Resident Director’s Journal: Speaking the Language in Northern Ireland

Paul Pelan is the ISA Resident Director in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The following is a guest post and part of an ongoing series on ISA Today called “Resident Director’s Journal.”

Northern Ireland is renowned amongst many things for its caustic wit. It’s no surprise that the Irish who are generally loquacious would have their own special vocabulary within different regions. “Norn Iron” is the term of speech given to unique sayings from Northern Ireland. If one is serious about understanding this part of Ireland and wants to be accepted by the locals, it is recommended to learn this lingo. It’s very humorous, often light hearted and really gets you into the “spirit” of the place. Here are 8 common Norn Iron terms that you need to know for your semester abroad in Belfast:

Acid – For example: “Acid nigh“, meaning “You’ve got it right.” This applies in various situations, especially in parking a car.

Guddies: Trainers/sneakers. For example: “I’m going running now that I got my new guddies.

Affluent – For example: “It was shakkin’, the drains wuz all blacked up and the streets was full of affluent“, meaning “The flooding was so severe that the drains backed up and sewage spilled out on the public thoroughfares.”

Dander: A walk. For example: “Let’s go for a dander in the countryside.”

Abject – An express that translates to “I protest at what you imply about me.”  For example: “I abject to your incineration.” Abject may also be a noun, as in “What’s that abject?” meaning “What is the function of that item?”

Eejit : An Idiot. For example: “I can’t believe you lost all the money! You are an eejit.”

Banter: Craic/fun chatter. For example: “Let’s go for a drink and some banter.”

Catch yourself on!: A common expression translated as “Get a hold of yourself!” or “Wise up!