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D4 accent is, loike, totally over, claims UCD linguist

IT'S the end of the line for the much derided – yet often copied – 'Dort' accent.

While still popular with legions of Dubes-wearing southside teenagers, lexicographer and UCD professor Terence Dolan believes the days are numbered for the affected D4 accent.

"The Dort accent itself is very closely connected with the Celtic Tiger, which has now died, so there is no justification – financial or stylistic – for it to continue," explained Prof Dolan.

He said it was the younger generation – the Celtic Tiger kittens – who were now using it in the main, having picked it up from their parents.

"The kittens are showing off to pretend their parents are still well off, but it's an illusion," he said.

The D4 accent may have originated in the fashionable Dublin 4 postal district, however, it is now encountered around the country.

Borrowing from Home Counties British English and American English, it is distinctive for its distorted vowels, so that "car park" becomes "corpork", a liberal dousing of the quotative "like" or "loike" and what is known as the high-rising terminal whereby statements sound like questions.

"People who use it want to get away from Irish culture as much as possible because they associate it with poverty and failure. They are trying to sound like the Home Counties," he said.

Prof Dolan has been charting the changing face of language in Ireland since he published his first edition of 'A Dictionary of Hiberno-English' in 1998.

For the third edition of the entertaining tome, published yesterday, he has added more than 100 new words that have infiltrated our daily lexicon. They include the veritable goldmine that is 'Bertie Speak', which includes the immortal line, "It took Ireland 30 years to become an overnight success".

Other new entries include "ghost estate" to describe unoccupied or unfinished housing estates, "dig-out", another offering from Mr Ahern and defined by Prof Dolan as a "discreet financial loan from a friend to help someone out of a cash crisis" and "Dubes", the Dubarry brand deck shoes often favoured by rugby-following D4 types.

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Prof Dolan compiled his new entries by listening to the radio, reading newspapers and receiving suggestions posted by attentive linguists from around the country.

One from Co Mayo suggested the term 'circling Shannon' as a euphemism for being unwell and incapable of action and which arose from former Russian president, vodka-loving Boris Yeltsin's, ill-fated stopover in Ireland in 1994 when he left then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds waiting on the tarmac.

Prof Dolan revealed that he likes to eavesdrop on conversations and always carries a small notebook where he jots down new words or phrases.

However, not all discoveries make for pleasant listening. "What I do find unsettling is the differential between the (Luas) Red Line and the Green Line...The Red Line is mainly swearing and the Green Line is mainly 'Dort', he said.

* 'A Dictionary of Hiberno-English' is published by Gill and Macmillan priced at €14.99`


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