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How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads (Counterpunch) (English and Irish Edition)

Customer Reviews:

Now a new book credits the Irish language for influencing spoken English - and slang most of all

By Kevin Davitt - July 18, 2007

from the "Irish News", Belfast, July 18, 2007,

"It is a conundrum that has long confused scholars - why the Irish language seems to have had little influence on English as spoken in America. Millions of Irish emigrated to America but English as Americans now speak it appears devoid of Irish references - despite the reputation of the Irish for verbal creativity. Now a new book credits the Irish language for influencing spoken English - and slang most of all.

In How the Irish Invented Slang: the Secret Language of the Crossroads, Irish American academic Daniel Cassidy demonstrates that the influence of Irish emigrants on American existence went beyond pubs and politics.

"The words and phrases of Ireland are as woven into the clamour (glam mor, great howl, shout and roar) and racket (raic ard, loud melee) of American life as the hot jazz (teas, pron j'as, cd'as, heat, passion, excitement) of New Orleans."

Mr Cassidy hopes to waft the winds of... read more

A landmark contribution in spite of the braying of the academic mules

By Ken McCarthy - November 30, 2007

I'm sure this book is full of scholarly errors.

However, clearly there are many, many American words related to gambling, physical labor, violence, conversation, affection, poverty etc. that the professional scholars cannot - or have not bothered - to trace. Reality dictates these words had to have come from SOMEWHERE.

Where did they come from then? There isn't an infinite number of potential sources.

If these words did not come from native languages, Spanish, French, German or Dutch, maybe, just maybe they came from one of the biggest waves of immigrants ever to hit American shores.

Is that such a leap of logic?

How is it these scholars can trace some words back thousands of years, but words that sprung up in the 19th and early 20th century in America remain "of obscure origin?"

The problem is, of course, that there wasn't a whole lot of vernacular writing going on in the US when most of these words came to be and were... read more

What a charming book

By Peter F. Winch "pw" - January 18, 2010

Here you will find an introduction to the Irish language through a discussion of American slang and Irish-American history with a very inventive and inclusive spirit. Certain words and phrases common in every day speech will make a lot more sense once you have considered Cassidy's insights, and the Irish language will seem less distant and unapproachable. I recommend this book to any word maven and to anyone interested in the Irish-American experience and roots.

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