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Hiberno‐English (from Latin Hibernia: "Ireland") or Irish English[2] is the set of English dialects natively written and spoken within the island of Ireland (including both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland).[3]

Hiberno-English
Irish English
Native to Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Region Ireland (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland); Great Britain (diaspora)
Native speakers
4.3 million in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom (2012 European Commission)[1]
275,000 L2 speakers of English in Ireland (European Commission 2012)
Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None
IETF en-IE

English was brought to Ireland as a result of the Norman invasion of Ireland of the late 12th century. Initially, it was mainly spoken in an area known as the Pale around Dublin, with mostly Irish spoken throughout the rest of the country. By the Tudor period, Irish culture and language had regained most of the territory lost to the colonists: even in the Pale, "all the common folk… for the most part are of Irish birth, Irish habit, and of Irish language".[4] However, the Tudor conquest and colonisation of Ireland in the 16th century marked a revival in the use of English. By the mid-19th century, English was the majority language spoken in the country.[a] It has retained this status to the present day, with even those whose first language is Irish being fluent in English as well.

Hiberno-English's spelling and pronunciation standards align with British rather than American English. However, Hiberno-English's diverse accents and some of its grammatical structures are unique, with some influence by the Irish language and a tendency to be phonologically conservative, retaining older features no longer common in the accents of England or North America.

Phonologists today often divide Hiberno-English into four or five overarching classes of dialects or accents:[6][7] Ulster accents, West and South-West Region accents (including, for example, the Cork accent), various Dublin accents, and a relatively recent supraregional accent.

Contents

Ulster EnglishEdit

Ulster English (or northern Irish English) here refers collectively to the varieties of the Ulster province, including Northern Ireland and neighbouring counties outside of Northern Ireland, which has been influenced by Ulster Irish as well as the Scots language, brought over by Scottish settlers during the Plantation of Ulster. Its main subdivisions are mid Ulster English as well as Ulster Scots English, the latter of which is more directly and strongly influenced by the Scots language. All Ulster English has more obvious pronunciation similarities with Scottish English than other Irish English dialects.

Ulster varieties distinctly pronounce:

Notable lifelong native speakersEdit

  • Christine Bleakley, Jamie Dornan, Rory McIlroy, Liam Neeson – "The Northern Irish accent is the sexiest in the UK, according to a new poll. The dulcet tones of Liam Neeson, Jamie Dornan, Christine Bleakley and Rory McIlroy helped ensure the accent came top of the popularity charts"[9]
  • John Cole – "His distinctive Ulster accent"[10]
  • Nadine Coyle – "I was born and raised in Derry and I can't change the way I talk".[11]
  • Daniel O'Donnell – "the languid Donegal accent made famous by Daniel O'Donnell"[12]
  • Colin Morgan – "Colin Morgan has revealed that fans of the show are often confused by his accent. The 23-year-old... is originally from Northern Ireland"[13]

West and South-West Irish EnglishEdit

West and South-West Irish English here refers to broad varieties of Ireland's West and South-West Regions. Accents of both regions are known for:

South-West Irish English (often known, by specific county, as Cork English, Kerry English, or Limerick English) also features two major defining characteristics of its own: the raising of /ɛ/ to [ɪ] when before /n/ or /m/ (as in again or pen), and the noticeable intonation pattern of a slightly higher pitch followed by a significant drop in pitch on stressed long-vowel syllables (across multiple syllables or even within a single one),[15] which is popularly heard, in rapid conversation, as a kind of undulating "sing-song" pattern.[16]

