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Reviews243 A First Glossary of Hiberno-English. Lis Christensen. Odense, Denmark: Odense University Press, 1996. Pp. 144. The language of Anglo-Irish literature has been the subject of numerous studies (e.g., Todd 1989) , also die language of individual authors has been thoroughly examined (e.g., Kiberd 1979 on Synge, Wales 1992 on Joyce, etc.). However, the vocabulary of this literature has always been a troublesome and radier neglected issue. One of the main problems for a newcomer to diis field was, until recently, lack of a dictionary explaining peculiarities of the language . In this situation the glossary compiled by Lis Christensen and published in the Odense University Press ISK Studieboger series is a welcome study aid. A First Ghssary ofHiberno-English (FGH-E) opens with a list of abbreviations , a short Preface, and selected bibliography. In the Preface Christensen sets the goal and expresses the hope that the book will "prove to be a helpmeet to general readers and students outside Ireland" (7). Hiberno-English is equated here with Irish-English and Anglo-Irish; in FGH-E one of the meanings of Anglo-Irish is given as "of the English language spoken in Ireland, = Hiberno-English" (21). This move requires some explanation, especially as Hiberno-English is often defined as "a variety of English employed mainly by uneducated speakers whose ancestral mother tongue was Irish" (Todd 1989, 36) , whereas Anglo-Irish is treated as "a variety of English spoken over most of Ireland" (32). Christensen does not explain these differences and uses the term Hiberno-English as equivalent to "the Irish variety of English," noting, though, that for the purpose of FGH-E, Hiberno-English "is considered as if it were one homogeneous language" (9). The bibliography lists only 14 items, understandably and justifiably omitting specialized articles; however, the books mentioned above (Kiberd, Todd, Wales) should have been included. The introduction (9-14) provides necessary background information on sounds, spellings, and symbols used in transcriptions (in the case of Irish forms the autiior follows FocloirPoca, Dublin 1986). The short chapter on the two languages in Ireland (15-18) discusses, very briefly, the socio-historical developments (including the changes in status ) of Irish Gaelic and English in Ireland, and remarks on Hiberno-English as a medium of literature. FGH-E includes more than 600 headwords, together with explanations of meaning and sample sentences from Irish literature and newspapers. Words of Gaelic origin carry additional information on form, pronunciation, derivation and meaning, for example: agraTerm of endearment (from Irish voc. of gra /gra:/ = love bawneen A loose whitish jacket of home-made undyed flannel (from Irish ¿>a¿ra>i/ba:n'i:n'/, from ban /ba:n/ = white + dimin. Entries in FGH-E range across various semantic fields, including folklore : for example, banshee, leprechaun, Lughnasa (to mention the most popular 244Reviews items only), literature and culture: aisling 'vision poem', amhran 'song', file 'poet, esp. in Ancient Ireland', Ogham 'ancient alphabet', ollav 'man of learning , master poet', etc.; everyday life: fori 'thin oatmeal cake' (< Old English), mich 'to play truant' (apparently from Old French), pampootie 'shoe of untanned hide' (immortalized by Synge in The Aran Islands); also popular items connected with drinking are recorded: poteen and shebeen. As expected, vocabulary describing various aspects of nature is well represented, for example: bog, chon 'meadow', drumlin, froccan 'bilberry', glen, kelp, salley 'willow' (cf. W.B. Yeats' famous poem "Down by the Salley Gardens") , etc. A considerable portion of the vocabulary is devoted to words connected widi the political and social history of Ireland: Orange, Pah, Plantation, Six Counties, Troubles, etc. Knowledge of this vocabulary is required for a proper understanding of Irish history and contemporary affairs. Because one of the aims of FGH-E is to facilitate reading Irish newspapers, numerous items — with appropriate explanations — refer to Irish institutions and organizations: An Post (The Irish Postal Service), An Taisce (Ireland's conservation body), Bord Faute (the Tourist Board), Christian Brothers (lay teaching order), DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking district), Garda (police, policeman ), etc. The entry for GPO may be quoted here as an illustrative example: GPO = General Post Office. The GPO in Dublin's Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street) was