For some time now, some of my on-line friends have advised me to provide a version of CassidySlangScam without the invective aimed at Cassidy and his supporters. In response to that advice, I am working on providing a glossary of the terms in Cassidy’s ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong.
Cassidy rightly states that alanna, a term of endearment, comes from the Irish a leanbh, meaning ‘oh child’.
This is true but as is the case with acushla, it is quite clear that this is not an English word. If, as Cassidy claimed, there were hundreds or thousands of Irish words and phrases in English, you would expect common endearments like this to have been borrowed first, yet Americans do not address one another as ‘alanna’ or ‘agrah’. Such expressions are only found in English in the context of sentimental Irish melodramas or ballads, and their origin from Irish Gaelic has never been in doubt. In other words, not only do words like this not support Cassidy’s theory, if anything, they make it less likely to be true.