Tag Archives: fake Irish

Goo-goo

This is another incredibly stupid claim made in Daniel Cassidy’s staggeringly incompetent book How The Irish Invented Slang. Apparently, goo-goo is an American slang term for upper class ‘reformers’. This term derives from the phrase Good Government, and there was a string of Good Government clubs at the end of the 19th century promoting this ideology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goo-goos).

Daniel Cassidy, of course, begs to differ. No, this well-known and well-attested derivation is wrong. Really, it has its origins in the teeming Irish-speaking slums of New York and represents the Irish guth guth. The Irish what? I hear you ask – especially if you speak Irish. Guth guth, says Danny the Dork, a reduplication of Irish guth meaning voice or (rarely) blame. So according to Cassidy, this phrase means:

‘guth guth (pron. guh guh), complain, complain; reproach, reproach; blame blame; censure, censure; fig. blah, blah.’

Is this true? No, of course not. There is absolutely no evidence of this phrase existing anywhere outside of Cassidy’s fantasy world. It’s that well-known English phrase, shit shit.

 

Seo píosa cacamais eile i leabhar sáramaideach Cassidy How The Irish Invented Slang, cacamas atá chomh bómánta sin, is deacair a thuiscint cén fáth a gcreidfeadh duine ar bith é. De réir cosúlachta, is téarma é goo-goo a bhí in úsáid i Meiriceá le cur síos ar dhaoine saibhre a bhí sásta tacú le hathleasuithe rialtais. Níl aon amhras faoi bhunús an fhocail seo. Tagann sé ó GG –Good Government, agus bhí slabhra de chumainn Good Government ar fud na Stát i ndeireadh an 19ú haois a bhí ag cothú na hidé-eolaíochta seo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goo-goos).

Ní chreideann Daniel Cassidy sin, ar ndóigh. Dar le Cassidy, tá an tsanasaíocht seo (míniú a bhfuil a lán tacaíochta ar a shon) mícheart. Deir Cassidy go bhfuil bunús an téarma le fáil i bplódcheantair Ghaelacha Nua-Eabhraic agus is ionann é agus an ‘Ghaeilge’ ‘guth-guth’. Ar ndóigh, ní Gaeilge sin. Níl ciall ar bith leis an tsainmhíniú a thugann Cassidy air:

‘guth guth (pron. guh guh), complain, complain; reproach, reproach; blame blame; censure, censure; fig. blah, blah.’

Is raiméis cheart é an sainmhíniú seo. Níl fianaise ar bith ann go raibh an frása guth-guth in úsáid riamh taobh amuigh de bhlaosc chraiceáilte Daniel Cassidy. Lena rá i mbeagán focal, níl ann ach an friotal clúiteach Gaeilge sin, cac-cac.

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Why I hate Cassidy/An fáth ar fuath liom Cassidy

 

I have noticed a slight decrease in the number of hits on this site over the last week. This may just be coincidence, or it may be that the bilingual content is off-putting for some English speakers. In case this is the problem, I have decided to try putting the English version first in all cases, instead of my usual practice of putting the original language of composition first, whether English or Irish, and putting the translation below.

Over the years since I founded CSS, people have often asked why this stuff matters so much to me. Why do I get so angry and irritated about Cassidy and his behaviour and the nonsense emanating from his supporters?

There are lots of reasons. I don’t like people misusing the Irish language or Irish culture. I don’t like pseudo-scholarship of any kind. I don’t like fakes and phoneys like Cassidy and his friends. However, there is a little more to it than that.

Cassidy and his buddies often criticise the world of genuine etymology for its supposed pomposity and self-importance. By contrast, Cassidy is supposed to be a man of the people, who saw things the scholars didn’t because of his street smarts.

The self-appointed experts who dismiss this book are kidding themselves.” “I think the professional linguists have a lot of explaining to do as to how they missed this obvious and obviously fertile contributing source of the American language.” “No, I don’t need the scholars to tell me what is right, because they engage in as much guess work as we lay people do, only they cloak it in arcane language and references.

The truth is very different from the anti-intellectual know-nothing shite above. In reality, genuine etymologists and lexicographers work tirelessly to gather information and make judgements based on the known facts. Cassidy, in his book, his articles and his interviews, shows a level of pomposity, dishonesty, smugness and manipulation which is off the scale. He misses out important facts which would disprove the claim he is making. He sneers at the efforts of genuine scholars and misrepresents what they really say. He continually invites the ignorant and uneducated to join him in disparaging the smart people in their ivory towers and he massages their egos for having the simple common sense which enables them to recognise his version of the truth.

And many of those who support him are cut from the same cloth. They know absolutely nothing about linguistics or the Irish language, but they think they have a right to pontificate and mouth off in defence of Cassidy.

