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Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Are Ya Writing in Irish English? I Amn’t

By Britt Malka / March 16, 2012

Irish EnglishTomorrow, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I thought that instead of talking about the differences between British English and American English, why not take a short look at Irish English?

Many years ago, I was in Rome on a short vacation. A lot of Irish people stayed in the hotel, and they were always full of fun and good spirit (and sometimes beer).

They told a lot of jokes, and I never understood them. I loved to listen to them, but Irish English was not among the languages they taught us in Danish schools.

Lately, I have watched the series “Against the Wind”, which is a story about some Irish people who get sent to Australia. Awesome series! The only trouble with our copy is that it’s without subtitles, and especially one of the characters in the movie speaks an uncomprehensible (to me) Irish.

Anyway, here’s your chance to learn some Irish. Grammar Girl has invited a guest to tell us about Irish English, and you can both listen and read. It’s an interesting read that will explain both about different words used in Irish English, as well as different pronounciations.

I’ve noticed that a lot of Americans write “ya” instead of “you” (singular), and now I know why. It makes sense, actually. As far as I remember Shakespeare, old English also had different words for you in singular and you in plural. It is so confusing when somebody invites “you” – does she mean “only you”, or “you and your spouse”?

Some of the things I found really funny from the article was to learn that the Irish don’t use “yes” or “no”. How do you avoid those important words?

[They are simply]┬árepeating the verb of the question. Can you swim? I can! Do you like tomato juice? I don’t. Are you coming? I amn’t.

And “amn’t” is of course “I am not”, abbreviated, just like we do with “isn’t” and “aren’t”.

After this crash course in Irish English you might be able to write short articles. I’m not totally convinced, though, that Ezine Articles would approve them.

[pinup-pro type=”pinit” pin_url=”CURRENT” pin_image_url=”http://brittmalka.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/irish_english.jpg” pin_counter=”horizontal” pin_desc=”Irish English – did you know that language existed?”]
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