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jerrimander
05-16-2014, 08:44 PM
hey all,
I'm currently writing a chick lit story where the hero of the story is a Northern Irishman (not Belfast, someplace smaller, haven't decided) recently moved to New York city. I'm hoping to get a some cultural references to flavor his character, and I'm worried I'm going more British, than Irish. Things like, what do the Irish call Americans (Yanks?), apartments (flats?), elevators (lifts?), daycare, jobs, cars, etc. We speak the same language, but there are minor details which I think would give this guy some dimension.
It's differences we don't think of until we are confronted with them.
Appreciate any help!
Thanks!

Lauram6123
05-16-2014, 10:28 PM
This site has all kinds of goodies that might be helpful...
http://www.irishabroad.com/culture/slang/irishslang.asp

waylander
05-16-2014, 10:43 PM
Is he Protestant or Catholic? Believe me, this matters hugely if he comes from Northern Ireland.

jerrimander
05-16-2014, 10:48 PM
This site has all kinds of goodies that might be helpful...
http://www.irishabroad.com/culture/slang/irishslang.asp

perfect! thanks!

jerrimander
05-16-2014, 10:53 PM
Is he Protestant or Catholic? Believe me, this matters hugely if he comes from Northern Ireland.

Catholic, marries a protestant from Belfast. I'm still up in the air about whether he's from Northern Ireland or someplace near Northern Ireland like Donegal or Monaghan. In my head, I've cast Chris O'Dowd as the guy. O'Dowd is from Roscommon.

emilycross
05-16-2014, 11:00 PM
hey all,
I'm currently writing a chick lit story where the hero of the story is a Northern Irishman (not Belfast, someplace smaller, haven't decided) recently moved to New York city. I'm hoping to get a some cultural references to flavor his character, and I'm worried I'm going more British, than Irish. Things like, what do the Irish call Americans (Yanks?), apartments (flats?), elevators (lifts?), daycare, jobs, cars, etc. We speak the same language, but there are minor details which I think would give this guy some dimension.
It's differences we don't think of until we are confronted with them.
Appreciate any help!
Thanks!

Well I'm from the South of Ireland (Leinster) but I can help out if you want to pm me :)

Generally we could call Americans, yanks (especially when we're giving out or joking), apartments are apartments not flat (that's me anyhoo), Lifts are elevators, footpath instead of sidewalk, montesorri/creche for daycare, cars are cars, torch = flashlight, apart from the slang that's typically Irish (like Grand = fine or craic) we've somewhat similar language/terms to British.

Paramite Pie
05-16-2014, 11:01 PM
First stop, read about Hiberno-English. It's the dialect that is spoken across the island, although Ulster English has some very unique phrases in itself. I'm not from Northern Ireland (I'm from Galway in the West but to a Northerner I'm in the South, not the south - The South.:tongue but in general the following advice will be fairly universal.

Vocabulary

As you might expect, we use many British expressions rather than the American ones, but we don't think of them as being exclusively British, they're just as Irish to us as our unique expressions.

Americans are Yanks (all of you, not just New Yorkers!!) and we're Paddies. Like most things Irish, it's informal.

Apartment or Flat - Both! In a smaller rural area, Flat will be far more common. Apartment is more formal and used while searching for somewhere to live. Informally you may live in a Flat, Digs or Gaff. (Gaff is common in Galway not sure about NI).

Lift is the standard term. Daycare is Childcare and the Childcare centre is a Creche (French term), Jobs are still Jobs and cars are still cars.

We say fridge, (never refrigerator)
A press is both cupboard and closet
A pair of trousers is a pair of pants. Pants is increasingly used.
Brilliant instead of Awesome.
A rubber is an eraser not a condom!!
Men do not have fannies! Only women do and it's a very rude term here!
Arse not ass. Ass is a type of mule/donkey.
Runners instead of sneaker/trainers.
Fag is a ciggarette, not a homophobic slur.
Yoke instead of thingamabob

This is a useful site (our version of urban dictionary) but it seem to lean towards Southern Slang and not Northern. However, at the bottom of the page, you can choose which regions slang you wish to view.

http://www.slang.ie/mostcommon.php

And finally, we speak very informally most of the time. It was quite startling to me when I went to the US, and everyone kept calling me 'Sir'. It was unusual and feels a little uptight. I'm sure I offended people by not referring to them as 'sir'. You almost always refer to your boss by his first name here, even if you just met for the first time but not clients unless they ask you to. But we still don't use Sir or M'am for clients. Too formal/awkward.

