Dara Ó Briain recently posted this video on Twitter to show just how different the Irish and British are in spite of a couple of centuries of speaking the same language.
In the early days of living together, I asked Ang to put the messages in the press. While simultaneously trying to figure out when I’d installed a device for receiving emails into an iron and dialling NHS Direct to get an ambulance sent out she didn’t realise that her first forays into Hiberno-English were occurring. Nowadays things are regularly grand in our house – to be sure things are rarely things any more, but yokes – and the expletive of choice is feck.
In return I’ve started saying “Ta ra!” and Tidy, which sound quite daft in a Dublin accent.
The QI Elves on Twitter opened a can of worms when they mentioned that the Irish language has no words for “Yes” or “No”. Dozens of tweets later saying that there are “Tá” and “Níl” or “‘Sea” and “Ní hea”, the Elves threw their hands up in the air and decided to leave the Irish alone.
While, strictly speaking, it is true that there are no words for “Yes” and “No”, in the Irish language to answer in the affirmative or negative, one repeats the verb of the asked question. For example, if one asks “Are you going to the cinema?” (An bhfuil tú ag dul go dtí an picturlann?) the answer is either “I am” (Tá mé) or “I am not” (Níl má).