March 17th, 2013
Daniel Menaker on The Talk of the Irish:
Having recently written a book about conversation, and having survived, at least for the time being, a serious illness that involved a huge number of grave discussions, discussions largely bereft of ornament and humor, and having lived seventy years' worth of a life of words – surely too many of them, when weighed against actions – I found myself at the end of last summer yearning to go back to Ireland, especially to the West, to hear the Irish talk.
I had been there nearly forty years earlier, and the trip had confirmed the generally held high opinion of Irish verbal agility, wit, and garrulousness. "Are you American, then?" a butcher had asked me when I was buying a steak from him, in Schull, in the spectacular Southwest. "Yes," I said. "Then of course I'll be charging you twice as much," he said. When I confessed to a little girl on a dirt road that the cows she was herding home made me, a city boy, a little nervous, she waited a bit until they were up the road and then pointed behind me and said, "Look out! The cows are comin' for yeh." […]
[Via The Browser]