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randi.lee
09-15-2013, 07:33 PM
Does anyone know of any resources for researching Irish dialects? I'm scripting a character that's from Northern Ireland and am somewhat ignorant in this regard (thus the request for help.) I want to learn more about it before I move forward. Right now the poor guy sounds like a pirate...

If anyone could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated!

Cebern
09-15-2013, 09:26 PM
Sounds like a pirate, eh? I'm guessing you've been using 'aye' quite a bit. For what it's worth (and speaking as an Irish person) the use of 'aye' instead of 'yes' is a common characteristic of Northern Irish speech. There are strong links between Scotland and Northern Ireland as well. Unionists are often classified as 'Ulster Scots' but a lot of Northern Irish catholics went over to Scotland looking for work too. As a result, Northern Irish dialects often include quite a few scottish terms (e.g. 'wee' for 'small').

In auditory terms, and speaking as a southerner, a Derry accent is easier on the ear than a Belfast accent, which often just sounds querulous. If you actually want some idea of what a Belfast accent sounds like, you could watch 'The Billy Trilogy' on youtube (I've only watched samples, but you may be able to watch entire episodes), in which a very young Kenneth Brannagh (a working-class Belfast Protestant), plays well - a working-class Belfast Protestant.

Cranky1
09-15-2013, 09:27 PM
Try Youtube and search for Belfast and Derry accents. Plus, although not part of Northern Ireland, the people of Donegal in the north of Ireland have a very distinctive accent.

Medievalist
09-15-2013, 09:30 PM
Do you mean Irish Irish dialects, or dialects of Irish English?

waylander
09-15-2013, 10:42 PM
I second using YouTube. Try searching for interviews with Martin McGuiness or Ian Paisley
or this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Ikob9agKs

Sunflowerrei
09-16-2013, 09:00 AM
This is a YouTube clip of actor/singer Fra Fee speaking. He's from County Tyrone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wCqWFgZSkI

You could also check out and maybe contact the linguist who runs The Dialect Blog (http://dialectblog.com/irish-accents-dialects/). He has a subheading of "Irish accents."

Orianna2000
09-17-2013, 06:27 PM
Make sure you don't make his speech so Irish that it's hard to read. There is a fine line between conveying an accent in a way that lends personality to your story and overwhelming the reader. You want to avoid cliched phrases, along with phonetic spellings and dropping letters: "Top o' tha mornin' ta ya, ma dearie!" is just bad. Don't go there!

Look more at cadence and sentence structure. Would an Irish character be more likely to say, "I'd not do that," or "I wouldn't do that,"? It's the same sentence, "I would not do that," but by using different contractions, you end up with a very different feel.

Also use phrases and words that are unique to the population. An American might say, "Oh, what a pretty little girl," while a Scotsman might say, "Och! Such a fine wee lass."

I can't think of any good books with Irish characters off the top of my head, but if you want an example of Scottish accents, the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon is pretty good. Just be sure you actually make your character sound Irish and not English or Scottish. I once read a historical romance where the MC was supposed to be from Scotland, but he spoke with a distinct Irish accent---probably because the author didn't know the difference. The same book was set in the Victorian era, yet the female MC wore panties. Clearly, the author didn't have a clue in either regard. Don't make the same mistake!

thothguard51
09-17-2013, 07:16 PM
I have to agree with Orianna.

Giving characters a bit of accent to increase cultural flavor for the reader is good, depending on if the reader can understand them. But if the writer does not know or understand how those terms are used in a culture, then the writer can actually do more harm than good to a story.

Bufty
09-17-2013, 07:32 PM
"I know the way. Indeed I do. Follow me, sir. I'll be right behind you.":snoopy:

shaldna
09-18-2013, 03:49 PM
Does anyone know of any resources for researching Irish dialects? I'm scripting a character that's from Northern Ireland and am somewhat ignorant in this regard (thus the request for help.) I want to learn more about it before I move forward. Right now the poor guy sounds like a pirate...

If anyone could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated!


Where abouts in Northern Ireland are they from? How long did they live there? When did they leave? What sort of social background did they have?

We have pretty strong accents here, but you have to remember that it's a small country and the accents vary so much - for instance, Eamonn Holmes and James Nesbitt are both from here. As is Liam Neeson. Three very very different accents.

