Donegal County, Ireland

Located in the Ulster province of Northern Ireland is Donegal, a vast county in Ireland with at least a dozen different areas located within it each with their own unique take on their county’s accent. It’s located between the Northwest of Ireland and the Lakelands. It’s a beautiful place to visit not just because of all its different tourist attractions, but its beautiful multi-lingual people. However, in the 1840s, you wouldn’t say that. This poor county has had its fair share of trial. In the 1840s it was the worst county affected by the Great Famine. This had caused many parts of Donegal to become uninhabitable and the result was that large parts of Donegal became depopulated as many people emigrated–most using the Foyle Port.

Now with a backdrop to the county of Donegal, let’s discuss its over a dozen different dialects. In the county of Donegal, it is a common fact that older people tend to have a stronger accent than younger people. The reason for such a strong Irish accent in Donegal is because, as opposed to English, their first language is Gaelic with English being their second language. While some of the accents in Donegal sound very similar, they are each very unique. Making this a beautiful and diverse county. All within one county.

Some of these dialects include Glenties meaning from “the Glens”, Killybegs meaning “fishing port” and Inishowen meaning the “island of Eoghan”. I’ll put a list where I mention a fact about each of them.

Because of the different accents, it actually makes it quite difficult to understand. Donegal county is considered to have the strongest Irish accent and can sometimes be mistaken for Scottish. This makes sense since both Scotland and Ireland have strong Celtic/Gaelic influence despite their current differences in culture and language. It’s also quite important to note that when speaking to someone from Donegal, you might find yourself needing to slow down as it is quite difficult to understand. The Donegal county is very highly rated among tourist attractions since it has such a diverse and interesting culture.

As I mentioned above each area, or sub-county I suppose you can call it, has their own distinct flavour to the Donegal accent. Below I will place a list of the more than a dozen different dialects within Donegal county.

Before I do, I thought I’d provide a video where you can hear the different dialects as well as their unique pronunciations.

  1. Glenties/Na Gleannta meaning “the Glens”
  2. Killybegs/Na Cealla Beaga meaning “fishing port”
  3. Inishowen/Inis Eoghain meaning “island of Eoghan”
  4. Buncrana/Bun Cranncha meaning “foot of the river”
  5. Ballybofey/Bealach Féich meaning “Fiach’s pass”
  6. Creeslough/An Craoslach meaning “the Gorge or Throat Lake”
  7. Gweedore/Gooth Dobhaire meaning, in the old Irish, “water”
  8. Finn Valley –Located in North-West Ireland and Lakelands. It stretches the northernmost than any part of Northern Ireland.
  9. Ballyshannon/Béal Átha Seanaidh meaning “mouth of Seannach’s ford”
  10. Kincasslaugh/The Rosses in Irish it is pronounced “Cion Caslach”
  11. Dunglo, Dunglow/An Clochán Liath is the largest area in the Donegal Gaeltacht.
  12. Cloughaneely/Cloich Cheann Fhaola is mainly coastal and is located in western Donegal
  13. Bundoran/Bun Dobhráin is the most southerly town in Donegal.
  14. Glen Colmcille/Gleann Cholm Cille is a southwest coastal district in Donegal.
  15. Letterkenny/Letir Ceanainn meaning “hillside of the O’Cannons’ ” and is nicknamed “the Cathedral Town”.

There are also many words that take on a different meaning in Donegal. Words such as “cut” (state or condition) and “hi” (simply a word to begin and end a sentence with; no actual meaning) do not mean the same thing as they do in other parts of the world. You’ll see below I have compiled a list of the words I came across in my research each with their own different pronunciation as well as meaning.

