Tag Archives: The Rubberbandits

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.

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Science Matters

One of the best things about cyber-reality is the way that, because of its vastness, you can easily find people whose ideas and beliefs coincide with your own. For example, I recently found a blog by an Irish scientist (Science matters: http://blobthescientist.blogspot.co.uk/), whose daughter had noticed the Rubber Bandits’ post on Cassidy’s ‘research’ and wondered whether it was true:

Meanwhile, in another part of the internet, this casual investigation of etymology by two lads from Limerick has been fueling a shit-storm of indignation. That is because the list of supposed Hiberno-Yankee slang seems to be from How The Irish Invented Slang published in 2007 by Daniel Cassidy. There seems to be no sense of de mortuis nil nisi bonum (Cassidy died of pancreatic cancer in 2008) among certain linguists and etymologists. In 2013, an anonymous gaelgeoir started a blog cassidyslangscam.wordpress.com to debunk, eviscerate and pour scorn [an ignorant, narcissistic fraud with no qualifications] on Mr “Deceased” Cassidy and his one book. This chap has been posting several articles a month ever since on this one topic. That shows commendable stamina in setting things right: “Etymologies from Cassidy’s How the Irish Invented Slang are widely duplicated across the internet. However, many of Cassidy’s definitions have been shown to be wishful thinking or completely made up”. As the blog was started a full five years after Cassidy died, this may seem like bolting the stable door after the horse is gone. But one of his (I presume cassidylangscam is a He, because none of the women I know get so cross about such a small annoyance) points is well taken. If nobody complains when things are wrong, the error will fester away and other people, less careful about evidence, will believe them to be true.

This is a good take on the story. I will ignore the line about maleness and getting angry about trivial annoyances – yes I am a man (though using the divine He is perhaps overegging the mixture a bit and my wife would certainly disagree that there is anything God-like about me), but I don’t consider the Irish language a trivial matter and unlike the author of Science matters, I don’t measure my gripes in nanometres! However, I have to say that I find his blog very enjoyable and interesting. There is a truly astonishing range of subjects, from Matisse to vaccination, from Flannan Isle to family history. He writes well and argues intelligently. Like myself, his default position is scepticism. He also has a very good sense of humour. I don’t agree with everything he says. His ideas on fluoridation seem irrational to me (well, he says that this is because of his ‘tree-hugging’ nature) and I am deeply suspicious of attempts to treat historical linguistics like programs showing the spread of epidemics (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1107054532/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1TMMT8PVFH50O&coliid=I1MU2OK2I90522)

However, in general, this is a very good blog and well worth a read. However, there is one thing about this blog that I really hate and I hope its author will pay heed. The font is way too small, which gives it an off-putting appearance. It looks more like an academic journal article than something you would read for fun.

Please experiment with different fonts and sizes until you find something that doesn’t offend the eye and doesn’t need to be measured in nanometres!

Why The Rubber Bandits Were Conned

I have decided to write a brief post here just to explain to casual visitors why the Rubber Bandits were conned when they decided to publish a list of some of Daniel Cassidy’s fake derivations of American Slang from Irish on August 11th. Anyone who wants to know more can look at the older posts on this blog, where the material below is explained in greater detail.

Daniel Cassidy was born into a lower-middle class Irish-American family in NY in 1943. His father ran a bar and he was raised in the green pastures of Long Island (though he carefully cultivated the image of streetwise ghetto man-of-the-people). He was a bright child and went to NY Military Academy (alma mater of Donald Trump) on a music scholarship. From there, he went to Cornell University. While at Cornell, he wrote some poetry which was published but he then got into drugs and flunked out without a degree.

He worked for a little while in the NY Times, went to California, then ended up in rehab for two years. He learned to play guitar in rehab, cut an album (unsuccessful) and became a musician. For years, he disappears from the radar. Then he wrote some scripts. He claimed that he sold one of these scripts to Francis Ford Coppola but in different interviews, he mentions two different scripts as the one he sold. In the mid-90s, he produced a couple of pro-Sinn Féin video documentaries about the Six Counties, which aren’t even mentioned on IMDB.

