herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

How's she cuttin' horse, isn't it from auld California I am meself, bejasus

Bedad, bejapers and begorrah, there goes the neighbourhood.

The fact that some wise guy is now coaching wannabe silver-tongued devils from Butt Ridge, Texas, to speak with an Irish accent so that they can (a) get a bit part as a janitor in a movie or (b) take over a financial corporation and buy up whatever the latest thing Enda is selling has driven me to seriously explore the possibilities of getting myself a foreign passport.

Hopefully it'll come a bit cheaper than the ones Irish officials were flogging out of the boot of a car a few years back.

Not too long ago you could go through life without hearing colourful regional Irish accents unless you attended something called the AGs or the Nurses Dance in Barrys Hotel. Or had the misfortune to have to visit Rathmines on business.

This was a time when people from outside Dublin, who were forced to spend time in the capital to complete their training as agricultural technicians or midwives, congregated in dance halls in the Parnell Square area.

When Albert Reynolds came back from Europe with lashings of free money from the EU and set about building motorways, well, the jig was up.

Dublin, once a cosy little European backwater with ideas above its station, became a gigantic campus frat house populated by people who, when they speak, sound as if they're shedding mangles or pulping gooseberries.

It's got to the stage where most of us are fed up with the Irish accent. Or at least the interpretations of it we hear from the other 31 counties.

These regional accents are enough to put you off the important things in life. Tea, butter and ham. Who cares who's bringing the horse to France? He's probably only going to be sold to a slaughterhouse anyway.

As for golden moments with a cup of Rosie Lee, leave that to The Stranglers. "Never a frown … etc."

mumbling

We're not the only ones to be afflicted by this rush to embrace those who can't speak English properly.

Even the BBC, once a bastion of received pronunciation, is hiring mumbling meatheads from the Black Country or "oop north", or braying Estuary divs like Russell Brand, because of a misbegotten notion that ripe regional articulation is now a fashion statement of cultural importance to rival Oxbridge, Carnaby Street or Brit Art.

Is it not enough that we've had to endure Fred Astaire, John Wayne, Tom Cruise and a host of others devise natural-sounding Oirish accents that were about as decipherable as Michael Healy-Rae speaking Swahili. Or even English.

The dialect coach in the States who has been grabbing the headlines either has a sense of humour or else he's made a mistake.

For example, he's down his local club when he spots a lad from Ballycumber, sweating in his Offaly county geansai and surrounded by beach babes, and he reckons the dude is weaving a Pied Piper spell with his melodious tones.

The reality is he's just explained that, unbelievable as it may seem, he's a relation of Barack Obama and the girls actually think he must be from either Honolulu or Kenya. Simples.

We're told American men are dropping their ths in favour of dis, dat, dees, dem and does in an attempt to shift a bit of courting, sorry, dating.

Some, we're told, are getting familiar with the Gaelic brogue before they visit here on holiday.

Because it's certain to increase their chances in Coppers if they sound like they're from Hackballscross or Rathkeale and not from California or the Hamptons. Hello?

Thanks to Colin Farrell though, most people want to sound as if they're from Dublin. And that's not just in Cork and Kerry.

In America they also quite like Liam Neeson's accent. Even if the Ballymena man is trying to sound like he's a government agent from Baltimore or Philadelphia. Be the hokey.

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