating. I usually end up rolling my eyes and walking away. I absolutely love the way we speak – it’s rich, full of character an humor. I’ve noticed some sayings and slang have dropped off with the younger generations. I don’t really hear my younger cousins saying “I will in me brown” or “If I had one of them for you, I wouldn’t care about meself”. Yeah, foreigners, try and figure that one out. Well done, Benny :)

  • Carol O’Sullivan

    I think fewer than half of Irish people do the ‘th’ substituting thing. I’ve lived in Ireland all my life, a few years of which I spent studying linguistics. Sorry. So ‘Trow’ that assumption away, please.

    Also I don’t actually know anyone who still said ‘amn’t’ after primary school!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Westmoreland/613870597 Ken Westmoreland

    I once heard that native Irish speakers actually avoid using Gaelicisms or Hibernicisms as Gaeilscolleana (Irish-medium schools) teach ‘proper’ English, and ‘just after’ and ‘to have’ a language are frowned upon.

    The Scandinavian languages don’t have a distinct plural form of ‘you’ either – Dutch still does, as although it has ditched du (just as English has – largely – ditched thou) the plural of ‘you’, jullie comes from je lui meaning ‘you lot’.

  • Anthony

    I’m very interested in learning other languages but I REFUSE to lose my class wee bogger Cavan accent that I’ve developed here in Ireland. For example, I always get a weird look when I pronounce the word ‘language’ itself like ‘lang-ige’. :’)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511327220 Samuel Burca

    I seriously need a new hobby – and I’ve always wanted to learn how to speak with a different accent. It just sounds more proper to me when compared with American English (NY, Boston, southern, or others). Now would be a good time to start ;-)

  • Pamela Barrera

    ooww un videito tuyo pronunciando todos esos ejemplos que das en Irish hubiera sido súper!! Es muy difícil tratar de imitar la pronunciación leyendo tus tips, en cambio con un video podríamos imitarlos mejor ;) Please, would love to see a video on this post!!!

  • jahangir hossain

    English is an international language so no doubt about
    importance of It. will be very easy if you try it

    Regularly .Don’t give up just keep trying. Very soon you can
    speak in English.
    jahangir hossain

  • Morgan Day

    I’m not sure if you’ve been down under but we pronounce tuesday tube and dew/jew the same.

  • eefs

    This is fecking brilliant! i laughed so much when reading this as I have been chosen to do some video tutorials in english for a product being launched to the anglophone market by the French. They THOUGHT nice charming accent the Americans will love it (their stereotype – Americans obsessed with the Irish and all dat) however i am in pain trying to bang out those Irish quirks in my accent. sibilance is a curse in the microphone and those bloody th’s get me every time! I have always been told I have no accent in Ireland but these audio’s are screaming HAHAHA you do ya! Love the post. it brought a smile to my face when i was having yet another fight with my accent. In the tutorials as much as I would like to think I have won…I have not. :)

