Mar 012010
 

When I was a kid, the Christian Brothers decided they should improve us.

And so they employed an appalling old snob as an elocution teacher for the brutal spawn of the hoi-polloi: namely, us.

I suspect the good brothers were a little envious of the nuns, who had for years had been imposing a bizarre and unnatural manner of speaking on the  girls  passing through their care.  Indeed, if you listen carefully, you can detect a distinct nun-accent in a certain slice of Irish society.  I notice it in one or two of the weather forecasters on telly, victims of the nunochanical speech tyranny, invented years before Stephen Hawking made it funny.

Nunelocution will have no truck with natural rhythms of speech, nor with the accent your parents grew up using.  What’s more, if your parents are the wrong sort, they don’t want you speaking like they did either.

Sad, but I digress.

The Christian Brothers — a grim cadre of sexually-frustrated zealots — decided that we inner-city urchins should adopt the manner and speech of our betters, and so they employed the depressing old snob to drill sophistication into us.

Unfortunately, the miserable old snob had the sophistication and education of  a toilet brush, but had one single rigid conviction: our accent was bad.

Why was our accent bad?  This was never explained.

If the miserable old snob worked on our diction and delivery, we would probably all have benefited, but the boring old snob had other things in mind, and drilled into us an insane elocutionary mantra that still makes me laugh to this day.  And to this day, I speak with the accent of my childhood, though with overlays from all the places I have lived.

Why would it be otherwise?  There’s nothing wrong with my accent, and I’m proud of it, and I can speak as well — in public or private — as anyone else.  Better than some.  Certainly better  than self-conscious old snobs or robotic convent girls.

In a broader sense, I think the miserable old snob was Ireland in microcosm, imposing outdated rules from Victorian reprints of etiquette books on the working-class youth of a working-class town.  And I think the dreadful old snob was incapable of understanding that our working-class parents were well-read, cultured people in their own right.

That didn’t fit the profile.

Ireland of the insecurities.

The late John O Donoghue — and I do not refer to our former Ceann Comhairle — often cited the Irish penchant for denying anything that  would identify us culturally.  First we abandoned our language, and then, systematically over the last fifty or so years, we have actively dismantled our regional accents.

Probably the most ear-grinding example of this, to my mind, is the Roadwatch accent, a clear example of cultural insecurity.  This accent, which is only about twenty years old,  has its origins in Dublin, and more particularly in the children of skilled working class Dubliners.  I was present in Dublin during the transition when this accent emerged and it represents an entire generation’s attempt to disguise the nice accent they got from their parents, by turning it into a gruesome melange of English and American vowels, but without success.

It hurts my brain to hear these people force their jaw into the shape that says rangd-abangt instead of roundabout, but it hurts my brain even more to realise that people all over the country speak like this even if they have never been near Dublin.

Why do kids in Kerry and Donegal speak with newly-created, and fake, accents from Dublin?

By the way, the Roadwatch rangd-abangt accent isn’t the same as the Dort accent, which has its origins in the heavily British-accented suburbs of south Dublin, and  which evolved into something entirely new by its interaction with both UCD and nearby RTE.

How do you persuade an entire country to be ashamed of their accent?

I think you do it the same way that you persuade them to associate their language with poverty, lack of opportunity and outmoded ways.  This is how the Irish language withered away, and how Irish missionaries persuaded their African converts to speak English.

And  this was the mechanism by which we came to believe that we must speak the same as certain people who lived in certain suburbs in a certain city.

The vector was RTE, which, in a spectacular act of cronyism and corruption,  employed its friends and neighbours and friends’ children and neighbours’ children.  It adopted a determined policy only to employ as presenters those people who spoke in the same way as its friends and neighbours in South Dublin, until eventually, by a process of osmosis, the entire population was persuaded that a certain arbitrarily-chosen accent was preferable to all others in Ireland.

There was no rational basis for this belief, but it was self-sustaining.  You didn’t get a job in the national broadcasting company unless you spoke in a certain way, and the broadcasting company was in a position to dictate to the people what was modern, exciting, glamorous, prosperous and sexy, even though Ireland in the early days of RTE didn’t know its arse from its elbow, and everyone’s idea of sophistication was a glass of sherry with your cabbage.

Why is all this?

I don’t know, but I’ll tell you what I think.

I think we never got over the shame of being us.  I think we’re just as insecure and lacking in confidence as we were a hundred years ago, and perhaps we’re even worse.  At least people a hundred years ago had the confidence to speak with the accents they grew up in, and commmunicate from the heart, unlike today, when everyone is sporting some sort of faux American-British confection that communicates nothing but embarrassment.

  93 Responses to “Elocution Lessons and The Loss of Local Irish Accents”

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  1.  

    All true BOCK, but she had a smashing pair of tits.

  2.  

    As infamous anti-semite, neo-nazi, and purveyor of drugs to orphen children, Tommy Tiernan once said in a show on his US tour,
    Some of you might have noticed that I say the F-word alot. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend you, but you have to understand that I’m an Irishman speaking English and, I dunno, it just doesn’t fit my soul. English, you see, is like a wall between you and me, and fuck is my chisel“.
    I might be paraphrasing a bit, but fine words none the less.

