Some more Irish idioms

24 April, 2010

I think I’m gradually getting the hang of it. I still can’t differentiate anyone’s accent, though.

Irish: I’m after taking a photo
British: I have just taken a photo

This one always causes a mental double-take. Using ‘after’ in the sense of ‘in the future compared to’ rather than ‘in pursuit of’ reverses the meaning of the sentence. The Irish do not seem perturbed by the British usage, though; I’m sure I have told people I’m after things and got the expected response rather than ‘why are you telling me that?’.

Irish: I’ll use this one so.
British: I’ll use this one, then.

Until recently I’d only ever seen this written down (well, tweeted) and couldn’t make any sense of it.

Irish: Have you a ticket?
British: Have you got a ticket?

I really like this. ‘Got’ may be one of our most versatile words, but it’s an ugly sounding thing.

Irish: Do youse [alternative: yis] want to come?
British: Do you lot want to come?

There’s a second person plural! It’s great! I am not sure whether one or both versions might be from the North; it’s hard to be sure of anything when your main source is Seamy.

Irish: Will I get some milk?
British: Shall I get some milk?

EDIT: I nearly forgot this one! Another mental double-take: this is a simple offer, not a request to predict the future 🙂


  1. Second person plural out west is “ye”. A Dublin-based cousin once accused me of swearing when I said it (we were both about 10 years old at the time) so it’s clearly not universal.

  2. ‘So’ is also the Irish replacement for the quaint British ‘umm’, ‘err’, ‘ahem’, ‘eh what’, ‘I say’, and ‘old chap’ 😉

  3. In Cork City and county ye is the plural of you. Nobody says you in the plural. Will I get some milk, is both an offer and a question. They differ in stress and intonation. Irish people never say shall, unless they are trying to be posh. Always will.
    Some words also have different meanings or shades of meaning to usage in Britain or in particular America.
    Bold for a child is naughty. Grand can me just fine. It can also mean grand.

    • Oh, I forgot about ‘bold’! That’s a grand word 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: