6 everyday English words that only exist because of the Irish language
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6 everyday English words that only exist because of the Irish language

THE IRISH language has contributed greatly to modern-day English-- despite the fact that many people outside of Ireland are unaware that such a language even exists.

Since I moved abroad, the amount of people who have said "I thought Irish was just English with an accent" is astonishing, especially because phrases such as 'Póg mo thón' and 'Sláinte' are fairly well-known around the world.

There's also the fact that Northern Ireland hasn't had a government for more than two years, partly due to a row over the Irish Language Act.

So, we at the Irish Post thought it was high time the Irish language got the recognition it deserves.

Here are 7 everyday English words and phrases that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the Irish language.

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1 Tory

That's right, the British conservative party took their name from an Irish word. We're pretty sure they didn't know what it meant though, because it comes from the word tóraidhe (tore-aha) , meaning outlaw, and began as a word for Irish people who had been turned out of their homes by English settlers and were forced to live as thieves and robbers. Draw the parallels where you want.

2 So long

This one hasn't been proven, but many believe that 'so long' derives from the Irish slán (slawn), meaning goodbye. It makes sense due to the huge influx of Irish speakers to America during the famine in the 19th century. So long is likely an anglicized version of slán-- because let's face it, 'so long' makes absolutely no sense otherwise.

3 Do you dig it?

An old-fashioned phrase now, but hugely popular back in the day, using 'dig' to mean 'understand' came from the Irish An dtuigeann tú? (On diggin too?) which literally means 'Do you understand?'

4 Galore

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The only difference between Galore and the Irish Go leor is the spelling. It has the same pronunciation, the same meaning and is placed in the same part of the sentence. Like so: "Bhí ainmhithe go leor" becomes "There were animals galore".

5 Whiskey

Not to perpetuate tired Irish stereotypes or anything, but the Irish word for whiskey is Uisce Beatha (Ishka Baha) meaning 'Water of Life'. The Uisca part was eventually anglicised to become Whiskey, and in certain parts of Ireland it is still pronounced 'Whishkey'.

6 Slew

If you've ever read about a 'slew' of people getting up to shenanigans, you can thank the Irish language once again. Slew comes from the Irish 'sluaigh', which means a large amount of people.

English-speaking people are practically fluent in Irish and they don't even know it.

 

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