Tag Archives: American slang comes from Irish

Will The Real M.M. Please Stand Up?

I recently had a go at Cassidy and some of his cronies, who posted reviews of one another’s books on Amazon without giving any indication of who they were. This is an immoral thing to do, in my opinion. It’s not against the law, though it is against Amazon’s own rules: “…family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews for those particular items.”

I had another look at some of the comments surrounding Amazon reviews of Cassidy’s work. One of the strongest critics on Amazon.com was D. Norder, who made a spirited and entirely sensible attack on Cassidy’s lack of methodology and total incompetence. Norder made the minor mistake of talking about Gaelic rather than Irish – if it is a mistake. After all, Cassidy frequently dragged in Scots Gaelic when he couldn’t find what he was looking for in Irish dictionaries and the term Gaelic can be used to cover both languages (and Manx).

Among those who criticised Norder was a person calling themselves M.M.. Referring to this supposed lapse by Norder, M.M. had this to say:

Seems from the other comments that D. Norder has been outed as not knowing his/her facts. But those of us that have studied Irish history are well acquainted with revisionists that try to gloss over or completely discredit facts that do not align with their agendas.

This comment is nasty, irrational and entirely inappropriate. Cassidy’s book is so full of lies and inaccuracies and grandiose crazy claims unsupported by any evidence at all, while Norder is dealing in a couple of genuine facts like the origin of bunkum. To pretend that this is about revisionism is showing scant respect for those who genuinely oppose revisionist rewritings of Irish history. As I’ve said here before, Cassidy was a revisionist (revisionism means rewriting history, whatever the political slant). His work was obviously nonsense. Open any page at random and you will find a piece or several pieces of demonstrable rubbish.

Worse still, M.M. is pretending to be simply a concerned citizen defending Cassidy because they think he was right.

However, if we look at M.M.’s profile, we find that she (I think it’s a woman) was: ‘the student coordinator for an Irish Studies Program at a private University in San Francisco’ and that she was ‘very involved in the Irish American community.’ I may be wrong about this, but I think the only Irish Studies Program in a private university in San Francisco was the one at New College of California, which would mean that M.M. was a close associate of the late Daniel Cassidy. In other words, far from being an impartial observer with a love of truth, this is a partisan scumbag who is determined to gloss over or lie about any facts which don’t align with her twisted agenda of defending a worthless buffoon who she happened to consider a friend.

You will probably be able to find out who this particular scumbag is by looking at Irish Studies and New College of California on Google and searching for someone with the initials M.M.

Of course, if these people had any shame at all, they would be tormented by a deep sense of self-disgust and self-loathing as they skulk around the Internet depositing arrogant, dishonest crud like this. However, as people like M.M. and the rest of the Cassidy Cargo Cult seem to be without the slightest glimmer of shame, we’ll just have to do the disgust and loathing for them.

Hall of Shame Special: Colin Carroll

The most recent addition to the Hall of Shame is an idiot from Fermoy called Colin Carroll. A month ago, he published a foolish and badly-written article on his own blog, tellingly called Irish Empire, which seems to be a rip-off of the equally egregious IrishCentral. He simply ignores every critic of Cassidy and states that Cassidy’s controversial book is correct, though it is far from clear that he has even read it.

Among the howlers is the claim that seod is Irish for ‘king’ and that sách úr is Irish for ‘big cat’. This is a man who was raised in County Cork and claims to speak Irish! He talks about brogue coming from Irish, as if this is something that Cassidy discovered. Of course, all the dictionaries have always accepted this, including the OED. As we have stated before, swell doesn’t come from Irish, glom doesn’t come from Irish. This is all nonsense.

He implies that there is a controversy about Irish derivations from English which is unconnected to Cassidy’s work, and then gives four of Cassidy’s stupid claims like the one about jazz coming from teas as evidence of this debate.

The article is also very badly written. Here’s part of his attack on the Oxford English Dictionary: ‘Although the OED loftily purport to record the meaning and development of the English language. But is that British English or global English? And how more plausible is it that they get to cherry-pick what word is a dictionary definition?’ Huh? The first sentence isn’t a sentence and the last one doesn’t make any sense at all. And this man claims to be a writer!

