Irish for Americans
February 11, 2015 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Irish for Americans
An ongoing project to identify Irish words used in American English, especially by members of the Irish-American community.

Some of these words are of recent vintage, while some are distinctly old-fashioned, or even more associated with stock Irish characters from the stage than actual Irish people or Irish-Americans. Some words are English, but used in a distinctive way by the Irish and by Irish-Americans. Some are going to very familiar, while some are spectacularly obscure.

What they all have in common is that they have been used to represent Irishness in America, and all of them, every one, can still be used, if the reader wishes.
Role: author
posted by maxsparber (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Nice, but many of these I'd consider Scots as well.
posted by scruss at 1:29 PM on February 12, 2015

Oh sure. If the Scots-American community wishes to make use of the vocab list, they're welcome to. All my research has been into how the words have been used in Ireland and by Irish-Americans, though.
posted by maxsparber at 1:31 PM on February 12, 2015

Youse had a kind of shibboleth class/cultural marker in the 19th Century in much the same way Y'all is a marker for the South that spread into other working class/immigrant communities until it became a part of the standard East Coast/Outer Borough accent and incorporated as a cliche part of the Hollywood "Des Dems Dose" accent.

Source: Half-remembered history of theatre classes and my Mom's 3rd generation Irish American truck driver boyfriend.
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 PM on February 12, 2015

Oh, definitely. When I finally get around to writing the "youse, yiz" entry, I'll address that.
posted by maxsparber at 3:39 AM on February 13, 2015

Wouldn't 'ye' fit in with the 'youse, yiz' entry aswell? Also I didn't see 'grand' anywhere on the list which I guess falls under the 'used by recent Irish immigrants' category. My boss at the time told me I needed a new word shortly after I moved over because everything was 'grand'!
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:43 AM on February 13, 2015

Grand is an excellent addition.
posted by maxsparber at 12:22 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

In the North we say "yousens", as in "you(se) ones" as a plural for you. It's terribly handy. Also craic means more than just the strictly drinking/socialising element. So:
He's no craic = he's boring.
She's great craic = she's fun/interesting.
What's the craic/any craic with you? = Any news? How are things with you?
What's the craic with yer man? = What's up with him?
Tell me all the craic = tell me all the gossip.

I haven't actually come across a lot of words on the list but I'm not an Irish speaker to be fair (not since Primary school anyway). I'll be interested in seeing the descriptions as they're filled in.
posted by billiebee at 5:33 PM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just stumbled on this, but now the blog says it's private -- for invited readers only?
posted by litlnemo at 9:44 PM on March 12, 2015

posted by litlnemo at 5:40 PM on March 13, 2015

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