Notable lifelong native speakersEdit

Dublin EnglishEdit

Dublin English is highly internally diverse and refers collectively to the Irish English varieties of eastern Ireland (the province of Leinster). Modern-day Dublin English largely lies on a phonological continuum,[citation needed] ranging from a more traditional, lower-prestige, local urban accent on the one end to a more recently developing, higher-prestige, non-local (regional and even supraregional) accent on the other end, whose most advanced characteristics only first emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s.[20] The accent that most strongly uses the traditional working-class features is often called local Dublin English. Most speakers from Dublin and its suburbs, however, have accent features falling variously along the entire middle as well as newer end of the spectrum, which together form what is called non-local Dublin English, spoken by middle- and upper-class natives of Dublin and the greater eastern Irish region surrounding the city. A subset of this variety, whose middle-class speakers mostly range in the middle of the continuum, is called mainstream Dublin English. Mainstream Dublin English has become the basis of an accent that has otherwise become supraregional (see more below) everywhere except in the north of the country. The majority of Dubliners born since the 1980s (led particularly by females) has shifted towards the most innovative non-local accent, here called new Dublin English, which has gained ground over mainstream Dublin English and which is the most extreme variety in rejecting the local accent's traditional features.[21] The varieties at either extreme of the spectrum, local and new Dublin English, are both discussed in further detail below. In the most general terms, all varieties of Dublin English have the following identifying sounds that are often distinct from the rest of Ireland, pronouncing:

Local Dublin EnglishEdit

Local Dublin English (or popular Dublin English) here refers to a traditional, broad, working-class variety spoken in the Republic of Ireland's capital city of Dublin. It is the only Irish English variety that in earlier history was non-rhotic; however, it is today weakly rhotic,[7][22] and it uniquely pronounces:

The local Dublin accent is also known for a phenomenon called "vowel breaking", in which the vowel sounds //, //, //, and // in closed syllables are "broken" into two syllables, approximating [ɛwə], [əjə], [uwə], and [ijə], respectively.[23]

Notable lifelong native speakersEdit

New Dublin EnglishEdit

Evolving as a fashionable outgrowth of the mainstream non-local Dublin English, new Dublin English (also, advanced Dublin English and, formerly, fashionable Dublin English) is a youthful variety that originally began in the early 1990s among the "avant-garde" and now those aspiring to a non-local "urban sophistication".[26] New Dublin English itself, first associated with affluent and middle-class inhabitants of southside Dublin, is probably now spoken by a majority of Dubliners born since the 1980s.[20] It has replaced (yet was largely influenced by) moribund D4 English (often known as "Dublin 4" or "DART speak" or, mockingly, "Dortspeak"), which originated around the 1970s from Dubliners who rejected traditional notions of Irishness, regarding themselves as more trendy and sophisticated;[27] however, particular aspects of the D4 accent became quickly noticed and ridiculed as sounding affected, causing these features to fall out of fashion by the 1990s.[28]

This "new mainstream" accent of Dublin's youth, rejecting traditional working-class Dublin, pronounces:

Notable lifelong native speakersEdit

Supraregional southern Irish EnglishEdit

Supraregional southern Irish English (sometimes, simply, supraregional Irish English or supraregional Hiberno-English) here refers to a variety crossing regional boundaries throughout all of the Republic of Ireland, except the north. As mentioned earlier, mainstream Dublin English of the early- to mid-1900s is the direct influence and catalyst for this variety.[31] Most speakers born in the 1980s or later are showing fewer features of the twentieth-century mainstream supraregional form and more characteristics of an advanced supraregional variety that aligns clearly with the rapidly spreading new Dublin accent (see more above, under "Non-local Dublin English").[32]

Ireland's surparegional dialect pronounces:

Overview of pronunciation and phonologyEdit

The following charts list the vowels typical of each Irish English dialect as well as the several distinctive consonants of Irish English.[6][7] Phonological characteristics of overall Irish English are given as well as categorisations into five major divisions of Hiberno-English: northern Ireland (or Ulster); West & South-West Ireland; local Dublin; new Dublin; and supraregional (southern) Ireland. Features of mainstream non-local Dublin English fall on a range between "local Dublin" and "new Dublin".

Other phonological characteristics of Irish English include that consonant clusters ending in /j/ before /u/ are distinctive:[41]

  • /j/ is dropped after sonorants and fricatives, e.g. new sounds like noo, and sue like soo.
  • /dj/ becomes /dʒ/, e.g. dew/due, duke and duty sound like "jew", "jook" and "jooty".
  • /tj/ becomes /tʃ/, e.g. tube is "choob", tune is "choon"
  • The following show neither dropping nor coalescence: /kj/ (as in cute), /mj/ (as in mute), and /hj/ (as in huge; though the /h/ can be dropped in the South-West of Ireland).

