Tag Archives: fake Irish

Cassidese Glossary – Crony

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.

Another oft-quoted claim of Cassidy’s, which has absolutely no basis in fact, is the notion that crony can be traced back to an Irish phrase comh-roghna. Cassidy says that this word means “fellow chosen-ones, mutual-sweethearts, fellow favourites, close friends, mutual pals”.

This is totally false. While comh– exists and rogha/roghanna (roghna is the older version of the plural of rogha, roghanna the modern spelling) exist there is no evidence in the Irish language of either roghanna or comhroghanna being used to mean friends or pals.

The words comhrogha and comhroghanna are not even in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, though the word comhrogha has been used sporadically in the language to express the abstract senses of rival, alternative or choice.

Here are some examples of the use of comhrogha from the Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language:

murab comhrogha leo maraon = unless it would be the joint choice of both of them

atáid dhá theach má [sic] comhrogha = they are two houses to be chosen between (i.e. heaven and hell

níl le do chlú comhrogha = your reputation has no rival

dá gcur i gcomhrogha = being compared

dá gcuirfí i gcomhrogha a bháis nó = if it was a matter of alternatives of death or martyrdom

an comhrogha thuas = the preceding example (comparison of two couplets, Bardic syntactic tracts

agus de chomhroghna curadh = and of the finest of warriors

The word comhrogha has also been used occasionally in modern Irish in general contexts to mean alternative, in financial and economic contexts to mean ‘joint option’ and in betting to mean ‘popular favourite’.

It should also be pointed out that comhroghanna (koh-ray-anna) doesn’t sound much like croney and it is plural – loanwords tend to be borrowed in their most basic, singular form.

Back in the real world, crony is widely believed to be Cambridge university slang, derived from Greek chronios, meaning long-lasting, as in ‘old boy’. It first occurs in Samuel Pepys’s diaries and Pepys was a Cambridge graduate.

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Cassidese Glossary – The Clinic Kid

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.

The late Daniel Cassidy’s claim about The Clinic Kid in his book, How The Irish Invented Slang, shows the flaws in his work more clearly than most. The Clinic Kid was the nickname of a con-man mentioned in David Maurer’s book The Big Con, first published in 1940. Cassidy quotes from Maurer’s book and there is no evidence that Cassidy had any other source of information about him. Cassidy (on page 214) quotes Maurer as saying:

“The Clinic Kid has made a fortune swindling wealthy patients who visited a famous mid-western clinic.”

So according to Maurer, the Clinic Kid was a con-man who worked in clinics. However, Cassidy does not accept that his fondness for clinics explained his title of The Clinic Kid. According to Cassidy, in this case clinic comes from the Irish claonach, which means perverse or deceitful. Claonach is far closer in sound to the English cleaner. There is no evidence that the Clinic Kid spoke Irish or lived in an Irish-speaking environment. In other words, Cassidy’s claim is pure nonsense.

Another Phoney

When the late Daniel Cassidy brought out his moronic crapfest How The Irish Invented Slang ten years ago, it should have bombed immediately. Cassidy himself was a fraud and a narcissist, who somehow conned his way into a job as a professor in a small college in California without any qualifications at all. He didn’t speak any Irish or have any knowledge of linguistics. Most of the phrases which are given in his book as the origins of slang terms were made up by Cassidy and never existed in the Irish language.

However, Cassidy sucked up to a large number of credible people, writers, genuine university lecturers, musicians, and these people gave him good reviews for his lying book. Because of this, many people have been tricked into thinking that there is substance to his ludicrous theories. Another strategy he employed to protect himself from criticism was the claim that academic linguists and lexicographers with Anglophile leanings were involved in a grand conspiracy to hide the fact that words like baloney and wanker came from Irish! Of course, this conspiracy never existed, and Cassidy is rejected by linguists because is ‘work’ is shoddy, stupid and without evidence.

Because of the liars who have supported this narcissistic dimwit, ten years on we are still finding people on line claiming that this or that piece of nonsense from Cassidy’s book is true or that his book as a whole should be treated as real scholarship. Just a couple of days ago, another of these people popped up on Twitter. Mary Ann Pierce advised people doing research on the history of spoken Irish in the USA to ‘read the late Daniel Cassidy “How the Irish Invented Slang.”’ Whenever I see some random fool encouraging people to waste their money on Cassidy’s fraudulent book, I look for evidence of conspiracy. Why? Well, there most certainly is a conspiracy in relation to Cassidy’s book. A conspiracy of over-privileged arseholes in America who have decided to suppress the truth about Cassidy and treat the Irish language with disdain and contempt.