The fact is that Colin Carroll seems to be very similar to Cassidy himself. He is absolutely desperate for attention and will apparently do anything to keep his name in the public eye, such as trying to become the first Irish sumo wrestler, hence the rather disturbing picture at the beginning of this item.

However, I suspect that even he has finally realized that not all publicity is good. Colin Carroll’s latest ‘ghost-written’ book (under the name Louis La Roc) has garnered a lot of attention and for all the wrong reasons. It is called Numb, and claims to be based on the diaries (or dairies as it’s written twice in an article by Carroll on the ironically-named writing.ie) of an English war correspondent identified only by the false name of Buckby who got a little too embedded in the stories he was covering, torturing an IRA man in Belfast and raping a teenage girl in the Balkans, amongst other horrible things.

Various people suggested that the story of Buckby was probably untrue because of factual inconsistencies in the text, but it took one lone researcher called Donal O’Keeffe (give that man a medal!) to unearth the truth. It turns out that Carroll gave an interview five years ago where he mentioned a novel he was writing about a foreign correspondent who is also a psychopath. In a radio interview recently (at https://soundcloud.com/irishtimes-culture/war-story-the-absence-of-female-literary-critics) La Roc/Carroll was put on the spot and got a right royal and well-deserved roasting by Hugh Linehan.

It is easy to understand why a talentless, publicity-obsessed nobody like Carroll would give a good review to an equally talentless publicity-obsessed nobody like Cassidy. Shame on the pair of them!

Pud

Daniel Cassidy, in his infantile work of pseudo-scholarship, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the word ‘pud’, a slang term for penis, derives from the Irish word bod, with the same meaning.

If pud had no meaning in English, this would be a reasonable enough claim. However, pud does have a meaning in English. It is a common shortened form of pudding, which is on record as having been used as a slang term for a penis in British English as early as 1719. Several types of sausage commonly eaten in Ireland are called puddings – black pudding (putóg dhubh) and white pudding (putóg bhán or drisín).

There is absolutely no sensible reason to suppose that pud is anything but English.

The University of Limerick

Daniel Cassidy was a user. He used everybody around him. It didn’t matter whether there was any value in what he was doing or whether he was entitled to do it. As far as he was concerned, the world was his oyster and to hell with anyone who opposed him.

One thing which has often puzzled me about the publication of Cassidy’s book is the fact that it was to have been published by the University of Limerick. Then a couple of weeks before it was to be published, they received a review from an academic saying that they should not go ahead with publishing it. We do not know what reasons were given but Cassidy was furious at the “faceless revisionist Irish academic” who had rejected his work of genius. (Another thing I don’t get – Cassidy was the revisionist!) That’s how it came to be published by Cassidy’s friend, Alexander Cockburn. Cassidy could always rely on his mates to get him out of a hole.

Now, while I have no doubt that Limerick is a fine university, it isn’t the first place you might think of in Ireland. Trinity College, UCD, QUB, Cork. All of them are likely to be higher up the list than Limerick. Unless you know someone in Limerick University.

Recently I noticed that one of the names on the Irish Crossroads Festival list for 2004 was Mícheál Ó hAodha, a poet and academic at the University of Limerick, who also has an interest in old photos of the Irish circus. I can just imagine the poor man thrown into the middle of some crazy Irish-American circus, with Cassidy in the chair ranting about eddymalagy and singing ridiculous fake Oirish versions of cowboy songs. The subject of the event, apparently, was An Gaeilge Sa Mheiriceá. (Yes, you couldn’t make it up! It should be An Ghaeilge i Meiriceá, of course!)

Anyway, my guess would be that a few years later, Ó hAodha presumably got a call from the nasty little con-man in California. “Hey, long time no see, hey I’m tinkin’ of bringin’ out a book. It’s great, howdya like to publish it. Idd’ll be great for Limrick … blah, blah, blah, yadayadayada.” And I’m sure Ó hAodha is a polite and courteous man, so perhaps he agreed to try, then sent it to an impartial academic reviewer (which is what people do in real universities), who fell about laughing and said “You must be joking!” So, Limerick University committed the unforgiveable crime of saying no to Daniel Cassidy.