The naming of the letter H as "haitch" is standard.

Due to Gaelic influence, an epenthetic schwa is sometimes inserted, perhaps as a feature of older and less careful speakers, e.g. film [ˈfɪləm] and form [ˈfɒːɹəm].

VocabularyEdit

Loan words from IrishEdit

A number of Irish-language loan words are used in Hiberno-English, particularly in an official state capacity. For example, the head of government is the Taoiseach, the deputy head is the Tánaiste, the parliament is the Oireachtas and its lower house is Dáil Éireann. Less formally, people also use loan words in day-to-day speech, although this has been on the wane in recent decades and among the young.[42]

Example loan words from Irish
Word Part of speech Meaning
Abú Interjection Hooray! Used in sporting occasions, espec. for Gaelic games – Ath Cliath abú! – 'hooray for Dublin!'
Amadán[43] Noun Fool
Fáilte Noun Welcome – often in the phrase Céad míle fáilte 'A hundred thousand welcomes'
Flaithiúlach[44] Adjective Generous
Garsún[45] / gasúr[46] Noun Boy
Gaeltacht Noun Officially designated region where Irish is the primary spoken language
Grá[47] Noun Love, affection, not always romantic – 'he has a great grá for the dog'
Lúdramán[48] Noun Fool
Plámás[49] Noun Smooth talk, flattery
Sláinte[50] Interjection [To your] health!/Cheers!

Derived words from IrishEdit

Another group of Hiberno-English words are those derived from the Irish language. Some are words in English that have entered into general use, while others are unique to Ireland. These words and phrases are often Anglicised versions of words in Irish or direct translations into English. In the latter case, they often give a meaning to a word or phrase that is generally not found in wider English use.

Example words derived from Irish
Word or Phrase Part of Speech Original Irish Meaning
Arra[51]/ och / musha / yerra[52] Interjection Ara / Ach / Muise / Dhera (conjunction of "A Dhia, ara") "Yerra, sure if it rains, it rains."
Bockety[53] Adjective Bacach (lame) Unsteady, wobbly, broken
Bold[54] Adjective Dána Naughty/badly behaved.
Boreen Noun Bóithrín Small rural road or track
Ceili/Ceilidh[55] Noun Céilidhe Music and dancing session, especially of traditional music
Colleen Noun Cailín Girl, young woman
Fooster Verb Fústar[56] to busy oneself in a restless way, fidget
Gansey[57] Noun Geansaí[58] Jumper (Sweater)
Give out[59] Verb Tabhair amach (lit.) Tell off, reprimand[60]
Gob[61] Noun Gob Animal's Mouth/beak (Beal = human mouth)
Gombeen[62] Noun Gaimbín Money lender, profiteer. Usually in the phrase 'Gombeen man'
Guards[63] Noun Garda Síochána Police
Jackeen[64] Noun Nickname for John (i.e. Jack) combined with Irish diminutive suffix "-ín" A mildly pejorative term for someone from Dublin. Also a self-assertive worthless fellow".[65] Derived from a person who followed the Union Jack during British rule after 1801, a Dublin man who supported the crown. See Shoneen
Shoneen[66] Noun Seoinín (diminutive of Sean – 'John') An Irishman who imitates English ways – see Jackeen
Sleeveen[67] Noun Slíbhín An untrustworthy, cunning person
Soft day[68] Phrase Lá bog (lit.) Overcast day (light drizzle/mist)

Derived words from Old and Middle EnglishEdit

Another class of vocabulary found in Hiberno-English are words and phrases common in Old and Middle English, but which have since become obscure or obsolete in the modern English language generally. Hiberno-English has also developed particular meanings for words that are still in common use in English generally.