There are various pieces of biographical information about Mary Ann Pierce on line. She was involved with a campaign to save a church along with – wait for it – Peter Quinn, Cassidy’s best friend, and (John) Joe Lee, who wrote a glowing review of this rubbish for the back of the book. She is also associated with the Irish American Writers’ and Artists’ Association, which was co-founded by Cassidy. Whenever anyone praises this book, there is almost always evidence of this horrible parcel of phoneys trying to suppress the truth and I have no reason to suppose that this is an exception.

Rollicking/Rámhailleach

Out of the hundreds of silly claims in Daniel Cassidy’s ludicrous book, How The Irish Invented Slang, few are sillier than his theory about the origins of the word rollicking. This is a word that makes its appearance in English for the first time in 1811. Cassidy says that the dictionaries say it is ‘of obscure origin’ but there seems to be a consensus that it is linked in some way to frolicking, which is of Dutch origin.

As usual with Cassidy’s work, all he has to offer is a vague similarity of sound. He says that this word comes from Irish rámhailleach, which is either an adjective or a verbal noun deriving from rámhaille, which means raving or ranting. The word rámhailleach is pronounced something like row-will-yah, so it really sounds nothing like rollicking. Also, the meaning is completely different. People have a rollicking good time all the time in English, but nobody every had ‘am maith rámhailleach’ (a raving good time). Rámhaille in Irish means that someone is mentally or physically ill. Rollicking is the very opposite.

As na céadta bómántacht a chum Daniel Cassidy agus a d’fhoilsigh sé ina leabhar amaideach How The Irish Invented Slang, is beag ceann acu atá chomh bómánta leis an méid a bhí le rá aige maidir le bunús an fhocail rollicking. Is focal Béarla é rollicking a taifeadadh den chéad uair sa bhliain 1811. Deir Cassidy go ndeir na foclóirí go bhfuil a bhunús doiléir, ach bíonn an chuid is mó de na scoláirí ar aon intinn go bhfuil nasc idir rollicking agus an focal frolicking, a fuair an Béarla ón Ísiltíris.

Mar is gnách le teoiricí Cassidy, níl fianaise le tairiscint aige ach go bhfuil focal sa Ghaeilge a mheasann sé a bheith cosúil leis an fhocal Béarla ó thaobh fuaime de. Deir Cassidy gur tháinig an focal seo ó rámhailleach na Gaeilge, a chiallaíonn caint gan chiall a dhéanamh agus tú tinn, ar meisce, as do mheabhair srl. Ar ndóigh, níl fuaim an fhocail rámhailleach ar dhóigh ar bith cosúil le rollicking, agus tá an chiall iomlán difriúil fosta. Is féidir ‘a rollicking good time’ a bheith agat i mBéarla. Ní féidir am maith rámhailleach a bheith agat i nGaeilge! Ciallaíonn rámhaille go bhfuil duine tinn nó as a mheabhair. Ciallaíonn rollicking a mhalairt ar fad.

Some Tweets/Roinnt Giolcacha

I have noticed a few interesting things on Twitter recently. One was a conversation between two people who both realised what an idiot Cassidy was very quickly.

Seán Óg Mac Cionnaith wrote the following on the 5th of July 2018.

Some hack wrote a whole book full of this shite – How The Irish Invented Slang. Infuriating paddywhackery.

On the same day, Mike Duffy in New York replied with this:

I was still ink-slinging for a living when that hack’s book came out and did a wee phone interview for a piece which I then dropped very, very quickly when it became clear he was full of shit.

It’s great to see people with bullshit sensors that actually work. Less acceptable is a comment by sean_flah in reply to the Rubberbandits, who, for reasons known only to themselves, are continuing to spread this trash about the Irish origin of slang.

The stuff about ‘dig / tuig’, the notion we have now that they are linked comes from Daniel Cassidy, the NY academic who wrote ‘How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads’ around 10-15 years ago (not long before he died).

