Thursday, March 17, 2005

beannachtaí lá ‘le phádraig

(I’m pretty sure that’s “Happy St Patrick’s Day” in Irish)

My fellow blogger Shan’s hilarious post insipred this entry.

Did you hear the one about the Irishman? He was stupid!

This has been the gist of Irish jokes over the years. But did you ever wonder how the Irish were perceived as being intellectually challenged???

Allow me to go through the country’s history and explain in vivid detail exactly how 800 years of oppression by the evil British empire led to everything the Irish said, especially literal translations of phrases from the Irish language, being misconstrued for a general lack of brain power.

Ok, maybe I already explained it with that last sentence; let’s go straight to the examples!!!

Consider the following sentences:

1. “I’ll be with you now, in a minute.”

2. “I turned away for a second, and when I looked back, there it was, gone.”

3. “I always used to do that sometimes”

All have been used by Irish folk over the years.

To English speakers from Britain or North America, they may all seem ludicrous.

I have news for you; in the Irish language, those phrases make perfect sense.

I won’t bore you with the linguistic specifics. Just imagine explaining English language phrases like “paying through the nose” and “raining cats and dogs” to a Frenchman by literally translating them into his language. Fait accompli!!!

Finally, I’ll share this scene from the movie “The Commitments” which is based around Irish (particularly Dublin) humour.

One of the main characters, Jimmy, goes into a block of “flats” in a very poor area of Dublin. Amazingly, the elevator (called a “lift” here) works, and he is waiting patiently for it.

Suddenly he notices that beside him, there is someone else also waiting, and with him, he has a pony of all things.

“Em, excuse me,” Jimmy says to the guy, “Are you really gonna take that horse into the lift?”

“Course I am!” came the reply, “Sure the stairs would kill him!!!”

Stupid? I don’t think so! Didn’t he answer the man’s question?

Oh, and a few more things I need to clear up while I'm at it ....

(a) we do NOT EVER EVER EVER say "Top 'o the mornin to ya". EVER.


(c) You canNOT buy either "Lucky Charms" OR "Irish Spring" in the 32 counties.

Happy St Patrick’s Day, everyone!


Buffalo said...

Are you and Shan conspiring to kill me? Funny stuff, pal.

Anna said...

Brilliant stuff JP - G'wan ya good ting!

Thanks for the link and the link ;)

Mr. Middle America said...

Pretty funny!

No Lucky Charms, though???

How sad!

Mike Todd said...

Dude! No Irish Spring? Surely, you jest.

They should sell an American Lucky Charms in Ireland. It could have little marshmallow guns in it.