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    Book highlights Irish contribution to US slang

    By Noreen Bowden | August 1, 2007

    Snazzy, slugger, balony, lollygag: all of these words entered the American vernacular thanks to the Irish speakers who migrated to the US in the last century, according to a ground-breaking new work.

    Jack Cassidy has recently published “How the Irish Invented Slang: the Secret Language of the Crossroad”. The book has received substantial attention in Ireland in recent weeks, and noted Irish American essayist and novelist Peter Quinn has weighed in on the subject with a review posted on the publisher’s website.

    Quinn lauds Cassidy’s “momentous” revelations, noting that his discoveries have made a “hugely significant breakthrough in our ability to understand the origins of vital parts of the American vernacular”. Quinn continues:

    He has solved the mystery of how, after centuries of intense interaction, a people as verbally agile and inventive as the Irish could seemingly have made almost no impression on English, a fact that H.L. Mencken, among other students of the language, found baffling. What was missing, it turns out, wasn’t a steady penetration of Irish into English, but someone equipped with Cassidy’s genius – a unique combination of street smarts and scholarship, of memory, intuition, and intellect – who could discern and decipher the evidence.

    Read the review on the Counterpunch website.

    Topics: Latest News, publications and research, US | Comments Off on Book highlights Irish contribution to US slang

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