  • betty riehl

    Almost three decades ago, there was this one day in particular, my older sister had total control over what TV program we were going to be watching and after checking the TV Guide, she realized that The Movie Channel (channels like TCM & AMC either didn’t exist yet or were barely getting started and therefore not readily available to mainstream media) was airing the film version of the musical My Fair Lady. My sister, an avid fan of musicals & other stage productions, was only too happy to bring on the pain, for she knew how I felt about THESE movies!!! Gimme a break, I was all of 8 years old at the time… if the characters in a movie didn’t include names like Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2-D2, C-3PO, etc, then it didn’t get much attention from me I’m afraid.
    Anyway, little did either of us know, and much to the surprise of us both, from the moment I heard Audrey Hepburn belt out, “Yust you white, ‘enry ‘iggins, Yust you white! You’ll be sorry, but your tears’ll be too light!” – well, lets just say that, not only was I completely converted into an avid musical fan, but because of the complete transformation in the way Eliza was perceived by others, achieved only by altering her manner of speaking (and some totally amazing outfits), there was a new found fascination awaken in me, impersonations and human observation/interaction. Add to that an absolute obsession with Monty Python (of course), as well as the influence from one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, ‘The Trial”, and over the years, while I still wouldn’t be mistaken for a Brit, I’ve done a pretty decent job at sounding like an American who, at the very least, has LIVED in England for a few years.
    That being said, I appreciate your efforts in trying to help us (the Irish-obsessed Americans that we are) to at least realize there is a native Irish language (not just a version of English spoken very quickly and without the benefits of say…words ending in hard consonants ;} ). I have nothing but full respect for the accents I try to mimic and have no intention of ever using them in a derogatory or prejudicial manner, so I can honestly say that I’ve never even been confident enough to attempt to sound like I “have the Irish” anyplace other than in the privacy of my own room, alone! However, there is one little tune that my Momma taught to me (her maiden name happens to be McClure. If that, along with short tempers, isn’t enough to show a bit of Irish ancestry, the light complexion & abundance of freckles gives it away almost immediately); a tune that, when spoken like an American (hard consonants & all) sounds bland and uninteresting… but when spoken in the manner of an Irishman, is SO lighthearted and whimsical, and brings forth the best giggles from my daughter!! I’ll write it as it reads in English, even though, when said correctly sounds anything but…

    Oh, mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy.
    A kid will eat ivy too, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you?
    Oh, a kid will eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?

    Again, thank you for sharing, your tip about the ‘ch’ for Tuesday, tube, & dew… the most simple explanation had the most profound ‘DUH’ moment I’ve had in a while!!

  • Nicole Gauvreau

    On “yous”, you’ll find that quite commonly Massachusetts on north in New England, while y’all and all y’all (seemingly depending on the state) dominate south of the Mason-Dixon line (minus the D.C. metro area).
    I was a bit surprised at not including what I’ve encountered with all my Irish (and Scottish) friends: “haych” instead of “aych” (seemingly the North American way) or “hash” (pronounced like in French but with the h sound at the beginning; seemingly the English, Welsh, New Zealand, and Australian way) for the letter H.

  • Barack Obama

    I have no idea what they are speaking in, I will spew out a random language:

    Las personas en este sección de comentarios son antipáticos y
    necesitan lavar los platos o limpiar su habitacion….. Lo siento mis vecinos.

    • BlueMaestro

      I understood perfectly :D
      Thanks for that Spanish exercise.
      ~Speaker of some Ebonics, Southern American English, French,Spanish,German,Portuguese,Japanese, Standard Jamaican Patois and soon to be proud owner of an Irish accent.
      ~Irish,African,Jamaican and Indian blood owner.
      ~13 year old kid turning 14 this August.

  • David Nancy

    I don’t just know how to start am just short of word’s Due to the help of Dr laco,This Dr laco has brought back happiness into my life that i have lacked for year,My name is David Nancy am from the United State of America,Am just so happy today and today has been the happiest day of my life and this happiness has brought me joy and am so happy,Because Dr laco brought back my lover Scot into my arms without any delay,After my lover left me for good 2years,i was in deep pain and always thinking because i truly loved Scot,Until a faithful day listen to the radio due to tiredness,Then in which i had a lady shouting in happiness about the great thing Dr laco has done how Dr laco brought back her lover back into her arms within 36hours,when i had that goodness i decided in contacting Dr laco immediately,Because i was desperate in getting in touch with him,So i got in touch with him,Which then i told him my problem and he promised in bringing back Scot back to my arms within 24hours,And then when i had that Scot would be back to my arms within 24hours i was so happy and waiting to feel Scot,And really Scot came into my arms within 24hours,Begging me for forgiveness,i was so happy when i saw Scot now my lover is fully back to my arms due to the help of this great man Dr laco who has bought back happiness into our great country(USA)Please friend in need of help you don’t need to go far all you need to do is for you to kindly contact Dr laco for help,Because he his trustworthy and straight forward,You can contact(lacopowerfulspellcaster@yahoo.com) he said he can cast the following spell , such as, to bring back your love one,lost money,get rich,get go result,get good job,get good husband,build and buy a car. etc, just contact him and tell him what you need, i am so happy to advertise for him

