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Accents: Why are they so different here in short distances?

  • 15-05-2023 12:19pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭

    If you meet someone from Dundalk and someone else from Newry, we can say for sure who is who by them saying

    "She sells seashells by the sea shore"

    It's probably more pronounced in this difference but really are we that inbred locally that we don't get around and have more rounded accents nationally?


  • Registered Users Posts: 960 ✭✭✭Doc07

    I just helped my niece in the states with a college project on this. She’s raised in US (Irish dad) and fascinated by how our accents change pretty much every few miles, along the coast it seems anyway.

    I went to school in Drogheda and the difference around Louth /Meath alone would probably fill out a thesis.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,893 ✭✭✭✭cj maxx

    I’m from Monaghan and the difference as you drive further South is stark . The letter H disappears with every mile . While as you go north it’s like it’s all slowed down.

  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭Dslatt

    Small island that was under the yolk of oppression for hundreds of years. We either stayed where we were or fecked off out of the country. That and we are fairly inbred tbf

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,012 ✭✭✭Mister Vain

    In Kildare we have 7 variations of the bogger accent ranging from posh bogger to bogger bogger.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,383 ✭✭✭✭Alun

    It's not that unusual a phenomenon and not limited to Ireland either. Take the NW of England, for example. Bolton, Oldham and Rochdale all have accents that are easily distinguishable from Manchester only 10-15km away. Same thing with Birmingham and Walsall, Dudley or Wolverhampton.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭niallpatrick

    I'm west Belfast and in north very rural Donegal they couldn't understand a word I was saying in the bar, the junior barman had to get his dad to translate. Vodka n coke, in my tongue it probably sounded like vadkaa n cogh. I have found when I get out to the stick and my guard drops I slow down how I speak, I become more relaxed and it's reflected in my speech and I can become a bit of a mimic. Instead of aye a hard aye it's ayyee.

    A bit far fetched but maybe syntax as in how we speak and different accents are derived from our various environments.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,444 ✭✭✭silliussoddius

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,933 ✭✭✭✭Kintarō Hattori

    It is mad alright. I was down seeing my sister recently and a local from the village where we both grew up was cleaning her chimney. Afterwards I said to her. I kinda know that guy, where's he from? I couldn't understand about 75% of what he was saying. She laughed, told me his name and he was from the same estate that we all grew up on- just the other side of it, a few hundred metres away from where we lived.

    Our estate, being a council estate was a bit of an oddball. There was people like our family who might have sounded a little posh (our mother had notions) and then there was people like the chap mentioned who had a very strong thick accent. This is Kildare btw.

    I forgot to add that my partner who's Polish has said many times that there isn't any real variation in the Polish accent until you go south and start heading into the mountains.

    Post edited by Kintarō Hattori on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,786 ✭✭✭DownByTheGarden

    Irishtown, Ballsbridge and Sandymount. Only a few meters apart from each other.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,382 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    Travellers seem to keep their particular accent within whatever area they're in. Maybe they don't mix much or something.

    Even small towns can have a distinguishable difference from one end to the other.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,499 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Sallins in Kildare is roughly only 40 kilometres from central Dublin and I worked with a lad from there with the most rural of accents ever.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,012 ✭✭✭Mister Vain

    Reminds me of that scene from Hot Fuzz where he needed a translator for the translator.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,933 ✭✭✭tesla_newbie

    Yes , could be one traveller born in Manchester, one in London and another in Longford and they all sound the same

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,163 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    It's common in all countries. Listen to the range of accents in England or even within London. In France a Parisian can have difficulty catching what a Bordelais. The Spanish accent in Barcelona is very different to that in Valencia. Highland and Lowland Scots have extremely different accents.

  • Registered Users Posts: 410 ✭✭chosen1

    Australia seems to be an exception in English speaking countries and there is little difference in accents that are thousands of miles apart.

    The differences in accent there seems to be based on class rather than location.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,933 ✭✭✭tesla_newbie

    Glasgow and Edinburgh accent are very different

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,933 ✭✭✭tesla_newbie

    Probably due to it being such a young country, less isolation between villages, six centuries ago a peasant farmer in Kerry would never meet someone from the midlands , never mind Monaghan

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,749 ✭✭✭Lewis_Benson

    Accept when you are in Little Dublin, pronounced "Naaysse"

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,291 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage

    Having been on the edge of the Pale and English speaking for centuries when the countryside was not, Dundalk has had a different accent history.

    Compare the Patrick Kavanagh accent (17Km from Dundalk) or Ardal O'Hanlon (22Km). Incoming GAA president, Jarlath Burns originates 18m from Dundalk and 10Km from Iniskeen, but you do not need to be local to detect a difference in his accent.

    Yet there is a general similarity to south Ulster accents, Sean Quinn from Fermanagh would have no difficulty being understood in Forkhill, but might in Dundalk.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    Bit of both; broad Australian is strongest in rural areas and the outer suburbs of large cities, but of course these areas tend to have lower socioeconomic status than more urban areas, where standard Australian dominates. You can see that as a distinction associated with locality, or as a distinction associated with socioeconomic status.

    Broad Australian also has local variations within it - a speaker from rural Queensland might sound quite different from a speaker from rural Western Australia - whereas standard Australia, as spoken in cities, is strikingly uniform across the country. That's very unusual for an English-speaking country, especially one the size of Australia. It's often easier to locate a standard Australian speaker by the vocabulary that they use that it is by accent.

    There are also ethnically-marked Australian accents - e.g. accents that characterise second-generation Greek-Australians, Lebanese Australians, etc. And of course there are distinctive accents that characterise various Aboriginal communities.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 971 ✭✭✭bob mcbob

    It is not just accent's there are also different words used that go back generations. An example would be for a child

    • Glasgow - wean (from wee one)
    • Edinburgh - bairn (from barn Norwegian (Viking) for child)

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,012 ✭✭✭Mister Vain

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,604 ✭✭✭Sunny Disposition

    Australia really makes Ireland look exceptional. The regional accents aren't quite absent, but far less prominent. The difference between someone from Sydney speaking and someone from Perth would be less obvious than that between people from Clare and Galway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,382 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    They'd probably just sound Irish to an Aussie in fairness.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,749 ✭✭✭Lewis_Benson

  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭BaywatchHQ

    In south county Antrim the accent changes as soon as you cross the county border.

    I think most people are ignorant regarding the northern accents history. They assume it is different because of the plantations but how do you explain Donegal? West Donegal isn't a plantation stronghold yet they still don't have southern accents. It is because of the Ulster Irish language. Yes I agree that the County Antrim accents are heavily influenced by the plantations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,444 ✭✭✭silliussoddius

    Maybe it's nothing to do with the plantations and geography is a factor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    Yes, but it's Australia that's exceptional here, not Ireland. Anglophone countries are mostly characterised by a considerable density of localised and regional accents; Australia is a striking departure from that rule (and linguists debate why this is so).

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,163 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    You have it completely about face. Australia is the exceptional example. Australia make any other country seem to have a wide range of accents,

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