  1. “Card” is pronounced as “sim ceard/memory ceard”;
  2. “Brave” meaning “You have a brave (far) way to go”;
  3. “Wild” meaning “very” for example you would say, “It’s wild windy out”;
  4. “Foundred” meaning “cold”;
  5. “Lock” meaning “little bit”;
  6. “Rare man” meaning “a little strange” for example “he’s a rare man, that one”;
  7. “Cat” meaning “terrible or awful”;
  8. “Ware/Wain/Wee Uns/We’ans” all meaning “infant/baby/child”;
  9. “handlin’ ” meaning a bad or awful experience;
  10. “wile” meaning “very/strongly/alot is often used in a very negative light;
  11. “header” is someone who is a lot of fun.

All of the above, as I mentioned already, make this a beautiful and colourful county to visit, but it’s not just the culture or diversity that make it worth the visit. It also has many waymarked trails, local walks, mountain paths as well as beautiful rivers, lakes and beaches to visit. Should you ever find yourself in Ireland, make sure to visit Donegal county it is definitely worth the visit.

I’m near to finishing our trip through Ireland and am planning on maybe going across the ocean and heading for Scotland or maybe even further in to China or Russia. Those countries have a rich culture and I can’t wait to see what they have instore for us. For now, I hope you enjoyed this little article. You can like and share the post using Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest or even Whatsapp; also take a peek at my socials below.

Be safe and sound, my precious avidReaders. Write soon. God bless

Cork, Ireland

Cork, along with our previous accent, Kerry, is one of the hardest accents to understand. As far as accents go, Donegal, Cork and Kelly are all ranked the hardest to understand. All these are from specific counties in Ireland and all share very close relations to their Irish heritage. Cork even has a few sounds directly imported from its Irish heritage.

Cork is, much as Kerry is, very closely related to the Irish language. It is often taken as the two parties singing to each other as it has a distinctly sing-song rhythm to it. It is very expressive and makes use of a lot of hand gestures as well as facial expressions. When speaking it, your actions can determine the attitude with which you are speaking or expressing yourself. People often find it to be very cute and funny. They are also a very sarcastic people with their questions and answers. I already like them. Nothing like dry wit to make your day. When it comes to Cork people, they often exaggerate a situation or talk in a very over-the-top fashion. We can all over-exaggerate at one time or another. For example, you may ask them how their day was and they may respond with “absolutely horrible” or “I almost died laughing” when asked about a joke. I bet this is why they are such a lively and fun folk. They are very quick to inspire or motivate people. It’s actually a part of their exaggeration. They make each other turn from down and depressed into happy and inspired. We could use more people like that in the world, I think.

Cork is a very dramatic language and, as I mentioned above, their expressions can determine the attitude or meaning of a word. They have a very fast-paced language. This is no doubt what makes them so hard to understand. They have long vowel sounds as well as parts of speech that cut into each other. The letter “R” has a very throaty quality to it, as well.

Depending on where you come from, Cork can be thick or thin. For example, when coming from Northern Cork you may have a thick accent or if you come from Southern Cork it may be thin. This language has developed from the original Irish and to this day survives in all its sarcastic glory. Cork is a language that may share its level of difficulty with Kerry, but definitely has its own distinct accent as well as lovely, lively people behind it. Should you ever find yourself in Cork, please keep in mind that you will need to be patient when it comes to every day communication as sometimes not even Cork people understand each other.

All in all a beautiful people with a fascinating language. If I ever get a chance to meet a Cork, I will speak to them non-stop just to experience the beauty and inspiration of such a lively and fun language.

God bless all of you, my darling avidReaders. I hope you are enjoying this series.

Speaking Kerry

The next accent in our series is one called “Kerry”. It is rated one of the hardest accents to understand. It shares this position with Cork, another tough accent to understand.

The Kerry accent is very closely related to the Irish language in both structure and pronunciation. This dialect has lasted longer than anywhere else in the country.

In Ireland, Kerry people are often treated with disdain for their accent. They are publicly criticized and ridiculed; called horrible things such as “cute hoors” (whores) and Kerry mugs. The only exemption from this, will be Irish girls who attend school and thence have lessons in elocution. The boys, however, do not always have this luxury and will often inherit the accent or dialect of their hometown. This gives the girls an unnaturally beautiful and eloquent diction.