He became a Professor of Irish Studies (!) in 1995 at a small radical college in SF called New College of California. How he became a professor when he didn’t have any qualifications is a mystery, but it seems clear that Cassidy himself claimed to have degrees he didn’t. According to one allegation from a person who contacted me, he was a serial sleaze who continually hit on female students. He used his position to cultivate ‘friendships’ with high-profile Irish-Americans and Irish people who could be useful to him. In 2007, he published a book called How The Irish Invented Slang, a nonsensical piece of crap which claims that lots of American slang comes from Irish. However, because Cassidy didn’t speak any Irish, he just made up lots of bizarre phrases which have never existed in Irish. Honky-tonk, apparently, comes from aingíocht tarraingteach, which means something like attractive peevishness. Baloney is from béal ónna, which Cassidy claimed meant nonsense (literally ‘naïve mouth’). Geezer comes from gaosmhar, which Cassidy claimed means wise person. It doesn’t. And in many cases, Cassidy simply ignored the fact that the words already had perfectly clear derivations. A longshoreman is a ‘man along the shore’, not an old-fashioned Irish word for a sailor. There are hundreds of these fake, made-up derivations. Almost none of these claims has any substance, and the handful that do were plagiarised by Cassidy from other people.

The book was criticised immediately and strongly by real scholars but Cassidy and/or his wife used sock puppet identities to attack anyone who told the truth about the book. Meanwhile, Cassidy’s friends and cronies were ever-present, boosting his reputation, providing good reviews, generally lying their arses off in support of the book. And because the book pretended to be a radical departure, a man-bites-dog story about how Anglophile scholars had systematically excluded the story of Irish’s influence on English, lots of people who think with their arses instead of their brains were quite prepared to make this arrant raiméis a viral phenomenon.

Cassidy fell sick shortly after the book was published and died of cancer in 2008. Unfortunately, the book and the ridiculous theories are still with us.

In short, if you ever look around and wonder why the world is such a shite place and why we have the leaders we have, look no further than the Cassidy Scandal. The same stupidity, pomposity, arrogance, narcissism, cronyism and manipulation that have allowed Cassidy’s nonsense to thrive are what fuels people like the Tea Party and Donald Trump and the supporters of the Irish Slavery Meme. Nobody should support this garbage, least of all people who believe in decent, liberal, democratic values.

And that’s why Murchadh Mór is right. The Rubber Bandits left their sense outside with the horse when they chose to support this shite.

More on Shanty

One of the most disappointing and irritating things about the recent flurry of Twitter activity surrounding a tweet by the Rubber Bandits was that several people (the Rubber Bandits included) tweeted that ‘the Irish’ for old house is ‘Sean Tí’.

Since the efforts of the Irish state to provide you with a basic knowledge of your own linguistic heritage obviously failed woefully because YOU WEREN’T PAYING ATTENTION, here’s a brief Irish lesson:

The Irish for ‘old house’ is SEANTEACH, pronounced SHANCHAH, with the ‘cha’ as in cha-cha-cha.

The Irish for ‘house’ is teach. It’s only in the genitive. means ‘of a house’, so doras tí is door of a house. But on its own means nothing.

Sean is an adjective. Most adjectives in Irish come after the noun, so teach mór is a big house. However, a handful are prefixes which are attached to the noun. So it’s seanteach. Not sean teach or sean-teach. And still less sean tí or sean-tí.

As for the question of the meaning, imagine that you are standing in a mining camp out in the wilds somewhere. You have just chopped down some trees and built yourself a rough cabin. One of your neighbours comes up and says,

“Hi Séamus, nice house! What do you call a house like that in your language?”

“Well, sure, I call it seanteach, which in my language means ‘old house’.”

And your neighbour scratches his head and says,

“So you’ve just finished building the thing, and your hand sticks to the wall on account of all the pine resin oozing from the freshly-cut logs, but you call it an old house?”

“Aah, but you’re forgettin’ dat I’m Irish, and we have a reputation for quirkiness, eccentricity and irrationality to uphold, so we do!”

Yeah, right, you gowls! And then there’s the fact that we have one book written as a memoir in Irish (Micí Mac Gabhann, Rotha Mór an tSaoil) by a Donegal man who joined the gold rush and lived in a mining camp. When he refers to the houses in the camp, he uses the words bothán, cábán, teach and sometimes cábán tí. He never talks about seantithe. And why the fuck would he?