May has flown so quickly, just a couple of days more and it will be gone, which means I am behind schedule with my fourth blog on the Emerald Isle. It also means that my five year anniversary is nearly there, so excited! People, landscape, music and now its language: Irish and Irish English. Even though I am far from being fluent in Irish (another five more years will be needed, at least …Lol) I have managed to acquire a great deal of Irish English expressions as well as to adapt my pronunciation, so I do not sound like the ones from the island next door. Thanks to plenty of funny situations, I have commandeered a nice range of Irish English words and sentences. Not aiming to mention them all, otherwise I may bore you to death, I am going to share the more outstanding ones.
For example, you should have seen my face when a colleague of mine said to me: “Your man is not coming today”. My what? Excuse me but I am single, I do not have a man and I do not intend to have one! Obviously, I did not say that, I kept listening and wondering who “your man was”. One day I found out that ‘your man’, or as some say ‘yer man’, is used to refer to ‘that man’, and it has nothing to do with one being single or in a relationship. ‘Your one’, or ’yer wan’, is the female version, just in case you think it’s only men.
‘What’s the story?’ I was so confused the first time I heard someone saying that to me. Am I supposed to tell you a story? I do not really get it. The thing is, it’s just a way of saying hello or asking what’s going on? Glad I did not come up with a story! ‘Hiya, how are you?’ is probably the one that has caused me more trouble. In Catalonia, when someone asks you how you are, we usually talk for Ireland, we go on and on for ages. The Irish do not. It is a simple and polite greeting, with no real intention or interest to know how the other person is. With years of training and discipline, I now mange to just say “I am fine, and you?” rather than explaining how my day is going, or how my life is, or a mixture of both … Lol
I am grand. That’s grand. We are all grand! Here it comes, what is probably the most versatile word I have ever come across: grand. It is widely used, although its meaning changes depending on the situation, the mood, the weather, the day or where one is. Your man can say he is grand, even though he is having a tough day. Your one can reply she is grand because she has just booked a weekend away. If you are trying to load a heavy box into your car and someone offers to help you, you can always say: no worries, I will be grand. One can be trapped in quicksand but at the same time still be grand!
That’s gas! Oh no, hurry up, open the windows, let some air in and dial 112. Luckily, I did not do that when I first heard that. No need to panic, no one is in danger, everything will be grand because it is the Irish way of saying that something is very funny. It would have been gas If I had called the emergency services!
Let’s have some tea. Tea cures everything! When you are upset, tired, angry, depressed, lonely. Get yourself a cup of tea. When you need to talk, to relax, to get things done, to think, to disconnect. Get yourself a cup of tea. If you are cold, if you have had a tough day, if you need some space. Just get yourself a cup of tea and everything will be grand.
When someone says to you “I am just around the corner” or “I will be there in a minute” you’d better find yourself somewhere comfortable to sit down because it is highly likely you will be waiting for ages. You could have plenty of time to do the weekly shopping and still be waiting! And, do not forget to get yourself a cup of tea.
On the phone: How are you? I am grand. I shall talk to you later as I am heading to a meeting now. Ok. Bye, Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye. I have never stopped to count how many times ‘bye’ is said! The thing is that in Catalan we do exactly the same.
My Irish is very limited, just a few random words that I have somehow learnt how to pronounce: oíche mhaith (good night), conas tá tú? (how are you?), go raibh maith agat (thanks), uisce (water), bainne (milk), cáca milis (cake), mo ghrá (my love) and cupán tae (cup of tea) among others. Who knows, maybe in five years times I can write some sentences in Irish … Lol !
At this stage after five years, there will probably be more words and expressions that I use daily without knowing it!
Anyway, time to go, and get a cup of tea!
Jay Cee Moon ©