Word Delight.


Certain words and phrases have the capacity to give delight. For each of us there is variation based on dialect and familiarity. What will bring a smile to me, may bring puzzlement to a US friend or even a near neighbour in England. Most of us share a delight in unusual expressions so I’d like to share a few that are personal to me and which come mostly from Ireland, North and South (Yes there are big differences even on this small island.) There is a whole dialect in the North, Ulster, which is labeled Scots-Irish. This is very distinct and almost unique to just those six counties. Lowland Scots in Dumfries and Galloway will share and understand much of this dialect that is close to a language on its own.

I’ll give you an example here. It’s mind bogglingly hard to translate: “Ear boyo fatch thon ween oh pags fernenst the shuck” = Here boy, fetch those few pigs near the ditch.

Closer to where I now live.  I heard this today in Tipptown (Tipperary town centre.) A mother to her two small children: “Com-ear-tee-me. Wod yee ever stop actin de maggot, yees are gettin fur too giddy now.” = Come here to me. Would you cease acting likes wriggling fly larva. You two are getting too dizzy and busy.

As we drove home we came through a valley on the side of the Galtee mountain we call: ‘Crusty-Bottom.’ A descriptive. if unkind, name for an area of small dairy farms packed close and hemmed in by overgrown hedges and trees. The farms and the people that run them are, to put it kindly, a little primitive. The narrow road is always dark, dank and muddy with cow droppings.

Says I to her: “Gizzle always gets clabbered tee the knees here.” ‘Giselle’ is B’s pet name for her VW. ‘Giselle-Golf said gizzle-golf. ‘Clabber’ is cow muck or other knee deep clinging mud.

Can you figure out these:

“She’s a wee crapin fer all-corns.”

“His wants are numerous.”

“Me brains’ run tee train oil.”

“He’s a heed full oh sweety mice.”

“Oops I had another Craft moment.”  Craft = C -can’t, R -remember, A a,  F – fu!king, T -thing.

I delight in word play and have to depend on my editorial angel, Miriam to flag the more obscure stuff I might be tempted to put into my texts. I was listening to a US produced radio podcast called: A Way With Words. One of the presenters, Martha, spoke of looking up from the page or screen with a big smile on her face as she read something giving delight. I do that all the time with weird and wonderful words and dialects I hear or read.

Is our language not truly a thing of wonder and delight?

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