Grammar.

Forget about using the Past Perfect in speech. We don't properly use it at all. Instead of saying;

I have done X.............or.........I have finished Y

We say;

I'm after doing X.........or.........I'm after finishing Y

The plural form of 'you' is 'ye'.

Go to youtube, and search for some video bloggers from Northern Ireland. It's the best way to understand how people talk and use these words/phrases.;)

mrabsolutefan
05-16-2014, 11:12 PM
First stop, read about Hiberno-English. It's the dialect that is spoken across the island, although Ulster English has some very unique phrases in itself. I'm not from Northern Ireland (I'm from Galway in the West but to a Northerner I'm in the South, not the south - The South.:tongue but in general the following advice will be fairly universal.

Vocabulary

As you might expect, we use many British expressions rather than the American ones, but we don't think of them as being exclusively British, they're just as Irish to us as our unique expressions.

Americans are Yanks (all of you, not just New Yorkers!!) and we're Paddies. Like most things Irish, it's informal.

Apartment or Flat - Both! In a smaller rural area, Flat will be far more common. Apartment is more formal and used while searching for somewhere to live. Informally you may live in a Flat, Digs or Gaff. (Gaff is common in Galway not sure about NI).

Lift is the standard term. Daycare is Childcare and the Childcare centre is a Creche (French term), Jobs are still Jobs and cars are still cars.

We say fridge, (never refrigerator)
A press is both cupboard and closet
A pair of trousers is a pair of pants. Pants is increasingly used.
Brilliant instead of Awesome.
A rubber is an eraser not a condom!!
Men do not have fannies! Only women do and it's a very rude term here!
Arse not ass. Ass is a type of mule/donkey.
Runners instead of sneaker/trainers.
Fag is a ciggarette, not a homophobic slur.
Yoke instead of thingamabob

This is a useful site (our version of urban dictionary) but it seem to lean towards Southern Slang and not Northern. However, at the bottom of the page, you can choose which regions slang you wish to view.

http://www.slang.ie/mostcommon.php

And finally, we speak very informally most of the time. It was quite startling to me when I went to the US, and everyone kept calling me 'Sir'. It was unusual and feels a little uptight. I'm sure I offended people by not referring to them as 'sir'. You almost always refer to your boss by his first name here, even if you just met for the first time but not clients unless they ask you to. But we still don't use Sir or M'am for clients. Too formal/awkward.

Grammar.

Forget about using the Past Perfect in speech. We don't properly use it at all. Instead of saying;

I have done X I have finished Y

We say;

I'm after doing X I'm after finishing Y

The plural form of 'you' is 'ye'.

Go to youtube, and search for some video bloggers from Northern Ireland. It's the best way to understand how people talk and use these words/phrases.;)

Wait, I thought "fanny" means "ass" not 'P*ssy". :tongue

Nice list though. Would be helpful as I am also a non-Yankee. :D

jerrimander
05-16-2014, 11:16 PM
brilliant! thanks!

jerrimander
05-16-2014, 11:18 PM
that slang site says "muppet" = fool.
were you confused when AW asked you for your favorite muppet in the profile?

Jo Zebedee
05-17-2014, 01:05 AM
I'm from the wild North and I write a lot of stuff using Norn Irish characters (there's your first slang;)) in their venacular. :) if I can help PM. I'm happy to read a short excerpt or, if it helps, send you a short extract in the venacular. :)

A few things - we swear. A lot. Often very inventively. It's practically a national pastime.
We talk very fast and no one from outside Ireland or Scotland can follow a word we say.
Dialects vary widely. A person from the country is called a 'culchie' and has a soft accent, someone from Belfast much, much harsher. Derry people trip over themselves with friendliness and are a little softer than Belfast. Most people, irrespective of religion, call Londonderry Derry (or Stroke City, or the Maiden City. Saves offense.)

