Category Archives: Irish English

The accents and dialects of Ireland.

“Fillum” in England

Two commenters recently pointed out that fillum (i.e. fɪləm), a quintessentially Irish pronunciation of film, can also be heard in England. Many assume fillum‘s origins to be Irish–along with similar pronunciations of words like helm (“hellum”)–because in certain contexts the Irish language inserts … Continue reading

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Irish Linguistic Diversity

A few weeks back, Stan Carey responded to a “most attractive accent” survey which crowned Southern Ireland the most irresistible English. Anyone with a modest familiarity with Irish accents will recognize what’s odd about the survey’s map of sociolinguistic magnetism, which unequivocally treats Donegal as … Continue reading

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The Language of “The Troubles”

When people discuss “accent discrimination,” they usually refer to everyday injustices: being passed up for promotions, denied loans, or scolded in school. Contemporary history, however, suggests more severe examples. In the BBC documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?, … Continue reading

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“Every Man Thinks He’s a Tenor In Cork”

In my college “dialects” class, our instructor played a recording of a talented Irish actor imitating various Irish regional accents. When he got to Cork, he wryly observed, “In Cork, the voice always seems to be higher–every man thinks he’s … Continue reading

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Hond Begs: Belfast /a/ Allophony

Inner-city Belfast is one of the trickiest accents for the average American to understand. Confusing factors include the unique intonation (everything sounds like a question to my ears) and diphthongs (‘bite‘ sounds like American ‘bait‘). Yet the Belfast ‘short-a‘ is one … Continue reading

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The Irish ‘Strut’

When English phoneticians refer to the ‘strut vowel,’ they mean the ‘u‘ in ‘luck,’ ‘fudge,’ and ‘cut.’  In American English, the sound usually lies somewhere between the ‘a’ in ‘father’ and the ‘a’ in ‘comma.’  Your ‘strut’ vowel may vary. … Continue reading

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“Top o’ the Morning:” Myth and Reality

Few dialect myths rankle more people than the purported Irish phrase, “top o’ the morning.”  Any Irish person will inform you that they have never, ever heard even one of their countrymen utter these words. So where did the greeting come … Continue reading

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“Craic” on Twitter

Craic (pronounced “crack”) is a word used in various Irish dialects which puzzles me. I understand the general meaning of the word, which roughly translates to “something enjoyable.” Therefore a good craic is synonymous with “a good time.” Craic can be … Continue reading

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Was that a question? Belfast Upspeak

“Belfast upspeak” describes the upward inflection you find in Belfast English (and perhaps Northern Irish accents generally). In a nutshell, upspeak is the tendency to go up at the end of sentences? So everything sounds a bit like a question? … Continue reading

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Supraregional Irish English

I spent Friday night at a gala for the organization my girlfriend works for, a community center created for (and largely run by) Irish immigrants.  As always, it was an accent tour of the Emerald Isle, as folks from Dublin, … Continue reading

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