    At the same time, your post reminded me off when I was young, and all the girls (or the ones with snooty parents embibed by a sense of, at least ralative, sueriority) went to “speech and drama” classes. It seemed a strange and wonderous thing, this place were girls disappeared off to, only to come back as prononciation accordians. I remember our teacher making all the boys take turns going up to the top of the class to mumble out verses of a poem I remember only as being entitled “The Bumble Bee”, and then inviting the girls up to show us what a well rehearsed robot-like voice could make of it. In a way I’m glad of it. It taught me what expression was not.
    Turning a slow 359° back to the point, I think that it has alot to do with the homogenising trend of “your just not good enough” coupled with, “but you might be if [insert emotion inducing product here]” that pervades so many cultures now-a-days. Everything is bagels and croissants, ’cause porridge is so last century.
    I wonder if there is such a thing as the national personality, and what effect this could have on it. If we were to apply the same critique to an average Irish person, we might well conclude that this person is probably ratable as a highly functioning consumer zomie, so if a national personality exists, what does that make us?

  3.  

    I can not agree with you on this one. As I attend national conferences on a regular basis I am always struck with the variety of accents that such a small country has produced. Limerick, Cork, Galway, all very different and distinctive. Even in Dublin we have area accents , the D4 accent is ,in a lot of cases, genuine. That is how their parents and grandparents speak. Given that I am from Drumcondra myself I do not know where Bertie acquired his ”tems, tees , tous and yous” accent perhaps he feels it makes him more part of the people. I do agree that diversity in accent should be promoted and encouraged . The young seem to be going the Jedward “ O my God” way which is a pity.

  4.  

    I don’t doubt for a second that the D4 accent is genuine.

    It’s the derivatives I question, and in any case that isn’t really the point of the post.

  5.  

    ha ha unstranger, you wouldn’t care what she sounded like as long as she has nice assets hey.
    Might it have something to do with the world turning into a global village maybe? E.g. you could be in a tiny corner of Ireland dealing with yanks or brits all day.

  6.  

    Elocution classes were a regular part of the curriculum when I was getting ejimacated by the nuns, so I’m afraid I probably fall into the non-descript end of the accent continuum. In fact, I know I do. Nobody here in Canada can identify where I come from, they just know I’m not Canadian-born. But when I was growing up, in 1950s/60s Dublin, one of the biggest influences on the way we spoke was not RTE, but BBC Radio. In the absence of a television, we listened to The Goons, the Navy Lark, the Archers, etc. As a result, I and my older sister speak very differently from my two much younger siblings, who grew up watching programmes like Tolka Row on RTE. Because they weren’t a bit interested in the talking heads type of stuff, they managed not to acquire the Buhlvedur accent so beloved of our nation’s broadcasters at the time. There’s no mistaking either of them as anything other than Dublin Jackeens, and proud of it.

  7.  

    Declan Kiberd’s talked about this in one of his books – I can’t remember which. He says that we’ve had a historical willingness to cast off our identifying attributes if we reckon they’re holding us back. The language was shed in the nineteenth century, and it seems pretty clear that Catholicism is being ditched now. I suspect that the erosion of local accents may be a manifestation of the same phenomenon.

    For what it’s worth, though, it’s striking that even the most eroded of Irish accents – ones that are scarcely recognisable as Irish to Irish ears – tend to nonetheless be seen by the English etc as deeply Irish. It may be that in a globalised world, a bland and generic Irish accent may be a key to success.

    I guess we’ll find out.

  8.  

    That’s correct. It’s impossible to shake off an accent to the extent that foreigners can’t hear it, but if you think about it, that makes the whole thing even more pathetic.

    Incidentally, what’s your basis for suggesting that Catholicism is an Irish characteristic?

  9.  

    we ditched our language and with it went our independence of thought. now we suck in every form of imported shite imaginable from the brits and the U.S. you only need listen to the gobshites in leinster house – any time there’s a problem, the first thing you hear is “in the U.K. they’re doing….” or “research from America shows….” and so on and so on. not one of them would ever suggest coming up with our own solution for our own problem. this dependent sheep-like thinking extends to matters of culture also, to the extent that any remaining hint of indiginous irish culture has been obliterated and replaced by a never-ending onslaught of commercialised rubbish from england and the states. to the extent that the sound of a cupla focal or a couple of notes of a reel immediately generates guffaws of derision in most places around dublin (“diddley-eii” and such comments) and not just the toffees on th south-side. somebody mentioned a national inferiority complex, that’s an under-statement, its pathetic. Gan tír gan teanga!

  10.  

    I have terrible news for you.

    The reel isn’t a native Irish musical form either but was brought here by the British army.

  11.  

    Several kids from ballynanty myself included, went to a house in farranshone/shelbourne park for speech in the seventies.The woman hated us! we paid 50 pence an hour which we had to let in a jar to rid us of the balla accent.I found it very degrading I hated the process, I hated it even more when I was subjected to being picked for the first reading at almost every mass at the new balla church cause I talked proper .I believe the place is still in buisness, but the balla kids are no longer accepted she is busy teaching the kids from the area some kind of trinity harvard nasal whining sound.

  12.  

    I remember once being told by an English teacher from Cork that I would be great in the debating team if only I’d lose my Limerick accent. I politely declined her offer and proudly speak with a Limerick accent. We follow the UK and USA like sheep and soon we will be one homgenous lump. I applaud the French, their liguistic stance and their struggle not to become yet another piece of the SKY/CNN, UK/USA package.

