Irish English

Introduction

Irish English is a cover term for varieties of English spoken in Ireland—there are a number of shared features in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary across the forms of English throughout the entire island. Below the level of Irish English, a distinction can be made between English in Ulster (more narrowly Northern Ireland) and varieties in the south, i.e., in the Republic of Ireland. The latter can in turn be subdivided into an east-coast dialect area, from Dublin to the southeast corner, reflecting the period of earliest English settlement, and the southwest, west and northwest which are areas in which the Irish language survived longest and where varieties are spoken which show many features deriving from the historical shift from Irish to English. 

Excerpt taken from OED blog post ‘Introduction to Irish English’ by Prof Raymond Hickey

Irish English words recently recorded in the OED 

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  • e.g. bammy, skinship, bunny hug
  • e.g. an informal social gathering, a street vendor
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Irish English editors and consultants

The OED works in partnership with external experts from or in Ireland to ensure that our entries for Irish English words draw from local knowledge and expertise and reflect the everyday reality and distinctive identity of the Irish English-speaking community.

Resources: from the OED blog

A considerable number of the new Irish English entries in this update are borrowings from the Irish language, such as blas, n. (first attested 1906) ‘an accent, a distinctive way of pronouncing a language’, ciotóg, n. (1832) ‘the left hand; a left-handed person’, grá (1833) ‘a feeling of affection or love; a fondness or liking for someone or something’, and bualadh bos (1908) ‘clapping, applause; praise’. Cúpla focal, seen earliest in 1975 in the local County Kerry newspaper The Kerryman, means a few words in Irish, and is used especially to refer to a token Irish phrase used to introduce a speech or other text that is otherwise in English. Sean nós, whose earliest quotation is taken from a 1964 issue of the Irish Press, literally translates to ‘old custom or style’ and is used to denote a style of traditional, unaccompanied singing, usually in the Irish language.

Excerpt taken from OED’s ‘Release notes: Irish English’ by Danica Salazar, Executive Editor (Lexicography): World English

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