You don’t really hear people saying ‘Dort’ anymore, for example.” Paul Howard agrees.The creator of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly was the first to take “roysh”, “loike” and “fock” out of the mouths of the rugby-playing classes and put them on a page.
“People thought they were rich and trendy,” he says of the boom years, which he believes were the direct cause of a more ostentatious way of speaking – the much-derided “Dartspeak”.He’s currently writing the foreword for a new edition of the very first Ross book, , and notices significant changes in speech patterns over the years since it was published in 2000.The most obvious was the arrival in the early 2000s of the high rising terminal, also known as upspeak, whereby every sentence ends with an upward inflection, so it sounds like a “What’s really surprised me is that adults have started to talk like that now,” says Howard. It’s become the language of media discourse, which makes sense because it’s constantly looking for affirmation.For decades he has been studying how the Irish speak English.He says there are always periods when there is a transformation in the way we talk, and other times when things remain relatively static.
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The global entertainment industry, instantaneous digital communications, social change and economic pressures are changing the way we Irish speak English.There’s nothing new about this; our relationship with the English language has been richly ambiguous and contradictory for many centuries.But, if anything, the pace of change seems to be accelerating as regional differences are flattened out and a homogenised, largely American form of spoken English takes hold.Raymond Hickey is professor of linguistics at the University of Duisburg and Essen’s Institute for Anglophone Studies.I know if I’d gone to school with an American accent, I’d have been frogmarched from the building.” Hickey points to accent changes such as the growing use of the flat “t” in “party” (so it sounds like “pardy”).