He then went on to say:

Long story short, consensus among quite a few is that he was a fella with a hammer that saw nails absolutely everywhere. Drawing links between things that I suppose couldn’t be disproved, but likewise couldn’t be proven either. An interesting subject to contemplate all the same.

There are several points that need to be made here. Cassidy had nothing to do with the idea that dig and twig come from tuig. The association of tuig with twig goes back to Walter Skeat, who died in 1912. Both twig and dig and their origin from tuig were discussed in a paper by Eric P. Hamp, first published in 1981. Also, Daniel Cassidy was not an academic. He had no degrees or qualifications. You need at least one degree or one major life achievement to be an academic. Cassidy had nothing to offer anyone.

The comment about hammers and nails is quite apt but is then completely ruined by the silly comment about things that can’t be disproved or proven. I mean, why can’t they? OK, in the case of twig and tuig or dig and an dtuigeann, it’s quite hard to make that call. However, most of the one-word derivations given by Cassidy, whether original to him or plagiarised, are demonstrably nonsense. In the case of longshoreman, there is plenty of evidence that it is from ‘men along the shore’ and not from loingseoir. There are words like gump, which Cassidy says comes from Irish colm, meaning a dove. This is plainly rubbish because colm doesn’t sound anything like gump. And then there are words like beathais, Cassidy’s candidate for booze, which doesn’t exist at all.

But of course, most of Cassidy’s derivations are not individual words. They are phrases like sách úr and béal ónna and éamh call, phrases that don’t exist in Irish. Quite simply, if the only evidence that a phrase like uath dubh exists in Irish is the word of Daniel Cassidy, a proven liar who didn’t know any Irish, there isn’t any evidence and nobody should believe these claims.

 

Thug mé roinnt rudaí faoi deara ar Twitter ar na mallaibh. Ceann amháin acu, comhrá a bhí ann idir beirt fhear a thuig láithreach nach raibh sa Chaisideach ach amadán.

Scríobh Seán Óg Mac Cionnaith an méid seo ar an 5ú Iúil 2018.

Some hack wrote a whole book full of this shite – How The Irish Invented Slang. Infuriating paddywhackery.

Ar an lá chéanna, fuair sé freagra ó Mike Duffy i Nua-Eabhrac:

I was still ink-slinging for a living when that hack’s book came out and did a wee phone interview for a piece which I then dropped very, very quickly when it became clear he was full of shit.

Is breá an rud é daoine a aimsiú atá ábalta cacamas a aithint gan stró. Is lú an t-áthas a chuir na tráchtanna seo orm, freagraí a scríobh sean_flah ar na Rubberbandits. De réir cosúlachta, (agus níl a fhios agam cad chuige!) tá na Robálaithe Rubair ag scaipeadh na raiméise seo faoi bhunús Gaeilge an bhéarlagair go fóill.

The stuff about ‘dig / tuig’, the notion we have now that they are linked comes from Daniel Cassidy, the NY academic who wrote ‘How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads’ around 10-15 years ago (not long before he died).

Lean sé leis mar seo:

Long story short, consensus among quite a few is that he was a fella with a hammer that saw nails absolutely everywhere. Drawing links between things that I suppose couldn’t be disproved, but likewise couldn’t be proven either. An interesting subject to contemplate all the same.

Tá roinnt rudaí le soiléiriú anseo. Ar an chéad dul síos, ní raibh baint ar bith ag an Chaisideach leis an nóisean gurb ionann dig agus twig i mBéarla agus tuig sa Ghaeilge. An nasc idir tuig agus twig, is féidir é a rianú siar a fhad le Walter Skeat, a fuair bás sa bhliain 1912. Pléadh twig agus dig agus an bhaint atá acu le tuig i bpáipéar acadúil le Eric P. Hamp, a foilsíodh den chéad uair sa bhliain 1981. Ní hamháin sin, ach ní féidir ‘academic’ a thabhairt ar Daniel Cassidy. Ní raibh céimeanna ná cáilíochtaí aige. Tá ar a laghad céim amháin nó mór-éacht amháin i saol an léinn de dhíth ar dhuine le stádas léachtóra a bhaint amach. Ní raibh rud ar bith le tairiscint ag Cassidy do dhuine ar bith.

