Nineteenth-Century Irish English: A Corpus-Based Linguistic and Discursive Analysis

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This is the first book to carefully analyze the linguistic conventions associated with Irish English folklore. Other books have studied linguistics in this language variety by studying letters, and all have ignored the use of folklore in constructing language conventions. This is the first book to discuss how peasants played a role in the construction of the Irish English languages.

The main purpose of this volume is the study of linguistic and discursive aspects of nineteenth-century Irish-English. The purpose is to introduce new insights into the historical evolution and development of this variety of dialect. This is done through the investigation of particular texts that fit a typology that until now have never been used as a source of historical dialect material. The texts chosen are written transcriptions of oral tales narrated by Irish peasant storytellers.


“The work presented by Cesiri aims to add to the study of literary corpora in the context of Irish English.”

-Prof. Carolina P. Amador-Moreno,
University of Extremadura

“… and important contribution to the study of Irish English in the Late Modern period.”

-Prof. Marina Dossena,
University of Bergamo

“Investigates texts that have previously never been used in historical dialectology. The author has skillfully amalgamated different methodological approaches to her work.”

-Prof. Susan Kermas,
University of Salento

Table of Contents


Foreword by Carolina Amador-Moreno

List of Abbreviations
List of Figures


Chapter One: Irish English: Historical Overview and Description
1.1. History of the English language in Ireland
1.1.1. The first stage
1.1.2. The second stage
1.2. The main linguistic features of IrE
1.2.1. Phonology
1.2.2. Morphology and Syntax The Noun Phrase The Verb Phrase
1.2.3. The lexicon of Irish English

Chapter Two: The Corpus of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales
2.1. Considerations before compiling a corpus and the compilation of CIFFT
2.2.1. The Irish Collectors: the ‘Gaelic (Literary) League’
2.2.2. Typology of CIFFT tales and structure of the corpus

Chapter Three: Discourse markers in 19th-century Irish English
3.1. Discourse Markers in English: a general introduction
3.2. Discourse Markers in IrE
3.3. Discourse Markers in CIFFT
3.3.1.Discourse markers of Irish origin (or of typical IrE use) Arrah Bedad/begob/begorra Faith/Faix Troth Musha
3.3.2. Discourse markers of English origin
3.4. Patterns in the use of discourse markers
3.5. Discussion
Chapter Four: Adverbs and Prepositions in 19th-century Irish English
4.1. Adverbs
4.1.1. Adverbs in English
4.1.2. Adverbs in IrE
4.1.3. Adverbs in CIFFT Above Abroad Afore Again Altogether Anear Any more Back at – Down in Betimes Beyant Fornent Galore Out (give out) Howandever – Lief West Zero marking or –ly?
4.1.4. Discussion
4.2. Prepositions
4.2.1. Prepositions in English
4.2.2. Prepositions in IrE
4.2.3. Prepositions in CIFFT At In Of On With
4.2.4. Discussion
4.3 Some quantitative analyses

Chapter Five: Conclusions

1. List of texts in CIFFT, Codes of Identification and Geographic provenance of the tales collected

2. Geographic collocation of the collectors in CIFFT
3. Provinces of Ireland
4. Counties of Ireland

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