We say, 'you know what I mean' (or, 'Ye know?') a fair but, and we really do say wee all the time and call people eejits. A country type will say 'hey!' At the start of sentences often. 'Sit at peace' is another widespread idiom. And ''bout ye!' Is a common greeting.

And we always, always know the religion of the other NI person we meet. Very quickly. In little ways like names, where they live, went to school, how they pronounce the letter H.... Lots of ways. ;)

A few from above - we do use trainers and not runners. (Might be a North/south one that one.) yoke is definitely a southern term and wouldn't be used widely around Belfast (it would class someone as southern)

jerrimander
05-17-2014, 01:14 AM
thank you springs2!

Paramite Pie
05-17-2014, 02:47 AM
that slang site says "muppet" = fool.
were you confused when AW asked you for your favorite muppet in the profile?

Haha! no, I watched the muppets as a kid. US tv is widespread here. I'm not sure if that's how the term became popular here or if it predates the show. Everyone in Ireland is familiar with the Muppets.;)



A few things - we swear. A lot. Often very inventively. It's practically a national pastime.

To add to this, the more offensive (and creative) insults are best reserved for your closest friends, and can be a sign of endearment among lads (guys). Thick skin required.:D


Most people, irrespective of religion, call Londonderry Derry (or Stroke City, or the Maiden City. Saves offense.)

This is new to me! I haven't been to Derry but I was always worried that I'd offend someone in NI no matter what way I say it as I wouldn't necessarily know what background they're from. Can you imagine how a Nationalist would react to a Southerner saying Londonderry!!:ROFL:


A few from above - we do use trainers and not runners. (Might be a North/south one that one.) yoke is definitely a southern term and wouldn't be used widely around Belfast (it would class someone as southern)

Ah, okay. Always good to get a locals knowledge. Is there a Northern equivalent of yoke?? Would Thingamajig be used?


Wait, I thought "fanny" means "ass" not 'P*ssy". :tongue

Nice list though. Would be helpful as I am also a non-Yankee. :D

In North America, "fanny" means "ass". In UK & Ireland it means "pussy" although it's a less sexual term. I don't know where Australians, South Africans or New Zealanders stand on the issue.

Jo Zebedee
05-17-2014, 03:04 AM
Thingamagig would be used but not extensively. I'm not sure we have an equivalent to the Irish yoke. (But, as Waylander says, perhaps the alternative religion to mine uses it. It's a miracle we manage to communicate at all....:D)

Edit - a what'd'ya'ma'call'it/him/her might be the closest I can think of. Or 'thingy'.

There still are some people who only refer to Derry as Londonderry, but it's less common now.

jerrimander
05-17-2014, 07:10 AM
If the guy is from monaghan instead of Belfast would he say trainers or runners? I actually have him refer to someone's shoes as runners, and it didn't sound right in my head. And he was saying childcare (instead of daycare as I call it) in my head long before I posted this thread, so I'm thinking that voice may know something. He was calling it Derry, too! When I was reading Londonderry!

My voices are really creepy sometimes.

Jo Zebedee
05-17-2014, 12:16 PM
I just checked with a mate from Sligo and he says runners, so I'd go with that. :)

Voices always know things. Tis freaky.

waylander
05-17-2014, 10:40 PM
What sports does he follow? If he's Catholic and from a border county then he's probably been brought up on GAA - Hurling and Gaelic Football.

jerrimander
05-17-2014, 10:45 PM
I've been debating on his going to uni either in Dublin, or possibly London uk. either could drastically affect his speech and preferences. I'm guessing.

jerrimander
05-17-2014, 10:47 PM
What sports does he follow? If he's Catholic and from a border county then he's probably been brought up on GAA - Hurling and Gaelic Football.

I dunno. is it important?

(HA! just kidding! I crack myself up sometimes.)

