South-West Irish English

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Green approximately marks the South-West Irish English dialect region.

South-West Irish English (also known as South-West Hiberno-English) is a class of broad varieties of English spoken in Ireland's South-West Region (the historic province of Munster). Within Ireland, the varieties are best associated with either the urban working class of the South-West or traditional rural Ireland in general, and they are popularly identified by their specific city or county, such as Cork English, Kerry English, or Limerick English.

Phonology[edit]

Among speakers in the South-West alone (famously Cork, Kerry, or Limerick), the vowel of DRESS raises to [ɪ] when before /n/ or /m/ (a pin–pen merger)[1] and sentences may show a unique intonation pattern. This intonation is a slightly higher pitch followed by a significant drop in pitch on stressed long-vowel syllables (across multiple syllables or even within a single one),[2] which is popularly heard in rapid conversation, by other English speakers, as an undulating "sing-song" quality.[3]

Among older speakers, /s/ and /z/ may respectively be pronounced as /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ before a consonant, so fist sounds like fished, castle like cashle, and arrest like arresht.[4]

Certain South-West features may also exist in Ireland outside that region, but typically only in rural areas. An example is the backing, slight lowering, and perhaps rounding of MOUTH towards [ɐʊ~ʌʊ~ɔʊ], so that, to a Dublin or General American speaker, about nears the sound of a boat. The consonants /θ/ and /ð/ (as in thick and those), which are typically dental in other Irish English varieties, are traditionally alveolar: [t] and [d], respectively (thus, thick and those merge to the sound of tick and doze). GOAT and FACE are preserved as long monophthongs: [oː] and [eː], respectively. These varieties are all rhotic, as most Irish accents are, though the /r/ sound is specifically a velarised alveolar approximant: [ɹˠ].[5] (Among some very traditional South-West speakers, other possible /r/ variants include a "tapped R", the alveolar tap [ɾ] (About this soundlisten), or even a "uvular R", the voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] (About this soundlisten), in rural south-central Ireland.[6])

Features shared with both rural Irish English and working-class Dublin English include the vowels in LOT, CLOTH, NORTH and THOUGHT having a more open starting point and lacking a rounded quality: [ɑ~ä]. Furthermore, for all these varieties, PRICE and CHOICE may also lack a rounded quality, the lexical set START is very fronted ([æːɹ]), the /h/ may be dropped before /j/ (hue pronounced like you), a distinction remains between tern and turn,[7] and <w> and <wh> remain separate sounds.

Grammar[edit]

South-West Irish English allows the use of a do be habitual aspect. Examples include I do be thinking about it or she does be late, whereas more standard English constructions of those sentences are I think about it (often) or she is late (usually).[8]

Non-canonical constituent order is also possible, in which a sentence may be arranged as Thinking to steal a few eggs I was (rather than I was thinking to steal a few eggs), in order to give the first clause salience or emphasis.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hickey (2007:313)
  2. ^ Hickey (2007:309)
  3. ^ "Learn English in Cork City & County" Archived 15 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Language Travel Ireland: Learn English by Living It. Language Travel Ireland, InnovationWorks, National Technology Park, Limerick, Ireland. 2010.
  4. ^ Wells, John C. 1982. Accents of English: Volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 425.
  5. ^ Hickey, Raymond (2007). Irish English: History and present-day forms. Cambridge University Press. pp. 14-15, 320.
  6. ^ Hickey, Raymond (1985). "R-Coloured vowels in Irish English". Journal of the International Phonetic Association, Vol. 15, No. 2. p. 45.
  7. ^ Hickey, 1985, p. 54.
  8. ^ Shimada, Tamami (2013). "The do be Form in Southwest Hiberno-English and its Linguistic Enquiries". Tokyo University Linguistic Papers 33: 255-271.
  9. ^ Shimada, Tamami (2010). "What grammatical features are more marked in Hiberno-English?: a survey of speakers’ awareness and its primary details." Bulletin of Graduate School of Social and Cultural Systems at Yamagata University 7: 8-10.
  • Hickey, Raymond (2007). Irish English: History and Present-Day Forms. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-85299-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)