  13.  

    Agree with you 100% Bock. I’ve been bitchin’ for years about this “rangd-abangt” accent, as you put it. Can’t think of anything more disgusting to the ear. There’s a new ad on RTE television, I can’t recall exactly what it’s about (cancer, maybe), but I think it embodies this. There’s a couple of Europeans on it, sure, and maybe a Cork, but the others are this D4/OC hybrid that literally makes my sack shrivel in contempt. And the really depressing thing about it is you can hear it in the streets and cafés of Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Kilorglin etc among the youngsters on a daily basis.

  14.  

    I do be gettin da electrocution lissons meself but me mama tinx tiz nat wurken on me so tiznt.
    I work with a lot of these speach and drawma educated,elocution lessoned kids in Limerick and it is beyond annoying.I come from working class Limerick,I am proud to speak as such.I have travelled all over the world and am very proud to display my identity in this way and have never had a problem communicating through the English language in any way.The roadwatch accent is a symptom of lack of identity,lack of confidence in oneself and your forefathers, more often than not dressed up in Leinster jersey these days on the eastern corridor.If these people are shallow enough to assimilate this abomination so be it.Ill just continue wearing the black n amber of the yellow road and red of Munster on my sleeve,I know who I am and where i come from thanks!

  15.  

    I think they call it a trans atlantic brogue. But when you think about the great sports commentators, such as Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh.and Bill McClaren (RIP) they were both distinguished by the vernacular of their race.

  16.  

    as was handball bock and is now one of our “national” sports – the bigger point remains the same.

  17.  

    Anyone notice that the AA gals have created a new city for us lately?………..”Koouw-aurk”. Built on the ruins of the old flooded city of Cork they say, although the lovvies in the national braodcaster have decided to go for a much easier tongue twist on the gobstopper and speak of a place called “Quark” when reading out the Spurtz rezilts on Orteehee.

  18.  

    Good stuff outa you kid . Aboydakid Bock, utterances which cannot be accented. There’s a purity about Limerickisms.

    Thoughtful piece. I think as the kids hit the smoke, they are still impressionable and working hard at fitting in and into the cunting place and consequently, they purposefully or unknowingly adapt and the accent

    Funny though, when a child moves from a town or city at a young age, their accent will change to its new environment. Later on in life though. it doesn’t happen, reinforcing that the culchies are only pretending at speaking like a dub.

    .

  19.  

    I was at a Dublin CB primary school where the brothers employed a fine looking lady to teach us elocution. Her credibility was, fortunately, destroyed very quickly when she was seen with a MAN in O’Connell St.

    Agree the RINDABITE Roadwatch accent is an appalling social climbing self-negating hybrid. But you can go back even further to the first RTÉ continuity announcers in 1961. That was the first time I ever heard the mid-Atlantic accent.

    You’re quite wrong about the DART. This service plies between Howth/Malahide and Bray and it goes through the whole social spectrum of districts and encompasses a wide range of accents. The Dort myth is from that idiot Ross O’Carroll O’Kelly, or whatever he calls himself. The DART is a very democratic and popular service, too democratic for some people who stick to their individual cars. I’m sure that these are the only people who speak with a genuine Dort accent.

    I once met a man from Mayo who was ashamed of this fact. I will never forget it. I was embarrassed and disgusted. I have no time for people who deny their origins. I am chasing up my family history and am fascinated by the mix of people I’m coming up with. Both my mother and grandmother had flat James’s St. Dublin accents and, though I am sure mine has been modulated by the company I keep, I am proud of all my family’s accents from James’s St. to Ballyhaunis. I pity the idiots who think that aping their “betters” makes them special. Quite the reverse. It joins them in a community of the superficial. Unfortunately some of these twats have had more influence than they deserve on the lives of the rest of us.

  20.  

    Sorry Bock, going back to your question, it’s obviously not an inherently Irish attribute. For all that, though, for centuries most Irish people have seen it as a defining element in their Irishness. Even as recently as the 2006 Census, out of 3,706,683 Irish people surveyed, 3,409,381 identified themselves – or were identified by their parents, I suppose – as Catholic.

    (http://www.cso.ie/statistics/popnclassbyreligionandnationality2006.htm)

    That’s not to say that this coupling of Irishness and Catholicism to the point of near-synonymity was a good thing, of course, as aside from implying that most Ulstermen weren’t really Irish, it was often profoundly unhealthy in other ways; it’s just to say that Catholicism was often seen as an inextricable part of Irishness.

  21.  

    Indeed. But at the same time, abandonment of Catholicism has been driven by many things, and also, since religion is not a defining characteristic of nationality, logically it has to remain outside the discussion.

  22.  

    I think there is now a middle class Irish accent which more or less transcends geography. For example working class (for want of a better term) Cork City people still speak with the universally loved (not) Cork City accent, whereas those who went to say UCC, speak with a totally different accent, which in many ways would be quite like those who go to UCD, who speak very differently to your average howaya from Finglas. I’d be surprise if it isnt the same in Limerick and other cities. Thats my experience anyway over the last 20 years or so. I think its a social climbing thing to an extent, although not a concious decision, but it is also a declaration by these people of who they perceive themselves to be, or more importantly, who they are not. To me they are the kind of people who come from middle class suburbs, have no real sense of where they come from, and are a cultural blank canvas, waiting for the marketing people to tell them what to buy so they can construct an identity (bagels and croissants versus porridge as C’est La Craic says). Excellent post Bock.

