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200Reviews A Dictionary ofHiberno-English. 1999. Compiled and edited by Terence Patrick Dolan. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. Pp. xxiv +311. Terence Patrick Dolan, the editor and author of numerous publications on the Irish variety of English, has compiled and edited an extensive Dictionary of Hiberno-English (DHE). Hiberno-English (HE) is "the language of everyday use in Ireland, a mixture of Irish (which is enshrined in the Constitution as 'the first official language') and English ('a second official language')" (xix). This language has its own grammar and vocabulary. The grammar of HE has recently been investigated comprehensively by Filppula (1999), whereas Dolan provides an excellent lexicographical study of the language , together with a concise grammatical and historical sketch. DHE opens with a brief forward (ix-xi) by Tom Paulin, who writes very emotionally and personally about "placing words in the landscape" and "discovering old friends." The foreword is followed by a list of abbreviations and symbols (xv-xvi) and a pronunciation scheme (xvii) , based on the IPA and employing all relevant diacritical marks. The incorporation of information on the pronunciation of individual lexical items, often missing from publications on Irish English, is a significant feature of this book, especially important for users outside of Ireland. In the introduction (xix-xxix) , Dolan describes the structure and origin of HE vocabulary, and states that the "main intention of this dictionary is to make accessible the common word stock of Hiberno-English in both its present and past forms, oral and literary" (xix). The introduction contains a brief outline of HE grammar, "a grammar of its own, which comprises a mixture of Standard English grammar, non-literary usage, and patterns derived from Irish grammar" (xxvi), as well as a note on the history of the English language in Ireland. In Dolan's own words, the "dictionary records the linguistic wealth of Hiberno-English speakers, to whom it is dedicated" (xxix) . Entries include information on pronunciation, alternative forms of headwords (these often show Anglicized spellings of the Irish source forms), part of speech labels, the full range of meanings, sources (identified at the end of the book) and appropriate quotations, derivations (from Irish or other languages ) , and cross-references to other relevant entries. Two sample entries are quoted below: ban /bo:n/ n., adj., 1. White (see bawn1). 2. A white cow (see bánaí). 3 (Unploughed) grassland, lea (SOM, Kerry); an enclosed field for cows before milking; a heard of cows (see bawn2) < Ir. 'Bring the cows up to the bawn, I'll milk them myself — it's getting very late' (Kerry) . soft /sDift/, /soft/ adj., misty and rainy (usage influenced by Ir bog, soft and wet): overgenerous, lenient, gullible; slightly retarded or 'simple' (GF, Galway). 'It's a fine soft morning'; Reviews201 'Soft day!' (a common greeting). Joyce, Finnegans Wake, 619.20: "Soft morning, city!" The entries provide comprehensive information on grammar and word-formation , concentrating mainly on the differences between Standard English and HE. Entries for the verbs be, do, and have include extensive notes on their characteristic features and the syntax of relevant constructions. Quotations illustrate the usage of be with progressive verbs ("Be starting your tea, otherwise it'll get cold"), and do expressing the habitualness of an action or state ("I do be here everyday"), whereas the entry for 'have' mentions the consequences of the absence of have in Irish for HE syntax, among them the existence of constructions with separation of verb and past participle ("He's not nice when he has drink taken"). Prepositions (after, at, of, on, with) also receive thorough treatment, as do, unsurprisingly, the adverbs yes and no. In the entry for no, Dolan quotes Gerard Manley Hopkins: "Everyone in the country parts and most markedly the smallest children, if asked a question, answer it without yes or no. 'Where you at school on Friday?' ? was, sir' " (185). The material in this entry, not only illustrates the adverbs, but also comments on their usage from the perspective of Standard English. DHE is unusually helpful on grammatical points of interest: various entries indicate the rare use of whether in indirect questions, the frequent omission of the relative pronouns that and who, the influence of Irish usage upon the verb put, or treat the adverbial phrase in it 'in existence, alive, present', the reflexive itself, etc. The influence of Irish on all of these HE constructions is clearly manifest. The dictionary also includes such Irish items as the verb tá ('is, are') and the vocative particle a. The usage of the