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Mind Your Language!



''Cheers''.


Is it not a word of unclear meaning or status, at least in colloquial or traditional speech in Ireland? Is it not an import into our speech adopted by those disposed to, or not noticing, our over-absorption of speech influences from some other non-Irish tabloid or other globalised media?

Whether the intended sentiment is a traditional: ‘Hello’; ’Welcome’; ‘Good to see you’; ‘Fáilte’; ‘Your Health’; ‘Thank You’; ‘You are too kind’; ‘Slán’, or any of our other rich and varied expressions (which contribute to the 2010 UNESC0 designation of Dublin as a 4th World City of Literature), we are –in Dublin City culture in particular - increasingly subject to the unchanging, one-size-fit-all, common-denominator expression of ‘’Cheers’’.

‘Cheer’ (‘a shout of encouragement’), if not ‘Cheers’, is indeed listed in my Concise Oxford Dictionary. Clearly, in Britain and in some other English-speaking cultures, ‘Cheers’ is the generally-used, and therefore appropriate, way of expressing 'good wishes' on parting or prior to a social drink.

''Santé'' ''Prost'' ‘’Skol’’ ''Salud''

Are among the greetings, or salutations, which are: traditional; spiced with

variety and therefore culturally enriching for nationals and visitors alike, in

say: France; Germany; Sweden and Spain. These diversities of greeting are in themselves, one of the attractions of travel.

''Good luck'' ''Your Health'' ‘’Sláinte’’

Are among the greetings which are associated with our Irish traditions,

whether in Hiberno-English (The distinct and acclaimed form of English spoken in Ireland for hundreds of years) or in the Gaeilge. They are very appropriate and well understood by all Irish people.

They are also appreciated by our visitors - who after all typically visit us for

our diversity, not for our sameness. Whether in English or even in the Irish, can I suggest, they too would like us to ‘Mind Our Languages’?


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Balbriggan 
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