Monthly Archives: December 2016

Nollaig Shona!

Bhal, tá an Nollaig buailte linn arís. Nollaig Shona do gach aon duine a chuir spéis in Cassidyslangscam nó a chuidigh linn i mbliana. Go mbaine sibh sult as an fhéile agus go raibh bliain den scoth agaibh in 2017!

Seo cúpla amhrán Nollag i nGaeilge:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9twsUGht0Rk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD_ygWD1ows

Nollaig Shona Agus Bliain Úr Faoi Mhaise Daoibh!

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Fifteen Reasons Why Cassidy’s ‘Research’ Is Nonsense

At this time of year, many people will be receiving a copy of Cassidy’s rubbish book How The Irish Invented Slang as a present. The cleverest of them will be shaking their heads and wondering whether to put it into a charity shop or straight into the recycling bin. Others will be wondering whether there is a core of truth among all the rubbish. The short answer to that is no. Here is a short list of reasons why Cassidy’s ‘research’ cannot be trusted:

  1. Cassidy made up nearly all the ‘Irish’ in the book. This book is stuffed with rubbish phrases which were invented by Cassidy such as béal ónna, sách úr, leathluí géag, uathadh nua, gruaim béil etc. The overwhelming majority of Cassidy’s derivations belong in this category.
  2. Cassidy faked the material from the Irish dictionaries. Many of the definitions given by Cassidy are entirely false. For example, Cassidy claimed that do-thóigthe (dothógtha in modern spelling) can be used as a noun meaning an orphaned calf. This is pure nonsense.
  3. Many of Cassidy’s made up phrases make no grammatical sense in Irish. For example, I don’t know where high-falutin’ really comes from, but it doesn’t come from Cassidy’s uí bhfolaíocht án!
  4. With many words and phrases, Cassidy claimed that there was no known derivation in English. For example, he claims that the word dock (as in to dock someone’s wages) suddenly appears out of nowhere in the 19th century and that it derives from Irish tobhach meaning a levy or tax. The reality is that it is an extension of dock in the sense of docking an animal’s tail, which is attested from the 14th century in English.
  5. In many cases, Cassidy’s knowledge of Irish pronunciation was so poor that the supposed ‘Irish’ candidates sound nothing like the English words. Gump, meaning a chicken, comes from Irish colm (pronounced kollum), according to Cassidy, presumably because he was pronouncing colm as gomm!
  6. The Irish dictionaries contain many words which are old-fashioned and have not been used in the language for centuries. In Dinneen’s dictionary, these are often unmarked. In Ó Dónaill, they are usually marked as Lit. (=Literary). Cassidy put ancient words like ónna together with current words like béal and his explanation for Hot-diggity-dog (árd-iachtach-tach) combines an element that probably hasn’t been used for a thousand years ungrammatically with misspelled modern Irish.
  7. Millions of bilingual Irish and English speakers have lived and died in Ireland, America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand over the last two hundred years. Yet, apparently, none of them ever spotted this vast mass of hidden Irish in the English language. Isn’t that strange? Isn’t it completely implausible that nobody noticed that baloney might come from béal ónna (if béal ónna existed, that is!)
  8. Why aren’t these words found in Irish English as well? The real examples like shebeen and ‘look at the puss on him!’ are in Hiberno-English. Hardly any of Cassidy’s slang terms are actually used in Ireland.
  9. Cassidy frequently gave different versions of his Irish derivations. For example, dingbat supposedly came from duine bod or from duine bocht. If there were really an obvious one-to-one relation between the English word and Irish, these multiple versions shouldn’t exist.
  10. Cassidy frequently used obscure dialect terms and the most obscure meanings of terms. For example, ráibéad is an obscure term from one part of Connemara. And ceap has the obscure, poetic meaning of protector in Irish but that isn’t the usual meaning. If you thought of a policeman as a protector (dubious enough in the slums of New York, I would have thought), why wouldn’t you call him your cosantóir? He also drew on Scottish Gaelic when he couldn’t find what he was looking for in Irish!
  11. Why wouldn’t Irish speakers have used words which they already had? Why did they supposedly invent leathluí géag, which supposedly became lollygag, rather than words like learaireacht and leadaiocht and scraistíocht which mean the same thing and would have been familiar to them?
  12. Some people will probably say, why would Cassidy lie? My answer to this is, why wouldn’t Cassidy lie? Cassidy was a pathological liar. He spent twelve years drawing a salary as a professor on the strength of a degree he didn’t have. This was a criminal offence. If he’d been caught, he would almost certainly have been imprisoned for it. If he was prepared to lie so recklessly in that case, you think it would have bothered him to make up a load of nonsense in Irish?
  13. Why would respectable people in America and Ireland support this book if there’s no truth to it? Most of the people who supported him knew him personally and were part of his social circle, people like Joe Lee and Peter Quinn and Michael Patrick Macdonald. As for those who support this garbage without being part of the charmed circle, take your pick! Stupidity, arrogance, a refusal to listen to people who actually know about these things, faulty logic, wishful thinking, fake radicalism, gullibility, being nuts …
  14. People like Grant Barrett have pointed out that when words cross language boundaries, there tends to be some evidence of it. People tend to write things like ‘as the Irish say’ or the early examples tend to be found in a particular context, uttered by Irish people or obviously Irish characters in fiction. For example, the word hubbub comes from the Irish ababú. In early texts, it was often called ‘the Irish hubbub’. Of course, as many of these terms are slang terms, it would be unreasonable to expect such evidence for every word claimed by Cassidy. But you would expect at least a fraction of them to have such evidence. In reality, there is no evidence at all of this kind for any of the hundreds of fake derivations given by Cassidy in this book.
  15. Many of the more plausible derivations given by Cassidy (words like snazzy and longshoreman and rookie and say uncle) were plagiarised by Cassidy and were already claimed by other people. Cassidy didn’t acknowledge his debt to them. Most of these derivations are also wrong but not as crazy as the ones invented by Danny the Dork.