Orianna2000
05-17-2014, 10:50 PM
Just as a side note, do be careful when depicting your MC's accent. I read a historical romance that featured a Scottish hero, only he sounded Irish! Everything he said, the phrases he used, it was all Irish, not Scottish. Got very confusing when the author kept insisting he was from Scotland. Of course, the same book also had a Victorian lady wearing panties, so what did I expect? Accuracy? Pffft! What's that?

jerrimander
05-17-2014, 10:58 PM
I won't be writing his dialect. already tried that with another mc. drove me batty. between references to his nationality, and a few key word choices (like mum and da, and a Janey Mac!, and a liberal use of the f bomb) I hope to make it clear who he is and where he's from.

and man, that Victorian panty thing would have ticked me off.

muse
05-17-2014, 10:59 PM
If the guy is from monaghan instead of Belfast would he say trainers or runners? I actually have him refer to someone's shoes as runners, and it didn't sound right in my head. And he was saying childcare (instead of daycare as I call it) in my head long before I posted this thread, so I'm thinking that voice may know something. He was calling it Derry, too! When I was reading Londonderry!

My voices are really creepy sometimes.

Northern Irish here, and we say gutties or trainers. (No idea where the word gutties comes from, but it's used a lot.:D)

waylander
05-17-2014, 11:04 PM
I've been debating on his going to uni either in Dublin, or possibly London uk. either could drastically affect his speech and preferences. I'm guessing.

I doubt coming to Uni in the UK would affect his speech much. If you really want him to lose his accent have go to boarding school in England.

jerrimander
05-17-2014, 11:16 PM
I doubt coming to Uni in the UK would affect his speech much. If you really want him to lose his accent have go to boarding school in England.

not like a drastic overhaul to the speech. more of an expansion.
is there still a great antipathy towards the English by the Irish? the ponce bastards.

waylander
05-17-2014, 11:20 PM
Not generally, maybe among some ex-military who served in NI.
We've had so many more migrants arrive since the big Irish influx that other ethnic groupings take the antipathy.

jerrimander
05-17-2014, 11:25 PM
alrighty. thanks!

Jo Zebedee
05-18-2014, 01:25 AM
not like a drastic overhaul to the speech. more of an expansion.
is there still a great antipathy towards the English by the Irish? the ponce bastards.

Not especially, but you'll hear plenty of '800 years of oppression' comments. But mostly it's good natured, and there is a oot of trade between the two nations. It's only in the North where there are still deeply entrenched views.

Paramite Pie
05-19-2014, 07:24 PM
It's also somewhat cliched to assume that the Irishman, Welsh or Scotsman must hate the English. Many people might be offended by the implications even though it's partially based in truth.

An Irish person who meets someone from Britain when traveling will probably have a lot to talk about. BBC is widely available and we follow English soccer teams (we often use football to refer to both soccer & gaelic football). Flights are very cheap in Europe in general (40 euro would be an average flight from Dublin to London or Manchester, round trip.) so we travel a lot more. So it's more than likely your MC has been to England (especially to go to a match) many times and would probably buy them a pint.

As for going to University there, we have free tuition and subsidised registration fees here in Ireland so there's little student loans or debt to worry about. Going to Uni in the UK would be expensive, so unless his chosen course was not available in Ireland it's not financially the best thing to do. UK student grants have to be repaid whereas Irish grants do not. A Masters/Post-Grad in the UK would be far more common, and your MC might work there for a while.:)

jerrimander
05-19-2014, 11:50 PM
great info paramite! definitely not something I would have found on a random online search!

emilycross
05-20-2014, 09:24 PM
As for going to University there, we have free tuition and subsidised registration fees here in Ireland so there's little student loans or debt to worry about. Going to Uni in the UK would be expensive, so unless his chosen course was not available in Ireland it's not financially the best thing to do. UK student grants have to be repaid whereas Irish grants do not. A Masters/Post-Grad in the UK would be far more common, and your MC might work there for a while.:)

Aw I was going to saw the exact same thing. Only time someone really goes to UK (and can afford it) is because they didn't get enough points (high enough grade in their final exams to do the course here).

Just my two cents

Cath
05-20-2014, 10:13 PM
Walking a fine line here folks. Again, let's stay away from generalizations please.