I would like to think they informed him of their decision in an appropriate Limerick form (though I am sure they didn’t!) Something like this, perhaps:

We think your book is a jest,
Your logic is not of the best,
      Your proofs are all fake,
      You’re a crook on the make,
So fuck off, you’ve failed the test!

 

 

 

 

 

 

No News = Good News?

Well, we have still heard nothing from Columbia University or San Francisco State. However, the Easter holidays tend to disrupt things and of course, email is not as effective as snail mail for some purposes (though Cornell were happy enough to oblige when approached by email – well done to them!) I will give them a week or two and see if anything happens but don’t think I have given up! If I don’t hear anything by then, I will start mailing letters to people and then there is always the press. I am not going to stop until I find out the full extent of Daniel Cassidy’s fraud and make that information available to the public. Watch this space!

It’s Official – Vichy Water Is Irish Too

Following on the recent revelations that Mazel Tov derives from Irish, the Irish Milesian Academy For Intellectual Arts (IrishMAFIA) has released another bombshell. For many years, people assumed that Vichy water derives from the spa town of Vichy in France. Not so, says Brendan Patrick Gurne, Professor of Creative Etymology at IrishMAFIA.

“The word biseach in Irish means an improvement in health. A deoch bhisigh (joke vishy, a ‘drink of improvement’) is a drink that people take to recover from a hangover, a hair of the dog. It is easy to see how a term for an alcoholic drink used to restore health could be transferred to a non-alcoholic drink used as a tonic. The experts on English language admit that not all ‘vichy water’ comes from Vichy, or even from France. Merriam-Webster says: ‘: a natural sparkling mineral water from Vichy, France; also : an imitation of or substitute for this.’ It’s obviously from Irish. Our special Irish language consultant, the guy in the Blarney Stone bar who says he speaks Irish, concurs with our findings.”

John Weeney of the SoHo Aliens agrees.

“The claim that vichy water has any connection with Vichy in France is completely discredited. It is an attempt by Anglophile scholars to belittle the influence of Irish on American speech by linking American soft drinks with a regime which collaborated with Nazism. Anyone who believes the discredited claim that vichy water originates from Vichy in France and not from the Irish language is a self-loathing Irishman. Not only that but my father was an Irish speaker and I remember him talking about soft drinks and I’m fairly certain he once mentioned vichy. He was never in France in his life! Which just goes to show, this word must come from Irish!”

There has been a number of other responses to the claim.

“Espèce d’imbécile!” (You’re probably right!) said the Mayor of Vichy.

“Vous êtes complètement fou ou quoi?” (We endorse this message) said a representative of L’Académie française.

“This could be the continuation of a beautiful friendship!” said Peter Quint, Professional Irish-American.

“It’s a truly fascinating claim, a truth brought back from the shadows, like ancient roads emerging from a winter landscape, a veritable Tutankhamen’s tomb of linguistic archaeology. Though I’m not much of a one for mineral water myself. Speaking of which, did someone mention a free bar?” said Mallarkey McQuart, brother of the more famous.

“Begob and begorrah, sure and all ‘tis Oirish it is being, not the Frinch, and so say all of us what ‘as our roots in da Emrald Oil!” said Ned Lunch, practising some authentic Irish dialogue for his next novel.

“ANY ONE WHO BELIEVES THAT VICHY WATER IS FRENCH NOT THE PRODUCT OF THE IRISH CELT IS HELPING THE BRUTAL STORM TROOPERS OF BRITISH IMPERALISM TO RAVISH KATHLEEN NI HOOLAHAN IN FRONT OF HER BEWILDIERED AND STARVING ORFAN CHILDREN! EVERY TIME YOU DENY THE TRUTH OF DANIEL CASSIDY’S THEORIES A LEPRECAUN DIES AND IRELAND LOSES A LITTLE OF IT’S EMERALD COLOR AND BE COMES MORE LIKE FORTY SHADES OF GRAY. BUT NOT FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY. WELL A BIT. THAT DIDNT COME OUT RIGHT. IM CONFUSED. THE COSMIC RAYS MUST BE GETTING THROUGH.” said another guy on the Internet with a tinfoil hat.