Hugh Curran and Celtic Buddhism

A few days ago, I stated that I would remove these posts if Hugh Curran agreed to remove his comment from IrishCentral. For a while there, I was thinking that I had been a little harsh and should perhaps remove the last few posts anyway.

However, I have just been looking at an interesting site on Celtic Buddhism (http://www.celticbuddhism.org/lineage.html) and I have changed my mind. It turns out that Hugh Curran is (and I quote) a Lineage Holder of the Crazy Heart Lineage of Celtic Buddhism, a weird offshoot of Tibetan Buddhism incorporating elements of Celtic fakery. (For example, they’ve erected a stone circle at their centre, though almost all scholars are agreed that stone circles are pre-Celtic.) Another of the Lineage Holders is a talented but eccentric Irish-language poet, Gabriel Rosenstock, who was formerly a follower of an egregious ‘crazy wisdom’ guru called Heartmaster Da. Another thing which made me do a double-take was the claim that two of the Lineage Holders were the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff in a former life. Yes, two of them … Interestingly, they have a picture of a man called Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on the website, who seems to have been instrumental in the founding of Celtic Buddhism. You can see Trungpa above, dressed in a kilt. You can also learn more about Trungpa on Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%B6gyam_Trungpa

According to some, he was a man of great spiritual force but he indulged in some unusual and distinctly non-Buddhist ways of mortifying the flesh, such as drinking vast quantities of alcohol, smoking mountains of fags and snorting lashings of cocaine.  Bizarrely, he once drove a sports car through the front window of a joke shop in Dumfries after imbibing vast amounts of Celtic spirituality. (I wonder if that was the Greater Vehicle or the Lesser Vehicle …) There’s also an unpleasant story about how a couple refused to get naked at one of his gatherings. This man ordered his guards (why does a holy man need guards?) to strip and humiliate a woman who was crying and begging people to call the police. For her own good, apparently, so that’s alright then … He also appointed a man as his successor who went on to infect a number of people with HIV (he knew he had it when he infected them.) And then there’s the rape allegation against this successor. You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96sel_Tendzin

