The English Dialects Found Within Ireland Are Collectively Referred To As?
Today’s trivia question is a slam dunk if you’re Irish or if you’re a language history buff, but for everyone else, a bit of explanation is certainly in order. The English language first came to Ireland in the late 12th century, riding on the coattails of the Norman invasion, but it took centuries for the language to take hold and even more centuries for it to displace Irish as the most spoken language in the region.
Phonologists and linguists today divide the resulting dialects of English spoken in Ireland into four or five overarching classes of dialects or accents: Ulster accents, West and South-West Region accents (including the Cork accent), various Dublin accents, and, as a side effect of higher mobility in modern times, a relatively recent supraregional accent that results from a melding of characteristics from individual regional accents. The umbrella under which all of these accents exist is known as “Hiberno-English”, a name that is a direct nod to the history of Ireland.
The Classical Latin name for Ireland is Hibernia, a name adopted from Greek geographical accounts of the region and brought into popular use by the Roman historian Tacitus via his 1st century book Agricola. What’s particularly curious about the word Hibernia is that it exists in modern times only in obscure references to Ireland (such as the topic of our trivia question today). Unlike most areas in the region with Latin names, the Latin name never stuck and Ireland retained its natural name (the modern English name is descended from the Irish names “Ériu” and “Éire”).
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