Vocabulary Derived From Irish
* Banshee (from bean s, 'literally 'fairy woman')
Cant (from caint) talk
Colleen (from ciln) girl (usually Irish)
Crack (from craic) fun, a good time. He's good crack.
Galore (from go leor) plenty, enough
Gob (literally beak) mouth
Poteen (from poitn) hooch, bootleg alcoholic drink
Smashing (from is maith e sin) that's good
Smithereens ('from smidirn) little pieces
Whiskey (from uisce beatha literally 'water of life')
Most Hiberno-English dialects are rhotic.
/t/ is not plosive where it does not occur word-initially; instead, it
is often pronounced as a slit fricative [θ̠]
The distinction between w /w/ and wh /hw/, as in wine vs.
whine, is preserved.
The distinction between /ɒː/ and /oː/ in horse and hoarse is
preserved, though not usually in Dublin or Belfast.
A distinction between [ɛɹ]-[ɪɹ]-[ʌɹ] in herd-bird-curd may be found.
The vowels in words such as boat and cane are usually
monophthongs outside of Dublin: [boːt], and [keːn].
The /aɪ/ in "night" may be pronounced in a wide variety of ways,
e.g. [əɪ], [ɔɪ], [ʌɪ] and [ɑɪ], the latter two being the most common in
middle class speech, the former two, in popular speech.
The /ɔɪ/ in "boy" may be pronounced [ɑːɪ].
/eɪ/ often becomes /ɛ/ in words such as gave and came
(becoming "gev" and "kem").
/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".
Grammar Derived From Irish
Like other Celtic languages, Irish has no words for "yes" and
"no", instead the verb in a question is repeated in an answer.
People in Ireland have a tendency to use this pattern of avoiding
"yes" or "no" when speaking English:
"Are you finished debugging that software?" "I am."
"Is your mobile charged?" "It is."
Irish speakers of English use a "does be/do be" (or "bes",
although less frequently) construction to indicate this latter
continuous present:
"He does be coding every day."
"They do be talking on their mobiles a lot."
"They bes doing a lot of work at school."
Characteristic expressions
- Arra which may be translated as "alright, yes/no".
- Come here to me now and Come here and I'll tell ya
something are used to mean "Listen to this" or "I have
something to tell you".
- To give out to somebody is to scold that person.
- Will is often used where English English would use "shall"
("Will I make us a cup of tea?").
- A soft day: referring to a rainy day with that particular soft
drizzle, and an overcast sky, but relatively bright.
- Fecking is an all purpose expletive slightly less offensive than
the English word fucking. In old Dubliner slang, to feck is also
slang for "to steal".
- Yoke is typically used in place of the word "thing". It is also a
slang term for an ecstasy tablet.