I am certainly not suggesting that Curran was ever involved in this kind of sordidness. Neither Trungpa nor Tendzin were directly involved in Celtic Buddhism, which was founded by a pupil of Trungpa’s on his advice and recommendation. But it seems bizarre to me that anyone would expect good fruit to come from a diseased tree and the origin of this new lineage seems pretty corrupt and rotten to me. Curran says that I know nothing about his Buddhism. Ain’t that the truth! This doesn’t sound like any sort of Buddhism I’ve ever heard of, apart from the definition given in A Fish Called Wanda: the guiding principle of Buddhism is every man for himself. So, maybe the charge of hypocrisy is misplaced but not in a good way!

In other words, I think I got it right the first time round and that Curran is probably a silly and pretentious man. There’s a reason why he gravitated towards a liar like Cassidy. As I said, all sorts of phoneys are attracted to Cassidy and his daft book. That’s why I am taking the offer off the table. So, Curran, please keep your misleading and foolish little comment on IrishCentral and me, I’ll keep these comments here. People can make up their own minds who’s lying and who’s telling the truth.

Hugh Curran Defends Himself (In English)

I have just received an answer to my last post from Hugh Curran. As I suspected, he doesn’t speak Irish. Here are his comments and my answers to those comments.

First of all, I never claimed to be a fluent Irish speaker but I have explored the etymology of Irish names and places fairly extensively.. My cousins, my parents, my aunts and uncles are all fluent Irish speakers. Our family immigrated to northern Canada when I was only eight years old so we seldom spoke Irish after that.

No, you never specifically stated that you were a fluent Irish speaker. However, as I pointed out, anyone reading your comment would assume that you were fluent. If someone said that they taught French and were born in France, you would assume they were competent in the language. What reason do you have for telling people about your Irish credentials at the start of the comment other than to imply that you are qualified to make a judgement on this question, which you obviously aren’t? And as for your relatives speaking Irish, what relevance does that have? You are the one making the comment and you don’t speak Irish and are unqualified to decide what constitutes plausible Irish or implausible Irish.

I”m surprised at the degree of vituperation in your response, especially by calling me a “liar” because of my comments on Cassidy’s book. This is. to my mind, beyond the pale. Then you also feel the need to bring in my Buddhist background, which you have absolutely no knowledge of, which is so bizarre that there is little use in further discussion.

As for the degree of vituperation, that depends on whether Cassidy was a misunderstood genius or a half-crazy con-man. Strangely, this is an issue you don’t discuss in your message. This is the crux of the whole thing. Either Cassidy’s work is an appalling hoax which no decent human being would support, or it’s a revelatory work of linguistics. If it’s the former (which it is) then your comments are supporting lies and my anger is justified.

I have been working for years to inform people about Cassidy’s lies and his exploitation of the Irish language. The evidence is freely available but clowns like you continue to pretend that that evidence doesn’t exist and that you know better than all the scholars and linguists and lexicographers. It makes me angry to see people championing these lies, helping to fleece the gullible and worse still, encouraging people to believe that arrant nonsense like fo-luach and sách úr and gus óil are genuine Irish.

I am not a Buddhist, though I do know a fair amount about Buddhism and I have more respect for Buddhism than for most religions. You think it’s bizarre that I mention this but to me, Cassidy’s work is about egoism and bigotry and dishonesty. Unless I’ve been misinformed, Buddhism sets great store by honesty and truth and humility. In other words, I think there’s a degree of hypocrisy in your position.