  23.  

    Lorraine Keane, I would postulate, (reckon), may have started the AA twang, goul.
    As a youngster with Dublin cousins, (northside), we used to mock the Dublin accent . Now, to hear it is a pleasure. I could listen to Imelda May talking all day, especially if I could see her as well, SO sexy.
    So maybe Lorraine should be thanked for helping some (me anyway) to appreciate what is natural.
    There will always be those sheep, that try to buy into what they consider stylish whether an accent, an area to live, clothes, cars whatever. The sheep will go to Brown Thomas.
    Then there will be those that can define a style of their own without spending much at all, and to my mind, do it brilliantly, call them the Penneys or secondhand shop type. (I know Penneys styles are generally cheaper copies of cutting edge styles, but it takes a confident type, to wear these with pride and not feel the insecure need to wear the expensive alternative under some bullshit “quality” excuse).
    Generalising I know, but the typical Art School student, will rarely be confused with the typical UL student, (I know there are exceptions).
    Then again, if the world was not full of sheep, it would be very hard to cut a dash.
    I think the sheep do us a favour by being so obvious and we can then choose to run with them or not.

  24.  

    I’d agree with you about Lorraine Keane starting it, but it would be interesting to know what recruitment policies the AA pursues to ensure an endless string of clones.

    On the genuine Dublin accent, you could write a book. RTE made a concerted attempt to denigrate and criminalise it. Every con-man and burglar stereotype on radio ads for decades was protrayed with a genuine Dublin accent until eventually people became subliminally hostile to it.

    Ironically, what would today be perceived as a lower-class accent is exactly how the likes of Samuel Beckett used to speak.

  25.  

    who the f*** is Samuel Beckett?

  26.  

    I was talking with someone about this and they told me how in Quebec (or French Canada if youu prefer) the indiginous accent is pretty tough and, shall we say, coloquial. The French accent from France is considered to be snobby and alouf, yet all the news readers and presenters do their best to affect this accent.

  27.  

    When my three year old daughter came home from the creche saying bal-ew-ins instead of balloons a load of people commented on her ‘Dublin accent’. My response was always the same: “Do you know why she has a Dublin accent? – Becasue she’s from fucking Dublin!”

    Another thing. If you listen to ‘Valley Girl’ by Frank Zappa, a song written (I think) about 30 years ago, slagging off a specific Claifornian accent, you realise that this is now the default accent of middle class Irish girls.

  28.  

    They used to say that the difference between Cork Constitution and Young Munster was that YM travelled by bus and had sandwiches while CC went by coach and had lunch.

  29.  

    No 8. You can always be relied upon for the ” nail on head ” comment, 28 is no exception.
    My little grandaughter is starting to say ” come over he ur ” ( here ) we encourage it hugely !
    I think there is something called ” auditory acuity ” where people fall subconsciously into accent traps, I for one just need to go within shouting distance of Cork to develop a full blown Cork accent, My son has exactly the same ” affliction ” when he phones i can tell if he has been speaking to someone from Cork.
    My grandson asked me recently ” what’s a key ar ” ? He meant car.
    Inco; I think there is no greater ” full of shit “scenario ,than those who think their individual style is so superior to ” sheep ” because they hunt around Pennys and thrift shops, firstly Pennys is the purveyor of all things in commercial volume at the expense of degrading work conditions in 3rd world countries,
    There is no difference in outlook from the BT customer and their thrift shop/pennys counterpart seeking to pretend to themselves that they are elevated among the herd by their choice of dress, They would all abandon the poorer choices if they could afford to.
    The judging of a person on their accent and dress code is a superficial act of nonsense, Those on whom the thrift shop code of dress is an act of superiority is as fake and unstylish in their mentality as the BT sheep.

  30.  

    I have lived in south Dublin all my 54 years. I think my accent is fairly neutral, but when I hear it on a recording I cringe. The horrific Dublin accent comes out. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed of being from Dublin, its the common and uneducated sound that I hate.
    It’s that sound you hear when you are in a restaurant while on holidays, that makes you pretend you are not Irish.
    As far as the AA accent goes, it’s a fairly recent pheonomenon, neither of my two sons have it, but my 20 year old daughter has.

  31.  

    Do you ever wonder why you feel that way about your accent? What exactly about it do you consider uneducated? And what’s wrong with common?

  32.  

    It isn’t just our accents that are changing, it’s the words we use also.
    The young hereabouts, 12ish and younger, have bland American-ish accents and use American words – garbage; trunk of the car; candy; I guess; … things like that.
    I put it down to the telly and Multi-channel, then Sky, which coincidentally landed here about 14 years ago.

  33.  

    Peter I thought the South Side was the posh side, no? I was in Dublin shopping once on Grafton St (on the south side) and I asked a sales assistance which way was it to Henry St (the North Side) just across the bridge.. and she told me go out and turn left etc.. but said be careful over there cause it’s the North side, mind your bag etc. I said ah it’s ok I’m from Limerick.

  34.  

