Friday, August 29, 2008

Gaeltacht in English. Lesson 1

How to talk like you're Irish.
This is just an introductory course, as I myself am still struggling to understand what the hell is going on over here. As I learn, I will pass my knowledge on to you. "Gaeltacht" means speaking Irish or Gaelic. You will not actually do any of this as it is all gobbledeegook. If you want to learn Gaelic, play a record backwards. That is what it sounds like.

Everyone thinks it is so easy to live here for me because "they speak the same language over there.." They may speak English but it is most definitely not the same language!

Instead of saying hello, say well. Just "Well". But sort of like it's a question, or you're not sure.

It is a very fair country. Use the word liberally. "In fairness", "Fair play to ya", "In fairness to all involved", "fair facks to ye"

Use the term "lads" for any and all groupings of people.

Even Grannys and Priests find 'feck' an acceptable word.

Only subtle difference exists between a valley girl and an irishman:
A Valley Girl says "like, ya know?!" at the end of each statement.
Irishman says "ya know, like?!" following each declaration.

Embrace Ye Olde English Shoppe of words. My is me and you are ye. All of you are yous.
Me own two lads. Hey dere, yous guys!

To ring is to call, to call is to visit. Usually without warning or invite.

You 'give out' to someone when you are yelling at them. I give out to manus a lot. If someone saw me on the street giving out to him, they might even say I was "effin' and blindin'".

Use a D in place of a TH and use a TH in place of a TT; dese, dem, da, dose.."No bether man for da job". If you live in some parts of Ireland, remove T from the middle of words all together (you might take pho'os of dem moun'ans over dere)

"now, are you alright?" means, what can I do for you?

Weather terms; close is humid. soft is misty and drizzling. Today is a close and soft day. Blasted Weather!

I have not yet found a time where saying "That's grand" would be an inappropriate response.

Thingamagigs and whatchamacallits are yokes.

Just because you call them yours, doesnt make them so. Replace "that guy" with "your man there". Replace "that girl" with "your one (wan) " An ugly girl is a 'wagon'. Your parents are de auld pair"

Him is 'himself'. She is 'herself'. You are 'yourself'. As in: Did'ja see himself over dere talkin to dat wagon? Go on, yourself! You can talk with a wagon or a wanker too.

When cheering for your team, do not clap. Do not emit high pitched "woo hoos". Master the low tones, get gutteral - think whats-his-name from Home Improvement. Say "C'mon [insert full name of player here]" Full name. It will never be, "C'mon J.J.!" it will be "C'mon J.J. Delaney!" Fortunately Kilkennians are flexible enough to create nicknames for long-named players. It is acceptable to call out for "Gerta" instead of Martin Comerford and "Cha" instead of James Fitzpatrick.

Further on the sports topic, go is up. Only if you want to bring shame and embarrasment to your Irish husband will you say, "Go Cats!" It is imperitive that you remove go from your vocab. It is "Up the Cats!" If you want to be disowned by your Irish husband say "Up the Deise" (Day-sha) as they are the opposing team in this year's All-Ireland Hurling final.

Never ask, can I? or should I? always say Will I? as in, "Will I call over to ya on Sa'urday?"

Valuable utterances of disbelief: Aw Begobs!, Go on with yourself!, are ye yankin me chain?, wha a feckin eejit!, Jaysus! Ya Gobshites!
C'mon far fawks seake!

Finally, Always end your phone conversation with a trailing string of 'bye' with a diminishing volume
BYE, Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye....


Manus said...

Martin Comerford is actually called Gorta. Gorta is an African charity and he was called that because he is tall and skinny and hence looks hungry! Makes perfect sense to me.

simon said...

Gorta is a pussy (cat)

Anonymous said...

OMG, that is hilarious. Let me just refer you, once again, to when I moved to the "whole new world" of Miami. Trust me, it ain't English they speak there, either!!!


james slevin said...

Just moved from london to Doolin, Clare 3 months ago with my Irish lass. Thank you, thank you, thank you! My girlfriend thinks i´m nuts not understanding anyone in a pub I will show her this later and maybe she will get it. Irish is more complicated than learning spanish from a russian after drinking saki in the moonlight with a fish in your ear. If you have the energy please tell her so at her blog:, Peace, James

Anonymous said...

Is it the Irish way to say 9 days until til we go home?
I'm a wee bit confused.
The Gorta nickname is funny once it is explained.
What language and with what accent do you think Ka'ie will speak?
Have a grand day!

Anonymous said...

"Irish is more complicated than learning spanish from a russian after drinking saki in the moonlight with a fish in your ear."

Feckin' hilarious!!!


Debbie said...


Anonymous said...

I tend to just go with 'Hi Ya' when I see someone on the street, passing someone at work or greeting a customer in the shop. I try to say 'you alright' to a customer, but on the odd occasion, I lapse and ask if I can help them.

How many (good)bye's are actually needed and it is rude to only offer the one if you are really really busy at work?

Enjoyed your post.