THE LIFE OF A PEOPLE IS PICTURED IN THEIR SPEECH.
March 6, 2014 4:47 PM Subscribe
This book deals with the Dialect of the English Language that is spoken in Ireland. As the Life of a people—according to our motto—is pictured in their speech, our picture ought to be a good one, for two languages were concerned in it—Irish and English. ... Here for the first time—in this little volume of mine—our Anglo-Irish Dialect is subjected to detailed analysis and systematic classification.P.W. Joyce's 1910 work, "English as We Speak it in Ireland," is a fascinating chronicle of a language's life, and no mistake.
Subjects treated include: affirming, assenting, and saluting; assertion by negative of opposite; idioms; the devil and his 'territory' ("Very bad potatoes:—'Wet and watery, scabby and small, thin in the ground and hard to dig, hard to wash, hard to boil, and the devil to eat them.'"); swearing ("Yet while keeping themselves generally within safe bounds, it must be confessed that many of the people have a sort of sneaking admiration—lurking secretly and seldom expressed in words—for a good well-balanced curse, so long as it does not shock by its profanity."); proverbs; exaggeration and redundancy ("That man would talk the teeth out of a saw"); and more.
I ran across this book while trying to hunt down more information about the word "spalpeen" (a rascal), which Joyce's work includes thus:
Seventy or eighty years ago the accomplishments of an Irishman should be:Enjoy.
To smoke his dudheen,
To drink his cruiskeen,
To flourish his alpeen,
To wallop a spalpeen.
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