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To James Smith




Dear Smith, the sleest, pawkie thief
That eer attempted stealth or rief!
Ye surely hae some warlock-brief

Owre human hearts;
For ne'er a bosom yet was prief

Against your arts.

For me, I swear by sun and moon,
And every star that blinks aboon,
Yeve cost me twenty pair oshoon

Just gaun to see you;
And evry ither pair thats done

Mair taen Im wi you...

Here sleest meant 'slyest, pawkie cunning, sly, rief robbery, warlock-brief wizards contract (with the devil), prief proof, aboon

1 Jespersen O. Language, Its Nature, Development and Origin. London, 1949. P. 68.


above, shoon shoes. The other dialect words differing only in pronunciation from their English counterparts (owre : : over; mair : : more) are readily understood.

The poetic features of Anglo-Irish may be seen in the plays by J.M. Synge and Sean ΒCasey. The latters name is worth an explanation in this connection. O is Gaelic and means of the clan of. Cf. Mac the Gaelic for son found in both Scottish and Irish names.1 Sean, also spelled Shawn and pronounced [So:n], is the Irish for John.

Some traits of Anglo-Irish may be observed in the following lines from The Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge: Ive told my story no place till this night, Pegeen Mike, and its foolish I was here, maybe, to be talking free, but youre decent people, I'm thinking, and yourself a kindly woman, the way I was not fearing you at all.

Pegeen exemplifies the diminutive suffix found in Standard English only in loan-words. The emphatic personal pronoun yourself appears in a non-appositional construction. Cf. also It was yourself started it (OCasey). The main peculiarities concern syntax, and they are reflected in some form words. The concrete connective word the way substitutes the abstract conjunction so that. Cf. also the time that, the while for when, and all times for always. E.g.: Id hear himself snoring out a loud, lonesome snore hed be making all times, the while he was sleeping, and he a mand be raging all times the while he was waking (Synge). The Anglo-Irish of J.M. Synge, however, should not be taken as a faithful reproduction of real speech, as it is imbued with many romantic poetic archaisms.

Words from dialects and variants may penetrate into Standard English. The Irish English gave, for instance, blarney n flattery, bog n a spongy, usually peaty ground of marsh. This word in its turn gave rise to many derivatives and compounds, among them bog-trotter, the ironical nickname for Irishman. Shamrock (a trifoliate plant, the national emblem of Ireland) is a word used quite often, and so is the noun whiskey.

The contribution of the Scottish dialect is very considerable. Some of the most frequently used Scotticisms are: bairn child, billy chum, bonny handsome, brogue a stout shoe, glamour charm, laddie, lassie, kilt, raid, slogan, tartan, wee, etc.

A great deal in this process is due to Robert Burns who wrote his poems in Scottish English, and to Walter Scott who introduced many Scottish words into his novels.


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: 2015-09-13; : 85; !;





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