Example Hiberno-English words derived from Old and Middle English
Word Part of speech Meaning Origin/notes
Amn't[69] Verb Am not
Childer[70] Noun Child Survives from Old-English, genitive plural of 'child'[71]
Cop-on[72] Noun shrewdness, intelligence, being 'street-wise'[73] Middle English from French cap 'arrest'
Craic / Crack[74] Noun Fun, entertainment. Generally now[citation needed] with the Gaelic spelling in the phrase – 'have the craic' . Also used in Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England with spelling 'crack' in the sense 'gossip, chat' Old English cracian via Gaelic into modern Hiberno-English[75]
Devil[76] Noun Curse (e.g., "Devil take him")[77][78] Negation (e.g., for none, "Devil a bit")[79][80] middle English
Eejit[81] Noun Irish (and Scots) version of 'idiot', meaning foolish person[82] English from Latin Idiōta
Hames[83] Noun a mess, used in the phrase 'make a hames of'[84] Middle English from Dutch
Grinds[85] Noun Private tuition[86] Old English grindan
Jaded[87] Adjective physically tired, exhausted[88] Not in the sense of bored, unenthusiastic, 'tired of' something Middle English jade
Kip[89] Noun Unpleasant, dirty or sordid place[90] 18th-century English for brothel
Mitch Verb to play truant[91] Middle English
Sliced pan[92] Noun (Sliced) loaf of bread Possibly derived from the French word for bread (pain) or the pan it was baked in.
Yoke[93] Noun Thing, object, gadget[94] Old English geoc
Wagon/Waggon[95] Noun an unpleasant or unlikable woman[96] Middle English
Whisht[97] Interjection Be quiet[98] (Also common in Northern England and Scotland) Middle English

Other wordsEdit

In addition to the three groups above, there are also additional words and phrases whose origin is disputed or unknown. While this group may not be unique to Ireland, their usage is not widespread, and could be seen as characteristic of the language in Ireland.

Example Hiberno-English words of disputed or unknown origin
Word Part of speech Meaning Notes
Acting the maggot[99] Phrase Acting the fool, joking.
Banjaxed[100] Verb Broken, ruined, or rendered incapable of use.
Bowsie[101] Noun a rough or unruly person. Cf. Scots Bowsie[102]
Bleb[103][104] Noun, Verb blister; to bubble up, come out in blisters.
Bucklepper[105] Noun An overactive, overconfident person from the verb, to bucklep (leap like a buck) Used by Patrick Kavanagh and Seamus Heaney[106]
Chiseler[107] Noun Child
Cod[108] Noun Foolish person Usually in phrases like 'acting the cod', 'making a cod of himself'
Culchie[109] Noun Person from the countryside
Delph[110] Noun Dishware From the name of the original source of supply, Delft in the Netherlands. See Delftware.
Feck Verb, Interjection an attenuated alternative/minced oath (see feck for more details) "Feck it!", "Feck off"[111]
Gurrier[112] Noun a tough or unruly young man[113] perhaps from French guerrier 'warrior', or else from 'gur cake' a pastry previously associated with street urchins. Cf. Scots Gurry[114]
Messages Noun Groceries
Minerals[115] Noun Soft drinks From mineral Waters
Mot Noun Girl or young woman, girlfriend From the Irish word 'maith' meaning good, i.e. good-looking.[116]
Press[117] Noun Cupboard Similarly, hotpress in Ireland means airing-cupboard Press is an old word for cupboard in Scotland and northern England.
Rake Noun a many or a lot. Often in the phrase 'a rake of pints'. Cf. Scots rake[118]
Runners[119] Noun Trainers/sneakers Also 'teckies' or 'tackies', especially in and around Limerick.
Shore[120] Noun Stormdrain or Gutter. Cf. Scots shore[121]
Wet the tea[122]/The tea is wet[123] Phrase Make the tea/the tea is made

Grammar and syntaxEdit

The syntax of the Irish language is quite different from that of English. Various aspects of Irish syntax have influenced Hiberno-English, though many of these idiosyncrasies are disappearing in suburban areas and among the younger population.