In Irish families, order of birth is very important as the younger sibling will often have a stronger accent than the older.

It would seem that Kerry is very hard to follow even among certain Irish folk. Phrases such as, “dheara/yerra”, “crator/cratuir” and “mighty” (this means “great!”) add a lot of colour to Kerry and, in my opinion, make it delightful. I have provided a link below should you be interested in the above phrases and many more including their various definitions.

https://www.collegetimes.com/entertainment/how-to-speak-kerry-140904

I know this was a short piece. Most of the pieces I found were videos of people speaking Kerry. YouTube will have a lot of people speaking Kerry, so go have a listen. It really is something special.

God bless all of you, my darling avidReaders. Keep safe and I hope to write soon.

Jamaican Creole

We all love the music of the Jamaican people. Their famous music can be heard all throughout movies. The sound of their maracas, tambourines and steel drums can be heard from miles away and it gives them that unique island vibe. You immediately feel like dancing. However, that’s not what we’re going to be talking about. We’re going to talk about the people behind this beautiful music–the Jamaicans.

The Jamaicans have their own very distinct language called Jamaican Patois (Patwa/Patwah/Patois). This beautiful language has its origins in West Africa, drawing most of its words from the Akan language (meta-ethnicity people currently living in Ghana and Ivory Coast). Despite having its own distinct language, Jamaica’s official language is English. Since British English was introduced to Jamaica in the year 1655 a lot of British English spelling conventions have influenced the Jamaican Patois. British Standard English was combined with Standard Jamaican-English. Their accent is a combination of English, Spanish, Portuguese, African phrases and Jamaican slang. In all its beauty, the Jamaican language has its own lovely sing-song, exotic feel to it.

In Jamaican Patois, there is no subject-verb agreement or differentiation between subject and object. If you have a desire to learn their accent, perhaps even their language, then you need to adopt three words: “mon”, “dem” and “irie”. Something else to consider, there is no differentiation between the genders. For “he” or “she” you would say “I’m”. Their language, since they were slaves, would have come from other African dialects. Other minorities have, since then, integrated themselves into the Jamaican ancestry. Peoples such as the Europeans, East Indians, Middle Eastern and other minorities have integrated themselves into Jamaican ancestry, thus creating a mixed ancestry. 78.4% of these descendants all speak a combination of English & Patois (Patwa).

In the year 1655, as mentioned above, a lot of British English settlers came to the island of Jamaica and brought along with them their African slaves. These slaves would eventually become the Jamaican inhabitants we know and love. Along with these slaves came their British masters and along with them came their British influence on the original inhabitants of Jamaica. This influence, further propagated by English teachers, began to spread through high-school. In high society, Jamaicans speak British Standard. This leads to them getting higher-paying jobs and greater societal prestige. It’s not just Britain that has had an influence on Jamaica. American English has also had a major influence on the Jamaican English dialect.

All in all, I’d say nothing makes me cheerier than Jamaican music; their beautiful language and dialect do not fail to impress either. If you want to learn this amazing dialect, then click on the below link and give it a shot. I found it while I was digging into Jamaican Patois.

https://www.uv.es/anglotic/accents_of_english/03/examples_of_jamaican_english.html

God bless all of you, my darling avidReaders. I apologize for taking so long to write. I promise to produce more articles as soon as things quieten down at work or I get a weekend to spare. Been a busy month. Keep well 😘

Die Platteland

Of all the accents in the world, this one has my heart–the language of my people. South Africans. As we’ve seen, every country has become a great melting pot in its own right. So what makes my homeland so different? Why is it that people all over the world can’t seem to get our accent and manner right? For some reason the movies (unless there’s a South African actor) just never get our accent right. Why is this? Why is it so hard? For one thing our accent is very flat, some language trainer even called it lazy. We are very similar to the British in our nonrhotic manner. This just means that we pronounce our “r” sound before a vowel, very similar to the British. (We’ll talk about why that is later). I find it easier to take on our accent if you can speak a little Afrikaans. Run this phrase through Google translate and let it pronounce it for you, “Wors is wors.” It’s a phrase my old school teacher used to use. It’s an Afrikaans phrase meaning, “That’s just how it is.” In case you’re wondering why I’m saying that it is easier to take on our accent if you know Afrikaans, it is because of all the 11 official languages in South Africa, the Dutch and British languages had the biggest influence.

