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Irish English


Kilkenny castle park from the southeast
In
Ireland, English is the principal language. Centuries of British political-military influence has driven the Gaelic Irish language to near-extinction.

Schools teach Irish. Much official paperwork is bi-lingual. There are some television shows* in Irish (subtitled;) and any good newspaper has an article or two in the old language.

In practice, Gaelic Irish is generally disused, and its day-to-day speech is restricted to small areas mostly along the western seaboard.

The Irish, in reality, speak English — Irish English.

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Irish-English terms and expressions, from "after" to "zonks" ...

• Talking about the weather starts the Irish day....

I'd never noticed....

• "Didn't do a tap" — how to talk about work...

Cursing in Ireland — the congenial Irish foul mouth...

Tá mé ar meisce — states of drunkenness...

• There are some standard English words that are used differently in Ireland....

Tirty-tree and a toord — the Irish-English "th" sound...

The rogue Irish comma ...


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* The Irish-language television station TG4 shows excellent documentaries. They're subtitled in English.

When the interviewee is speaking in English, the dialogue is never subtitled into Irish.

If there were anybody within the Gaeltacht, the Irish-speaking regions along the west coast, who did not understand English, TG4 would surely subtitle those portions in Irish.

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Return to "excellent television shows"...