The other major influence on Hiberno-English that sets it apart from modern English in general is the retention of words and phrases from Old- and Middle-English.

From IrishEdit

ReduplicationEdit

Reduplication is an alleged trait of Hiberno-English strongly associated with Stage Irish and Hollywood films.

  • the Irish ar bith corresponds to English "at all", so the stronger ar chor ar bith gives rise to the form "at all at all".
    • "I've no time at all at all."
  • ar eagla go … (lit. "on fear that …") means "in case …". The variant ar eagla na heagla, (lit. "on fear of fear") implies the circumstances are more unlikely. The corresponding Hiberno-English phrases are "to be sure" and "to be sure to be sure". In this context, these are not, as might be thought, disjuncts meaning "certainly"; they could better be translated "in case" and "just in case". Nowadays normally spoken with conscious levity.
    • "I brought some cash in case I saw a bargain, and my credit card to be sure to be sure."

Yes and noEdit

Irish lacks words that directly translate as "yes" or "no", and instead repeats the verb used in the question, negated if necessary, to answer. Hiberno-English uses "yes" and "no" less frequently than other English dialects as speakers can repeat the verb, positively or negatively, instead of (or in redundant addition to) using "yes" or "no".

  • "Are you coming home soon?" – "I am."
  • "Is your mobile charged?" – "It isn't."

Recent past constructionEdit

Irish indicates recency of an action by adding "after" to the present continuous (a verb ending in "-ing"), a construction known as the "hot news perfect" or "after perfect".[126][127] The idiom for "I had done X when I did Y" is "I was after doing X when I did Y", modelled on the Irish usage of the compound prepositions i ndiaidh, tar éis, and in éis: bhí mé tar éis/i ndiaidh/in éis X a dhéanamh, nuair a rinne mé Y.

A similar construction is seen where exclamation is used in describing a recent event:

  • "I'm after hitting him with the car!" Táim tar éis é a bhualadh leis an gcarr!
  • "She's after losing five stone in five weeks!"

When describing less astonishing or significant events, a structure resembling the German perfect can be seen:

  • "I have the car fixed." Tá an carr deisithe agam.
  • "I have my breakfast eaten." Tá mo bhricfeasta ithe agam.

This correlates with an analysis of "H1 Irish" proposed by Adger & Mitrovic,[128] in a deliberate parallel to the status of German as a V2 language.

Reflection for emphasisEdit

The reflexive version of pronouns is often used for emphasis or to refer indirectly to a particular person, etc., according to context. Herself, for example, might refer to the speaker's boss or to the woman of the house. Use of herself or himself in this way often indicates that the speaker attributes some degree of arrogance or selfishness to the person in question. Note also the indirectness of this construction relative to, for example, She's coming now

  • "'Tis herself that's coming now." Is í féin atá ag teacht anois.
  • "Was it all of ye or just yourself?" An sibhse ar fad nó tusa féin a bhí i gceist?

This is not limited only to the verb to be: it is also used with to have when used as an auxiliary; and, with other verbs, the verb to do is used. This is most commonly used for intensification, especially in Ulster English.

  • "This is strong stuff, so it is."
  • "We won the game, so we did."

Prepositional pronounsEdit

There are some language forms that stem from the fact that there is no verb to have in Irish. Instead, possession is indicated in Irish by using the preposition at, (in Irish, ag.). To be more precise, Irish uses a prepositional pronoun that combines ag "at" and "me" to create agam. In English, the verb "to have" is used, along with a "with me" or "on me" that derives from Tá … agam. This gives rise to the frequent

  • "Do you have the book?" – "I have it with me."
  • "Have you change for the bus on you?"
  • "He will not shut up if he has drink taken."

Somebody who can speak a language "has" a language, in which Hiberno-English has borrowed the grammatical form used in Irish.

  • "She does not have Irish." Níl Gaeilge aici. literally "There is no Irish at her".

When describing something, many Hiberno-English speakers use the term "in it" where "there" would usually be used. This is due to the Irish word ann (pronounced "oun" or "on") fulfilling both meanings.