Beat

Daniel Cassidy, in his insane and ridiculous book, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the American slang word beat comes from the Irish word béad. This is one of the many examples in the book where Cassidy simply ignored a perfectly logical and obvious English explanation for American English slang terms and opted for implausible explanations in a language he knew absolutely nothing about – Irish.

Beat means, according to Cassidy, ‘to rob, cheat or swindle’ or to be robbed, cheated or swindled. A ‘bad beat’, according to Cassidy, is a severe loss in poker and of course, a ‘dead beat’ is someone who is down and out. All of these meanings are perfectly easy to understand in terms of the various meanings of the English word ‘beat,’ meaning to flog, to defeat, to overcome.

But of course, Cassidy wasn’t interested in logical or reasonable explanations and neither are the ignorant dumbasses who continue to propagate this nonsense. Cassidy’s explanation is that it comes from the Irish word béad, which, according to him, is defined as ‘loss, injury, robbery, crime; ill-deed; ill-doings, an injury; sorrow; robbed or cheated; flattery; trick; cunning.’ Of course, this multifaceted definition doesn’t come from any dictionary. While the diminutive béadán is common enough in modern Irish (it means ‘gossip’), béad isn’t. Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, which is the most reliable, says simply that the word béad is a literary term for ill deed. Literary means very old in this context. It’s the kind of language which poets used in the 16th or 17th century. It isn’t a modern Irish term. Dinneen’s dictionary, which tends to mix and mingle words from all eras and dialects, says that béad means ‘a deed; crime or injury; sorrow, ill tidings or doings’. I can find no examples of this word in use in modern Irish.

If you look on Google, you might find one or two examples of the words béad or bead but be careful – these are Munster dialect versions of the first person future tense of the verb ‘to be’. They are verbal forms, not nouns. Someone is saying that they will be somewhere at some time. These words are unrelated to the word béad meaning ill deed.

Béad would be pronounced baid as well, to rhyme with laid or made. If it were borrowed into English, why wouldn’t it be borrowed as bade? This is just more cretinous nonsense from the Dork of New York and should be ignored by all reasonable and intelligent human beings.

A Cold Snap

We have recently had something of a cold snap here in Ireland, though the ‘worst winter in living memory’ promised by the Express or Mail or whichever English rag it was has failed to materialise, just as it fails to materialise almost every winter. However, the cold snap got me thinking about that word snap. I said back in July 2013 in the post titled Did Cassidy ever get it right? that I thought there was some chance the word snap as in a cold snap comes from Irish, though I said I wasn’t sure.

So, does snap come from Irish? Well, there is no doubt that snap is used in this way in Irish. Dinneen’s Irish dictionary gives various meanings for snab, including a snap, an end or fragment, a spell or turn (cf. “a cold snap”). The book also gives snap with the meaning “a snapping, a sudden assault or seizure.”

The word snap is also found with the sense of a cold spell of weather in English. Its first recorded use in this sense is in the 1740s.

So, which is it? An English word borrowed into Irish or an Irish word borrowed into English?

The evidence is very clearly in favour of this being an English word in Irish for a number of reasons. Firstly, Ireland was subject to English control for hundreds of years and there are many English borrowings in Irish but relatively few Irish borrowings in English, so the balance of probabilities is in favour of an English origin. There is no evidence for the existence of the word snap in Irish before the modern era. (You can check this on eDIL.) Furthermore, snap is recorded in the sense of a snap or sudden bite from the 15th century, and it has ancient cognates in other Germanic languages. It is related to Germanic words like snout.

Once again, Cassidy got it badly wrong about this word.

Hall of Shame – Brendan Patrick Keane, AGAIN!

The Irish, like every people on Earth, have plenty of cranks, begrudgers and know-nothings. However, generally we also have a positive attitude towards learning and studying. Anti-intellectualism is not a major part of our culture and our self-image as a nation is often about urbanity and scepticism and originality. Because of this, it is always a disappointment when we find people in the Irish diaspora who seem to be dead set on living up to (or living down to?) the negative ethnic stereotypes of the Irish created over hundreds of years by the British with their Irish Bulls, stage-Irish characters and Irish jokes, which portray us as a nation of gullible and dull-witted imbeciles.