    Peter, I think most people do not like to hear recordings of their own voice, but I, like Bock, wonder what could be so horrific about your dublin accent, I imagine it would be refreshing amongst all the pretentious drawls you probably hear every day.
    As bock says, what is wrong with common, and for that matter what is wrong with uneducated.
    I think you should embrace your genuine Dub-ness and sure keep your fingers crossed, your daughter is young, and may grow out of it.
    My Zappa collection, that I once loved, is all on vinyl, and no record player have I. But I do remember that song vaguely, doesn’t the valley girl Ondrya, love Pacman, in it???(had a sneaky lyric check on google)

    Hey Norma, doesn’t acuity just mean how good your hearing is as opposed to what you do when you hear certain things?
    I think you also have the Penney and BT types mixed up. I admit to being neither, cos I prefer anyone else to shop for me, and if absolutely necessary to shop online myself.
    But from my experience and observations,
    (A) I know people who would not lower themselves to shop cheaply, and
    (B) I know people who shop cheaply out of neccessity
    but I have yet to meet anyone from the category you speak of who shop cheaply because they feel it makes their individual style superior, (or who would not “lower themselves” to splurge), but they do sound obnoxious.
    My observation was that, IN MY OPINION, there were two categories, those that think you can buy style and that spending money is stylish and the those that cannot afford to spend like this and yet can manage to cut a dash, often a better dash, (again my opinion). I have a preference for one category and I suspect it would differ from yours.
    The good news is that this recession, if it lasts long enough will probably marry the two types back together, and we can all meet up in TODDS again, the way we used to years ago.

    Also, are you suggesting that BT ware is manufactured ethically?

    “They would all abandon the poorer choices if they could afford to”
    Now that is the real “manure” statement.
    There are many, who would not waste money, no matter how much they ever had, and they are usually those who have had money the longest as opposed to those who only recently crawled out of the gutter and put on their “posh”accents. I know of someone who died roughly two years ago worth roughly 2 million, half in the bank and half in property. You would never ever see that person in BT or in a new car, you might however have bumped into them in penneys, or lidl, etc.
    Wait a minute, maybe thats why they were so wealthy.
    I won’t judge you on your accent or dress “code”, but I might on your comments here.

  35.  

    Picking up on 21, Bock, and I know I’m off the pace here, but it’s late and I’ve been busy and packing…

    I fully agree that abandonment of Catholicism is being driven by many things, though certainly central to the abandonment of it is the idea that it’s somehow pre-modern, a hallmark of a more primitive Ireland. I think that’s Kiberd’s general thesis: that we’ll ditch aspects of our national or local identities if we feel they’re holding us back.

    For what it’s worth, though, I’d disagree with the idea that religion isn’t a defining attribute of nationality. It doesn’t have to be, and increasingly this isn’t the case, but it certainly can be. Indeed, back when the idea of nation states were all the rage, religion tended to be up there with language and shared history as the things that were used to define a nation.

    It’s an unfortunate example, but can you really identify any difference between the Serbs and the Croats other than that one crowd are Orthodox and the other are Catholic? Indeed, to a lot of outsiders, what distinguishes the Irish from the English is that – as they see it – we’re Catholics and they’re Protestants. Catholicism for the past few centuries has been seen as unEnglish, just as Protestantism has all too often been seen as unIrish. This isn’t unusual. With very few exceptions – Germany and Switzerland being the obvious ones – most European countries are notable for having what might be deemed national religions – these religions may be honoured in the breach far more than the observance, but nonetheless they’re there and have been throughout those nations’ histories.

  36.  

    Certainly the Serbs and the Croats seem to see their difference in terms of religion. I personally can see no difference at all between them.

    As for what separates the Irish from the English, I’d be inclined to point to the fact that they have a properly-run country with well-ordered structures and services, while we have an incompetent, authoritarian, disorganised, dishonest conspiracy that we’re pleased to call a republic.

  37.  

    RTE TV started out imitating Pathe News, with the likes of Chawlz Mitchel and his Pommie drawl.
    Then at one stage they had a lovely continuity announcer from Kerry, called Máirín de Bara. She had a natural southern accent, and that idiot Frank Hall mocked her relentlessly and viciously, away beyond the point of good humour, or any sort of humour. And Frank Kelly did it to death too. Kerry people were obviously not good enough to speak in public.
    For decades the only Cork accents heard on RTE were Cha and Miah. Good for clowns, but not for taking seriously.
    But for some reason, Frank Hall and Derrick Davis were ok.
    Northern-type accents were selected over southern-type accents for years. Call it athnic clanzin’. Now many of the artificial sounds in the Roadwatch accent are northern vowels stuck into southern accents, not only in Dublin, but everywhere. These are combined with some vowels from the TV show Friends (Frands, auxially), and the D instead of T that Americans do, godda gedda ledder to you.
    People in their twenties in Cork think that they are in their twannies, and that they are in Querk (or Quake). We have new numbers, such as fwer, savan and twalve.
    But the main vowel change is the ow sound. A cow is now a kye.
    And that obnoxious A instead of E, buying a drass for the wadding.
    The only little bit of luck history ever brought us was the Béarla, the key to communicate with everyman. But our young people are fast becoming impossible to understand. And I’m not going to bother trying.

  38.  

    While I agree with most of your points, I think you’re wrong about the Roadwatch accent. In my opinion, it’s a botched attempt at disguising an old-fashioned Dublin working class accent.

