Here are more potentially confusing social situations when speaking English in Ireland with an American English background. To check out Part 1, click here.
- Just like in ‘Part 1’ I made a conglomeration of some food items, here is one of clothing items. A sweater in Ireland becomes a jumper. Panties is considered the American word for knickers. Pants are called trousers. And for those of you with babies, a pamper is a nappy.
- Here’s a highly confusing one. You may hear someone refer to, for example, your friend who joined the group for some drinks yesterday as your man yesterday. The term your man automatically makes me think of someone who would be romantically involved with me. In Ireland, this term is simply used as a synonym for that guy. Another example is when referring to an actor in a movie. If someone talks about “your man in Pirates of the Caribbean,” it sadly does not mean “your boyfriend Johnny Depp.” It refers to that guy in the movie (in this case, Johnny).
- Just like in the US we say you guys or y’all to refer to a group of people, it is common in Ireland to hear the term yous with the same purpose. For example: “What are yous doing this evening?” meaning “What are you guys doing this evening?”
- When you hear someone saying that something is class, it does not mean that it is classy or fancy. “That’s class” is a common response equal to saying “That’s cool” or “That’s awesome” in the US. A common conversation would go with me saying: “Today I got that job I wanted!”, to which my flatmate would respond with: “Class!”
- There are multiple common terms that are slightly different here and it is helpful to know. These are easy to figure out, hence why they are in a same category. Pre-game in the US becomes pre-drinks in Ireland. Sidewalk is referred to here as footpath. Going to the bathroom is a synonym of going to the loo. Guys are lads and girls are gals. And lastly, people don’t tend to say “Let’s go out for drinks.” Instead, you will always hear “Let’s go for a pint,” whether you will actually drink a beer pint or a glass of whiskey.
- To finish off on some very fun comparisons, flirting in Ireland has it’s own terminology as well. First you see a good-looking girl, which is here referred to as a beour. Then you decide to flirt, which is a synonym of flanter. This word is a combination of ‘flirty banter’ (banter meaning more of a general chit chat). Moving on to making out, it is more likely to hear the word shifting in the same context. And now, to string them all together: “Last night I saw a girl that was an absolute beour. After a bit of flanter, we ended up shifting in the back of the disco.” Then you can add to your story that you were also feeding the pony, but you go look up what that means. All I will say is, if you’re in Ireland and a stranger wants to feed your pony, tell him or her your pony is sick at the moment and cannot be fed.
Now go talk to some strangers!
(Special thanks to Dylan, Laura, and Martin for revisions, and Dylan for providing the featured image.)