Further to the discussions on language, I received a review by e mail,in the extended entry, of a new edition of A Dictionary of Hiberno-English by Terence Patrick Dolan, reviewed in this link at Bibliofemme.”This is the dictionary’s second edition and there are over 1,000 new entries alone.
Calling it a dictionary is a bit off the mark; it’s a sort of dictionary meets encyclopedia with a bit of Schott’s miscellany thrown in. As well as lots of Hiberno English words from past and present, it contains proverbs, phrases and sayings – all backed up with handy information on usage, Gaelicisms, distinctive sounds and grammatical points of interest”.
If that all sounds a bit technical, fear not, because there’s enough fascinating bits of information and absorbable trivia here to make you want to poke in and out of these pages. Among the many familiar entries are chancer, banjaxed, left-footer, skinnymalink, wall-falling (to be desperate for) bogtrotter, chisler, DART accent and piss-a-bed (dandelions!). The Bertie Bowl even merits a mention. There are lengthier explanations too, as in the geographical location (and dubious morality) of the Monto area of old Dublin. ”
From BookView Ireland, no. 112. Irish Emigrant Publications, e mail.
An expanded and revised edition of this well-received volume provides opportunities to discover the true meanings of words that we might have been using for years. The new edition has been published to take cognisance of the fact that language is constantly evolving; it is pointed out in the introduction that the number of Irish words commonly used in English conversation has been falling in the past few years. I was interested to discover that the word ‘ribe’ means a single strand of hair, since I often heard a friend use the word but never really understood the context. It must also be sheer coincidence that, having read the definition of the word ‘reics, rex’, I immediately came across its use in one of Cormac MacConnell’s articles. The word ‘scut’ can apparently have three different meanings – Patrick Kavanagh uses it to denote a person of bad character in “Tarry Flynn”; Dubliners use at as a verb, meaning to hang onto the back of a bus or lorry; and it can also be used to describe a new boy in a boarding school. Terence Patrick Dolan, in compiling his dictionary, has provided us with an indication of the rich and varied source of the words we use.
(Gill & Macmillan, ISBN 0-7171-3535-7, pp278, €29.99)
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