Tá an méid atá le rá aige faoi chasúr agus tairní go hiomlán ceart ach ansin, scriosann sé é leis an amaidí faoi rudaí nach féidir iad a chruthú ná a dhíchruthú. Cad chuige nach féidir iad a chruthú ná a dhíchruthú? Maith go leor, i gcás twig agus tuig nó dig agus an dtuigeann, b’fhéidir nach féidir é a chinntiú bealach amháin ná bealach eile. Agus sin ráite, an chuid is mó de na sanasaíochtaí aonfhocail a thug an Caisideach, idir chinn a chum sé féin nó chinn a ghoid sé, is deargraiméis iad. I gcás longshoreman, tá neart fianaise ann gur tháinig sin ó ‘men along the shore’ agus ní ó loingseoir. Tá focail ann ar nós gump. Dúirt Cassidy gurb ionann gump agus colm na Gaeilge, ainneoin nach bhfuil an dá fhocal cosúil lena chéile ar chor ar bith. Agus tá focail ann ar nós beathuis, an focal a bhfuair an Béarla an focal booze uaidh, dar le Cassidy. Ach ar ndóigh, níl a leithéid d’fhocal ann agus beathais. Chum Cassidy é.

Ach ar ndóigh, ní focail aonair iad an chuid is mó de na sanasaíochtaí a bhí ag Cassidy. Is frásaí iad ar nós sách úr agus béal ónna agus éamh call, frásaí nach bhfuil ann sa Ghaeilge. Lena mhíniú go simplí, mura bhfuil fianaise ar bith ann go bhfuil frása mar uath dubh le fáil sa Ghaeilge ach gur mhaígh bréagadóir cruthanta nach raibh Gaeilge ar bith aige darbh ainm Daniel Cassidy sin, ní fianaise sin agus níor chóir do dhuine ar bith muinín a chur i raiméis mar sin.

June’s Twit of the Month – Joe Lee

A couple of weeks ago, on the 22 May 2018, there was a symposium in honour of Joe Lee at Glucksman Ireland House in New York. The symposium was called J.J. Lee and Irish History: Scholar, Colleague, Mentor.

As I have written before, Lee has done some good work. Lee is a genuine historian, who has written a lot of excellent books and articles. However, as I have also said, Joe Lee was friendly with many friends of Daniel Cassidy, and that is probably the reason why he wrote this positive review for the book How The Irish Invented Slang:

“In this courageous, crusading manifesto, Daniel Cassidy flings down the gauntlet to all those compilers of dictionaries who fled to the safe haven of ‘origin unknown’ when confronted with the challenge of American slang …The originality and importance of the argument makes this an exciting contribution to both American and Irish Studies. This is a landmark book, at once learned and lively, and quite enthralling as to how American English acquired so vibrant a popular vocabulary.”

This review is rubbish, of course, because Cassidy’s book is rubbish. I have no idea why Lee chose to support a piece of fake scholarship like How The Irish Invented Slang.

It is very interesting that two of Cassidy’s friends were in conversation with Lee at the Symposium: 12.30 pm: Reflections of Directors of Glucksman Ireland House: Prof. Bob Scally & Prof. Joe Lee in Conversation with Dr. Terry Golway. Golway was a crony of Cassidy’s, and Bob Scally wrote a review which was as positive as Lee’s on the back of Cassidy’s book:

Irish Americans especially will be delighted to know they have been speaking Irish all along in their slang and American English, while believing and bemoaning that they had lost their native tongue many years ago. With imagination and scholarship, Cassidy has restored this hidden treasure to us in a book that is filled with revelations, wit and humour.

As I said, I don’t know why Joe Lee and his friends chose to ignore the evidence and insult the Irish people like this. It’s hard to understand it, especially in the case of Lee, a man who has enough Irish to recognise immediately that the likes of béal ónna and béalú h-ard and pá lae sámh are not Irish.

One thing is sure: like everyone who was friendly with Cassidy, Lee has been diminished as a scholar, as a teacher and as a human being because of that friendship. I don’t know if Lee is a fraudster and a liar, but he certainly supported Cassidy’s dishonest book, and that is a huge stain on his reputation.

That is why I am pleased to bestow the title of Twit of the Month for June 2018 on Joe Lee, who helped a con-man to sell a bad book and didn’t do a hand’s turn subsequently to rectify the situation.