  • "Is it yourself that is in it?" An tú féin atá ann?
  • "Is there any milk in it?" An bhfuil bainne ann?

Another idiom is this thing or that thing described as "this man here" or "that man there", which also features in Newfoundland English in Canada.

  • "This man here." An fear seo. (cf. the related anseo = here)
  • "That man there." An fear sin. (cf. the related ansin = there)

Conditionals have a greater presence in Hiberno-English due to the tendency to replace the simple present tense with the conditional (would) and the simple past tense with the conditional perfect (would have).

  • "John asked me would I buy a loaf of bread." (John asked me to buy a loaf of bread.)
  • "How do you know him? We would have been in school together." (We went to school together.)

Bring and take: Irish use of these words differs from that of British English because it follows the Irish grammar for beir and tóg. English usage is determined by direction; person determines Irish usage. So, in English, one takes "from here to there", and brings it "to here from there". In Irish, a person takes only when accepting a transfer of possession of the object from someone else – and a person brings at all other times, irrespective of direction (to or from).

  • Don't forget to bring your umbrella with you when you leave.
  • (To a child) Hold my hand: I don't want someone to take you.

To beEdit

The Irish equivalent of the verb "to be" has two present tenses, one (the present tense proper or "aimsir láithreach") for cases which are generally true or are true at the time of speaking and the other (the habitual present or "aimsir ghnáthláithreach") for repeated actions. Thus, "you are [now, or generally]" is tá tú, but "you are [repeatedly]" is bíonn tú. Both forms are used with the verbal noun (equivalent to the English present participle) to create compound tenses. This is similar to the distinction between ser and estar in Spanish.

The corresponding usage in English is frequently found in rural areas, especially Mayo/Sligo in the west of Ireland and Wexford in the south-east, Inner-City Dublin along with border areas of the North and Republic. In this form, the verb "to be" in English is similar to its use in Irish, with a "does be/do be" (or "bees", although less frequently) construction to indicate the continuous, or habitual, present:

  • "He does be working every day." Bíonn sé ag obair gach lá.
  • "They do be talking on their mobiles a lot." Bíonn siad ag caint go minic ar a bhfóin póca.
  • "He does be doing a lot of work at school." Bíonn sé ag déanamh go leor oibre ar scoil.
  • "It's him I do be thinking of." Is air a bhíonn mé ag smaoineamh.

This construction also surfaces in African American Vernacular English, as the famous habitual be.

From Old and Middle EnglishEdit

In old-fashioned usage, "it is" can be freely abbreviated ’tis, even as a standalone sentence. This also allows the double contraction ’tisn’t, for "it is not".

Irish has separate forms for the second person singular () and the second person plural (sibh). Mirroring Irish, and almost every other Indo European language, the plural you is also distinguished from the singular in Hiberno-English, normally by use of the otherwise archaic English word ye [jiː]; the word yous (sometimes written as youse) also occurs, but primarily only in Dublin and across Ulster. In addition, in some areas in Leinster, north Connacht and parts of Ulster, the hybrid word ye-s, pronounced "yiz", may be used. The pronunciation differs with that of the northwestern being [jiːz] and the Leinster pronunciation being [jɪz].

  • "Did ye all go to see it?" Ar imigh sibh go léir chun é a fheicint?
  • "None of youse have a clue!" Níl ciall/leid ar bith agaibh!
  • "Are ye not finished yet?" Nach bhfuil sibh críochnaithe fós?
  • "Yis are after destroying it!" Tá sibh tar éis é a scriosadh!

The word ye, yis or yous, otherwise archaic, is still used in place of "you" for the second-person plural. Ye'r, Yisser or Yousser are the possessive forms, e.g. "Where are yous going?"

The verb mitch is very common in Ireland, indicating being truant from school. This word appears in Shakespeare (though he wrote in Early Modern English rather than Middle English), but is seldom heard these days in British English, although pockets of usage persist in some areas (notably South Wales, Devon, and Cornwall). In parts of Connacht and Ulster the mitch is often replaced by the verb scheme, while Dublin it is replaced by "on the hop/bounce".