People like this make me angry – and with good reason. I don’t have a right to hold forth on subjects I know nothing about. That’s why I don’t do it. Why do these people think they’re so special that they have a right to do that without being challenged or criticised for it?

 

Thug mé faoi deara go raibh laghdú beag ar líon na gcuairteanna ar an tsuíomh seo le seachtain anuas. B’fhéidir nach bhfuil ann ach comhtharlú, nó b’fhéidir go bhfuil an t-ábhar dátheangach ag cur as do roinnt Béarlóirí. Ar eagla gur mar sin atá, tá socrú déanta agam triail a bhaint as an Bhéarla a chur chun tosaigh i gcónaí, in áit cloí leis an nós a bhí agam go dtí seo, i. an bhunteanga inár cumadh an t-alt a chur i dtús báire, bíodh sin i mBéarla nó i nGaeilge, agus an t-aistriúchán a chur thíos faoi.

Thar na blianta ó chuir mé CSS ar bun, is minic a cuireadh an cheist, cén fáth a bhfuil an t-ábhar seo chomh tábhachtach sin dom? Cén fáth a n-éirím chomh feargach crosta faoi Cassidy agus a chuid droch-iompair agus an raiméis a thagann óna lucht leanúna?

Tá a lán fáthanna leis. Ní maith liom daoine a bhaineann mí-úsáid as an Ghaeilge ná as cultúr na nGael. Ní maith liom bréag-léann de chineál ar bith. Ní maith liom caimiléirí ná daoine bréagacha ar nós Cassidy agus a chairde. Agus sin ráite, tá giota beag níos mó i gceist ná sin.

Is minic a bhíonn Cassidy agus a lucht leanúna ag cáineadh shaol na fíorshanasaíochta mar gheall ar an phoimpéiseacht agus féintábhacht a bhaineann leis, dar leo. Ní hionann agus Cassidy, dar leo, ar fear den phobal é, a chonaic rudaí nach bhfaca na scoláirí cionn is go raibh tuiscint aige ar shaol na sráideanna.

The self-appointed experts who dismiss this book are kidding themselves.” “I think the professional linguists have a lot of explaining to do as to how they missed this obvious and obviously fertile contributing source of the American language.” “No, I don’t need the scholars to tell me what is right, because they engage in as much guess work as we lay people do, only they cloak it in arcane language and references.

A mhalairt ar fad atá fíor agus níl fírinne ar bith ag baint leis an chacamas aineolach fhrithintleachtúil thuas, ar ndóigh. Is é fírinne an scéil, go mbíonn fíor-shaineolaithe teanga agus foclóirithe ag obair gan stad gan staonadh le heolas a bhailiú agus le breithiúnais a dhéanamh bunaithe ar na fíricí mar is eol iad. Cassidy, ina leabhar, ina chuid alt agus sna hagallaimh a thug sé, léiríonn sé leibhéal poimpéise, mí-ionracais, féinsástachta agus ionramhála atá dochreidte amach is amach. Fágann sé fíricí tábhachtacha ar lár, fíricí a bhréagnódh na rudaí atá á maíomh aige. Déanann sé a bheag d’obair na bhfíorscoláirí agus cuireann sé an méid atá le rá acu as a riocht ar fad. Is minic a mheallann sé daoine aineolacha neamhoilte le bheith ag magadh faoi na daoine cliste sna hollscoileanna ina chuideachta, agus déanann sé béal bán agus bladaireacht leo as an chiall choiteann shimplí a bheith acu a chuireann ar a gcumas a leagan féin den fhírinne a aithint.

Agus cuid mhór de na daoine a thugann tacaíocht dó, is den chineál chéanna iad. Níl eolas dá laghad acu ar an teangeolaíocht ná ar an Ghaeilge, ach síleann siad go bhfuil an ceart acu bheith ag pápaireacht agus ag spalpadh uathu ar son Cassidy agus a chuid raiméise.

Cuireann daoine dá leithéid fearg orm – agus ní gan chúis. Níl an ceart agamsa cur tharam faoi ábhair nach bhfuil aon chur amach agam orthu. Sin an fáth nach ndéanaim amhlaidh. Cén fáth a síleann na daoine seo go bhfuil siad chomh speisialta sin gur chóir ligean dóibh sin a dhéanamh gan dúshlán gan cháineadh?

Brag

I have noticed that many of the early posts on this blog get relatively little traffic, so I have decided to start republishing some of them.

According to the fake etymologist Daniel Cassidy, the terms ‘brag’ and ‘braggart’ in English derive from the Irish words bréag and bréagóir.

