An Irish Lexicography
When reading Love and Summer, American readers will encounter many Irish words and phrases with which they may not be familiar. What follows is a list of some of these, highlighted within a sentence from the book, along with the accompanying definition. Definitions come from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
1. By the time the stairs had been hoovered, tea-towels hung up to dry and the daily girl sent home, it was evening.(8)
Vaccuumed (used throughout the British Isles).
2. 'I'm sorry,' she said, turning to face him. 'Arrah, it doesn't matter' (18).
An expletive expressing emotion or excitement, common in Anglo-Irish speech.
3. He hadn't noticed the ring he saw when he looked for it now - so skimpy, so unemphatic on her finger it could have come out of a Hallowe'en barm brack (85).
Currant bun/fruit bread.
4. The Wolsey (Ireland) man enquired as to the availability of black pudding this morning and Miss Connulty said there was plenty (103).
A kind of sausage made of blood and suet, sometimes with the addition of flour or meal - a traditional breakfast staple in the British Isles.
5. 'His wife's being bothered by a scut you wouldn't give tuppence for, and the state she's in you'd hardly get a word out of her' (107).
A term of contempt for a person.
6. Today they would climb higher than they had when they'd been to Gortalassa before: they hoped to reach the corrie lakes (135).
The name given to a more or less circular hollow on a mountain side, surrounded with steep slopes or precipices except at the lowest part, whence a stream usually flows.
7. 'And when himself and the stableman went they found the two in Portumna by the river, in lodgings where spalpeens would stay, or labouring men on the repair of a road' (152).
1. A common workman or labourer; a farm-worker or harvester.
2. Used contemptuously: A low or mean fellow; a scamp, a rascal.
8. They passed Gahagan's gate, beside the old milk-churn platform that was falling to bits, then the turn-off to the boreen that was the way up to the hills, difficult in winter when a flood came down it (156).
A lane, a narrow road; also transf. an opening in a crowd. (Used only when Irish subjects are referred to.)
This article was originally published in October 2009, and has been updated for the
October 2010 paperback release.
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