Hiberno english

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  • Publicado : 14 de noviembre de 2011
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Hiberno-English, also referred to as Irish English, is the category of English which arose among the native Gaelic-speakers as they made the language shift from Gaelic to English, which occurred at an especially fast rate in the 19th century. Nowadays it is considered as one of the two major varieties of English spoken in Ireland together with Planter English, in turn comprised of Ulster Scotsand Anglo-Irish, and the national Standard Language of Ireland.

Prior to an in-depth analysis of the positive and negative aspects in the consideration of the existence of this variety of English, and in order to achieve a more complete and successful understanding of the main issue of this piece of work, which consists on a critical analysis of Hiberno-English, various remarkable points dealingwith this category of English need to be mentioned.

Hiberno-English is a singularly rich member of the family of Englishes which owes much of its vivacity and inventiveness to the underlying influence of the Irish Language and also to the turbulent history of the Irish and the English. This particular differentiation is specially highlighted, as far as I am concerned, when taking intoconsideration different aspects of this variety of English, as for instance its verbal system, substantially enriched by the influence of Irish, or its pronunciation, characterised by the usage of the vowels and consonants of the Irish Language and especially by the insertion of a vowel, known as 'epenthetic (= inserted) vowel', in words such as 'film' (pronounced 'fillum'), or 'worm' (pronounced'worrum').

The vocabulary of Hiberno-English must be also considered as another remarkable representative of the aforementioned vivacity and inventiveness of this variety of the English Language. Hiberno-English lexicon does not only include many words which despite the fact of being last in general use in British English centuries ago are still current in Ireland, even among the younger generation:‘Delph’, still used for crockery, ‘shore’ for a sewer or an open drain, ‘mitch’ for playing truant, ‘bring’ for ‘take’, ‘galluses’ for braces, and some other words, as for instance ‘bowsie’, meaning ‘a disreputable drunkard, a lout, a quarrelsome alcoholic’ (see Dolan, Dictionary of Hiberno-English), but also many others taken from Irish, as for example ‘ommadhawn’ (Irish ‘amadán’) or ‘kithouge’(Irish ciatóg) and French, ‘dinnéar’ (French ‘dîner’) or buidéal (French ‘bouteille’) (see class material).

The foremost and more obvious consequence of the appearance and development of this particularly significant variety of the English Language appears to be the establishment of an immense and remarkable debate over the convenience of its existence and its hypothetical negative consequences forthe preservation of the so-called RP English. On the one hand, experts in favour of the preservation of Hiberno-English do not only state the great significance this variety of the English Language can definitely have in providing Irish-English speakers with linguistic resources for a successful and definite identification with their Irish culture, but also defend the perpetuation of what theyregard as one of the most significant varieties within the English Language. Nevertheless, experts concerned about the so-called “pureness” of the English language defend the negative consequences this variety can lead to in terms of the “vulgarization” of the RP English by Hiberno-English speakers.

As far as I am concerned, regarding this question of the appropriateness or inappropriateness ofthe existence of Hiberno-English, various remarkable personal statements must be in-depth analysed.

Beginning by the issue of the identification of Irish-English speakers, Hiberno-English does undoubtedly, as it has just been stated, and just as what occurs in the case of many other regional dialects and languages as for instance Cockney, Ulster-Scots, Galician or Catalan, represent one of...
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