So, is there any truth to this claim? Well, the word bréag does exist in Irish and the word bréagóir is given as a variant (by Dinneen) of the more common expression bréagadóir. O Dónaill’s dictionary doesn’t even mention bréagóir as an alternative version. The problem is that while both of these expressions, bréag and bréagadóir/bréagóir, are somewhere in the ballpark, they are out with the hot-dog sellers rather than in the diamond. Bréag means ‘a lie’. It doesn’t mean the same thing as bragging or boasting. There are a number of expressions for bragging: ag déanamh mórtais, ag braigeáil (a loan word from English brag!), maíomh a dhéanamh as rud, ag déanamh a mhór díot féin and half a dozen others.

And, as it happens, brag is well attested in English as far back as the 14th century, which means that it didn’t come from bréag and has nothing to do with Irish slang in America. For example, the Michigan Middle English Dictionary has this, written around 1400 in the poem Piers Plowman:

He bosteth and braggeth with many bolde othes. (He boasts and brags with many bold oaths.)

And finally, let’s all have a good laugh at Cassidy’s expense. Bréag is pronounced brayg, to rhyme with Haigue or Craig. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of doing the phonetics in books like this. You can either learn the International Phonetic Alphabet and use it as the basis for your description, which looks a bit off-putting to anyone without linguistic training, or you can produce an ad hoc system of your own based on English, as I did with brayg above.

This is the IPA version: bʲɾʲeːɡ. At least, I think this is right. I’m no expert!

Cassidy wrote b’ríǒg as his version of the phonetics of the word bréag. Nobody trying to work out the pronunciation of bréag would have a chance of pronouncing it properly from this. While it looks as technical and scientific as the IPA, it is complete nonsense. Pure codology. God alone knows what Cassidy thought he was doing when he produced this silly little piece of pseudo-phonetics but it just goes to show what a complete charlatan, doofus and moron he was!

These words, of course, are all Irish: síorliodán meaning ‘an eternal rigmarole’, dubhfhios meaning ‘black knowledge’ or figuratively, ignorance, and mór-rón, a big fat stupid seal. (Of course, in reality, none of these is derived from Irish, but it just shows how easy it is to produce crap like this using Cassidy’s fake ‘methodology!’)

Put It Up On The Web, Limerick Traitors!

Hats off to Murchadh Mór. Not only has he written an excellent article on The Rubber Bandits’ foolish post about Cassidy’s fake etymology on Nós, and a post giving a number of genuine words which derive from Irish, he has also posted a pic of a document which gives the real origins of the words given by the Rubber Bandits in their list.

Unfortunately, the Rubber Bandits themselves seem unwilling to post the truth on this subject. When Murchadh Mór asked them to circulate the true list, this was their reply:

Stuff about Cassidy being dubious was shared under the original thread. We commented on it, too. It would have been seen.

It’s disappointing to see them refusing to do the right thing here. You see, what they’re failing to acknowledge here is that this isn’t a level playing field. In the world in general, and to an even greater extent on social media, nonsense has longer legs than sense, and lies are faster and better runners than the truth. The figures for shares and likes show that. The original (wrong) post got far more than Murchadh Mór’s corrections.

Why? Well, for a number of reasons. Because lies sparkle and shine, because they can be as glittery and bright and attractive as the human imagination can make them. All truths can be are what they are. Because lies are presented as simple certainties, while the truth is often messy and complex. Because the truth doesn’t have an agenda, while lies are often blended with xenophobia and hatred, which tastes like honey to many people. Because people’s memories are fickle and they selectively filter out anything that doesn’t make a good narrative, which is why the thousands of times homeopathy fails are ignored but the one time where it coincides with a sudden improvement is proof that homeopathy works (mar dhea). (And perhaps it also explains why the definition of the English word dude is given as the definition of the Irish word dúid in the original list of nonsense given by the Rubber Bandits. Or perhaps someone was just lying …)

Because of these facts, it makes me wonder what the real story is about the RB’s post on Cassidy. Who wrote it? Did the RBs themselves write it, or was the (mis)information supplied to them by somebody else? A friend, a relative, a fan? Someone they don’t want to offend by getting off the fence and telling it like it is?

William Blake wrote that ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions’. So just remember this. Cassidy wasn’t a nice man who got it a bit wrong. He was a malicious fraud and people who support him are choosing lies over truth. It’s that simple. And as I’ve said above, lies already have an inbuilt advantage over the truth, so for fuck’s sake, lads, let’s stop giving liars and their falsehoods a head start.

JUST COPY THE POST, YA GOWLS!!!

It has been said …

We’ve all heard of Uncanny Valley, that virtual realm where the animation is nearly convincing but just slightly off and that slight unreality is enough to unsettle and perturb. However, there is another virtual realm located in a misty valley in cyberspace. Let’s call it the Kingdom of Quotatia. You can get to it by uttering the magic words It has been said.

