Tuesday 20 March 2018

Discrimination is rife - I ditched my Kerry accent because people thought I was thick

Cliffs on the coastline at Slea Head, Dingle, Ireland. Stock photo.
Cliffs on the coastline at Slea Head, Dingle, Ireland. Stock photo.

Lorraine Courtney

There was a segment on the RTÉ 'Six One News' last Sunday that people are still talking about. If you missed it, basically a Kerry farmer is offering €2,000 to anyone with information about his 45 missing sheep. What shocked everyone was the farmer's accent.

"That accent on that sheep farmer on the news was amazing," read one tweet. Yes it was truly amazing to hear a Kerry man talk in a Kerry accent. "I couldn't tell if he was switching between Irish and English," read another. Me? I'm just sad we might have reached the point where those of us still using our regional accent might need to be subtitled if we're allowed on national telly.

The next time you hear a group of young people talking, take a moment to tune in to their accents. Can you tell what part of the country they come from? What do you think are the influences on their speech patterns? Do they actually sound Irish, in a way our grandparents would have recognised? The global entertainment industry, instantaneous digital communications, social change and economic pressures have totally changed the way we Irish speak English.

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