‘Normal people like us don’t use that type of language. Remember this is the real world.’ The language of Father Ted: representations of Irish English in a fictional world

Authors

  • Shane Walshe University of Zurich

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.v5i1.127

Keywords:

Irish English, literary dialect, Father Ted, saliency, authenticity

Abstract

While Irish English speech in the TV series ‘Father Ted’ (1995–1998) will forever be associated with Father Jack’s crude catchphrases, there is much more to the representation of Irish English in the show than the use of the expletives ‘feck’ and ‘arse’. The dialect appears in a much more subtle fashion in the series and ranges from the use of the aforementioned lexical items to typically Irish grammatical and discourse features. In keeping with the author’s 2009 study on Irish English as it appears in fifty films which are set in Ireland, this paper examines the representation of the dialect in these fictional ‘texts’. It addresses whether the scriptwriters rely predominantly on grammatical, lexical or discourse features to create the impression of Irishness and it questions why particular features occur more frequently than others, thus raising the notion of saliency as a key factor in literary dialect representations of speech.

Author Biography

Shane Walshe, University of Zurich

Shane Walshe is a Lecturer at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). He received his PhD in English Linguistics from the University of Bamberg (Germany) on the topic of Irish English as Represented in Film. His areas of interest include varieties of English, perceptual dialectology and linguistic stereotyping. He has published articles on dialect handbooks and the acquisition of stage accents, as well as on representations of dialects in comics and cartoons. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Dialectologia et Geolinguistica.

Published

2012-07-12

How to Cite

Walshe, S. (2012). ‘Normal people like us don’t use that type of language. Remember this is the real world.’ The language of Father Ted: representations of Irish English in a fictional world. Sociolinguistic Studies, 5(1), 127–148. https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.v5i1.127