Stool Pigeon

There are hundreds of stupid and dishonest claims in Daniel Cassidy’s book, How The Irish Invented Slang. None is more stupid or dishonest than Cassidy’s theories about the phrase stool pigeon.

The facts are well-known. A stool pigeon was originally a decoy, a pigeon attached to a stool or some other wooden structure used to lure other pigeons. There is some doubt about the real meaning of the stool element. Some people regard it as a corruption of a word stall which originally meant a decoy.

Its earliest occurrence is in this context, in a work of 1812 called History of Animals: Designed for the Instruction and Amusement of Persons of Both Sexes by Noah Webster:

In this manner, the decoy or stool pigeon is made to flutter, and a flock of pigeons may be called in their flight from a great distance.

It was not long before it acquired the meaning of spy or informer.

Cassidy decided, for no particular reason, that it really came from Irish, so he got a dictionary and set about trying to make up a ‘well-known phrase’ that would fool a few suckers. His first attempt, as published in the Linguistlist on July 24 2003, was stuail beidean, ‘a storer of lies and calumny’, along with stoolie coming from stuailai, a ‘storer of slander’. The word béideán is a dialectal variant of béadán, which means gossip or slander. Cassidy used the alternative version because it sounds more like pigeon. Béadán is pronounced ‘bay-dahn’. Stuáil is a gaelicisation of the English verb to stow. Its main meaning is to pad, to pack or to stow.

By the time the book was published, he’d invented another ‘Irish’ phrase, using the verb steall, which means spout. It can have the meaning tattle, but there is no evidence that anyone, anywhere, has ever used phrases like steall béideán in Irish to mean anything, let alone a police informer.

Ina leabhar amaideach How The Irish Invented Slang, maíonn sé na céadta rud nach bhfuil ciall ar bith leo ach níl ceann ar bith acu chomh bómánta le teoiricí Cassidy faoin fhrása stool pigeon.

Ní deacair teacht ar na fíricí. Is é a bhí I gceist le stool pigeon ná éan cluana, colúr a bhí ceangailte de stól nó de chreatlach adhmaid de chineál éigin, le héanlaith eile a mhealladh. Tá amhras éigin faoin fhocal stool. Measann saineolaithe áirithe gur stall a bhí ann, seanfhocal Béarla ar éan cluana nó decoy.

Tá an téarma seo le fail den chéad uair sa bhliain 1812, I leabhar darbh ainm History of Animals: Designed for the Instruction and Amusement of Persons of Both Sexes le Noah Webster:

In this manner, the decoy or stool pigeon is made to flutter, and a flock of pigeons may be called in their flight from a great distance.

Níorbh fhada go bhfuair sé an chiall bhreise de spiaire nó brathadóir de chuid na bpóilíní.

Shocraigh Cassidy, ar chúis éigin nach eol do dhuine ar bith ach é féin, gurbh ón Ghaeilge a tháinig sé, agus mar sin de, thóg sé foclóir agus thosaigh sé ar ‘chor cainte’ a chumadh a chuirfeadh dallamullóg ar roinnt glasóg gan chiall. An chéad iarracht a rinne sé, foilsíodh ar an Linguistlist é ar an 24 Iúil 2003. Séard a bhí ann ná stuail beidean, ‘a storer of lies and calumny’, (recte stuáil béadán) maraon le stoolie, a tháinig, dar le Cassidy, ó stuailai, a ‘storer of slander’ (recte stuálaí). Is leagan malartach canúnach é béideán den fhocal béadán, a chiallaíonn cúlchaint nó feannadh. Bhain Cassidy úsáid as an leagan sin cionn is go bhfuil sé níos cosúla le pigeon. Is leagan Gaelaithe stuáil den bhriathar Béarla to stow. Ciallaíonn sé pacáil nó líonadh.

Faoin am ar foilsíodh an leabhar, bhí frása eile ‘Gaeilge’ cumtha aige, steall béideán. Ciallaíonn steall an rud céanna le sceitheadh. Tá an chiall cúlchaint ag baint leis, ach níl fianaise ar bith ann gur bhain duine ar bith, áit ar bith, úsáid as frásaí mar ‘steall béideán’ i nGaeilge le ciall ar bith a chur in iúl, gan trácht ar an chiall ‘brathadóir de chuid na bpóilíní’.