3 Ways to Speak with an Irish Accent

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3 Ways to Speak with an Irish Accent
3 Ways to Speak with an Irish Accent

Learning an accent can be useful on many occasions. Master an Irish accent, wow coworkers and friends with your hidden talents, and embarrass some of those Hollywood stars. Your accent will sound like a typical Dublin accent if you do it right.


Method 1 of 3: Pronouncing the vowels and the vowels

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 1
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 1

Step 1. Soften the vowels

Many people, especially Americans, tend to harden the vowels they pronounce. For example, Americans pronounce the letter A, with "ay"; those with an Irish accent will pronounce it with an "ah" or an "aw". Pay attention to this characteristic of each word, especially the vowels in the middle of the word.

  • Saying "How are you?" the standard one should be pronounced "Ha-ware-huh?" The "au" (in "how") and "oo" (in "you") sounds are no different in a Generalized American accent.
  • The sounds "night," "like," and "I," are pronounced the same as "oi," as in "oil." Pronounce "Ireland" with "Oireland."

    While it's very similar to "oi," it's not exactly the same. Change the sound of the letter 'o' to be more schwa (pepet). The diphthong does not exist in American English and is similar to a mixture of, "Uh, I…"

  • The sound of a schwa (a caveman's snoring), as in the word "strut," varies by dialect. In local accents, vowels sound more like "foot," and in New Dublin accents (popular with young people), sound more like "bit."
  • Epsilon (as in "end") is pronounced like the vowels in "ash." "Any" becomes "Annie."

    There are many Irish dialects with many variations. Certain rules may not apply to certain dialects

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 2
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 2

Step 2. Harden the consonants

In general, Americans are lazy in speaking. "Ladder" and "latter" are pronounced the same in America, but not in Irish. Give rights to consonants (with the exception of the following rule!).

  • As a starting sound, /d/ often sounds like /d͡ʒ/ or the sound made by the letter J in the majority of variations of the English language. That is, "due" will sound like "Jew." Like its unvoiced counterpart, the "t" becomes a "ch." "Tube" sounds like "choob."
  • There is a difference between words like "wine" and "whine." Words containing "wh" begin with the initial "h" sound; try exhaling a little before the word -- the result is similar to the word "whine."
  • Some Irish accents change "think" and "that" to "tink" and "dat." Try "trowing" into your speech sporadically.
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 3
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 3

Step 3. Remove the letter G

English is full of words ending in -ing, but you won't hear Irish people admit that, at least not in a natural context. Whether you're muttering a verb or a gerund, cut it off.

  • "Morning" becomes "mornin." "Walking" becomes "walkin," and so on. This is true in all contexts.

    In Local Dublin, a worse dialect, the last sound is completely removed: "sound" becomes "soun," for example

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 4
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 4

Step 4. Must be very rhotic

For the majority of American English speakers, this is not a problem. But if your dialect is non-rhotic (removing the R at the end of a word or as a middle vowel; "park" sounds like "pack"), pay close attention to the pronunciation of each "r" -- whether at the beginning, middle, or end.

American and British English speakers need to move the 'r' forward more than usual. Try placing your tongue forward and higher in your mouth when you say words that have an 'r' in the middle or at the end

Method 2 of 3: Mastering Style, Grammar and Vocabulary

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 5
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 5

Step 1. Speak quickly but clearly

The Irish would not be caught saying, "coulda, woulda, shoulda." Every sound (unless discarded through a phonemic process) must be considered. Your tongue and lips will be trained.

If you do pause, use "em" to fill it. Stay away from "uh" or "um"; "em" is a filler for speech breaks. If you can get rid of the habit naturally without thinking, your "Irishness" will increase tenfold. The pause filler is spoken all the time -- so when you're thinking about how to pronounce something, you know how to fill the silence

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 6
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 6

Step 2. Repeat the verb in the yes/no questions

Often yes/no questions are straightforward -- as a result, we answer "yes" or "no." Seems quite logical, doesn't it? No. That's not how it works in the land of the Saints and Scholars. When asked, repeat the noun and verb.

  • For example, "Are you going to Jane's party tonight?" --"I am."

    "Does Ireland have unicorns?" --"It doesn't."