Another usage familiar from Shakespeare is the inclusion of the second person pronoun after the imperative form of a verb, as in "Wife, go you to her ere you go to bed" (Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene IV). This is still common in Ulster: "Get youse your homework done or you're no goin' out!" In Munster, you will still hear children being told, "Up to bed, let ye" [lɛˈtʃi].

For influence from Scotland, see Ulster Scots and Ulster English.

Other grammatical influencesEdit

Now is often used at the end of sentences or phrases as a semantically empty word, completing an utterance without contributing any apparent meaning. Examples include "Bye now" (= "Goodbye"), "There you go now" (when giving someone something), "Ah now!" (expressing dismay), "Hold on now" (= "wait a minute"), "Now then" as a mild attention-getter, etc. This usage is universal among English dialects, but occurs more frequently in Hiberno-English. It is also used in the manner of the Italian 'prego' or German 'bitte', for example a barman might say "Now, Sir." when delivering drinks.

So is often used for emphasis ("I can speak Irish, so I can"), or it may be tacked onto the end of a sentence to indicate agreement, where "then" would often be used in Standard English ("Bye so", "Let's go so", "That's fine so", "We'll do that so"). The word is also used to contradict a negative statement ("You're not pushing hard enough" – "I am so!"). (This contradiction of a negative is also seen in American English, though not as often as "I am too", or "Yes, I am".) The practice of indicating emphasis with so and including reduplicating the sentence's subject pronoun and auxiliary verb (is, are, have, has, can, etc.) such as in the initial example, is particularly prevalent in more northern dialects such as those of Sligo, Mayo and the counties of Ulster.

Sure is often used as a tag word, emphasising the obviousness of the statement, roughly translating as but/and/well. Can be used as "to be sure", the famous Irish stereotype phrase. (But note that the other stereotype of "Sure and …" is not actually used in Ireland.) Or "Sure, I can just go on Wednesday", "I will not, to be sure." The word is also used at the end of sentences (primarily in Munster), for instance "Sure, I was only here five minutes ago!" and can express emphasis or indignation.

To is often omitted from sentences where it would exist in British English. For example, "I'm not let go out tonight", instead of "I'm not allowed to go out tonight".

Will is often used where British English would use "shall" or American English "should" (as in "Will I make us a cup of tea?"). The distinction between "shall" (for first-person simple future, and second- and third-person emphatic future) and "will" (second- and third-person simple future, first-person emphatic future), maintained by many in England, does not exist in Hiberno-English, with "will" generally used in all cases.

Once is sometimes used in a different way from how it is used in other dialects; in this usage, it indicates a combination of logical and causal conditionality: "I have no problem laughing at myself once the joke is funny." Other dialects of English would probably use "if" in this situation.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ According to the 1841 census, Ireland had 8,175,124 inhabitants, of whom four million spoke Gaelic.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ English (Ireland) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Irish English: history and present…. Google Books. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Hiberno-English Archive". DRAPIer. IE: DHO. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Culture and Religion in Tudor Ireland 1494–1558, University College Cork, archived from the original on 16 April 2008 
  5. ^ Ranelagh, John O'Beirne (1994), A Short History of Ireland, Cambridge, p. 118 
  6. ^ a b de Gruyter 2004, pp. 90–93
  7. ^ a b c Hickey, Raymond. A Sound Atlas of Irish English, Volume 1. Walter de Gruyter: 2004, pp. 57-60.
  8. ^ Hickey (2007:118)
  9. ^ "Northern Ireland accent is rated sexiest in the UK by a new survey". Belfast Telegraph. 2015.
  10. ^ "Political Broadcaster John Cole Dies At 85 Archived 20 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.." Sky News. 2013.
  11. ^ "Nadine Coyle: I was born in Derry, I can't change the way I talk". Belfast Telegraph. 2014.
  12. ^ "Time to train the voice". The Irish Times. 1998.
  13. ^ French, Dan (2009). "'Merlin' star reveals accent confusion". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK.
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BibliographyEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit