After travelling from Germany to Ireland, I landed myself an internship in RTÉ and I've been sharing my insights into your home country. This week I'm looking at the Irish use of the English language...
Last week I talked to you about my perception of Irish mannerisms - and I barely scratched the surface. After spending such a long time in Dublin's fair city, the list of Irish habits and phrases that had me ruminating goes on and on...
I previously described the Irish people as being extremely polite, full of flattering compliments and kind of terrible at taking a compliment. This week I want to talk to you about the distinctive Irish use of the English language.
Everything is grand, brilliant, perfect.
It seems as the grass really is greener here in Ireland. And I don’t mean that literally - even though that is probably also true. I feel like it’s so much easier to satisfy people over here or to rejoice with someone over something that actually isn’t that special or impressive.
Irish people always seem to be in a great mood and they seem like they have a much brighter view of the world. What makes me think that? Take a moment to think back on the last conversation you had. Did you notice anything? Because I did.
Irish people’s use of adjectives is unbelievably over the top – it’s insane.
At first, it felt like when a little child who draws a picture that is pretty ugly, if we're being completely honest here, but the grown-ups gather around to dutifully tell them what an amazing job they did –"Oh that’s lovely – brilliant – perfect!" - as if it was a masterpiece by Frida Kahlo.
You guys choose really strong adjectives to express your thoughts on day-to-day stuff. How would you describe a painting by Monet? Spectacular, breathtaking, mind-blowing? Doesn’t it get a little hard to top yourself in the long-run?
I adore words – I’m a real word enthusiast. So I am very considerate about the way I use them but I have to admit, since I have been living in Dublin I have begun to see things through those rose-coloured glasses too – catching myself saying things like ‘I hope you’re having a marvellous weekend’ or ‘thanks a mill’ - and I’m loving it.
I don’t know if the reason behind my change in vocabulary and becoming the most light-hearted version of myself is due to the Irish people, the words they use or their tone when speaking.
It’s not the weather over here, that’s for sure. I can't quite put my finger on it.
To me, it looks like all the people walking down the streets of Dublin are newly enamoured. They smile from ear to ear and bubble over with high spirits. I wonder what the secret source for that cheerful enthusiastic mood is.
It’s contagious – that much is certain. I’ll try my best to keep that chipper tone and attitude when I leave this stunning island.
Thanks a million!
And there's another thing that I want to keep or rather teach people at home. I want to bring the habit to Germany to say "thank you" when you leave the bus. I think that's a lovely thing to do. I realized that almost everyone here does it and the bus drivers in Ireland seem friendly and happy as well.
People told me that the bus drivers even wait for you when you're running late. That's crazy.
In Germany most of the bus drivers are moody and rude; it sweetens their day when they see you desperately running to the bus to catch it in time as they start the engine and drive away laughing.
I always thought that bus drivers were just coarse people, but when I think about it now, most passengers are not one bit better - they are ungrateful, rude, noisy and reckless.
So maybe both sides should put a little more effort in being kind to one another - I guess a little "thank you" could help with that.
Even though Irish people seem to be pretty happy most of the time and don’t let things get them down too easily, they can definitely get angry...but the way they express their anger has me laughing every single time.
I tenderly call it ‘hardcore whisper cursing’. Who would have thought that the Irish have such loose tongues?
I had no idea. It’s almost impossible to have a whole conversation without a little bit of cursing here and there. And they don’t say sweet little expletives like ‘Goodness gracious!’.
But what’s funny about Irish people cursing is that they have this weird habit of whispering the swear words. If you drop hot coffee on your white shirt, you are allowed to voice your indignation loudly. Why would you whisper it? You are angry and you have a good reason to be.
And if you’re cursing during a spirited conversation – just do it. I don’t care, keep the volume.
How are you?
The simple question ‘How are you?’ has caused me quite a headache here in Ireland. Why would you ask me how I am as you're running past me? How am I supposed to answer you in half a second as you pass me by? And how am I supposed to get back to how you are in that short amount of time?
You might have recognised that this habit still kind of bothers me, I have spent almost three months here and I still just don’t get the point of asking if you don’t want to have a quick chat. If you're not in talking mood or in a rush, just say ‘hey’ and go your way. That would be totally fine with me.
At least it wouldn’t leave me behind standing there like a fool – all dressed up,with nowhere to go. It makes me feel awkward...
During my first week in Dublin, I asked a colleague how she was doing and she answered ‘Oh, I’m grand, thanks a million!’. I wanted to say ‘Oh, really? What happened?’ – because in my head I thought ‘Grand? Wow! Something amazing must’ve happened to her’.
In retrospect, I’m really glad that I didn’t ask her that question. As time went by, I figured out that Irish people use ‘grand’ pretty much like Germans use the word ‘okay’. However, the way they use it makes it sound as if they’re having the best day of their life which still confuses me.
The Irish people are a little tricky in their manner of expression but don’t worry fellow tourists and visitors, you’ll get used to it and learn to adjust pretty quickly.