Monthly Archives: November 2015

A Christmas Warning

At the moment, Daniel Cassidy’s absurd book is way down on the Amazon sales lists – somewhere around 750,000th. on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. If there were any justice, this trashy, awful book would be out of print. However, I have no doubt that soon, people will look around for a present for their relatives and that someone will be stupid enough to buy this rubbish for their friends and family.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – if you give this book as a present, you are giving out a clear message about yourself. At least some of the recipients will find this blog or other negative reviews of this book. If they have any sense at all, they will realise that you are an idiot. A crank. A flat-earther. A flake. A total amadán, just like its author.

So, this Christmas, if you can’t think of anything to give people, don’t give this rubbish. Give a global gift from Trócaire or Oxfam or whatever the equivalent is where you live, or make a contribution to a charity on their behalf and put the receipt in a card. Give hope and help to people who need it, and say something positive about yourself.

Don’t give the gift of ignorance this Christmas.

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A Hatepost

I have recently had some visitors from a forum on language where someone has posted a flattering link to this blog. You can find it here: http://n3ta.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=9542&st=900

The commenter is entirely accurate in his or her comments about Cassidy and his fraudulent academic career and his even more fraudulent ideas about Irish. I am delighted when people notice this blog and publicise my efforts. However, I was slightly taken aback at the description of Cassidyslangscam as a hateblog.

After all, I think I am quite rational and dispassionate in my debunking. I ask people to search for evidence and to go to the primary sources themselves. And I am motivated by love of the Irish language, love of truth, love of learning …

However, when I started thinking about it (and also while thinking about the comments on the way writers lie to themselves on Emma’s blog Jot It Down), I realised that I may be rational and public-spirited and devoted to discovering and spreading the truth, but I am also motivated by a strong hatred. My blog IS a hateblog. I hate everything that Cassidy stood for: childish ignorance masquerading as a fresh way of thinking; using Irish nationalism and socialism and other radical causes as smokescreens to protect his nonsense from criticism; the rampant hypocrisy of blethering about equality while enjoying the status and privileges of being a professor – without even a bachelor’s degree; the way that stupid and gullible people have been mobilised in defence of this nonsense by public figures and journalists who should be telling them the truth.

So, hateblog it is! I’ll wear the label with pride. There are plenty of things in this world which deserve to be hated. Cassidy’s book, his theories and his crony friends should be despised by any sensible, decent person.

P.S. You can find Emma’s blog here. Check it out!https://wordsaretheweapon.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/how-to-combat-writing-lies/comment-page-1/#comment-99

Cassidy’s Plagiarism

In 2008, Daniel Cassidy published a dreadful book called How The Irish Invented Slang. His claim in this book was that he inherited a pocket Irish dictionary in 2001 from a friend and decided to learn a word a day, and in the process he realised that hundreds of English words came from Irish. Cassidy – who according to some people was passionate about the Irish language and Irish culture – was 57 years old before he decided to start learning a little Irish. He had been an Irish Studies professor for five years at that time (though he had no qualifications at all and presumably lied his way into that job.)

Many of the supporters of Cassidy and his absurd ‘research’ have admitted that a lot of Cassidy’s claims were wrong but said that he should be praised for the things he did get right. Those of us who realise how wrong Cassidy was and how arrogant he was in his wrongness don’t accept this. There is hardly anything worth having in Cassidy’s book and hardly any of the material which is even remotely possible can genuinely be attributed to Cassidy.

For example, in October 2003, a user called Paul posed a question on an Irish language learners’ site called the Daltaí Boards. He wanted to know about Irish words in English for a project. The users of the site provided him with lots of possible candidates. For example:  galore from go leor; smashing from is maith sin; slug from slogadh; smithereens from smidiríní; shebeen from síbín; glen from gleann; Tory from Tóraí; bog from bogach; bard from bard; slogan from sluaghairm; banshee from bean sí;  whiskey from uisce beatha; brogue from bróg (shoe) and barróg (lisp); gulp from ag alpadh; shanty from seanteach; slew from slua; longshoreman from loingseoir; moniker from Shelta munik; kibosh from caidhp bháis; dig from an dtuigeann tú?

As I have stated before, some of these are correct or are likely to be correct, though some are definitely wrong and in several  cases there is doubt about whether they come from Irish or Scottish Gaelic. The origins of bard are complex and it is as likely to come from Welsh as from Irish. Gulp dates to medieval times and has a cognate in Dutch gulpen, which meant (amongst other things) to guzzle, and in any case, the idea that people would borrow the ag along with the basic word alpadh is absurd. There is no evidence that caidhp bháis actually exists as a phrase. It is only in the dictionaries as the name of a fungus.

But it really doesn’t matter whether these words and phrases are right or wrong. The point is, Cassidy used many of these words in his book without crediting the source. He plagiarised them from this forum, which he joined in January 2005, long after this thread was published in October 2003. He posted on this forum for a while, was mocked and criticised by some of the other members and eventually stopped posting under his own name, just occasionally posting barbed comments under fake names but without disguising his highly idiosyncratic and childish turns of phrase.

The only real talent Cassidy possessed was a talent for glomming and grabbing things which didn’t belong to him. He was a thief, a fraud, a charlatan and a liar.

A Reminder

I just wanted to remind readers of this blog about what I said when I went into partial retirement a couple of months ago. I have written what I think about Daniel Cassidy’s ‘etymology’ here. I have provided facts and I would encourage people to seek out etymology sites and Irish language resources to check my claims (and Cassidy’s, of course).

If people contact me here with a genuine question or a piece of relevant information, I will reply. However, the opinions of strangers unsupported by any facts or evidence do not interest me. If someone thinks that Irish bealach is a better candidate for block in ‘city block’ than the English word block, they are plainly either mad or stupid. I am not interested in having a debate with mad or stupid people. I have already had plenty of fruitless arguments with people who don’t know their arses from their elbows and I can’t be bothered having any more.

If people can provide some evidence, great! Evidence means, for example, proof that anyone, anywhere has ever pronounced bealach in a similar way to block. Or proof that anyone, anywhere ever regarded city block as a distinctly Irish expression. Or proof that anyone, anywhere ever thought that block refers to the roads and not to the masses (or ‘blocks’) of buildings in between the roads.

If you can provide such evidence, bring it on. If all you want to do is bore me with your groundless opinions that Cassidy must have been right because you think he was right and you’re always right and yadayadayada, then go and bore someone else. Or better still, go get a life.