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Hiberno-English is the form of the English language used in Ireland.

The standard spelling and grammar are the same as British English but, especially in the spoken language there are some unique characteristics.

Table of contents
1 Vocabulary Derived From Irish
2 Grammar Derived From Irish
3 Preservation of Older English usage

Vocabulary Derived From Irish

Grammar Derived From Irish

Like other Celtic languages, Irish has no words for "yes" and "no", instead the verb in a question is repeated in an answer. People in Ireland have a tendency to use this pattern of avoiding "yes" or "no" when speaking English:

  • "Are you finished debugging that software?" "I am."
  • "Is your mobile charged?" "It is."

Irish verbs have two present tenses, one indicating what is occurring at this instant and another used for continuous actions. For example, 'you are now' is tá tú anois (literally 'are you now'), but 'you are every day' is bíonn tú gach lá (literally 'be you each day').

Irish speakers of English use a "does be/do be" (or "bes", although less frequently) construction to indicate this latter continuous present:

  • "He does be coding every day."
  • "They do be talking on their mobiles a lot."
  • "They bes doing a lot of work at school."

Irish uses the same phrase tar eis to mean "after" and as a modifier on a verb to indicate that the activity is recently completed. As a result Irish people tend to use a construction where they use "after" as a verb modifier:
  • "I am just after rebooting the computer just a few minutes ago."

It is also common to end sentences with 'no?' or 'yeah?'

  • "He's not coming today, no?" Níl sé ag teacht inniú, nach bhfuil?
  • "The bank's closed now, yeah?" Tá an banc dúnta anois, an bhfuil?

Irish English also always uses the "light l" sound, and the pronunciation of the letter 'h' as 'haitch' is standard.

When describing something, Irish people may describe this as something that is 'in it', which can also be translated into English as 'so it is'.

  • The day that is in it. An lá atá ann.
  • That's John, so it is. Is Seán e, atá ann.

A person or place may be described as being 'where it's at', as this is the translation of the verb to have:

  • That's where it's at. Sin e an ait atá sé aige.

Similarly, somebody who can speak a language, 'has' a language.

  • She doesn't have Irish. Níl Gaeilge aici.

Another idiom is this thing or that thing described as 'this here man ' or 'that there man ', which also features in Newfoundland English in Canada.

  • This here man. An fear seo.
  • That there man. An fear sin.

Preservation of Older English usage

The verb "to avail of" is common in Ireland, meaning to choose or get: Customers can avail of our new service. The verb "mitch" is common in Ireland indicating playing truant from school. This word appears in Shakespeare, but is seldom used anymore in British English, although pockets of usage persist in some rural areas.

For influence from Scotland see Ulster Scots.