Seventeenth-century colonist English was received by an Irish- speaking population and remodelled on a Gaelic template. The two languages shaded into each other structurally, giving rise to a hybrid – Irish English. Two major varieties emerged: northern and southern. Southern Irish English examines the second of these.
This readable account of its origin, development, and current status begins with a synopsis of its history and nomenclature, then reviews its major categories, including vocabulary, forms, sounds, syntax and meaning. The rest of the book comprises a series of illustrative texts, with commentary and analysis. Most selections are modern, but the earliest (Text 1 and its appendices) give an insight into the pluralist culture of Irish-Norman society and the fraught relationship between natives and newcomers. Texts 3 and 4 give English and Anglo-Irish perspectives on linguistic and related developments taking place in a politically-charged colonial context.
The remaining texts show the new national vernacular in its colloquial vigour, a state of being now giving way to a more standardised and eclectic but less organic confection
Séamas Moylan is a native of Thomastown, County Kilkenny. He attended local national school and Kilkenny CBS, and earned degrees from Iona College in New York, the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. and the NUI. Formerly a lecturer at University College Galway and now retired, he lives in Cois Fharraige. His academic interests are medieval literature and modern linguistics.