One such gullible fool is called Brendan Patrick Keane. I had occasion to comment before on an atrocious post in IrishCentral in which he takes a host of Cassidy’s loopy and easily disprovable claims about the Irish origin of slang terms and repeats them verbatim, thus demonstrating a lamentable lack of any journalistic standards. Unfortunately, my comments last time have either not come to his attention or he has chosen to persist in his folly in the hope of becoming wise. Not much chance of that! According to his description of himself online, he is also a 9/11 Truther!

And now, Keane is at it again! He recently published a childish and dilettante post about the Irish language. He claims that he is ‘a student’ of the language, though it is quite apparent that most of the information he gives in this blog post is derived from the new online Irish dictionary, focloir.ie, and that Keane himself doesn’t know much about Irish or linguistics. This is clear because the phrase ‘An dtuig’ isn’t correct in Irish – it would have to be ‘An dtuigeann?’ – and dhá súile doesn’t make sense at all. The correct Irish is dhá shúil.

As is his wont, Keane likes to garnish his borrowed content with tedious barstool philosophy. No doubt Keane thinks he is highly original, but in fact his recent post is an example of a well-known fallacy, where someone compares random grammatical features of two languages and draws specious and childish conclusions about the hidden mental processes expressed by these grammatical structures. This is best avoided by any intelligent person. It is an over-simplified, folk-linguistic version of the theory known to linguists as The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Mostly, it is a harmless kind of thinking aloud but at times it can verge on racism, as in the case where a British journalist in South America observed that when a glass was knocked over someone said ‘Se me cayó’ in Spanish, and that this ‘blaming’ of the glass for its own demise was typical of a culture where people don’t take responsibility for their own actions!

Keane’s piece is full of nonsense about Irish. He makes the absurd claim that the phrase ‘thinking cap’ comes from the Irish ceap, meaning think. He recommends people to read his original post about Cassidy, where people can find out the ‘origin’ of slang phrases like pizzazz, sucker,  Interesting that Keane’s childish post (and through it, Cassidy’s ridiculous book) get a link, while the source that Keane’s recent post is based on, focloir.ie, doesn’t get a link at all. But then, if you’re recommending a piece of shit to people which is packed to the gills with fake Irish nonsense, the last thing you want them to do is go to an online dictionary and look up the real facts for themselves!

He repeats Cassidy’s ridiculous assertion that jazz comes from the Irish teas, and once again demonstrates a lack of any real knowledge of Irish by also giving Cassidy’s phonetic version, implying that teas can be pronounced with a j sound.

The story of how Cassidy came to believe this is interesting. Cassidy made use of a forum for Irish learners to find out how to pronounce certain sounds [http://www.daltai.com/discus/messages/13510/13360.html?1106977194]. Cassidy couldn’t understand the linguistic explanations. Eventually, one poster said:

BOTTOM LINE?!  How do I say “tir?”
Cheer
Tear
jeer.
I’ll bet every native speaker would understand me no matter which I said.

Then Cassidy answered:

A chairde: go raibh maith agat.
tri tir: some tear, some jeer, some cheer (tir)
Sounds like the divine Raic Ard of New Yawk so-called “Ing-lish” — I have at least three registers of pronunciation of Be/arla in mo chab.

In other words, the other poster was saying, it doesn’t matter what you say really because people will understand you, NOT that native speakers use these forms interchangeably. But in the insane world of Cassidy’s head, this casual online comment became a source and was actually quoted as a source in the book and described by Cassidy as The Rule of Tír. In this, we can clearly see Cassidy’s disease, and the reason why only a total idiot like Brendan Patrick Keane would recommend this tripe to other people. Cassidy looked for any hint which might confirm his opinions and then turned it from possibility to probability, from probability to certainty. From a casual and impatient comment on an online forum, Cassidy invented a bogus rule of pronunciation and capitalised it as The Rule of Tír!

The comments page contains even more stupidities from Keane. For example, according to him Proto-Germanic was invented by linguists to give a lineage to English. Yes, I’m sure that was a major priority for Jakob Grimm and Franz Bopp, neither of whom were English!