I presume from your comment that “there is little use in further discussion” that we probably won’t hear from you again. You are welcome to reply and I will publish and answer anything you say. However, I would remind you that I challenged you (as I’ve challenged every supporter of Cassidy) to read the posts here and provide evidence to refute my refutation of his nonsensical book. A cynic might say that you are refusing to engage in further discussion because you know that this is an argument you’re not going to win, because myself and the other critics of Cassidy are the ones who are telling the truth.

However, this isn’t about you and it isn’t about me. At the end of the day, this is about Cassidy and his lies and it’s about ensuring that as few people as possible are misled and cheated. Remove your comment from IrishCentral and I will take down this post and the other two. Continue to act as an enabler for a dead con-man, and I will consider myself entirely justified in continuing to call you a liar.

Why Hugh Curran Is A Liar

A few days ago, I wrote a post in Irish. I had noticed that an individual called Hugh Curran had posted an ignorant and entirely indefensible comment in support of Cassidy’s ludicrous book on IrishCentral and in my post, I called him a liar and issued him with a challenge.

What was it that offended me so much? Well, Curran began his comment by telling readers that he was born in the Donegal Gaeltacht and teaches Irish. Let’s just examine this carefully. This gives the impression that Curran is a fluent Irish speaker. After all, if someone wrote “I was born in France and teach French,” wouldn’t you make the assumption that that person was fluent in French? I would.

So, why don’t I think Curran is fluent in Irish? Well, on 07/04/2011, he was asking Marion Gunn of Conradh na Gaeilge (https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A3=ind1104&L=IRTRAD-L&E=quoted-printable&P=51576&B=–&T=text%2Fplain;%20charset=utf-8&header=1) the following question:

A chara Marion, Are there any places that you are aware of in New Brunswick or Maine, or Massachussetts or New Hampshire that have Irish Gaeilge immersion weekends?

Now, Marion Gunn is an Irish speaker. If you were a learner with a good basic knowledge of Irish, wouldn’t you try out your Irish in circumstances like this? For some reason, he doesn’t bother trying. The only Irish in his communication is ‘A chara Marion.’ This is a bit of a smoking gun. To say Dear Marion, it would be ‘A Marion, a chara.’ (Most Irish speakers wouldn’t aspirate a foreign name like Marion, though it’s not wrong to do so.) It is quite plain from the way Curran translates it that he doesn’t know how to say this, which suggests that his knowledge of the language is patchy at most.

And if his knowledge of Irish is patchy, how can he make a valid judgement about the rightness or wrongness of the ‘Irish’ in Cassidy’s book? Where does his figure of 80% plausible and something over half of that 80% correct come from? Straight out of his arse! The figure of somewhere between 40 and 50% of the derivations in Cassidy’s book being correct is just nonsense. Of course, if I am wrong about his lack of Irish, he can defend himself by answering my challenge in the last post.

Furthermore, this arrogant and foolish man simply ignores all the evidence and all the critics, including critics on the same comments column where he wrote this nonsense – people who are smarter and better-informed than he is – and does a lot of vague and childish pontificating about how scholars don’t accept the amount of Irish influence on English out of bigotry and how the Irish themselves fail to recognise Cassidy’s genius because of some post-Famine Stockholm Syndrome and not because Cassidy was a nut with no degree and no knowledge of Irish. Whatever …

The fact is that myself and a number of other individuals have tried to inform people of the truth about this book. We don’t like people being fleeced by worthless rubbish which has no value and we definitely don’t like scum like Cassidy who don’t know any Irish exploiting our language to make money by conning naïve people. If Curran had any decency or integrity, he would go straight back to IrishCentral and delete his comment, or better still, write another one telling the truth about Cassidy and his lies.

The worst thing is that this man claims to be a Buddhist. We have seen a lot of frauds on this blog (Cassidy’s work attracts them) but it really is bizarre that a man who claims to be spiritually superior has such a huge ego and sense of self-importance. To me, it seems quite clear that far from being enlightened, this man’s head is so far up his arse that it would take a stout rope and a team of horses to extract it.

