Photo by Natural Farm Health
One of the first things visitors notice about Northern Ireland (apart from the AMAZING scenery) is our accent. After only a few sentences of dialogue with a visitor, they begin to ask “What does that mean?” or “Could you repeat that?”. This may be because my accent can be thick (I spent years toning it down), but it is mostly due to the many words unique to the greatest country in the world. My favourites include:
These are terms of endearment for people who are silly or a bit of an idiot.
Houl yer whisht
Literally translated as “Please be quiet”.
If you are courtin’ someone, you are dating them. Teenagers are often asked, “Are ye courtin’ yet?” by elderly relatives before explaining the large amounts of courtin’ they were doing at that age.
Boys a dear
An exclamation of sadness, shock or happiness. It covers all bases. Used in the same ways “oh goodness” would be.
An object. Often used when discussing motor vehicles. “She’s some yoke” is said by a car enthusiast to approve of a friend’s new car.
I’ll run ye over
No, this is not a threat. This is a person offering a lift to another person. “Ach, I’m heading to Jimmy’s too. I’ll run ye over sure.”
If something is an ogeous handlin’, it is a tricky situation with some complications.
Wile dear/ The price of thon is a terra
Something that is rather pricy.
Very dirty – “Jimmy, would you take yer wellies off before you come into the house? They’re boggin.”
To be completely broken beyond repair.
Not to be confused with the ‘wee light’. The big light is the one in the centre of the room. Children are often told by their mothers to “turn on the big light” as it starts to get dark in the evening.
Coddin’/Acting the cod
To mess around. Also known as ‘to faff about’.
To gurn is to moan about someone. A popular saying to silence someone is, “Quit yer gurning.”
To feel cold.
Ah, something that always terrified me. A tongin’ is something you would go home to when you had been up to no good. It is a good scolding.
Ninety to the dozen
If someone is talking ‘ninety to the dozen’, they are speaking quickly.
Have a titter of wit
One is telling the person to speak /act sensibly.
Up to high doh
To be over excited.
Some of these sayings and many, many more appear in ‘Sure, why would ye not?’, a recently released book written by Rodney Edwards. Sure, Why Would Ye Not? is a collection of hilarious conversations between two oul fellas, Bob and Charlie. They will make you laugh and they will educate you on Northern Irish ‘spake’ (speak). Sure, Why Would Ye Not? is available to purchase in Easons, Waterstones and online at Amazon.
What is your favourite Northern Irish term?