The present section in intended as an approximate guide to the main scholars in the field of Irish English studies. The inclusion or exclusion of particular authors is not intended as a statement on their scholarly worth. Some references are included to those working on Irish and the other Celtic languages. This is often of relevance as their work — such as that of T. F. O’Rahilly or Edmund Curtis — may well throw light on the development of Irish English.
Adams, George Brendan (1916-1982) Dialectologist whose is known for innovative descriptions of language in Ulster, in particular of Ulster-Scots. Adams was Dialect Archivist at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Holywood, Co. Down from 1964. and editor of the volume Ulster Dialects (1964).
Amador Moreno, Carolina Spanish linguist who has worked on the language of Irish literature in English and is currently compiling a corpus of Irish English correspondence together with Kevin McCafferty. Current affiliation: University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain.
Barnes, William (1801-1886) The Dorset poet and purist writer on language matters. He received little formal education (only up to 15) but then studied privately, becoming a schoolmaster and later a country parson. Barnes is chiefly known to English scholars for his rejection of foreign influences on English and his attempts to create Germanic equivalents to many Romance and classical borrowings as can be seen in An outline of English speech-craft (1878). In the present context he is known as the editor in 1867. of the Poole’s Forth and Bargy glossary.
Barron, Anne Southern Irish scholar who has done extensive work on the pragmatics of Irish English and who published the first collection of studies on this topic (with Klaus P. Schneider, Bonn). Current affiliation: Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany.
Barry, Michael English scholar who did considerable work in Belfast on the Tape-Recorded Survey of Hiberno-Speech in the late 1970s and wrote a number of articles on English in the north of the country. Retired from: Department of English, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Benskin, Michael English medievalist who has carried out work on medieval Irish English from a philological point of view. Current affiliation: Department of English, University of Oslo, Norway.
Berkeley, George (1685-1753) eighteenth century philosopher known for his immaterialist ideas put forward in his Principles of Human Knowledge (1713) written when he was a young man. Born in Co. Kilkenny and educated at Kilkenny College, as was Swift, and at Trinity College Dublin. Later he moved to London, frequenting the group around Addison, Pope and Steele. Berkeley was also involved in church missionary activity in the Caribbean and America.
Bliss, Alan Joseph English philologist who after moving to the chair of English language in University College Dublin developed an interest in Irish English on which he published many articles and the monograph Spoken English in Ireland 1600-1740 (1979). Although Bliss’s ideas were not accepted uncritically he was in part responsible for the revitalisation of Irish English studies which arose in the 1980s.
Braidwood, John Former professor of English at Queen’s University, Belfast and known for work on the local lexicon of rural Ulster.
Carleton, William (1794-1869) Novelist and short story writer from Co. Tyrone in the north of Ireland. Carleton knew rural Ulster well where he had grown up in poverty. He portrayed many characters from this rural background using local forms of English there to portray their speech genuinely.
Clarke, Sandra Canadian scholar known for her wide-ranging research into forms of English in Newfoundland including those which are derived from Irish immigrants and former seasonal migrants. Retired from: Department of Linguistics, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
Corrigan, Karen Northern Irish scholar who has been working extensively on English in south Armagh applying both a variationist and a formal syntactic model to its analysis. Current affiliation: Centre for Research in Linguistics, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
Curtis, Edmund (1881-1943) English-born of Irish parents, Curtis studied history in Oxford and became Professor of History in Trinity College Dublin in 1914. His is still known for his A History of Medieval Ireland (l923) and for work on the languages of medieval Ireland.
De Bhaldraithe, Tómas (1916- ) Irish linguist and lexicographer. Born in Limerick and educated at University College Dublin where he was appointed Professor of Modern Irish in 1960. He is the author of important studies of Connemara Irish and of an English-Irish Dictionary (1959) which still remains the authoritative work for English to Irish translation.
De Fréine, Séamus Irish scholar who has worked on the decline of Irish during the nineteenth century, particularly as a result of the Great Famine.
Dolan, Terence Southern Irish scholar who is known for his work on the language of literary authors and a popular dictionary of Irish English which is now in its third edition. Retired from: Department of English, University College Dublin, Ireland.
Edwards, John Canadian-Irish scholar who carried out work on the evaluation of accents in Dublin in the 1970s and on the relationship of English to Irish in present-day Ireland. He is also known for his work on language and identity. Retired from: Department of Psychology, St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Filppula, Markku Finnish scholar who is noted for his work on the syntax of Irish English. Filppula has written widely on such matters as types of verbal aspect and topicalisation processes. He has also examined the role of language contact in the genesis of Irish English in the light of a speech corpus from various parts of Ireland. Current affiliation: Department of English, University of Eastern Finland, Finland.
