If I have a least favorite question in the English language, it might be: “Are you a Christian?” It’s a question that gets thrown pretty quickly in the direction of any artist or thinker or politician that shows an openness toward or seriousness about God or spirituality. My dislike of the question is first of all about what the question does. What I mean is, asking it is often a way to peg people as in-or-out, loveable-or-dismissible. Unfortunately this question gets asked in this way by many who believe, some who don’t, and probably everywhere in-between. But it seems to me that if these kinds of distinctions and categories have to be made, perhaps it might be best to let God be the One to make them.
In case you read my interview with Darryl yesterday and struggled with some of his word choice, or if you’re planning a trip to Northern Ireland in the near future, or for the just-plain-fun-of-it, I’ve listed some of the common words and phrases used in Northern Ireland and their appropriate American “translations.” I remember that in what was somewhat of a lonely year for me, noticing the language differences was one of the little joys I experienced every day. Yes, of course, the Northern Irish speak English, but as one would expect, they rely on different slang, pronounce words differently, use words that Americans would know but rarely use, etc. I suppose this is a bit of an informal linguistics project, which is funny because I tried to take a linguistics class in grad school, and I lasted all of one day before dropping it. I’m sure my list isn’t completely exhaustive, and the words and definitions are listed in no particular order: