Irish Lingo and Accents

We have only lived in Ireland for 5 days now, and we are already realizing that this amazing country is full of new things that we don’t know about or understand. We’ve shared with many people that even though the Irish people speak English, they still have some unique words and phrases that are different from America, and some of their accents make them very difficult to understand. Well I can confidently say now that we didn’t even know how right we were about that! There are TONS of Irish phrases that truly make communicating a challenge.

Lingo Example.

We went to the immigration office today to try to get our visas. We walk in a see two people waiting. There is no place to take a ticket or sign in, so we just sit down and wait. The immigration guy comes out pretty quickly and says, “I’m taking a 20 minute break.” Before walking away, he looks at me and asks, “Are you okay?” Thinking this a very friendly man to ask if I’m okay before he leaves, I politely answer, “Yes, I’m fine. Thanks.” … He stares at me. I smile and awkwardly stare back. After a few seconds he looks at me like I’m certifiably insane and he says, “Why are you here?” Apparently “Are you okay?” actually means “How can I help you?” or “What can I do for you?” in Ireland. I simply thought he was wondering how I was.

Accent Example.

We were taking a look around in our new house for the first time and one of our landlords was asking about things that we needed. The couple who is renting to us is an older couple who I’m assuming has lived here their whole lives. They are extremely sweet and caring, and have wonderful Irish accents. The woman was asking me about different things we might need her to provide for us. She asked me very quickly if we had any “sospns.” I look at her a little confused and repeat what I thought she said. “Saucemens?” She repeats, “saucepens.” Thankfully Stephen was there with us and he understands Irish accents much better than we do. He translates for me, “Sauce pans.” I respond in understanding and embarrassment, “Ohhh! Sauce pans! Like pots and pans! Yeah, we have a couple of those.”

These are very simple things, and minor compared to what many missionaries face, but are still parts of the culture that we will have to learn and get used to. I haven’t even had time to write down all the new phrases I’ve heard just since we’ve been here. It’s definitely a learning experience. We look forward to being completely immersed and not only understanding, but also speaking their lingo soon hopefully.

A few more examples:

sound – okay great (Person 1: “I’ll meet you for lunch at noon.” Person 2: “Sound.”)
straight away – right away
deadly – awesome
bedside locker – nightstand
clothes horse – drying rack
rubbish bin – trash can
not at all – no problem
toilet roll – toilet paper
rashers – bacon
kitchen roll – paper towels
presses – cabinets
cabinet with the water heater – hot press
hob – stove top
grill – broiler
faucet – tap
trousers – pants
chinos – nice pants (like khakis)
vest – tanktop
post – mail
petrol – the only term they use for gas for the car (that is not diesel)
the boot – the trunk of the car
minerals – soft drinks/sodas

Oh yeah, they really do say “grand” and “cheers” all the time. And it’s awesome! 🙂

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer says:

    Well, it’s not all just awesome… It’s grand!
    I’m glad all is well! I’m so excited to watch y’all share God’s love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We are learning more new words and phrases here all the time!

      Like

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