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10-12-2019, 16:21   #46
Snickers Man
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Originally Posted by pedroeibar1 View Post
For example the kibosh/ceap b notion has been around for quite a while and much debated. Its original use, in the early 19th century, neant ‘to castigate, overwhelm (a person or political party such as the British Whigs, who were criticized for failing to outlaw flogging in the military), perhaps originally meaning simply "to flog," from kirbaj, a whip (Arabic) [American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.]
So he might have been right then? I note in particular that the usage of kybosh is often "to put the kybosh on.." something, which I would suggest strengthens the case for the Irish interpretation.

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I recall the book claims that ‘snazzy’ was an Irish loan word, from snas, meaning polished/ornamented. However ‘snazzy’ was first recorded in the 1930’s, which is very late for an Irish language import; also US lexicographers assert it is a combination of ‘snappy’ and ‘jazzy’, which fits the period accurately.
Snazzy was one of the cases in which I thought he was stretching a point, FWIW.


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I suggest the reason why Irish immigrants had little linguistic input in colloquial American English is due to culture. Most of the Famine-Irish who arrived in the US were rural, unskilled labourers; many were monoglot Irish speakers, but they were fast to learn and assimilate. Many of the Mittel-European Jewish arrivals often had trades (e.g. tailoring, retailing, jewellery) and ‘group work’ held them closer together socially/linguistically.
Well I think that was just the point the author made: the Irish occupied the lower levels of society, at first, and therefore Irish words made their way into street talk, ie slang. Also, he claimed a lot of Irish words made it into the lingo of street crime and gambling. "Phoney" for example, he suggested came from fáinne meaning a ring, and it referred to fake items made of low-grade metal that Irish rascals would try and pass off as being valuable.

Another example was ríomhadh meaning an act of reckoning, arranging or setting in order, from which the modern Irish word for a computer ríomhaire comes. He reckons (baboom) that this is where the word "River" as used in Hold 'Em poker originates from. The River card is the one that announces the final "reckoning" or decision on how strong a hand you have.

Plausible?

Another case, in which I suspect he was reaching a bit was when he claimed that the game of Poker itself comes from the Irish póca meaning a pocket. The implication being that in poker each player is playing against others as an equal and one's ability to stay in the game depends on the contents of one's own "pocket", instead of other games like blackjack where you are playing against the house and your bet is limited at the start of the game. Certainly you can raise your stakes during it, but that is your choice and you can not be forced out by an opponent outspending you because his póca is bigger than yours.

Sure, pocket, is a reasonable etymology but in how many other languages does it sound like "poker"?

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Also, their language, used in religious ceremonies, was a binding factor, whereas the Irish had Latin.
Woah! I don't think Yiddish was/is used in religious ceremonies. I thought that was exclusively Hebrew.

I have only the most layman's knowledge of the revival of Hebrew as a vernacular in Israel but I believe it was chosen over Yiddish (amid much controversy) because all Jews would have been familiar with Hebrew at least as a ritual ceremonial language, albeit one which had to be modernised considerably for everyday use. Although Yiddish would have been a more widely spoken vernacular among early Zionist settlers, it was exclusively for the Ashkenazim (or Eastern European) Jews.


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Yiddish, along with German, Dutch, Flemish and Scandinavian languages are from one branch – Germanic, whereas Gaelic is from a distinctly separate branch, Protoceltic, which separated from the main ‘European’ branch at an earlier stage. Would it not be easier for the sounds of a loan word to transfer within the Germanic languages than for one to migrate across the linguistic barrier, from Celtic to Germanic?
Not sure what specific point you are making here. There are several examples of words from around the Empire from languages with little or no link to European tongues that have entered English through familiarity. They include shampoo and khaki (from India) and "Karzi", meaning a toilet, from either Zulu or Swahili. Although the latter is less well known and more common among military personnel, who would have had more contact with Zulu and Swahili speakers than civilians.

I remain curious and open minded about much of Mr Cassidy's efforts, while readily admitting that he probably stretched the case a bit in some instances to pad out his book.