Greene, David Irish scholar and formerly professor at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. He is known in the present context for work on the nature of aspect and tense in Irish and its possible transfer to English in Ireland.
Gregg, Robert Ulster scholar who contributed much to the understanding of Ulster-Scots. After a survey of the distribution of this variety in Ulster, Gregg moved to Vancouver, Canada where he continued his work on Ulster-Scots and its possible relationship to forms of Canadian English.
Harris, John Ulster scholar whose early work was concentrated on Belfast English and developments in the sociolinguistic setting there. He is also the author of a number of articles of a general nature, especially dealing with the relationship of contact to retention in the genesis of Irish English. Current affiliation: Department of Linguistics, University College London, England.
Henry, Alison Northern Irish scholar noted for her work on the syntax of Belfast English within a generative framework (see Belfast English and Standard English. Dialect variation and parameter setting 1996). Not related to following. Current affiliation: Department of Communication, Ulster University – Jordanstown, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Henry, Patrick Leo Southern Irish scholar who with the published version of his doctoral dissertation of 1957, An Anglo-Irish dialect of North Roscommon, provoked considerable interest in Irish English among the Anglicist community. He also started A linguistic survey of Ireland which unfortunately was not carried to completion. Henry worked at the National University of Ireland – Galway, Galway, Ireland.
Heuser, Wilhelm German scholar at the turn of the nineteenth century whose main achievement in the present context is publication of Die Kildare-Gedichte ‘The Kildare Poems’ (Bonn 1904), an edition of MS Harley 913 in the British Museum which has formed the outset for many later studies of these poems.
Hickey, Raymond Southern Irish scholar concerned chiefly with the history of Irish English, questions of language contact and the phonology of present-day varieties, especially Dublin English from a sociolinguistic perspective. Current affiliation: Department of Anglophone Studies, University of Duisburg and Essen, Germany.
Hindley, Reg Irish scholar known for his work on the decline of Irish in the early modern period and the present-day external relationship of Irish to English in contemporary Ireland. Current affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, University of Bradford, England.
Hogan, James Jeremiah Irish philologist of English and professor at University College Dublin. His The English language in Ireland (1927) gives a good philological overview of the development of Irish English from the late Middle Ages. His An outline of English philology, chiefly for Irish students (1934) contains many remarks about Irish English usage of his day.
Irwin, Patrick J. Irish scholar who was one of the first authors (along with J. J. Hogan) to concern himself with the history of Irish English from a philological perspective. Unfortunately his PhD thesis, A study of the English dialects of Ireland, 1172-1800 (1935), remained unpublished.
Joyce, Patrick Weston (1827-1914) Historian, geographer, onomastist and linguist. Joyce was born in Co. Limerick, educated locally, became a teacher in Clonmel and later studied at Trinity College Dublin. His main achievement in onomastics is The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places (3 vols., 1869-70) for which he used his good knowledge of Irish in explaining the composition of names. As a historian and geographer he made his name with The Geography of the Country of Ireland (1883) and A Social History of Ancient Ireland (2 vols., l907). He is also the author of A Grammar of the Irish Language (1878) and Old Celtic Romances (1879). In Irish English studies he is remembered for English as We Speak It in Ireland (1910) (reprinted with new introductions in 1979. and 1988) which was remarkable for its time.
Kallen, Jeffrey American scholar who is known for many articles and a monograph on the development of Irish English in the early modern period, on questions of verbal aspect and for lexical work on present-day Irish English. Current affiliation: Centre for Language and Communication Studies, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Kingsmore, Rona Northern Irish scholar noted for her sociolinguistic research on English spoken in the town of Coleraine in Co. Derry (north Ulster).
Kirk, John Scottish scholar working in Belfast who has compiled the ICE-Ireland corpus (with Jeffrey Kallen) and collected a corpus of Northern Irish speech and written on the use of vernacular language in the writings of contemporary Irish authors. Retired from: Department of English, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Lucas, Angela Irish scholar who is known for her work on the manuscript MS Harley 913 and the edition of the Kildare Poems, deriving from that source, which she published. Retired from: Department of English, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
Macafee, Caroline Scottish scholar known, in an Irish context, for her editorship of the Concise Ulster Dictionary and articles on lexicography. Retired from: Department of English, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
MacAlister, Robert A. S. (1870-1950) Dublin archaeologist and professor at University College Dublin. He is renowned for many books on the archaeology of pre-Celtic Ireland. For Irish English studies his relevance is as author of the linguistically naive but nevertheless copious book The Secret Languages of Ireland (1937).
McCafferty, Kevin Northern Irish scholar whose focus of research was originally on changes in the English of Derry city. He has also worked on the language of literature and is currently compiling a corpus of Irish English correspondence with Carolina Amador Moreno from Cáceres, Spain. Current affiliation: Department of English, University of Bergen, Norway.
