The Blunderer’s Guide to Hiberno-English
(this was on pg 175 of first WAW book)
“Listen, I’m going to slap on me runners, grab me yoke and leg it down to the chipper!”
If you understand the sentence above, you are well on your way to understanding how some of the Irish use the English language making a version of it that is entirely their own. This phenomenon is called “Hiberno-English”.
Inspired by an article in www.TheJournal.ie, here is a list that has been compiled of words that are unique Irish. These are words common in Ireland that tend to be met with confusion elsewhere. You might like to add to this list any peculiarities of language that you may encounter along the way!
Seems like sound Irish logic. What do you do when you put on your sports shoes?.. You run! Therefore “sneakers” shall be known as runners.
Again, totally logical to the Irish mind. The hotpress is the airing cupboard where you might store sheets and towels, located next to the “immersion” which is to say the boiler – a tank of hot water. So therefore, the hotpress is a press (cupboard) which is hot!
Gum boil/ mouth ulcer
Now, here’s when an office might start to feel unwell. The American name for a painful little spot on the tongue or gums is a canker sore. The Irish have decided that canker sore sounds far worse than a gum boil, so we’re going to stick with the Irish terminology on this one.
You would use this in a sentence like” “Do you know the yoke you use to make coffee?” See, it’s simple. The Irish appear to be noun-deficient and have many words that can be used to replace nouns. Hence, “Do you know where my “thing” is? “.
No, this is not someone who has hurled themselves off a building. It is simply what is known elsewhere as a “sweater” not to be confused with the jumpsuit. Made famous by the Irish song “Where’s me Jumper” by Irish band, The Sultans of Ping.
The Irish “chipper” is a take-away place that sells chips (French Fries to the Americans), fish, battered sausages and other fried foods.
In other English speaking countries it may be known as a “sidewalk” but it Ireland its called a footpath. This is quite simply a path for your feet.
Not the variety of shoes that go on your feet. A boot is the trunk of a car, at the rear end. The place where a spare tyre, and other bulky items go. A common command to an Irish child was to “pop the boot”.
In Ireland, a ride usually refers to an attractive person, male or female. It is not when your friend offers you a lift to the shop.
Perhaps referring to taxidermy, when an Irish person says they are “stuffed”, it means that they are “full” – they have had their fill of food!