  • Elizabeth Haley Budenz

    Just wanted to say i really enjoyed reading this and think you did a wonderful job explaining it to incompetent Americans like myself. Been dreaming of moving to Ireland just still working on how to do so.. I would really like to learn how to have a proper Irish accent for my own enjoyment and so if i do one day finally find a way to live there i won’t look like a complete horses ass. Looking into ways to do this I’ve come to find i don’t trust these expensive programs for actors to learn an accent fast haha. Any suggestions or know of any programs you’d recommend?

  • Jonosbro

    Mr Irish Social Studies teacher always pronounces words like ‘what’ as ‘hwat’ – adding an ‘h’ where there is none required. Forsome reason it bugs the heck out of me :D

  • Rachel Hay

    Oh, so funny…
    You’d be surprised how many of the things you mentioned happen in Australia, too.
    But before I get onto that, I’ll address the “t” thing (which is actually what I like least about the Irish accent(s) and the main reason I don’t listen to Radio Nerrinn (no idea how to write that, sorry, it’s on right after Rèidio Albannach)). In Gàidhlig, we have this lovely letter “th”, which is pronounced “h”. As in, “Tha ‘n Gàidhlig agam” (I speak Gaelic). Translate that into Irish, and you end up with something like “Tá ‘n Gaeilge agam” (possibly) – with the lovely “th” suddenly becoming a hard clicky “t”. I’m not sure which way the spelling reforms went (probably both), but I always thought it probably used to be “tha” in Gaeilge, too, so when the Irish learnt English, they saw the “th” and pronounced it “t”. That said, at least you’ve got a standardised way of pronouncing “th”. I have a (Gàidhlig-speaking) honourary grandparent who can’t pronounce it for the life of him. It can get quite funny – “thick and thin” becomes “sick and sin”.
    Lots of Australians use “youse” for you-plural, although it’s generally considered a somewhat uneducated thing to do. You’ll hear “youse” (“yooz”) in the city and “yuz” or “yez” in the country.
    “Deadly’ here is a bit like “awesome”, but it’s used mostly by Aboriginals. And it’s not uncommon to hear “fair play cha” (cha = to ya) from anyone. (Yes, we do that t+y=ch and d+y=j thing, too.)
    In South Australia, we also share your tendency to avoid pronouncing “l” next to anything (including the end of the word). Instead, it’s vocalised as a “w”. We drink “miwk” (milk) and watch a “fiwm” (film, although it’s more likely to be a “pitcha” or picture) and go for a trip on the “raiwroa’” (railroad). If a South Australian saw the name “Colm”, it would probably be pronounced “Co’wm.” That said, the whole adding-a-vowel-in-between-consonants(-particularly-after-l-and-r) is nothing new to me, growing up surrounded by people with Scottish accents. Also, sounds at the ends of words are almost non-existant in SA: “Too righ’, may’!”
    Okay, I think that’s about it from me. Loved the article, by the way!

  • pearl

    hello good morning

  • pearl

    were r u

  • Maurice Slater

    whata load of bollox

  • sempre

    This is very enlightening – it explains a lot of Australian expressions. We too use ‘she’ a lot in the way you’ve mentioned, and school teachers have to firmly discourage the use of ‘youse’ as the plural of ‘you’. We do still use it, even English teachers like me, to be funny. As in ‘How youse going? All right?’ – which would sound like: Ow yez goin? Orright? in our accent. The nuns (Australians mostly but from an Irish order) always used ‘press’ for ‘cupboard’. We are also ‘educated’ out of ‘fillum’ for ‘film’. And most of us say ‘Chooseday’ and ‘choob’ – again, until it’s educated out of us. I’m beginning to realise that ‘educated’ Australian accent is actually ‘British’ versus the ‘Irish’ that we originally use as kids. Why am I not surprised? ;)

  • Bridget Nagel Weller

    You make me long to hear the Irish again.

