Letter to the Editor: What’s the story with Irish slang? It’s deadly

Letter to the Editor: What’s the story with Irish slang? It’s deadly

It has been four years since I first came to Ireland. Before coming to Ireland I had spent a year in London.

It wasn’t the first time for me in any English-speaking country but for the initial couple of months of my stay in Dublin it was very difficult for me to understand some of the local conversations.

The reason being that any Irish conversation is so full of slang and Gaelic words that the sentence has a completely different meaning for a non-Irish person.

I am still in process of learning slang but when I heard some of the slang for first time, my interpretation of each of them was so different to what they actually mean, for example:

  • 1. Your man/woman: This one is most confusing and a hilarious one, for me it meant like you are talking about someone who belongs to the other person. “Your man was standing there and listening” for me would mean that your husband/boyfriend was there standing and listening, but no it actually means the man in question or person being talked about.
  • 2. What’s the craic?: The first time I heard this one was like there was something broken somewhere. What it actually meant was how are things going? Is there anything new?
  • 3. It’s gas: The Irish meaning of this one is so different to anything that anyone can imagine, if you don’t know the context where its been used. It has nothing to do with gasoline, it means funny. it means the conversation or joke or person is funny. Funny enough, isn’t it. That’s the irony.
  • 4. Grand: I always thought grand means big but not in Irish English, it means that “everything is fine”. For example if someone asks you: “How are you?” the answer is “I am grand”. Yes that’s what it means.
  • 5. Deadly or savage: When I heard this one first time, I thought of it as something scary but it actually means brilliant.
  • 6. Fair play: It has nothing to do with any game, it just mean that you did great.
  • 7. Culchie: I heard this word first time and had no idea what it meant. It means a person from rural area. It’s I think very similar to Desi in India.
  • 8. It’s lashing: If you are in Ireland get used to hearing this phrase, because it means it’s raining. Other variants include bucketing, pegging it and spitting’.
  • 9. What’s the story?: When Irish people ask you “what’s the story?” they are not asking you about any family stories or any fairy tales, it just means “what’s up?”.
  • 10. Jackeen: I heard this one very recently and had no clue what it meant. It is a term used for Dubliner.

  • I love the Irish accent, Irish slang and I love the fact that in a small country like Ireland there are so many accents and how they are so completely different to one another, like the Cork accent is so different to the Galway and Dublin accents.

    The north Dublin accent is so different to the south Dublin accent. My love for Irish accents and slang started when I watched Derry Girls and Father Ted on Netflix.

    When I hear Irish country people talk, it’s like music to my ears and I can listen to them for hours.

    I was recently at a play, Drama at Inish, a great comic play and as an outsider who hasn’t grown up in Ireland, I think it’s was really funny and great way to appreciate the Irish culture.

    Mahak Jhamb
    Waterloo Road
    Dublin 4

    More on this topic

    Row over lack of Irish-language teaching in Irish-medium unitRow over lack of Irish-language teaching in Irish-medium unit

    Island radio gives digital voice to the people as GaeilgeIsland radio gives digital voice to the people as Gaeilge

    Should Irish be optional in school? - Let’s talk about our languageShould Irish be optional in school? - Let’s talk about our language

    'My biggest challenge in life so far has been keeping optimistic', says poet Pat Boran'My biggest challenge in life so far has been keeping optimistic', says poet Pat Boran

    More in this Section

    Joe Leogue: Commitment to football grass roots is laudable but devil is in the detail Joe Leogue: Commitment to football grass roots is laudable but devil is in the detail

    Fergus Finlay: Bad behaviour goes unpunished for some, so it will continue to happenFergus Finlay: Bad behaviour goes unpunished for some, so it will continue to happen

    Michael Clifford: Is Boris Johnson the man for the moment?Michael Clifford: Is Boris Johnson the man for the moment?

    Charlie Flanagan: Welcome new citizens to our Irish familyCharlie Flanagan: Welcome new citizens to our Irish family


    Lifestyle

    As David Attenborough announces new series on plants, we run down some of the weird and wonderful vegetation he might include.11 bizarre plant species from around the world

    The weather’s always going to be a key factor on any wedding day — but especially so when the bride works for Met Éireann, writes Eve Kelliher.Wedding of the week: Bride and groom are literally on cloud nine

    My wife and I are in our fifties and she has just started using porn. She thinks it will enhance our sex life if we watch it together, but I find the idea a total turn-off.Suzi Godson's Sex Advice: My wife wants us to watch porn together?

    As you probably have heard by now, changes to the rules concerning gift vouchers in Ireland came into effect earlier this month, giving consumers more rights when it comes to these popular items.Making Cents: Play your cards right when giving gift vouchers this Christmas

    More From The Irish Examiner