Language Colonization and English Hybridization: The Use of Irish English Lexis in Twentieth Century Irish Drama
Irish English, albeit a variant of the language of the colonizer, can be considered an important identitarian element in twentieth century Irish literature. By taking into account Irish English terms in a selection of Anglo-Irish plays (with particular focus on the titles), this paper examines the lexical choices that contribute to rendering cultural, geographical and political meanings – some of which are derogatory, patronizing and pejorative. The conclusion, with reference to Brian Friel’s Translations, reflects on the implications of the dominance of English in Ireland following its replacement of Irish Gaelic. The various loanwords and calques from Irish Gaelic found in these plays thus acquire a cultural and political significance that is specific to the Irish context.