Hugh Curran, Bréagadóir

Níl tír ar bith ar an domhan cláir a bhfuil ganntanas amadán ann ach cuireann sé iontas orm a mhéad amadán atá le fáil i measc threibh na nGael-Mheiriceánach. Arís eile, tá méadú ar dhíolaíocht leabhar bómánta Cassidy, cionn is go ndearnadh athfhoilsiú ar an alt amaideach faoi New York Slang le Brendan Patrick Keane ar IrishCentral. Agus ní hamháin sin, ach tá bocamadán éigin darb ainm Hugh Curran i ndiaidh a ladar a chur isteach ar cholún na nótaí tráchta faoin alt sin le cacamas aineolach a léiríonn go bhfuil Curran chomh dallintinneach agus chomh lán de féin agus a bhí Cassidy féin.

Cé hé an fear seo Hugh Curran? Bhuel, de réir an phíosa ar IrishCentral agus alt eile a fuair mé ar líne, is i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill a rugadh é. Chaith sé 14 bliana i gCeanada agus in Albain Nua. Chaith sé cúig bliana mar mhanach Budaíoch agus tá sé ag teagasc le roinnt blianta ar Ollscoil Maine, san áit a bhfuil sé ar Chlár na Síochána agus an Athmhuintearais. Deir sé fosta go bhfuil Gaeilge aige agus gur theagasc sé an teanga. Is deacair sin a chreidbheáil, nó bheadh sé ábalta an amaidí i leabhar Cassidy a aithint dá mbeadh Gaeilge ar bith aige.

Deir Hugh Curran gur bhain sé an-sult as leabhar Cassidy agus go bhfuil 80% den tsanasaíocht sa leabhar inchreidte (há!) agus gur dócha go bhfuil an ceart ag Cassidy níos minice ná a mhalairt. Beidh a fhios ag duine ar bith a léigh an blag seo nach bhfuil sa tuairim sin ach raiméis atá ag teacht salach ar na fíricí atá le fáil sa Ghaeilge, i leabhair ar stair an Bhéarla agus i bhfoclóirí na dteangacha sin, chomh maith le foclóirí teangacha eile ar nós na Fraincise.

Deir sé ansin go mbíonn na saineolaithe Béarla ag déanamh a seacht ndícheall gan a admháil go bhfuil a lán focal Gaeilge sa Bhéarla. Ní thugann sé oiread agus sampla amháin de na focail sin a ndearnadh leithcheal orthu sna foclóirí. Deir sé gur teanga mheasctha an Béarla (rud atá fíor) ach caitheann sé go dímheasúil le lucht na bhfoclóirí. Dar leisean, bíonn siad róréidh foinse éigin ón Ollainnis nó ó Chríoch Lochlainn a cheadú in áit glacadh le míniú ón Ghaeilge. Arís eile, ní thugann sé fianaise ná samplaí dúinn. Is leor focal ó bhéal an fháidh leis an chás a chruthú!

Ansin, scríobhann sé rud atá bómánta amach  is amach. Bhí Gaidhlig agus Gaeilge á labhairt go forleathan i Northumbria ón chúigiú céad go dtí an seachtú céad, dar leis. Luann sé Aodhán Lindisfarne (ach mílitríonn sé an t-ainm mar Aidhan – is comhartha maith é sin nach bhfuil a chuid Gaeilge chomh maith agus a shíleann sé féin) agus an Rí Oswald. Ar ndóigh, bhí Gaeilge ag an bheirt acu. Gael go smior a bhí in Aodhán agus maidir le hOswald, ba bhanphrionsa Gaelach a mháthair agus tugadh Flann Fionn air. Sin beirt!Ach an raibh teangacha Gaelacha á labhairt go forleathan san áit sin ag an tréimhse sin? An bhfuil fianaise ar bith ann? Agus má bhí, cá bhfuil an fhianaise gur fhág sin a rian ar Bhéarla an lae inniu? Cá bhfuil na fíricí, Curran, cá bhfuil na samplaí, nó nach bhfuil an fhírinne tábhachtach sa Bhudaíochas? (Más amhlaidh nach bhfuil, tá dul amú orm.)