  39.  

    Think the AA accent is hugely influenced by Culchie Parents/Culchie teachers and Upwardly Mobile Geebags – The AA Accent gives me a headache i’m off to take me “Tablits”

  40.  

    Leo, in terms of RTE.. what about Paschaal sheehea RTEaa news. He’s got a real local Cark accent, can’t understand a word, but sounds lovely.
    Thank fuck we don’t all speak in inner city Limerick accents, IMO.

  41.  

    There’s nothing wrong with my accent.

  42.  

    You do sound lovely Bock. I wouldn’t get the feeling you’d thump me or pull out a knife if I got on your wrong side, by the sound of you anyways. :)

  43.  

    I certainly would not.

    That’s what henchmen are for.

  44.  

    Yikes, best not to get on your wrong side then.. :)

  45.  

    On the flipside I was born and raised in the arse of Kerry to parents with a bizzare mix of English midlands and Irish midlands accents. As a result my own accent is a bog (I live near one)/Brummie/Tipp. mix yet when I am at home I receive endless crap from the salt of the earth brigade about being an English c**t.

    Working abroad nobody seems to be in doubt that I am Irish.

    Middle class snobs, working class snobs – all tedious bores with small mean appreciations of small mean parts of life like glottal stops and ethnic nationalism.

    What a weird tormented bunch of ex-colonials we can be. You’re very good at pointing that out Bock, you’re like our own Bill Hicks, keep it up.

  46.  

    Pascal Sheehy does not have a Cork accent!
    He’s from Kerry!!!

  47.  

    Opps Sorry Mairead. No offence meant to the people of Cork. :)

  48.  

    Paschal Sheehy recites his stories like a robot.

    He makes my teeth explode with grindiness.

  49.  

    Paschal with a “h”, sorry. I knew a Pascal once.
    Plastic Sheeting Mario Rosenstock calls him.
    Not too popular in Cork.
    Mind you, we don’t exactly loooove Kerry people in general, so…

  50.  

    There’s only one reporter more annoying than him. Ciaran Mulooley.

    But of course, there’s always Emma McNamara, the queen of the fake accent.

  51.  

    There’s only one reporter more annoying than him. Ciaran Mulooley.

    But of course, there’s always Emma MacNamara, the queen of the fake accent. Emma, to the best of my knowledge, is from Carlow, and I can guarantee you that nobody in that town speaks like Emma.

  52.  

    The man talks exclusively through his nasal passages, and it is awfully grating, but could you imagine him trying to talk rangdabyte style?

  53.  

    No. Ciaran Mulooley is a different phenomenon and doesn’t represent the sort of pretend gobshitery we were talking about. He’s annoying in a different way.

    However, Emma Mcnamara is the living embodiment of insecure fakery. Emma is a little girl playing grown-ups, trapped in an adult’s body, and not realising how ridiculous she is.

  54.  

    Ah Bock don’t be so mean to Emma. Would you prefer if she spoke something like, ” mare I wantcha sham, nawfill smill ouf me tackeez int der”. :)

  55.  

    Keep working on it and eventually you’ll grasp the point of this post.

  56.  

    What? You don’t like my take on some Limerick slang/dialect. It was meant in jest like the other comments that used pronunciation spelling.

    Oh it’s the part about, don’t be so mean to Emma, is it? Well come to think of it, you’re more the embodiment of insecure fakery. You’re a working class snob and a middle class snob, which is just indicative of your own insecurity.

    Sometimes I think you’re more condescending than those that educated you. They (Christian Brothers) were awful bastards with no sense of humour all right, who thought they were better than everyone and were full of hate. It seems they taught you well how to behave, whatever about your accent.

    By the way, language/accents change over time… get over it. People are immigrating/emigrating all over the world.. (i.e. why don’t Americans have British accents?) It’s a global economy now, it’s inevitable that we’re going to adapt our accents according to the times, whether intentional or otherwise. If Intentional, so f’in what.. nice when you can understand people isn’t it. You’d be embarrassed having some of our politicians represent us around the world with their accents/dialects, pity they didn’t get some ellyqson by the CB’s.

    And I’ll be honest, I can’t grasp half the shite commented on this post. I don’t get the whole BT/Penneys thing. You buy what you fricken like if you can afford it, end of. Anyone’s presumptions about peoples’ intent by what they purchase/ speak like, is just that – presumptions.

  57.  

    I can’t grasp why FME bothers with this website at all, having read his post.

    But to try and explain the BT/Penneys thing that he is struggling with.
    It is simply my (admittedly simplistic, and definitely generalising), attempt to describe the difference between superficial and materialistic people who think acquiring “expensive” gear is the same as actually having style, and those who actually have style, yet may not be able to afford to spend much.
    Why do I attempt to describe this difference?
    Because I think those superficial and materialistic people are the same people as would attempt to change their accent to PRESUMABLY impress others, (well others like themselves anyway).
    You may remember that the original subject had something to do with accents.
    And unfortunately, the BT types often do buy what they actually can not afford, so it is not “fricken” “end of”. Actually it may be a very long time before we see the “end of” this. The country is going down the toilet, thanks in large part to the stupidity of wreckless spending by people who probably thought they were celebrities because they could shop in BT or buy a new car every year.
    Yah, how would you think we should adapt our accents now, for our new position in the “global economy”

  58.  

