Category Archives: Irish English

The accents and dialects of Ireland.

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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The 5 Best Irish Accents on Film

As it’s Saint Patrick’s day, there have been a number of “worst Irish Accents on film articles floating around. I like to remain relatively positive here, so instead of putting out another list eviscerating Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, I’d … Continue reading

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Dialect Profile: The Cork Accent

(In this series, we discuss different dialects using actual video or audio samples.  This page uses the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For information about this notation, please visit my page of IPA Resources.) In Ireland, Cork means something more than the … Continue reading

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