Speak like the Irish this Paddy’s Day!

March 17, 2022

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our Dublin-based team! It’s time to get your Irish on. 

It’s no secret that the Irish have very distinct accents that are loved the world over. But have you ever paid close attention to some of the slight differences between the American English and Irish English pronunciations of common words?

To give you a quick tutorial on how to sound Irish today, the linguists on our Speech Tech team chose their five favorite words with different pronunciations in America and Ireland and shared the phoneme breakdowns for each. 

Have some fun and say the words out loud.

Let’s go!

1. Herb

As in: “I have parsley and thyme planted in my herb garden.” 

American pronunciation: er b

Irish pronunciation: 

2. Leisure 

As in: “On the weekends, Liam has lots of time for leisure.”

American pronunciation: l iy zh er

Irish pronunciation: 

3. Aluminum 

As in: “The new building down the street has aluminum roofing.”

Aluminum (American spelling) has a slightly different spelling in Irish English, which includes another “i” to make it Aluminium

So, Americans say: ah l uw m ah n ah m

And the Irish say:

4. Tomato 

As in: “We’re having tomato soup for lunch.” 

American pronunciation: t ah m ey t ow

Irish pronunciation: 

5. Basil

As in: “The basil on this pasta is so fresh!”

American pronunciation: b ey z ah l

Irish pronunciation:

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more words in the English language that Americans and the Irish pronounce differently. 

You’ll have to visit Ireland to learn some more!

A very happy St. Patrick’s Day to you from all of us at SoapBox Labs. 

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