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 7
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 7

Step 3. Use the 'after' construction

After perfect (AFP), which is one of the most distinctive parts of Irish English, has caused much debate and confusion. The pattern is used to indicate something that just happened in two situations:

  • Between two verbs in the past continuous tense (again, it denotes an event that just happened): 'Why did you go to the shop?' -- "I was after running-out of potatoes." (Don't think of it the same as using the words "seeking" or "searching for." You're not "after buying potatoes" - if you are, then you're not going to the store.)
  • Between two verbs in the present continuous tense (used as an interjection): "I'm after performing on the West End!"
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 8
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 8

Step 4. Use idioms and colloquialism

The Irish accent is full of words and phrases unknown to other dialects of the English language. No one else knows what you're talking about, but you have to make sacrifices to seem genuine. ''Soon you'll be cod acting like a bucklepper!''

  • Cheers: It's not only used when clinking glasses, it's also used in casual conversation, consistently. Can be used to thank people and say "hello" and "goodbye". Use it often; Irish people have often.
  • Lad: This term describes any man, although it is usually used specifically for people who are more intimate. It should be noted that "Lads" can refer to a group of men and women.
  • C'mere: Literally, it's the same as any other dialect -- "come here." But in Irish English, it's an opening word that means, "listen" or simply "hi," to get attention. To start a "harmless" sentence, start it with "C'mere."
  • Right: This more or less serves as an alternative to "c'mere." This word is versatile and its main function is to explain. As in the sentence, "Right, we're meeting at 7 o'clock by the watch tower then?"

    Some British English colloquialisms are also acceptable. Avoid the phrase "Top of the mornin' to ya!" and "Blarney!" unless you want to be that guy

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 9
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 9

Step 5. Think like song lyrics

Irish accents are generally considered to be more 'musical' than American English. The accent contains a rhythm not found in other variations of the Lingua Franca (language of instruction). Use more phrases sing-song than in your own dialect.

A good start is to have a tone of voice slightly higher than your natural tone of voice. Try going a little lower in the middle of the phrase, then going up a bit

Speak Up Step 8
Speak Up Step 8

Step 6. The Irish use some words that most Americans don't know

  • Runners: Runners usually refer to jogging or tennis shoes.
  • Jumpers: Jumpers are plain and simple; sweater.
  • Yoke: This one is a bit confusing. Yoke is like when you try to say something, but don't know the words to describe it. ex.: "You know the yoke that you use to clean the dust off the stand?" It means more or less like Thingamajig, or Thingamabob
  • Boot: This simply refers to the trunk of the car. "Put the food in the boot."
  • Footpath: Sidewalk.
  • Ride: Very interesting person.
  • Gum Boil/ Mouth Ulcer: Seriawan.

Method 3 of 3: Doing Research

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 10
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 10

Step 1. Listen to the Irish accent

Look on YouTube and watch movies and interviews for good examples of what you're trying to emulate. But beware of imitators -- and there are many imitators.

Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, and Tom Cruise are not good examples. Stick to native speakers; RTÉ is a good start, stay away from the Northern Irish TV channels as the accent is a bit different from the actual Irish accent and will trap you

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 11
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 11

Step 2. Visit Ireland

Just as you can never really master a foreign language if you don't live in the country, you will never master an accent if you don't mingle with the people who speak it.

If you go on vacation there, try to get a feel for the local accent. Visit small restaurants and listen to the people around you. Talk to the seller of goods on the street. Hire a local tour guide to show you around. Make yourself close to the Irish accent as often as possible

Speak With an Irish Accent Step 12
Speak With an Irish Accent Step 12

Step 3. Buy a book

Like the American and British English dictionaries, there are Irish English dictionaries. In addition, there are many resources available on colloquial expressions and characteristics of the Irish accent. Take the time and spend if you really want your accent to shine.

If the dictionary seems a bit bulky and will just sit on a bookshelf and get dusty, buy a phrasebook. Idioms and figure of speech will help you enter the "emerald" region


  • Listen to interviews with the Celtic Thunder and Niall Horan's kids.
  • Try to stay away from Hollywood stars who fake Irish accents. You want to imitate a real Irish accent, not a Leonardo DiCaprio accent.
  • Nobody in Ireland says "top of the mornin' to ya."
  • Remember, Irish people use words that have the same meaning as Americans, but the words are different.
  • Get to know IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Then it will be much easier to understand books and websites about it. Recognizing the symbols associated with sounds you are unfamiliar with will help you remember those sounds and when to use them.
  • Listen to an interview from the band "The Script". The three members of the band have different tones and you will be able to decide which one you want to master.

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