As a side note, people who live a couple of miles apart will have very different accents.

My advice would be to decide whereabouts they are from and then youtube for sound

Paramite Pie
10-08-2013, 02:58 AM
I hope this isn't considered a bump, it's only about 2weeks old.:)

I'm from the South but fairly familiar with Northern Ireland.

First thing - familiarise yourself with both formal and informal mannerisms and phrases, as we generally speak differently to strangers vs family no matter what nation we're from.

Secondly, informal speech is preferred in most cases, even in the workplace between management and staff. Calling your boss by his/her first name is the norm. Exceptions for clients, especially new ones. Phrases like 'sir' & 'miss' are generally not used (unlike in the US where everyone called me 'sir':D) except in schools to address teachers.

Insults are used much more casually/affectionately here and swear words are more acceptable (caution : generalisation) than the US. Also a fanny is not someone's rear but a vagina. It's a very offensive term here too, worse than the f-word. An American tourist referring to his fanny is very bizarre to us!! Use the word 'arse' instead.:tongue

The worst insults are often reserved for your closest friends. We have very thick skin and it's not what you say it's how you say it.

Many typical British expressions are unsurprisingly also used here (lists of British English versus US English will be useful).

Also when I was in Boston I was intrigued the slightly different bar scene. Here there's no table service in pubs, no tabs and no tips. Tipping is not a custom here. You have to get up and go to the bar to order a drink, and pay as you order. (it's inevitable that you will have pubs in your book so you may as well know the little details).

Here's a useful link;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Ulster_English

shaldna
10-09-2013, 03:59 PM
Phrases like 'sir' & 'miss' are generally not used (unlike in the US where everyone called me 'sir':D) except in schools to address teachers.

Unless you're a peeler. They call everyone sir.


Insults are used much more casually/affectionately here and swear words are more acceptable (caution : generalisation) than the US. Also a fanny is not someone's rear but a vagina. It's a very offensive term here too, worse than the f-word. An American tourist referring to his fanny is very bizarre to us!! Use the word 'arse' instead.:tongue

C*nt is most commonly used as an affectionate term, as in 'Silly wee c*nt'. Also, some of the worst things you can call someone include 'wee doll' as in 'listen here wee doll' like wise, you have aul doll / fella for an elderly person.

We also have names that are unique to the province, such as glipe, spide and millie.

You'll also hear shite more than shit, and arse more than ass.


The worst insults are often reserved for your closest friends. We have very thick skin and it's not what you say it's how you say it.

Very true.


Also when I was in Boston I was intrigued the slightly different bar scene. Here there's no table service in pubs, no tabs and no tips. Tipping is not a custom here. You have to get up and go to the bar to order a drink, and pay as you order. (it's inevitable that you will have pubs in your book so you may as well know the little details).

Now, you'd have to be a complete clampit to give an Irishman a tab.

Some of the fancier pubs have table service for food only.

I posted this on another thread recently, but it's a fairly comphrensive list, it links to my own blog so I guarentee it's safe to click:

http://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/claires-guide-to-northern-irish/


As a side note there are some things that will forever be ingrained in the Northern Irish language and culture.

For fun, I'm going to say a word and see who responds:

Fairhill

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 04:12 PM
C*nt is most commonly used as an affectionate term, as in 'Silly wee c*nt'.

But be careful with this because where I'm from, it can get you stabbed.

muse
10-09-2013, 09:56 PM
Now, you'd have to be a complete clampit to give an Irishman a tab.

:roll:



As a side note there are some things that will forever be ingrained in the Northern Irish language and culture.

For fun, I'm going to say a word and see who responds:

Fairhill

Big shopping center in Ballymeena, hi.:D

shaldna
10-11-2013, 03:43 PM
One thing I would say is to avoid watching movies set in Northern Ireland - they are invariably full of American and English actors trying to sound like us. Or are written by people unfamiliar with the language patterns unique to the are they are writing about.

I would suggest that you maybe look at some of the TV and radio local shows - U105 is one of our biggest radio stations - I know you can listen to them on digital, or you can download the app and listen from anywhere in the world - http://www.u105.com/

Or try some local TV shows - The Blame game is quite good - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blame_Game_(BBC) - you can watch it on youtube.

It should give you an idea of how Northern Irish folks speak in a conversation.