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Hiberno-English

Hiberno-English is the form of the English language used in Ireland.

The standard spelling and grammar are the same as British English but, especially in the spoken language there are some unique characteristics.

Vocabulary Derived From Irish Gaelic

Grammar Derived From Irish Gaelic

Like other Celtic languages, Irish Gaelic has no words for "yes" and "no", instead the verb in a question is repeated in an answer. People in Ireland have a tendency to use this pattern of avoiding "yes" or "no" when speaking English:

  • "Are you finished debugging that software?" "I am."
  • "Is your mobile charged?" "It is."

Irish verbs have two present tenses, one indicating what is occurring at this instant and another indicating ongoing state or activity. Irish speakers of English use a "does be/do be" construction to indicate this latter continuous present:

  • "He does be coding every day."
  • "They do be talking on their mobiles a lot."

Irish uses the same phrase tar eis to mean "after" and as a modifier on a verb to indicate that the activity is recently completed. As a result Irish people tend to use a construction where they use "after" as a verb modifier:

  • "I am after rebooting the computer just a few minutes ago."

Preservation of Older English usage

The verb "mitch" is common in Ireland indicating playing truant from school. This word appears in Shakespeare, but is seldom used anymore in British English, although pockets of usage persist in some rural areas.



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