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Irish English vs. American English (& Other Cultural Differences)

by Mikayla Monroe
Irish English vs. American English (& Other Cultural Differences) | AIFS Study Abroad

With less than 48 hours left of my month-long study abroad at Maynooth University, I find myself reflecting on what I’ve learned not only from my classes, but from the people of Ireland. One of the draws of studying abroad is the adventure of experiencing a different culture and language. Although Ireland and America are both English-speaking countries, we speak different kinds of English. For instance, a “Car Park” sign in Ireland is the equivalent to “Parking Lot” in America. (I find it quite cute thinking about a park where cars play.) There’s an array of variances between signage, diet, traditions, and conversations. As I began to write this blog I realized: who better to explain the Irish lifestyle and customs than the Irish themselves?

With the help of my professors and Maynooth University staff, we put together a “Ireland Preparedness Guide.” Enjoy!

First, an Irish greeting from Tristan.

You know that language that he was speaking in? We Americans would call it Gaelic, but the Irish language that Irish people speak is simply called Irish. This was explained to us from our AIFS Dublin-based advisor, Callum.

Language Differences

John, Johannah, Tristan on non-verbal cues and how not to face your peace sign.

Professor Tony O’Connor on “slagging.”

Michelle on “craic” vs. “crack.”

Pronounced exactly the same; totally different meanings.

Tristan on Irish accents.

Just like in America how people from the South might have different accents than those from the East Coast or Midwest, Irish people have regional accents, as well.

Professor O’Connor on the letter H in Dublin.

One of the above regional accents is the Dublin accent, where Dubliners don’t pronounce their “h”s. For instance, Thursday = “Tursday” and thrasher = “trasher.”

Signage

Here’s a quick list of tiny variances between Irish and American terminology and signage:

  • “To Let” = “For Lease”
  • “Sale Agreed” = “Sold”
  • “Keep Dogs on Lead” = “Keep Dogs on Leash”
  • “Chips” = “Fries,” always. Potato chips are “crisps” or “Taytos”
  • “Queue” = “Line,” like if there’s a long line for food or if someplace is crowded
  • “Toilet” = “Restroom” or “Bathroom,” since public restrooms generally don’t have showers or a place to bathe
  • “Noodles” are strictly Asian-style noodles. “Pasta” is only for Italian pasta.
  • The green medicinal cross is not related to marijuana, it means the store is a pharmacy

Cultural Differences

Johannah on drinking tea in Ireland.

Michelle on Irish Breakfast

How does blood puddin’ and eggs sound?

Professor Geraldine Lavin on Straw Boys at Weddings

Talk about wedding crashers!

Irish English vs. American English (& Other Cultural Differences) | AIFS Study Abroad

John on Irish Sports

Callum on Magpie Rhyme

Professor Geraldine Lavin on Irish goodbyes.

No, not the kind where you sneak out of a party. This is a genuine, heartfelt goodbye.

As you can see, Ireland has been great craic! I can’t believe it’s coming to an end and am forever grateful for those featured in these videos and those behind the scenes (friends, program organizers) for making this such an amazing experience. A thousand thanks to the Maynooth University staff and my professors for their willingness to be recorded — I really appreciate it! This study abroad experience wouldn’t be the same without you wonderfully friendly and humorous people.

This post was contributed by Mikayla Monroe, who spent her summer studying abroad with AIFS in Maynooth, Ireland.

Irish English vs. American English (& Other Cultural Differences) | AIFS Study Abroad

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