Another daft claim in Daniel Cassidy’s ridiculous crapfest How The Irish Invented Slang is the one about the word ‘holler’. This is an American term found in places like the Appalachians. The dictionary experts regard it as a variant of a word ‘hollow’ (meaning to shout) which is attested in English from the 16th century. In the dialect of areas like the Appalachians, the word hollow as in small dale or depression is also pronounced holler.

Daniel Cassidy will have none of it. According to the Fraud, this word comes from the Irish ollbhúir. This word is very uncommon though it does exist (unlike most of Cassidy’s nonsense). It is found in Dinneen’s dictionary but not in the main modern dictionary by Niall Ó Dónaill. It is pronounced oll-woor or olloor. Cassidy thought that all Irish words beginning with a vowel have a h sound before them but this is not true.  

Personally, I am with the dictionary dudes. It seems to me quite logical that a word that is found in English and resembles an attested English word with the same meaning (hollow, to shout) probably comes from that attested English word. The Cassidese Liberation Front will no doubt disagree. They will argue that if there is a slightly similar word in Irish, then this must be the origin instead of English, because it’s too much of a coincidence that an obscure Irish word resembles holler. Of course, it’s also a remarkable coincidence that Spanish has haullar (to howl), French has hurler (to shout), German has heulen (to howl), Dutch has huilen (to howl) and that all of these words are far more common in their respective languages than ollbhúir is in Irish.

It’s remarkable, but it won’t make any difference to Cassidy’s supporters. They aren’t dealing in facts. Cassidy’s ‘research’ is about cosy, self-congratulatory Irish-American fantasies, not about discovering the truth.

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