TALKING THE LINGO

Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: mins.)

When I asked the guy filling shelves in the supermarket where the milk powder was I had no idea what was to come.

Picking up on his accent as he showed me, I asked him where he was from.

“Poland,” he replied, so naturally I thanked him in one of the few words or phrases I know in Polish. He responded in Polish too, then asked me where I was from.

“Here”, I replied.

“Dublin’”, he replied, “wha? ah Jayzus. How’re ya doin’, Bud? Allrih?” And there followed a stream of Dublinese: words, accent and even gestures.

This of course, is our third language here in the capital city – not the native one relinquished by so many, not the colonisers’ appropriated by so many, though a version of it, moulded, turned, somewhat UStaterised, slanged, missing endings ….

He had me laughing, of course and as I paid for my purchases I mentioned it to the cashier, who told me the guy works part-time on nightclub security, so he picks up plenty of it on the door. We both agreed he does it very well.

I went off smiling — another small but interesting experience in our capital city.

End.