You see, there is an awful lot of misinformation out there in cyberspace. And it’s not hard to spot bullshit. But with the help of the magic words, you don’t have to bother proving anything or disproving it. All that’s necessary is for someone, somewhere to have said it and bingo, you can quote it. It doesn’t matter if the person who said it was a complete nut-job and fantasist. It doesn’t matter if there is absolutely no evidence for it. If somebody has said it, it automatically becomes A THING. And when it’s A THING you can use it. However dumbass and absurd and ludicrous it is, you can claim it because someone else said it.

Jason Colavito has written a great deal about the way that errors are created and then spread by pseudoscience writers. They quote each other’s mistakes, building vast edifices of trash on misunderstandings and misquotations and downright lies. That’s why so many people spread nonsense like Cassidy’s claims or the rubbish about Dracula being Irish. With the magic power of the words It has been said, you can spread any kind of lying trash you want and you don’t have to worry about the fact that it’s bullshit. Because somebody else said it and you can put the blame – and the responsibility – on them.

Three Kinds of Lies

There are three principal kinds of lies among the ‘etymologies’ in Cassidy’s ridiculous book How The Irish Invented Slang.

Plagiarism

As we have said before, there are many entries in Cassidy’s book which are plagiarised. Dozens of expressions were already in the public domain before they appeared in Cassidy’s book (though most of these are also fanciful and unlikely to be correct.)  In most cases, the Great Fraud didn’t acknowledge where he got them. Examples: longshoreman from loingseoir, ballyhoo from bailiú, snazzy from snas, smashing from is maith sin, slug from slog, etc.

Single words

In many cases, Cassidy found individual words in English and English slang. He then hit the Irish dictionaries and tried to find words which were a vague match for his English words. So, suppose Cassidy had decided that the term to drink a toast to someone doesn’t have anything to do with toasted bread. So he hits the dictionary and finds the word tost, meaning silence. Well, you propose a toast and of course, everyone is silent while they’re drinking. So it’s from the Irish tost meaning silence.

However, Cassidy often changed his story. (Slum was originally from saol lom, according to Cassidy but in the book it’s from ‘s lom é.) So, suppose he was looking through a dictionary and happened to notice the word tóstal, meaning assembly, muster, array or pageant. And suppose Cassidy decided that this, not tost, is a better origin of toast. So, he writes a ‘dictionary definition’:

tóstal – assembly, muster, pageant; a public display (of respect etc.)

and then adds a few dictionary references, so that a casual observer might assume that this was taken verbatim from a dictionary. Of course, the really impressive bit, about the public display of respect, would be a complete fiction invented in California by a man who didn’t speak any Irish. (In reality, I made this example up using Cassidy’s ‘methodology.’)

Phrases

Of course, if Cassidy had been restricted to plagiarism and words which accidentally have a phonetic similarity and some similarity of meaning, his book would have been little more than a pamphlet. Most of his ‘etymologies’ were phrases.

Here’s how it works. Cassidy finds the word bamboozle and decides it must be Irish. So, he hits the Irish dictionaries and looks for something that corresponds to it. Of course, there’s no suitable Irish word. So, this pretentious dimwit – who doesn’t speak any Irish at all – cobbles together a ‘well-known phrase’ in Irish. First, he finds the word bamba, which means tiresomeness or frustration. So far, so good. But what about the oozle? So, he looks in the dictionary and finds uasal, which means noble, but also has a subsidiary meaning of ‘fairy’. Great! In ‘Irish’, bamba uasal is a phrase meaning frustrated by the fairies, thwarted by supernatural forces.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that. It doesn’t exist. I just made it up ten minutes ago as an example of how Cassidy’s mind didn’t work. There are hundreds of similar expressions in Cassidy’s book: uath dubh; gus óil; gruaim béil; gearr-ól úr etc. etc.

I note with great sadness that people are still spreading this nonsense. For example, a couple of weeks ago, someone called Glopweiller (or Daniel Patrick Galvi) put a reference to Cassidy’s dumbass theory about the origins of dude on Twitter. There is a lot of talk at the moment about the post-truth world we live in. The fact is, it’s only post-truth if we decide to let that happen, by ignoring the facts and not checking them. I suggest we make that an additional New Year’s resolution – to check every fact, however trivial, before passing it on and contributing to the morass of ignorance out there.

Onwards and Upwards

Since I started Cassidyslangscam, there has been an increase every year in the number of visitors and the number of hits. This year is no exception. I have already surpassed the number of visitors and hits the site got last year. And that means that more people around the globe have been warned about the worthlessness of Cassidy’s fake research, and that can only be a good thing.