Meyer, Kuno German scholar who at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century published much on Celtic literature and philology. In 1903 he founded the School of Irish learning for the promotion of scholarly work on the language and its literature.
Michael of Kildare (flourished mid fourteenth century) This friar is mentioned in the poem ‘The Hymn of Michael of Kildare’ as the author of this poem which is contained in MS Harley 913 in the British Museum. Because of this reference the collection of 16 poems is generally labelled the Kildare Poems though there may be a case to be made for Waterford as a source.
Millar, Sharon Northern Irish scholar known for her work on accents in Ulster with reference to sociolinguistic status and possible ethnic differences. Current affiliation: Department of English, University of Odense, Denmark.
Milroy, James Scottish linguist who is renowned for his sociolinguistic research (together with his wife Lesley Milroy) on social networks in Belfast on which he has written extensively. He broadened his work to encompass questions of language change from a general perspective, especially concerning the relationship of vernaculars and standards. Retired from: University of Sheffield.
Milroy, Lesley Scottish linguist who carried out highly innovative linguistic research (with her husband James Milroy) into the interrelationship of social networks and vernacular linguistic usage. Her work has been generally accepted as providing the basis for linguistic research in social configurations below that of class. Retired from: Program in Linguistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States.
Montgomery, Michael American scholar known for many articles and a few books on Ulster-Scots and the historical connection between Ulster speech and that of the Appalachian region and, more widely, of the south-east United States. Retired from: Department of Linguistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, United States.
Moryson, Foynes An Elizabethan writer who travelled to Ireland and reported on his experiences there is a manner similar to Richard Stanyhurst.
Ó Cuív, Brian Irish scholar and author of many articles on early modern Irish as well as a dialect study of West Cork. He is also the editor of books on contemporary Irish distribution and usage.
Odlin, Terence American linguist who has done research into language contact and transfer in the context of Irish and Scottish English. Current affiliation: Linguistics Program, Ohio State University, Columbus, United States.
Ó Muirithe, Diarmuid Irish scholar known for various treatments of Irish English vocabulary. Retired from: Department of English, University College Dublin, Ireland.
O’Rahilly, Thomas F. (1883-1953) Irish scholar who was born in Kerry and educated in Blackrock College and University College Dublin. In 1919 he was appointed Professor of Irish at Trinity College Dublin and later moved to Cork, back to Dublin and was finally professor at the School of Celtic Studies in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies where he was made director in 1941. O’Rahilly wrote widely on literary and historical topics, sometimes contentiously. His linguistic merit derives from Irish dialects, past and present (1932) a survey of the development and geographical distribution of different forms of Gaelic.
Ó Sé, Diarmuid Irish scholar who has done work on verbal structures and word stress in Irish English as well on dialects of present-day Irish. Current affiliation: Irish Department, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
Pedersen, Holger Danish scholar who first trained as an Indo-Europeanist and began work on Irish with a book on lenition in 1897. His main achievement is the monumental Vergleichende Grammatik der keltischen Sprachen (3 vols. 1913) which is incomparable in breadth and range. A condensed one-volume version by Henry Lewis appeared in translation in 1937 as A concise comparative Celtic grammar.
Pitts, Ann Northern Irish scholar who carried out work into sociolinguistic variation in the town of Lurgan near Belfast in the 1980s.
Poole, Jacob (1774-?) A Protestant minister, was born in Growtown, Co. Wexford of a Quaker family. He is known in Irish English studies for his glossary of the Forth and Bargy dialect which he compiled in the first years of the nineteenth century. This glossary is much more comprehensive than that of Vallancey and contains a few text pieces (songs) in an appendix. It was later edited by William Barnes in 1867.
Rahilly, Joan Northern Irish linguist who has done much research on the special nature of intonation in Belfast English. Current affiliation: School of Arts, English and Languages, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Sheridan, Thomas (1719-1788) Sheridan was born in Co. Cavan and died in London. His career was quite varied covering activities as a writer, actor and lecturer on elocution. He is the author of one play Captain O’Blunder or The Brave Irishman (1754) and editor of the complete works of his godfather Jonathon Swift The Works of Swift with Life (18 volumes). In the history of Irish English Sheridan is remembered as the author of A Rhetorical Grammar of the English Language (1781) which contains a section on the Irish pronunciation of English. He is also the author of a successful General Dictionary of the English Language (1780, 2 volumes) and an earlier A Course of Lectures on Elocution (1762). Due to his lexicographical activities Sheridan came to associate closely with Dr. Johnson. His son is the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
Sommerfelt, Alf Norwegian scholar who carried out pioneering research into Irish in Ulster (in Torr, Co. Donegal) and is the author of many articles on forms of Gaelic from a historical and contemporary perspective.
