Tag Archives: fake Irish

A Reply To Damien Kirwan

I received a message a few weeks ago from someone called Damien Kirwan and I have decided to answer it briefly, just as a way of showing what kind of comments deserve an answer and what kind of comments do not. Here is what Kirwan says:

I read the book when it came out. I don’t see why you are so angry with Dan Cassidy. His explanation for the origin of the words such as dig, slum, jazz, phoney and the phrase to “say uncle” have merit and gives dignity to a modern European language that has almost vanished. God be good to Dr Cassidy RIP, ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

This, of course, is the kind of comment that really doesn’t deserve an answer and I am fully aware that in publishing this and replying to it, I am doing the poor moron who wrote it no favours. However, the fact is that I have put a lot of work into this blog because I felt that the Irish language needed some protection from lying con-men like the late Daniel Cassidy and it bothers me that some arrogant bómán like Damien Kirwan wants to set me straight about Cassidy without bothering to read any of the blog. The fact is, if he had bothered to look through the material dealt with here, he would know that the possible (but not very likely) origin of dig was first discussed in a paper by Eric Hamp in 1981, that phoney deriving from fáinne has been in the public domain for decades before Cassidy came along and was discussed by Eric Partridge and that the ‘say uncle’ theory was first proposed in an article in American Speech vol 51, 1976. In other words, none of these theories was invented by Cassidy. He merely claimed them without giving proper credit.

He would also have learned that there is no evidence for Cassidy’s claims about slum and jazz. The idea that Cassidy’s wholesale invention of hundreds of nonsensical phrases in fake Irish contribute to the status or dignity of Irish is also ludicrous and quite offensive. And to top it all, this arrogant moron refers to Daniel Cassidy, dim Dan from San Fran, who flunked his degree from Cornell and never acquired any qualifications at all, as Dr Cassidy!

I would like to point out here to people like Damien (and a certain member of the O’Keeffe family who should learn the difference between codail and chodail) that I am not under any obligation to provide a forum for people to express their stupidity and arrogance and I certainly do not have to dignify their semi-literate nonsense with a reply. I have better things to do with my time. If people really want to comment on these matters, they can always start their own blog.

Cassidese Glossary – Pharaon

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 may well be right about the fact that there is no evidence of cards ornamented with an image of a pharaoh in France or Britain but there is no doubt that pharaon is the French for pharaoh and that there was a game played in 17th and 18th century France called Pharaon:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharaon_(jeu)

As for the claim that pharaon derives from the Irish fiar araon, meaning turn over together, this is nonsense. Fiaradh doesn’t mean to turn as in to turn a card over, of course, (that would be tiontaigh or iompaigh) and fiar araon is pretty much meaningless, and fiaradh is pronounced feeroo, but Cassidy wouldn’t have known that because he didn’t know any Irish.

Cassidese Glossary – Jasm, Gism

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.

This is a slang term derived from jizz, which seems to have originally meant spirit or energy. It first occurs in 1842 with that meaning. Then it took the meaning of semen, apparently for similar reasons to the use of spunk for both courage and semen.

Its ultimate origins are unknown. What we do know for a fact is that it has no connection with Daniel Cassidy’s claim that jasm comes from the Irish ‘teas ioma’, which according to Cassidy, means ‘an abundance of heat, passion, excitement; fig. semen.’ Cassidy thinks the word iomaí (or ioma) is an ordinary adjective which can follow a noun. It isn’t and it can’t. Iomai is used in phrases like ‘Is iomaí oíche’ (it’s many’s the night). See: https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/iomaí

In other words, this is not just a non-existent phrase in Irish, it could not exist. Even if it could, and teas ioma did mean excessive heat in Irish, why does Cassidy think that overheating and semen are the same thing in Irish, when they aren’t the same thing in any other European language?

Cassidese Glossary – Jag (1)

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.

According to Daniel Cassidy in his work of false etymology, How The Irish Invented Slang, the word jag, meaning a load for the back, comes from the Irish word tiach (as, according to him, does the word jack). There is no evidence in favour of this theory.

Jag originally meant a load of furze or whin, then later came to be a general term for a load: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jag

Cassidese Glossary – Heeler

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.

A heeler or ward heeler was the representative of a politician in the local community in American politics in the 19th and early 20th centuries. As Cassidy sneers: ‘The well-heeled editors of most Anglo-American dictionaries derive heeler from the heel of a shoe.’ In other words, the mainstream (and almost certainly correct) view is that a ward heeler who walked the ward making sure that the electorate were happy with the politician.

Cassidy claims that this word is really the Irish éilitheoir. Cassidy says that this is pronounced éló’r or h-ælór. This is Cassidy’s ad hoc personal system of transcription, so it makes little sense but I should point out that words beginning with a vowel are not pronounced with a h- sound in Irish, as Cassidy thought. The word éilitheoir would be pronounced aylihore. Its meaning is given by Ó Dónaill as:

éilitheoir, m. (gs. -ora, pl. ~í).1. Claimant; claimer (ar, of). 2. Complainant, plaintiff.

Dinneen says that this is: éilightheoir, one who demands or charges; a petitioner, a suitor;

a creditor, a claimant : an accuser, a plaintiff.

This is a long way from Cassidy’s ‘one who demands or charges; a petitioner; a claimer; a friendly petitioner; a claimsman, an advocate; one who makes friendly inquiries about; one who visits in a friendly manner’.

The English heeler makes a lot more sense for someone who continually walked around the ward resolving issues. I cannot see why claimant or plaintiff or accuser would have anything much to do with the work of a ward heeler.

 

Cassidese Glossary – Heckle, Heckler

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.

Heckling was part of the process of making linen out of flax. The fibres were flicked over a kind of comb over and over again to separate them, split them and remove impurities. The people who carried out this task were called hecklers.

In places like Dundee, the hecklers were often very radical. It is said that as they worked, one of their number used to read out articles from the newspapers and the others would shout out comments. This gave rise to the association between the trade of heckler and the shouting out of comments at a public meeting.

The late Daniel Cassidy, in his work of false etymologies How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the word heckle comes from an ‘Irish’ phrase éamh call, which he says means ‘Screaming out complaints; ranting, scolding’. The phrase éamh call does not exist in the Irish language. The two words Cassidy stuck together to make it do exist, but the phrase does not.

Éamh is defined as cry, scream, entreaty or complaint. Call (a loan from English) is defined as call, need, claim or right. It is hard to see how combining the two words would give the sense required. Complaint of rights? Scream of needs? Hmm.

The Irish language has many real ways of saying heckle or interrupt, like trasnáil a dhéanamh, trasnú, trioscadh, cur isteach ar chainteoir, briseadh isteach ar chainteoir.

Finally, even if we accepted that éamh call made sense, Cassidy’s éamh callaire for a heckler wouldn’t make any sense, for the same reason that an Irish speaker is not a Gaeilge cainteoir or a housewife is not a teach bean. It would have to be callaire éamh. As with cainteoir Gaeilge or bean tí, the other word appears in the genitive after the head word. This is a measure of how bad Cassidy’s Irish was.

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.

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.