    Imco; Acuity has nothing to do with hearing per se, It comes from the latin Acutus, meaning sharp, more modern interpretation being ” keeness ”
    I believe the massive media promotion of ” image ” is based entirely on a falsehood whereby some people believe that a defined “image” can be projected via the clothes they wear, the car they drive, the house they live in etc, It is ludicrous though to assume that a person who buys the higher priced object is more reckless than the person who buys the lower priced object, It surely depends on what the person can afford in the first place.
    Its interesting though that as families became smaller in Ireland, houses became bigger and bigger.
    The whole accent debate is very much linked to what we identify as success and acceptance into a particular herd, There was a time when we had pride in our individual community roots, Now it seems we want to be bland and cover as many probabilities as possible by being less identifiable.
    For the future I would hope our voice would transcend an accent, That it would focus on the content of honesty and change, I think the most ignorant type of behaviour is when someone corrects pronunciation for another person, I cringe when that happens, Our indvidual pronunciation is a big part of our identity.
    I hope our position in global terms will reinforce our need to communicate with a new message regardless of what accent delivers that message.

  59.  

    Norna, I accept my latin is shite. I was only responding to your “auditory acuity” comment.

    I don’t think it is ludicrous to suggest that many people have been reckless and spent much more than they actually can afford
    350000? empty houses
    “Communicating with a new message”? Yeah, sure, that sounds great.

  60.  

    FME — Have you finished stamping your feet now?

  61.  

    Yea, finishing stamping Bock… you bring out the feet stamping in people what can I say.. :)
    Inco you seem to be some kind of expert on style.. I on the other hand have no idea. I don’t know where something has been purchased unless the person tells me. A poor person can be as much as a gobshite and unstylish as a rich person, wouldn’t you think? What’s the difference if a poor person is as obsessed with wanting money as a wealthy person. Materialism is nothing new really. It’s the age old predicament of being us. We’re all just like peacocks, trying to impress eachother, be it with accents/appearances.
    The country is going down the toilets huh.. yeah, that sounds great. At least Bock isn’t letting um shit all over him, he’s opening his mouth. :)

  62.  

    Jeez this is gettin to be hard work. I sure am sorry I didn’t keep my Brown Thomas opinion to myself
    Style guru, moi, hardly, I am a grubby t shirt and jeans type. I would however like to think I am a reasonable judge of stupidity and I think I have seen a lot of it over the last decade or two. Poor and rich can be equally stupid as you say, only poor people can’t waste money like rich people.
    Are we not going down the toilet???

  63.  

    ha ha.. I am a reasonable judge of stupidity.. love it, you’re reasonable to the stupid huh? :) stupidity is nothing new either is it.. Are we not going down the toilet?… don’t know, is that an invite.

  64.  

    All those vacant houses and you two are still Cottaging.

    How 2007 of you.

  65.  

    think comment number one was the best

  66.  

    Listen To Claire Byrne on Newstalk. She is badly afflicted with the mid Atlantic accent not able to pronounce the “t”at the end of a word and the like. Shes from Mountrath. Must be really desperate for notice to be faking it to that extent.

  67.  

    The RTE accent=half polished shite!

  68.  

    Miockhale Muac Mullin! I don’t condone violence, but i would kick him square in the teeth if i met him. And what about Sharon er, ah, ni a, er a Bheolain, I remember watching her when she came on TV first. She, like most other presenters are presumably required to have a certain level of diction! When the fuck did she go from being a fluent english speaker to someone who sounds like they’re unsure if they should be saying what they’re being prompted to say. She has developed the same bullshit reporting accent as those assholes, its been a slow day so we’ll er a am our way through 24 hours of horse shit SKY news .

  69.  

    Spot on.

  70.  

    If I hear another TV presenter refer to the NOOZE again I will fucking scream…..

  71.  

    I just copied this one from an English newspaper blog:

    Did you hear the one about the Irishman who went bungee jumping? He tied the rope around his neck! His last words were, bejeevers bejavers I won’t be doing that again in a hurry.

    The joke teller didn’t get the Oirish accent right, so it’s a corny joke i’nnit?

  72.  

    I have to marvel at the gargantuan intellect behind that joke, Benno. I really do.

  73.  

    Indeed, ’tis a great reversal of historical roles to be able to look down pityingly on English morons making eejits of themselves, bejabbers old boy.

  74.  

    I enjoyed that joke – I must be a self-hating Irishman, or something.

    The post and comments here are hugely entertaining.

    I find it increasingly hard to listen to any Irish programmes on radio or television because I find the accents and attitudes almost universally very irritating. Also with every passing day I more and more associate the Irish media people with their robotic/strange/fake or bland accents and arrogance with the Celtic Tiger lunacy and daftness of the last 20 years or so. Usually I can only tolerate watching Irish television with the sound off, and 888 on. There seems to be an avoidance of any honest or hard-hitting analysis of the economic and social mess.

    Of course there are those who are a pleasure to listen to : Anne Doyle, John Kelly,
    Olivia O’Leary, and maybe a few others.

    In contrast Jon Snow and his staff on the Channel 4 news programme at 7 pm are very easy on the ear, and their analysis, commentary, interviews, etc., are mostly excellent. They treat their audience with intelligence and respect.