the headquarters of the Rising in 1916, and the scerie of the insurgents' last stand. FGH-E also notes words that might be called the "Hiberno-English false-friends of Standard English." These meanings originate in Gaelic, where one word requires two or more English substitutes to cover its different denotations : the Gaelic word garrai means both 'garden' and 'small (enclosed) field', which results in the Hiberno-English usage of 'garden' in both these senses. Similarly Gaelic dana ('bold', 'audacious', 'forward') influenced the Hiberno-English usage of bold with the meaning of 'naughty' (the etymology is provided by Christensen only in the latter case) . Inclusion of such items is especially welcome as they very often cause problems with accurate interpretation of literary texts. The authors quoted in FGH-E include 19th-century figures (e.g., Maria Edgeworth, Sheridan Le Fanu, James Clarence Mangan), major authors from the first half of the 20th century (e.g., Lady Augusta Gregory, James Joyce, John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats) , as well as contemporary novelists (e.g., Iris Murdoch, Roddy Doyle, William Trevor), playwrights (e.g., Brian Friel) and poets (e.g., Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin); also scholars, critics and essayists are well represented (e.g., Robin Flower, Benedict Kiely). The earliest quotations come from Edmund Spenser and Jonathan Swift (inventor of the word yahoo 'brutish person') . The full list of quoted authors (together with relevant dates, but unfortunately not titles) is provided at the end of the book (143-44). Reviews245 The volume concludes with an appendix offering notes on stereotypes and the Stage Irishman and additionally 1 1 small illustrations (with pictures of, among others, the Celtic Cross, Round Tower, Sheela-na-gig, Ogham Stone, Cromlech , Curragh). Strangely enough, however, the respective headwords do not refer the reader to these illustrations. Lis Christensen's First Glossary ofHiberno-English fills to some extent the gap in Anglo-Irish lexicography and will serve many students of Anglo-Irish literature (not only newcomers). For those interested in more detailed lexicological studies the very much awaited and ambitious A Condse UhterDictionary (Macafee 1996) is already available. References Kiberd, Decían. 1979. Synge and the Irish Language. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littiefield. Macafee, Caroline, ed. 1996. A Condse UlsterDictionary. Oxford: Oxford UP. Todd, Loreto. 1989. The Language ofIrish Literature. Houndmills and London: Macmillan. Wales, Katie. 1992. The Language ofJamesJoyce. New York: St. Martin's Press. A Dictionary ofAnglo-Irish: Words and Phrasesfrom Gaelic in the English ofIreland. Diarmaid Ó Muirithe. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1996. Pp. 240. The last two years have seen publication of three important dictionaries presenting different aspects of the varieties of English spoken in Ireland: a selective glossary of Hiberno-English (Christensen 1996), a comprehensive survey of the Ulster dialect (Macafee 1996), and the reviewed volume. Diarmaid O Muirithe, the editor of The English Language in Ireland (Cork, Ireland: Mercier 1997) and author of, among other things, several minor contributions to Anglo-Irish lexicography, has compiled an impressive collection of Irish (Gaelic) words and phrases used in the English of Ireland. In a quote from professor Henry's 1973 radio lecture, 'Anglo-Irish' is defined as "a rural variety compounded of Irish and English or Irish and Scots. This developed chiefly in the last century and a half ..." (11). Given that terms like 'Anglo-Irish', 'Hiberno -English', and 'Irish-English' carry different implications and are variously defined, the cover term, used in the subtitle of the dictionary, 'the English of Ireland', is very helpful. The book opens with a short introduction (11-16), in which Ó Muirithe quotes at length P.L. Henry, the great authority on the linguistic situation in Ireland, and briefly discusses the form and pronunciation of Irish words in Anglo-Irish. This is followed by a list of abbreviations identifying the sources of quotations (17-20), the main body of the dictionary (21-204), bibliography (205-10), and a very useful index of all the words, i.e., the Irish entries , variants, and the Anglicized forms (211-40). ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 243-245
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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