I also enjoy the wind-up effect he has had on specialist academics which is an interesting topic for these times but probably deserving of its own thread
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10-12-2019, 18:09   #47
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Winding up specialists at the cost of spreading disinformation is not something to be lauded. The title of the book alone should ring alarm bells.
Some of the critiques I read gave the impression of starting with a premise and then it was a case of square peg meets round hole.

Last edited by Ipso; 11-12-2019 at 07:48.
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13-12-2019, 09:09   #48
 
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I haven’t read the book and am unlikely to do so. Like Ipso I’m wary of that particular type of person/author. Why do some have such a complex that they have to assert the Irish roots (however tenuous) of everyone and everything?

As for societal influence/street talk, in the 19th century the immigrant Irish were rural, mainly farm labourers and while there were pockets of them in big cities, most were widely dispersed throughout the US where English was the common language. Forced assimilation forced the new language on the monoglot Irish. OTOH the Jewish immigrants primarily had trades and were concentrated in or around cities/towns for work e.g. tailoring workshops. Hebrew was the ceremonial language, but Yiddish was the vernacular / lingua franca for communication among those Jews from the many Central European countries.

The ‘póca derivation for ‘poker’ is another example of poor research and trying to force a square peg into a round hole - the card game we know as ‘poker’ was first described as such in the early 19th century and probably derives from similar games of that era - the German game Pochspiel or the French game called as Poque. Both words are derived from the word pochen, meaning to brag or bluff.

Similar goes for the ‘river’ name for the final reckoning card: ‘river’ could easily be so called because it produces the ‘flood’ of winning cards. Even is an Irish root was sought, instead of the more convoluted derivation from ríomhaire, why not attribute it to roimh/roimhe (meaning ‘before’)?
The jury is out on the etymology of ‘phoney/fáinne’ but the link is quite possible as it derives from a confidence-trick based on a ring and was first mentioned in 1889 as the ‘fawney rig’.

All far from Yiddish, though.
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19-12-2019, 16:18   #49
Snickers Man
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I haven’t read the book and am unlikely to do so. Like Ipso I’m wary of that particular type of person/author.
That's a topic worthy of a thread all its own. And not just for this forum.
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12-04-2020, 20:33   #50
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Of course when we discuss Irish influence on American English we leave out the hundreds of thousands if 18th century Scotch Irish. I would reckon that they had a huge impact on the American vernacular.
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12-04-2020, 20:36   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedroeibar1 View Post
I haven’t read the book and am unlikely to do so. Like Ipso I’m wary of that particular type of person/author. Why do some have such a complex that they have to assert the Irish roots (however tenuous) of everyone and everything?

As for societal influence/street talk, in the 19th century the immigrant Irish were rural, mainly farm labourers and while there were pockets of them in big cities, most were widely dispersed throughout the US where English was the common language. Forced assimilation forced the new language on the monoglot Irish. OTOH the Jewish immigrants primarily had trades and were concentrated in or around cities/towns for work e.g. tailoring workshops. Hebrew was the ceremonial language, but Yiddish was the vernacular / lingua franca for communication among those Jews from the many Central European countries.

The ‘póca derivation for ‘poker’ is another example of poor research and trying to force a square peg into a round hole - the card game we know as ‘poker’ was first described as such in the early 19th century and probably derives from similar games of that era - the German game Pochspiel or the French game called as Poque. Both words are derived from the word pochen, meaning to brag or bluff.

Similar goes for the ‘river’ name for the final reckoning card: ‘river’ could easily be so called because it produces the ‘flood’ of winning cards. Even is an Irish root was sought, instead of the more convoluted derivation from ríomhaire, why not attribute it to roimh/roimhe (meaning ‘before’)?
The jury is out on the etymology of ‘phoney/fáinne’ but the link is quite possible as it derives from a confidence-trick based on a ring and was first mentioned in 1889 as the ‘fawney rig’.

All far from Yiddish, though.
Most Irish stayed in big cities ,they didnt become farm labourers in anything like the numbers you might think. They had enough of farming ,especially the Irish from the west of Ireland . Some actually failed badly on the great plains prairie lands around Minnesota. The wealthier Protestant Irish did of course farm and became planters in the South. Funny how we always leave them out of any discussion on Irish in America.
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