Spenser, Edmund (1552-1599) Born in London, he moved to Ireland in 1580 and settled on a large estate in Co Cork. He was appointed Secretary to the Council of Munster in 1588 and Sheriff of Cork in 1598. Spenser’s View of the Present State of Ireland (written in 1596 but not published until 1633) is a typical document of its time, expressing the opinion that the Irish should be converted to the Protestant faith and Anglicised or else suppressed by military means. Spenser is known generally as the author of the Fairie Queene most of which was composed in Ireland.
Stanyhurst, Richard (1547-1618) Stanyhurst (or Stanihurst) was born in Dublin in 1547 and received his school education at Kilkenny and later at Oxford and Lincoln’s Inn where he studied law. On his return to Ireland with his tutor Edmund Campion he dedicated himself to Irish history. Stanyhurst revised a History of Ireland which Campion had put together hastily in 1571 and it appeared along with his own Treatise containing a Plaine and Perfect Description of Ireland in Holinshed’s Chronicles (1577). Although Stanyhurst’s attitude to the Irish was condescending, much in the Elizabethan tradition, his work has to be used as it forms the only historical source of remarks on language use in Ireland before 1600.
Stenson, Nancy American linguist who focus of research has been code-switching between Irish and English and loan-words in contemporary Irish. Retired from: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
Sullivan, James American scholar who did research into the genesis of Irish English as evidenced in literary documents from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Swift, Jonathan (1667-1745) Major author of the early eighteenth century. Apart from his pamphlets, political writings and satires, Swift is known in the present context for the short piece A dialogue in Hybernian stile between A & B (c. 1735) in which he satirises the Irish-influenced speech of the English planters who had come to Ireland in great numbers as of the mid seventeenth century. The item Irish eloquence contains material similar to that of A dialogue in Hybernian stile between A & B but has been rearranged in the form of a letter.
Thurneysen, Rudolf German scholar and holder of the chair for Celtic Studies as the Department of Linguistics, Bonn. Thurneysen ranks, along with Pedersen from a more general standpoint, as the undisputed authority on the history of Irish at the beginning of the twentieth century. His Handbuch des Irischen (1909) (translated as A grammar of Old Irish, Dublin 1946) is the definitive treatment of the language and has remained the guideline for later authors, whether continental (such as Julius Pokorny) or Irish (such as E. G. Quin) or American (such as Ruth and Winfred Lehmann).
Todd, Loreto Northern Irish scholar who has published widely on general aspects of English in Ulster, particularly its lexicon, e.g. A short history and dictionary of Northern Ireland English (1989) and Words apart. A dictionary of Northern Irish English (1990). Retired from: Ulster University – Coleraine, Northern Ireland.
Tristram, Hildegard L. C. German scholar who has done extensive research into older forms of Irish and Celtic in general. For the past few years she has led a research project on English in the Celtic regions. She has also organised the Potsdam colloquia on this subject and has edited the proceedings of two of these conferences as Celtic Englishes and Celtic Englishes II. Retired from: Department of English, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
Vallancey, Charles (1721-1812) An English army general and Irish antiquarian. Born in Windsor to a Huguenot family, Vallancey came to Ireland in 1762 as a member of the army and by 1803 had attained the rank of general. In keeping with the antiquarian fashions of his age, he founded a journal Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis (1770-1804) which dealt with all aspects of Irish culture. He speculated wildly on the origin of the Celtic languages, seeing their origins in Asia Minor. Although Vallancey did not know Irish well, he published a Grammar of the Hiberno-Celtic or Irish Language in 1773 in which he praised the genius of Irish and characterised the language as masculine. He was also one of the founders of the Royal Irish Academy (1782) after he had established the Hibernian Antiquarian Society in 1779. Although his own scholarship is scarcely acceptable by present-day standards, Vallancey did pave the way for later more objective research, particularly on the Irish language. For Irish English studies Vallancey’s relevance lies in the publication in 1788 (as one of the first proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy) of a glossary of the dialect of Forth and Bargy in Co. Wexford.
Wagner, Heinrich Swiss German scholar who came to Ireland as a young man and carried out extensive research into Irish (in Donegal) and compiled a Linguistic atlas of Irish dialects. In 1959 he published Das Verbum in den Sprachen der Britischen Inseln ‘The verb in the languages of the British Isles’ in which he assumed that there were many areal features — involving verbal aspect — shared by forms of English and Celtic languages in the British Isles.
Zeuss, Caspar German scholar in the Indo-European tradition of the nineteenth century who with his Latin Grammatica Celtica (1853) established modern linguistic scholarship in the Celtic languages. The grammar went through a second edition (by H. Ebel 1871) and remained the definitive treatment of the subject until the pioneering works of Holger Pedersen and Rudolf Thurneysen appeared in the early twentieth century.