In short, to any members of the Irish American or Irish community reading this, if you see the by-line Brendan Patrick Keane on an article, don’t bother reading it. This man is a fool who thinks he’s an intellectual and there is no worse kind of fool in the world.

The Madness of Sweeney

I have received a message from someone calling themselves Sean Sweeney, who has contributed a number of rather rabid and not very intelligent posts in support of Daniel Cassidy’s crazy theories on different websites. I don’t know if this person is genuinely just a fan of Cassidy’s or if he is a sockpuppet for one of Cassidy’s Cronies.

Now, I am a great believer in democracy. Debate is a fine thing. However, I have gone to a lot of trouble to produce an intelligent and trustworthy blog (far more trouble than Cassidy ever went to!) and I don’t want this to become some kind of Democracy Wall for every saucer-eyed crazy and deluded idiot to deface with their stupidities. For that reason, I will publish this message along with an appropriate answer here.

This is what Sweeney says:

So, a people as garrulous, vibrant, influential, street-wise and abundant as the the Irish contributed a mere handful of words to the language, whilst other groups have contributed hundreds? Get real.

Some of Cassidy’s derivations may be nonsense, but nowhere as nonsensical as what you claim.

And here is my reply.

Personally, Sweeney, I think you have some nerve telling me to get real, when you are trying to tell people that Daniel Cassidy’s book is worth reading! With all due respect (and that’s no respect at all), you claim that the Irish language must have contributed hundreds of words to American vernacular because the Irish talk a lot. Talk about a non-sequitur! Nor is it bringing anything new to the debate. It is the same weak and childish argument used by Cassidy when he said that he knew Irish people who could talk the paint off walls, so how come they made no contribution to American vernacular? (His answer was, of course, that a sinister cabal of Anglophile dictionary-makers had conspired to hide the fact that they did! What were you saying about me getting real?)

Why MUST the Irish have contributed hundreds of words to American vernacular? (Apart from the fact that you say so, of course!) Language contact is a complex sociolinguistic situation and there are lots of factors at play. How many of the Irish immigrants were already bilingual when they arrived? What was the language of choice among young Irish immigrants? What was their attitude towards Irish – did they think of it as something good or as the language of the old lad in the corner? (Douglas Hyde was told by an Irish American in Boston that there were two kinds of cranks they didn’t like – cranks who are against alcohol and cranks who are in favour of the Irish language!) Was there already a fully developed urban slang in English when they arrived? And is it really true that other languages gave hundreds of terms to American vernacular? Yiddish certainly gave more than Irish but I don’t think there are that many common Yiddish expressions in vernacular American English (i.e. slang terms like putz and shmuck) – probably no more than a couple of dozen. For German it’s even fewer, and there were probably as many German as Irish immigrants and almost none of them were bilingual!

In other words, Sweeney or whoever you are, this isn’t a rational argument based on facts. It’s just a sweeping generalisation unsupported by any evidence.

And that brings me to the most important part. In this blog, I have analysed a large number of Cassidy’s fake derivations and given the truth about them. I have also stated that apart from obviously Irish words like machree, whiskey and shebeen and the handful of other words which are already given as Irish or Shelta in mainstream dictionaries such as sourpuss, slob and moniker, there are only a couple of words in Cassidy’s book which might be considered to be possible, such as snas for snazzy and deifir for jiffy. And that doesn’t make them right, just worthy of further consideration. For the rest, the derivations given in this book are as stupid and improbable as béal ónna for baloney or gus óil for guzzle. They are complete nonsense.

In spite of all the evidence presented here you apparently STILL believe that the Irish gave hundreds of words to American vernacular. Fine! Do you believe that I have got it wrong about some of these words on the blog? Tell me which words and why I’m wrong! Do you believe that some of the words I haven’t dealt with in Cassidy’s book are good candidates? Then tell us what those words are and tell us why they are good candidates. And I’ll do my best to argue against them using logic and facts. (Or in the unlikely event that I agree with you, I’ll say that too.)

Debates like this need to be based on facts. If you’re prepared to offer some facts and debate rationally, then bring it on! If all you want is to repeat baseless irrational opinions over and over again, then go and waste someone else’s time.