Hiberno-English (unfinished)

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Irish people have a unique position among native English speakers - we're not. It's an odd situation and the result of many and varied reasons (the political upshot of which is the ongoing intransigence of each and every political party in Northern Ireland) but the result is that while we're all actually fully fluent in English and most of us have only a passing knowledge of Irish (Gaeilge), which is technically our mother tongue, we still insist on speaking English as if we were completely of some of its most basic grammatical rules. Which, of course, doesn't mean that we're not good at it (a look at the most important English speaking writers of this or any other century will confirm that Ireland probably has more than its fair share of notables) simply that we do it slightly differently. There are basically two reasons for this:
(i) Gramatically we still accidentally follow most of the rules of standard English but, in truly bizarre fashion, insist in also forcing upon English some of the gramitical rules of Irish.
(ii) The same is true of vocabulary. There are a huge amount of Irish words used in Hiberno-English, as well as words that have come down to us through mistranslation and a smattering of English words that have dropped out of usage in the language everywhere except Ireland.

What follows are a few brief pointers on how to speak Hiberno-English like a native (should the urge take you)

Positive and Negative
"Are you paying attention?"
"I am"
One of the first things to point out is that in the Irish language there are no actual words for YES and NO. Now this might sound as if it would lead to mass confusion but it's not the case. In Irish to answer YES you simply use the verb. Similarly to answer NO you use the negative case. This has translated itself into Hiberno-English in the construction above which may seem a long-winded way of conversing, but sure what else would you be doing. Naturally in the above case the negative form would be "I am not" (shortened, for the sake of contraryness, to "I amn't" as opposed "I'm not"!). This, of course is not to suggest that we never use YES or NO, although a brief perusal of recent Irish politics would leave the reader firmly of the opinion that we're more familiar with NO than with its more compliant cousin (Ulster says NO but the man from Del Monte says YES).

Unfortunately due to a strange twist of fate, coupled with the fact that in the old days most Irish people never actually owned anything, there is no verb 'to have' in the Irish language. Which is fine, but it means that when referring (in English) to the perfect and pluperfect tenses (I have just, I had just) ...we can't. So, back to an Irish solution to an Irsih problem and those tenses become irrelevant with the use of the word 'after'. Thus 'I'm just after doing that' (I have just done that) and 'I was just after doing that' (I had just done that). Fun, eh?

There is no indefinite article (a or an) in Irish. So a lot of the time Hiberno-English speakers exhibit a tendency to oscillate wildly between using one or simply using the definite article (the) instead - 'He got the terrible cold'


Above - up, - 'We were above in Dublin for the day'
Again - at some incredibly distant time in the future, 'lend us a fiver, I'll give it to you again'
Arra - 'Arra, sure...' loosely translated in to the more gentile 'oh well...'

Bejaysus - used both as an expression of disbelief and as a noun that signifies an entirety - as in the perfect way to make Irish Stew 'throw some cuts of lamb or mutton in a pot with spuds and carrots and boil the bejaysus out of it'.
Brits - a less than affectionate term for the people inhabiting the nearest island to Ireland.
Bollix - a derivative of the standard English B******s, also used as a noun to describe a particularly mean minded individual - 'He's a terrible bollix'

Chisler - a young boy, with a slightly devilish leaning. 'Caught the little chisler stealing me smokes again'
Codology - basically bull***t. 'That's a lot of codology isn't it?' also 'codologist'.
Cog - to copy during an exam. 'Cog-notes' - the little pieces of paper upon which the thing to be cogged is written.

Destroyed - exhausted. 'Jaysus, I was on the p**s all night, I'm completely destroyed'

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