Is the traditional Irish way of talking knackered? A report by the BBC has found that distinctive traditional regional accents in Britain are in decline.
We may still hail 'Joe Maxis' (taxis) in Dublin, go for a 'bazzer' (haircut) in Cork and proclaim that we are 'sucking diesel' when we are satisfied in the country, but there are widespread fears that many traditional accents may be banjaxed. We could follow the trend found in London, where traditional cockney is becoming as rare as hen's teeth.
Bernard Share, author of Slanguage, A Dictionary of Irish Slanguage, says many accents in the counties next to Dublin are being wiped out by the expansion of the capital and the arrival of blow-ins in country areas.
The Kildare accent, best exemplified by the singer Christy Moore, is an endangered tongue: it is being replaced by a homogenous suburban Dublin accent, Arrowspeak (spoken in areas served by the commuter train, the Arrow). The accents of Wicklow and Louth are also endangered while that noted 'slurry muncher', Navan man , has been labelled a 'muppet' and told to 'Get outta dat garden' (cop on to himself).
Dave Kenny, author of the recently re-issued Little Buke of Dublin, says you hardly ever hear a Wicklow accent any more. The Wicklow lilt has moved South into Wexford.
"The last few years have seen the emergence of the Culchie Dub. These are Dubliners who have moved to other counties in Leinster. Some people say you can't be a real Dub unless you live between the canals."
Dave Kenny also deplores the spread of Dortspeak, the strangulated middle-class mid-Atlantic airhead accent, which has spread out rapidly from South County Dublin like a rash with the help of RTE and AA Roadwatch. "Oh my Gawd, loike! She's just sooo - last year!".
Dortspeak (named after the Dublin commuter train, the Dart) used to be confined to certain affluent areas of Dublin but, increasingly, it can be heard in places as far afield as Carlow and South Wicklow. Professor Terry Dolan, of UCD English Department, has said that the spread of the accent has been boosted by the popularity of hit TV series such as Friends.
Although the classic Dublin working accent is not generally heard much on RTE (Joe Duffy being the notable exception), its phraseology is as colourful as ever.
While the Irish use of language may be becoming more uniform as a result of the rise of television and other modern communications, local words and ways of speaking have survived in many areas of the country.
In Tuam, an area remarkable for its distinctive vocabulary, you can still hear people referring to a woman as a 'tome feek'. In Tuamspeak, a house is a 'cane', splendid is 'peach', and, for some reason, a church is a 'pineapple'.
As the novelist Joe O'Connor once remarked: "Ever since English was forcibly introduced to this island, the people have defiantly spoken it in their own way."
As they say in Wexford: "Don't ax me why?"
AN A-Z OF IRISH ENGLISH
Bachelor's Button: Nail used to hold together articles of clothing in place of a button (Cavan).
Bazzer: Haircut (Cork).
Beater: Penis (Cork).
Bellisitipum: Sporting cheer urging a team to inflict heavy defeat on opponents (Cork).
Bells: Unit of time. "I'll meet you at 10 bells (10 o'clock)."
Beoir: Girl or young woman (used in Galway and among Travellers).
Bogball: Gaelic football (Dublin).
Bogger: An Irish person who was born outside Dublin, a culchie.
Bogland: Anywhere in Ireland outside Dublin.
Brad Pitt: Excrement , as in "I'm going for a Brad Pitt." (Dublin).
Blue Peter: Two-litre flagon of Cider (Dublin).
Bud: All purpose name used in greeting. "All right Bud."
Bugle: Erection (Dublin).
Burst: Threat of physical harm, as in "I'll bleedin well burst ye."
Cacks: Undergarments or trousers.
Chairwheeze: The act of breaking wind in certain parts of County Galway.
Cream cracker: Member of the travelling people.
Culchie Dub: Dubliner who has moved to neighbouring counties, or to distant dormitory towns such as Balbriggan or Skerries.
Chevy Chase: Face.
Daza, me: Very nice, as in "It's me daza." (Cork).
Diddies: Breasts of a woman.
Dullamoo: Homosexual in Wexford.
Eccer: School homework, from exercises.
Esther Rantzen: Dancing as in "I'm going Ester Rantzen."
Feek: Girl or woman. To express intimate affection, kiss or grope. (Galway).
Flah: Sexual intercourse, to have sex. "I had a great flah last night." (Cork).
Flathulach: Generous with money, possibly flash. "He was very flahoolagh with the cheque book."
Game ball: All right, well, as in "I'm game ball!" (Dublin).
Gift: Extremely good, deadly (Dublin).
Gobshite: Ostentatious idiot. A term that is fast dying out in England, but extremely common in Ireland.
Gouger: Aggressive lout, dangerous gurrier.
Grundy, wedgie: Act of pulling someone's underpants up their back (Cork).
Gutty: Undesirable person, gurrier, (Cork). A running shoe. (Belfast).
Hallion: Rough, vulgar or clumsy person (Ulster).
Hoor's knickers: A total mess, as in She looks like a total hoor's knickers".
Jack Dee: Ecstasy.
Jack Russels: Muscles. "Look at the Jack Russels on Yer Man." (Dublin).
Jeyes Fluid: Nude.
Joe Maxi: Taxi.
Knackeragua: Rough area of Dublin.
Knick-Knocking: Knocking on a door and running away (Dublin).
Lamp: To watch or be on the lookout for. He's lampin' the women."
Langer: Unpleasant or objectionable individual, penis (Cork).
Langered or langers: Drunk.
Low fat bacon: Trainee garda (Dublin).
Mebs: Testicles. A disagreeable fellow, foolish person (Cork).
Mickeydazzler: Show off or wide boy (Dublin).
Minker: Loose, unattractive woman (Sligo).
Mushroom man: A nouveau riche social climber, someone who rose up overnight (Cavan).
Nat King Cole: Sex, as in "I got me Nat King Cole last night". (Dublin).
Scut: Contemptible person, take an authorised ride on the back of a vehicle.
Sham: A person, a fellow , as in "Who's that sham?" Citizen of Tuam, townie.
Shellityhorn: Snail (Cork).
Skanger: Untrustworthy, dissolute person, lowlife.
Skinnymalink: Tall, thin person (Dublin).
Snout: Protestant (Belfast).
Splash the boots: Go to the toilet. "I need to splash the boots." (Dublin).
Sticky: Supporter of the Workers' Party (formerly Official Sinn Fein).
Sucking Diesel: Enjoying success, particularly after a period of great effort. "Now we're sucking diesel!"
Swimmers and bricks: Fish and chips (Waterford).
Tin of Fruit: Suit.
Tome: Good or special: "She's a tome feek." (Galway).
Widow's memories: Sausages.