ERIC Number: ED395506
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
"Sorrow Penny Yee Payed for My Drink": Taboo, Euphemism, and a Phantom Substrate. CLCS Occasional Paper No. 43.
Possible origins for the use of "sorrow" as a negation in Hiberno-English are considered. Much of the evidence examined here comes from English literature. It is concluded that the uses of "sorrow" as negator and as euphemism probably reflect Celtic substrate influence. Structural evidence indicates that "sorrow" negation has grammaticalized properties similar to those for "devil" negation. Geographical and chronological evidence suggests that "sorrow" negation developed early in Scotland and that it was restricted mainly to Scotland and Ireland. Cultural evidence shows "sorrow" negation to be part of a long-standing tradition of taboo and euphemism, one not unique to Celtic lands but certainly robust in those regions. Although several words in Irish and Scottish Gaelic are partial translation equivalents for "sorrow," only two have attested uses as negators and euphemisms for the devil: "donas" and "tubaiste." Of these, the former seems to have been an especially important word in Scotland and Ireland, although it may never have been a full-fledged negator in Irish. The most likely explanation for the spread of this distinctive negation type is that "sorrow" forms were first used by Scottish settlers in Ulster, providing superstrate influence for Irish speakers acquiring Hiberno-English. (MSE)
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Trinity Coll., Dublin (Ireland). Centre for Language and Communication Studies.
Identifiers: Euphemism; Ireland; Language Contact; Scotland; Taboo Terms
Note: An abbreviated version of this paper was given as a public lecture in the Centre for Language and Communication Studies (Dublin, Ireland, 1996).