Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What the feck?

It may surprise you to know that 'feck' isn't a bad word. Certainly not like its country cousin with the 'u'. It's a nuance of language here that a word can be made appropriate for general conversation just by changing a letter. One of the first times I heard feck was when a friend, a very serious and exemplary mother by all standards, used it in conversation with the kids within earshot. She would never have said you know what instead as that would be improper. Shite is another example of this. Add the 'e' and you can say it all day long.

There's also a national obsession with talking about fairness. You hear constant refrains of 'in fairness', ' to be fair', 'fair play to ya'. Usually the first two are given as excuses when someone is complaining about something or to soften the blow when things don't go your way. For example, a certain airline loses your luggage after a missed connection and a day at the airport with 3 kids and when you complain….'in fairness we all travel and have had this happen' or 'to be fair, you're not the only ones this happened to'. This is very unhelpful as it makes no difference whether someone else's luggage was lost last week because I have no clean knickers right now! You'll get 'fair play to ya' when you've done something well or succeeded at something surprising; like if you complained about your lost luggage and they upgraded you to business class for the long-haul flight. (Unfortunately that's not what happened).

One of my favorites is 'come here'. Let me explain. When (usually) women are talking and there's something needing emphasis or to change topics or to subtly break off from the conversation they say come here. The first few times I heard it I thought I was supposed to step closer. "But I'm standing right next to you now." I would think. 'Come here' is often accompanied by 'and wait 'til I tell ya'. This means gossip and it's probably going to be good. The 'come here' when it's time to keep walking or hang up the phone is like this, "So, come here, where're ya off ta?" or "So, come here, I'll see you at half two".

So, come here, here's a list of some Irishisms and their meanings. Please feel free to amend or add your own as I'm sure not to remember them all.

Yer man/woman—that guy/lady

Ye—ya'll or you guys



Cop onto yourself—get a grip

Twig—figure something out

Straightaway—right now


Make strange—stranger anxiety, for babies



Rub out—erase

Thanks a million/mill—thanks




Wagon—a bi*ch












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