Ansin, luann sé an Drochshaol corradh le míle bliain ina dhiaidh sin, agus deir sé go labhraíodh a thuismitheoirí Gaeilge nuair a d’aistrigh siad go Ceanada, agus deir sé (i mBéarla, ar ndóigh): Is deacair a thuigbheáil cad chuige a mbeadh sé chomh doiligh sin a chreidbheáil go ndearna na céadta focal Gaeilge imirce isteach i mbéarlagair Thuaisceart Mheiriceá. Ar ndóigh, níl sé sásta fianaise ar bith a thabhairt ná oiread agus focal amháin a rinne an imirce sin a lua agus ar ndóigh, níl sé sásta a mhíniú dúinn cad chuige nach bhfuil na céadta frása atá i leabhar Cassidy le fáil i bhfoclóir ar bith Gaeilge ná i dtéacs ar bith sa teanga. Mar, níl duine ar bith a cháineann Cassidy ag rá nach bhfuil sé inchreidte a lán focal ón Ghaeilge a bheith sa Bhéarla. Tá muid ag rá nach bhfuil sé fíor, agus gur furasta sin a chruthú.

Ach is é an píosa ina dhiaidh sin an chuid is bómánta agus is maslaí. Dar leisean, bíonn leisce orainne glacadh le bréaga Cassidy cionn is go mbíonn íospartaigh an chinedhíothaithe chultúrtha (victims of cultural genocide) ag taobhú leo siúd a d’imir cos ar bolg orthu mar gheall ar an náire atá orainn agus muid beo bocht. (Go raibh míle maith agat, a mháistir mhóir, as ár ndorchadas a shoilsiú le do mhóreagna Zen …)

Anois, is léir ón méid sin gur gealt nó amadán é an fear seo. Is náire shaolta thú, Curran. Agus mar sin de, tugaim do dhúshlán anseo! Tá cead agat do thuairimí féin a bheith agat, ach níl cead agatsa ná ag duine ar bith eile d’fhíricí féin a bheith agat. Is bréagadóir thú agus níl do chuid tuairimí ag teacht leis na fíricí ar chor ar bith! Más mian leat raiméis Cassidy a chosaint, tá cead agat sin a dhéanamh, anseo, i nGaeilge (má tá Gaeilge ar bith agat!)

Sa bhlag seo, phléigh mé bunús na bhfocal sa leabhar bhómánta sin agus mhínigh mé cad chuige nach féidir glacadh le tuairimí Cassidy. Tá cead agatsa na fíricí ar an bhlag seo a shéanadh, nó iarracht a dhéanamh, cibé. Agus mura bhfuil tú sásta (ná ábalta) sin a dhéanamh agus do chuid rámhaillí a chosaint go poiblí, beidh a fhios ag gach aon duine nach bhfuil ionat ach béalastán aineolach atá ag cuidiú le caimiléir marbh a gcuid airgid a bhaint de dhaoine saonta. (Agus más féidir leat an bhaint idir sin agus an Budaíochas a mhíniú, is fearr thú ná mise a Ghúngaire Dhéin … )

Mar a dúirt an Búda, Cuir an bréagadóir ina thost leis an fhírinne. An bhfuil tú ag iarraidh cur le do chuid bréag, Curran, nó an mbainfidh tú triail as an fhírinne, mar athrú?

Tá mé ag fanacht …

A Christmas Warning

A week ago, Daniel Cassidy’s absurd book How The Irish Invented Slang was way down on the Amazon sales lists – somewhere around 900,000th. on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. If there were any justice, this trashy, awful book would be out of print. However, I notice that on the American Amazon rankings, it has now gone up to around 500,000th, as naïve people look around for a present for their relatives and take this nasty piece of fakery as a genuine contribution to our knowledge about the Irish past.

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.