latter in terms of endearment and address gives rise to numerous forms with Anglicized spelling, reflecting to some degree the original pronunciation, for example, achree /a'xri:/ < Ir a chroi 'dear', agrá /a'gro:/ (also agradh, agraw) < Ir a ghrá 'love', aneen /a'nim/ < Ir a inton 'daughter', aroon /a'ru:n/ < Ir a run 'loved one', and avick /a'vik/ < Ir a mhic 'son'. Three entries in DHE are devoted to suffixes productive in HE word-formation : - een, -er, and -o. The diminutive suffix -een (representing Ir -in) occurs in Irish borrowings, for instance, boreen 'small road, narrow lane, byroad' (< Ir bóithrín), coUeen 'a girl' (< Ir caiUn), shebeen 'a place where alcoholic drinks are sold illegally' (< Ir sibin); it is also added to personal names (e.g., Cathken, Pegeen, Torneen), and may be attached to English words producing hybrid forms (e.g., maneen, girleen, squireen, careen, whiken). Connotations of words with this suffix range from mere smallness, through affection, to disparagement and contempt. Interesting examples are provided by the forms jackeen and shoneen, where the process of commonization is followed by diminutivization. Additionally , though the words are morphologically similar, in die first case, an English item takes the Anglicized version of the suffix (-een) , in the second, diminutivization takes place first in Irish, and HE borrows the derived form: 202Reviews jackeen ?. (pejor.), a self-assertive Dubliner with pro-British leanings < Jack, familiar name forJohn Bull, nickname for an Englishman (...) + dimin. suffix -een. shoneen n. (pejor.), a person more interested in English language customs than Irish ones, (...) < Ir Seon,John (as a typical English name) + dimin. suffix -in. The radical effect of diminutive suffixes in Irish is most clearly visible in the following examples, where in the first case the conjunction becomes a diminutive noun, and in the second, where the illustrative quotation presents an amazing aggregation of diminutive elements: aguisin n., a little extra, a small addition < Ir < agus 'and' + dimin. suffix -in. bodachán n., dimin. of bodach (robust countryman; clumsy fellow) < Ir. 'He was a horrible small little bodachán of a maneen.' The familiarizing suffix -o is especially common in Dublin colloquial speech, for example, defo 'definitely', mono 'monastery', seco 'secondary school', and also in personal names, such as Dekko 'Decían' andJacko. Another suffix common in the HE of Dublin is - er, used in coining nicknames, as in Aler 'Alsatian dog' and the Backers 'fields at the back of a housing estate'. Within the HE lexicon one can distinguish items of Irish origin, English dialectal words, words which have preserved old meaning or developed new ones only in Ireland (and under the influence of Irish) , local words, and borrowings from other languages. An interesting example of a loan from another Celtic language is provided by the word flummery 'a kind of porridge' < Welsh llymru. A separate category is formed by derived, or secondary, loans. These are loans from English into Irish, reintroduced later into HE, for example, crack 'entertaining conversation' (Ir craic < ModE crack < ME crak 'loud conversation , bragging talk'), filloon 'a villain' (Ir feikon < E felon), and sup 'a small quantity (of liquid) ; to sip' (Ir sup < ME supen) . DHE records not only words, but also phrases, proverbs, and sayings, for instance, bad feeder 'an animal that consumes a lot of fodder but puts on relatively little weight', and (in the) heel of the hunt 'finally, in the end; in conclusion ', and the phrase made famous by Flann O'Brien's satire: poor mouth 'the habit of pretending poverty' < Ir béai bocht. The entry for cat provides a number of Irish proverbs: 'The cat likes fish but doesn't like getting his feet wet', 'It's to suit himself that the cat purrs', 'What else would the cat's son do but kill a mouse?', among others. The dictionary notes some purely literary forms. One of the most unusual is the very last item: zooteac, cross-referred to Reviews203 teach 'house; building', which includes the following quotation from Joyce's Finnegans Wake (56.22-3): "lift wearywilly his slowcut snobsic eyes to the semisigns of his zooteac." It has already been observed that all entries include phonetic information ; in some cases, as in the following, there are extra notes on distinctive pronunciation : wurrum /'WAiam/ n., HE pronunciation of 'worm', representing the epenthetic (inserted) vowel sound that would occur with the same combination of letters in Irish. Additionally, there is a separate entry for th, which represents the HE dental stop and is sometimes substituted for 'f /t/ (and vice versa), and an entry for e, since the letter e is often pronounced in HE with the same sound as 'i'/i/. Special mention