Speech

When you try to take on a language you don’t know or an accent you don’t know, the rules are very similar. Immerse yourself in their culture, learn their mannerisms and, most importantly, listen. What am I getting at? Before you try to mimic our accent, listen. I learnt Afrikaans by having Afrikaans friends and, yes, I was raised in South Africa, but my Afrikaans was horrid. If you want some tips on learning how to speak with our accent, remember to listen and learn. I know it seems as though I’m repeating myself, but that is really important.

Letters like “r”, in a nonrhotic manner are pronounced immediately before a vowel, (I know I mentioned this above already), but also in our accent you need to think about an “h” before your “r” sound. In other words, the “r” is pronounced as a neutral vowel. At the end of the word our “t” sound is spat out. Sometimes the “a” sound is pronounced “eh” such as in “m-eh-n” as opposed to “m-a-n”. Here we can see the Dutch influence through our Afrikaans language. Although our accent may have a British tinge to it, it doesn’t mean British slang is similar to our slang or accent. All this is coloured by the 11 official languages and others, not yet, recognized languages.

Slang

So now let’s talk about our slang. I’ve explained our language and how and why we say certain things the way we do. Most of our slang needs to be taken into context. Slang such as “ugh shame” can mean anything from “how cute” to “I feel bad for you”. In most nations it is used in a negative light, not in South Africa. When we say, “Yoh! Yoh! Yoh!” It’s an African phrase that the English and Afrikaans have taken as slang for “My goodness!” or “Wow!”. Other words such as “Eina!” (Khoi-san for ‘ouch!’), “veldt” (Afrikaans for ‘open field’ or ‘prairie’) are very good examples. Our 11 officially recognized languages have a massive impact on our language, by integrating themselves into our dialect especially in areas like Cape Town and Johannesburg where you can plainly see the impact these 11 official languages have on our South African slang and accent. Unfortunately, not all these languages are recognized as official but maybe someday they will be and there’ll be more of them impacting our children in schools as they grow up with greater exposure to them, thus further colouring our culture and speech.

Historical Influence

Remember when I said I’d talk about why we have the same nonrhotic manner as the British? In the year 1822, the English language became an official language. Although…another language had already made its way to the shores of what would later become South Africa, specifically the Cape–the Dutch (now the Afrikaans language). They had settled a colony and lived there since the year 1652, making them the first foreign nation to have made their home in Africa. This all due to the Dutch East Indian Company which had reached its shores in the same year. However the British settlers’ desire to make English the dominant language soon became evident by the introducing of British schoolmasters and Scottish clergymen for the influence of schools and churches. In the 1840s and 1850s more British settlers arrived accompanied by the men and women who would soon settle the area known as Natal. Most of these settlers were either aristocrats or retired military personnel. These people were mostly standard speakers of the English language. Although before the introduction of the ANC in 1994, the two main spoken languages were English and Afrikaans.

Conclusion

Our accent and language have many languages influencing it. This you can see when you hear an Afrikaans or English speaking person mix in one of the African languages and in the same breath throw in some Afrikaans and English in one fluid sentence. We are a diverse nation and no matter where you go, a new and exciting version of English emerges.

God bless/God seën/Inkosi ikubusise. Stay safe, my darling avidReaders.