  • Hannah RH

    Fantastic article. What brought me to it was a google search for the
    occasions when Irish folk end their sentences with “so” and “like”. Is
    it just random, or is there a more exacting science behind it, like?

  • Newfie

    Many people in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland (Canada) still speak like this, even the younger generations. I always assumed it was the French influence but I guess it comes from our Irish history (at one point, Irish was the dominant language). We have a strong aversion for th sounds and we might sometimes say that our homework is jew on chooseday. If speaking to a group of friends we always ask if ‘yous are comin’ too’.

    I wonder, would an Irish person say they are having a feed of food or is that something unique to Newfoundland. And would an Irish person pronounce the letter H like haych, or ayche?

    • happyavocado

      When I lived in Ireland I started pronouncing H “haych” along with everyone else I knew. Don’t know about “feed of food.” Do you say R “or”? Another thing (t’ing!) I noticed was “treble” instead of “triple.”

      I met a girl from Newfoundland in a temp agency and had trouble placing her accent… sometimes I thought she was Irish, sometimes not. Lucky you to have a nice sparkly, interesting, lilting voice! My accent is flat and dull. :(

  • Ayleen

    I’m glad you like my native country’s English! I also enjoy the Irish and Scottish English accents :-)

  • aimee genat donelly

    aimee

  • Amalia Mikkelsen

    This article is just brilliant… Would you have any interest in doing something similar for other accents? I’m working on my Scottish. 😉

  • Amalia Mikkelsen

    I love this… Absolutely brilliant. Would you maybe want to do something similar for a different accent? Scottish, perhaps? 😉

  • David

    Speaking English in an Irish accents would be very difficult. Every successful learner finishes whatever course they start on and continues learning from native materials.

  • Bradley Green

    I have a theory that early exposure to numerous accents more or less disconnects a person’s accent entirely. I grew up in the south for eight years (US) and moved north. I have no placeable accent in English, Spanish, or French (when attempting to speak the latter two, noted by native speakers), and I almost immediately (read instantaneously) pick up accents. My brother is the same way.

    • Speedwell

      I had a boyfriend once who had been an Air Force linguist. What intrigued him when he first met me was that I speak a perfectly neutral Standard American. I sound like a well-trained CNN News announcer or like someone who has had a full course of American dialect training. This is likely to be because my father is an immigrant, and my mother’s parents are both immigrants, all from different countries, and we moved frequently when I was a child. And then TV. I think I did revert to an “average”.

      But I do NOT pick up accents easily; I lived in the American North and Midwest for the first 12 years of my life without sounding like a Hoosier, in the South for 20 years without getting a drawl, and in Texas for 15 without sounding Texan. The Cajun accent softened my intonation a little while I was actually in Lafayette, but that was because I was charmed by it and actually trying for it much of the time, and I lost it immediately when I left. I despair of picking up actual accents. I hope I’m not going to be one of those language students who can always be picked out as an American. :(

      • http://fluentin3months.com/ Brandon Rivington

        It’s a lot different when learning a new language’s accent compared to your native language’s accents. You’re already so used to hearing the Neutral American accent come out of your own mouth that it’s hard to train your brain to do any different. With your target language, on the other hand, you don’t have the muscle memory built up yet so you’ll be able to adjust a lot more easily. I tend not to worry too much about it anyway. Your first goal should be able to be understood and then go for the “perfect” accent. Keep up the good work!

        –Brandon, the Fi3M Language Encourager

  • Elizabeth

    Well Said. .

  • Speedwell

    Irish. My Irish husband makes fun of me for pronouncing it “chimney”! :)