must be made of numerous entries dealing with culture , history, religion, and politics. As Dolan observes, the characteristics of HE "reflect the political, cultural, and linguistic history of the two nations, Ireland and England" (xix). Some of the more interesting include entries as varied as the following: Black and Tans 'irregular British force developed against the IRA', Children of Mary 'name given to members of the Sodalities of the Blessed Virgin Mary', the Famine 'the Great Famine, 1845-1848', hedge-school 'makeshift school, often under a hedge or wall, for teaching Catholics during the period when the English made it illegal for Catholics to be educated', and tally-stick 'stick hung around children's necks in national schools in the 19th century, marked with a notch every time a child spoke Irish'. Notions like these are important for understanding the history of Ireland, and since the entries provide relevant background explanations and additional references, their inclusion makes DHE an invaluable tool for everybody interested in Irish history, literature, and politics. Different aspects of social life are represented by such words as arnoun 'visiting at night' < Ir airneán, céilí 'informal visit, party' < Ir, coorjeeking 'visiting , rambling' < Ir cuairdtocht, souper 'Catholic who adopted the Protestant faith in return for food during the Great Famine', and by acronyms, such as DART 'Dublin Area Rapid Train', PP 'parish priest', and TD 'member of parliament ' < Ir teachta Dala. Further examples of words of socio-historical importance include commonizations of proper names, as in boycott and lynching , in which entries Dolan also provides historical background: boycott n., v., refusal to cooperate; to exclude from all social or commercial intercourse (...) < Capt. Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832-1897), landowner and Mayo agent of Lord Erne, or Corrymore House, near Lough Mask, Co. Mayo, whose oppressed tenants and workmen as well as local business -people embarked on a celebrated policy of non-cooperation on his estate in the autumn of 1880; he left Ireland for good in 1886. 204Reviews lynching v.u., hanging a person for a supposed offence other than in accordance with the law. Two explanations are offered , one American and one Irish. In 1686 James Lynch of Piedmont, Virginia, was appointed to conduct trials on an informal basis because the nearest law court was some distance away (hence 'Lynch law'); in 1526 James Lynch Fitz-Stephen, warden (mayor) of Galway, passed sentence of death on his own son on his being found guilty of murder. Also used figuratively : 'She'll have me lynched unless I get back from the pub before she goes to bed.' The dictionary's backmatter includes both "Sources" (294-300) and "Bibliography" (301-311). The sources are divided as literary and non-literary: among the former one finds works by, among others, Samuel Beckett, Roddy Doyle, Maria Edgeworth, Seamus Heaney, James Joyce, Flan O'Brien, Bram Stoker, W. B. Yeats, whereas the latter include personal contacts, as well as vocabulary lists and glossaries. The bibliography is comprehensive and up to date; one might add, however, references to Macafee's A Concise Uhter Dictionary (1996), and the collection of papers on Irish English edited by Kallen (1997). Additionally, Harris's (1993) article on the grammar of Irish English, mentioned in the introduction (xxiii and xxvi), is missing from the bibliography . DHE is a major contribution to HE lexicography, a rich source of information on language contact in Ireland, and an important tool for writers, translators and scholars interested in Irish culture, history, and politics. One can only agree with Tom Paulin's assessment: "This dictionary is both quarry and cairn, it is a living resource which connects us with the spoken language and die printed language. I admire its richness and plenitude and the long years of painstaking scholarly work that have gone into its compilation" (xi). Piotr Stalmaszczyk Lodz University References Filppula, M. 1999. The Grammar ofIrish English: Language in Hibernian Style. London and New York: Routledge. Harris, J. 1993. "The Grammar of Irish English." In Real English: The Grammar ofEnglish Diakcts in the British Isks, edited by J. Milroy and L. Milroy, 139-186. London: Longman. Kallen, J., ed. 1997. Focus on Ireland. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins . Macafee, C. I., ed. 1996. A Concise UhterDictionary. Oxford: Oxford UP. 0 Muirithe, D. 1996. A Dictionary ofAnglo-Irish: Words and Phrasesfrom Gaelic in the English ofIreland. Dublin: Four Courts Press. ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 200-204
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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