Cockney English; East End London

In my previous article, I spoke about Appalachian English in America’s Appalachian mountainous regions. For this next dialect, I thought I’d take a skip across onto the next continent–namely England, more specifically the East End of London. This specific language is called “English slang”. The first time I heard it was when watching Only Fools and Horses with my mother. She loves that show and now I’m addicted, too.

Alot of this language’s expressions and vocabulary have now become a part of the language. In fact creating new phrases is no longer something only Cockney speaking people do. Before you think Britain was the only country to have this influence. Right up until the 20th century, this particular slang was used in Australia, too. Due to the almost code-like manner of this dialect, people used to think that it was used by salesman or criminals to convey secret messages. Some even held that it was a community’s way of discriminating from outsiders.

In Cockney rhyming slang words are replaced by phrases that rhyme with the words. For example the phrase “Adam and Eve” refers to “believe” and “plates of meat” refers to “feet”. In Cockney rhyming slang there is no hard and fast rule with this dialect. Words can be phrases or they may be shortened (e.g. bottle & glass/plaster). As an outsider, this will make it incredibly difficult to learn this dialect of English. This version of English is mostly spoken by working class Londoners. Cockney speaking people are born within hearing distance of the bells of St. Mary-le Bow in Cheapside, London.

The word “Cockney” is derived from the Middle English word “cockenay” or “cockeney” in the 14th century where this referred to “cocks’ egg”, “milkshop” or “cockered child” meaning a spoilt or pampered child. There are 150 terms often referred to as “Argot” or some type of coded language. As I mentioned above, this coded language would make it awfully difficult to understand and thus was the perfect language for communicating something in confidence with another person. If you were to look into these phrases you would see that a lot of them have their roots in history and this seems to strongly influence the various phrases. Instead of some covert criminal language, these phrases have become innocent nicknames. In the 1950s many working-class Londoners would use this language, changing it as they pleased. This vocabulary has become a reflection of pop-culture (TV shows such as Faulty Towers and Only Fools and Horses). However the arrival of rap/hip-hop/text messaging/young slang have become a threat to this now-dying language. In an effort to save it, Museum London has launched a campaign by which they teach East End Londoners to speak it and have now begun to recognize it, out of the 100+ languages in England, to recognize it as an official dialect. Thereby saving this beautiful and fun dialect.

If you ever get the urge to learn some Cockeny Rhyming Slang, I have attached a link below. I have printed this out myself and keep it in my notes. Some of these phrases and words are wonderful. Please, if you get time, take a look there will be no regrets. Also, if you are Cockney, please please PLEASE DM me on Instagram or even get a hold of me on Twitter. I love your dialect.

https://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/usage/slang_cockney.html

God bless everyone, stay safe

Appalachian (Appa-lach-ian) English

The Appalachian Mountain Region. Home of Appalachian English.

In the eastern United States is a version of English native only to the Appalachian mountain region. Stretching from Alabama to Canada, this language is spoken in parts of Georgia, North & South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Their language is rather unique and has been described as sounding like singing. With a rich vocabulary using words such as “tote” in place of “carry” and “poke” as opposed to “bag”. Some have even referred to this dialect of English as “hillbilly talk” because of the nature of it’s song-like characteristics.

So, where did this dialect originate? The answer is rather surprising, although given the nation the Appalachians find themselves in is quite the melting pot, it really shouldn’t. Also, the fact that the Appalachians (Appa-lach-ians as they call themselves) have a tendency to make up their own words makes it even harder to recognize. However, in truth, the dialect originates from the Scots-Irish that inhabited that area centuries before as they brought their version of English over from Europe. Their descendants are now the Appalachians living in towns such as Graham County continuing to advance and evolve the Appalachians’ English.