    I mostly prefer listening to BBC Radio 3 and 4. RTE Lyric FM can have sublime music but is spoiled by the bloody stupid ads, and by presenters who sound so relaxed they might be half-asleep. BBC R 3 and 4 are easy to listen to, the music, documentaries, and discussion programmes are very often interesting and enlightening, and most importantly the presenters sound enthusiatic, intelligent, professional, and wide-awake morning, noon and night.

    I love to hear a scottish accent on radio or TV – The strong complex characterisation in the accent which seems to denote self-confidence, honesty, hardiness, self-deprecation, fun.

    By contrast on RTE regional characterisation in accents seems to be mostly non-existant, to be replaced by an uncertain blandness.

    Cross the border to BBC Ulster Radio and TV where the bold confident cadences of Ulster accents feature prominently.

  75.  

    I know this is an old post, and I’m also aware that I’m going to sound like a snob, but it wasn’t apparent to me that RTE announcers spoke with a ‘better’ accent.
    I still cringe when I hear them say ‘controversy’ with the accent on the last syllable -’controVERSY’, in the manner of a five year old.
    Not the correct way ‘contROVersy’.
    But I shouldn’t be too hard on those unintelligible muppets- BBC Radio 4 (which used to be the last bastion of RP) is slowly going to the dogs too and sounds more like the cast of Eastenders these days.

  76.  

    What’s your basis for saying that contROVersy is correct? What’s your reference for correct pronunciation? Who decides that?

  77.  

    Well, they used to pronounce it that way on the old Home service. So did Michael Redgrave, John Mills and Robert Donat. To name but a few. If they did so then it must be so.
    But really, to pronounce it with the accent on the final syllable does sound so inept, doesn’t it? It’s as if someone is reading the wor from a script and has just encountered it for the first time.
    Anyway, if I want to learn pronunciation, RTE would be the last institution I would choose. I agree with you that the awful ‘faux’ accents should go, but so also should the grunters like Joe Duffy.

  78.  

    Was only talking about this a couple of weeks ago when we were on hols in France. Got talking to someone staying next door one afternoon, female, mid 40′s extremely easy on the eye with what I would consider a posh Dublin accent ( I’m from Clare) we invited her family over for a drink that night and as we opened our 3rd bottle of wine she suddenly lurched from Posh to Moore Street. ‘Twas funny as feck.

  79.  

    I’m sure some of the brothers were as you suggest. From my experience some were good/dedicated, others definitely not. However, the lay teaches could be much more cruel. I remember one in particular with particular disdain. He was married, So your theory about sexual frustration does’nt apply. He was just a bad guy. As for elocution. I think it was a good idea. I remember it fondly. It was’nt directed at accents, per se, but more at correct pronounciation. When I listen to many of the young people in my locale, I say bring back elocution classes.

  80.  

    Veritas Marriage doesnt necessarily aleviate sexual frustration

    You are right in one sense though, i had only two christian brother teachers 1 had lost his mind and the other was a thoughtful and considerate man while he was teaching me

    Had other teachers who were emotional bullies frustrated about the fact that they couldnt raise their hands to a child, although they still did if they could get away with it

    One point you may be missing though is that the abuse carried out by the Christian Brothers is well documented so your theory that lay teachers were much more crual is irrelevant

  81.  

    Veritas — Lay teachers could be equally cruel, but I see no evidence to suggest that they were more cruel.

    Of course the Christian Brothers were sexually-frustrated. Anyone who encountered them for more than a few days could see that, though I don’t suggest this is the full reason for their lunacy.

    As for elocution, I’m glad your experience was satisfactory, but in my experience, there was an attempt to eradicate local accents, and to impose what you might call correct pronunciation.

    Can you tell me who decides which pronunciation is correct?

  82.  

    Pronounciation simply means you pronounce or speak the words as they are, regardless of your accent or local dialect. I’m glad the nuns did that for me, because the local dialect is not that easy on the ear. You may think differently, fair enough. It’s a subjective thing, some accents are pleasanter than others. Your ad-hominem attack on the Christian Brothers, is just that. I’m stating as a matter of fact, the lay teacher I had was way more cruel than any of the brothers. Maybe he was sexually frustrated !.

  83.  

    I hope I didn’t hurt their feelings with my ad hominem attack.

  84.  

    I think they’ll get over it.

  85.  

    your ad hominem attack (pompous use of vocabulary by the way) on lay teachers is beyond idiotic.

  86.  

    Pompous, moi ? . Never. You sound a bit like teachers pet in your sychophantic defence of those nice lay teachers. Bye, bye, now.

  87.  

    Veritas: another candidate for the vocabulary does not equal intellegence awards

  88.  

    Way too intellectual for me. Lets blame the brothers.

  89.  

    Make sense of that

  90.  

    I love Paddy Kavanagh, I love his prose and his poetry. I had a friend visiting me some time back, someone who speaks with that accent which some would refer to as public school and others would say is a mixture of velvet and mahogany, rich and smooth.
    I asked him to read Advent to me aloud and it was glorious; I’ve heard recordings of Kavanagh reading his own poetry and I think he might agree that some things sound better with certain accents. There’s nothing wrong with regional accents but some are easier to listen to than others.

  91.  

    Speaking of weather forecasters, listening to Nuala Carey is pure murder on the brain!

  92.  

    Is Nuala one of the Rain Debate people?

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