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Irish English

"Shirts or shorts"

"Bally"



"Tirty-tree 'n' a toord," in Ireland

In Ireland the soft "th" sound is identical to the hard "t" in standard English. Gaelic Irish does not have a hard "t," and this has carried forward.

I asked a couple of Irish friends if they could hear a difference. I hadn't thought so, from people's implications.

"Turlis"

I had to ask a friend how a foreigner should pronounce "Thurles." ...

No, they said, it's the same sound.

It is normal that the subtlety of some variations of a local language will be lost to a foreign listener; but in this case it seems that the phonemes are identical.

One day I was down at the river with my friends J_ and M_. Later in the pub we were talking about it.

J_ had caught a fish—one to keep, that is, and one that he had let go, too small. "One and a half." M_ had entangled her line, reeled in various oddments, and gotten a bubble bobber stuck high in a tree the other side of the river Nore.

At the pub, over the pool table, M_ said "I got three," heading up to the part about the detritus she'd reeled in.

"No," J_ said , you got a tree."

—20 May 2002


Note: In a strange anomaly, sometimes the [normally-] "hard t" sound between syllables has a bit of the "th" sound — But-ther, for example, for "butter." Seems to be more common amongst older people, and possibly most prominent in Dublin.


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