It’s really interesting to see what words they have invented. Words such as “si’gogglin'”meaning “not straight/bent”. My favourite has got to be “gaum” meaning “cluttered”. Sometimes where I work, I feel like it’s too “gaum”. I love that word. Other words and their definitions include:

  • “fler” meaning flour
  • “airish” meaning chilly
  • “dope” meaning soda-pop
  • “boomer” meaning a noisy creature–squirrel/wharf-rat
  • “scald” meaning that farming land is infertile (dead land)

Appalachian English is one of the oldest varieties of English. The preservation of this ancient dialect is due to its isolation in the Appalachian mountains. It is the most ancient and protected dialects in America. This ancient English is actually believed to be a remnant of Elizabethan English. Phrases such as “afeared” and “might could/might be able to” are remnants of 17th & 18th century English. This further adds credibility to these claims. Appalachian English is said to be one of the purest spoken forms of English.

One of the most ancient dialects of the English language, Appalachian English is an accent that is hard to lose. Just like the accent, the people who leave the Appalachian region soon find themselves coming back looking for that feeling of home that the only Appalachians can provide.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a link for an Appalachian dictionary. Although I doubt it would’ve been much help, especially with them making changes to the language all the time. Still, I was looking forward to finding one for myself. For now there are dozens of videos on Appalachians and their hometowns. Check them out if you want more of this wonderful dialect.

God bless you all, my precious avidReaders. 🧐

A Great Melting Pot

I think it is fair to say that at some point or other we’ve all heard someone with an accent. I can personally testify to hearing people with all kinds of accents. I, myself, develop an accent when I try to speak Afrikaans. When South Africans go across to any other country they have an accent, whereas at home they do not have one.

I am going to be starting a brief series around the origins of certain accents and what influenced them.

Living in certain communities can influence your accent. For example, people that live isolated from the rest of the world can develop their own way of speaking; sometimes even better than the current inhabitants of whatever country they are living in. Accents also depended on where they were in the social hierarchy. Children who were offered a higher standard of education, would’ve spoken better than those that had no education. More often than not, the peasants or serfs spoke a ruder dialect than the upper-class lords and ladies. In the colonial period it was not uncommon to send your children to university or boarding school causing them to mix with the children of the same higher standard.

Nowadays with people being so spread all over the world you can have people from every country learning to live and speak as the inhabitants of the countries they immigrated to. These people would also develop an accent from their chosen countries as they would be forced to adapt to their chosen country. As well as developing an accent from these countries, in the beginning while they learn they would take their own accent with them. An example of this is in Africa, where multiple tribes and peoples all live together on one continent and as people would immigrate to towards all their chosen countries they would bring their home accents with them. In South Africa, we have people from all over bringing their accents with them and as they would try to speak English or even Afrikaans there would be a definite accent. Even people from mainly English areas as they learn to speak Afrikaans or even Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho would develop an accent learning those languages. As I learn different languages, I can hear my dominant English accent seeping through. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this as they would try to learn new languages. As much as they adopt the accent from their immigrated countries, they can never lose their home accent it will always be there even if in a mild capacity.

Another huge influencer of accents is the culture of the individual. The Celts have their own origins in Gaelic and while some speak English, the accent of their culture will always seep through. The English are a great example of how different countries speak the same language, but with varied accents. The Americans, South Africans and British all speak English only with their twist on it. I was in a school where we were taught an American curriculum. We used to laugh. Joking that if we started to argue we’d switch over to the American accent. Being raised a specific way and being taught a specific way can also influence how you speak. If you speak Afrikaans and move over to English, your accent comes with you. Every country has turned into a great melting pot and because of this you will find French, English, Belgian, African, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and so many more in every culture even the English we speak was influenced by the ancient languages and traces of it remain.

One thing that can influence an accent and how people respond is more often than not being misunderstood or labeled an “outsider”. Honestly, I find any accent charming. To me it’s gorgeous and full of uniqueness. People come from all over and bring with them cultures and beliefs. Afterall, aren’t we a world of different nations all blended together. We all came from the same people and have spread out and developed our own cultures from there. I sound different to you, but don’t we all?

I hope you enjoy this new series as I explore the origins of all the different accents. God bless you and stay safe, my precious avidReaders