Top o' the mornin' to you! If you will be indulging yourself in any Irish celebration today, you might want to consider a bit o' blarney and speaking with a wee Irish brogue (which is, according to The American Heritage Dictionary "a strong dialectical accent, especially a strong Irish accent." The Dictionary goes on to mention that the word "brogue" comes from the name for the heavy shoes made of untanned leather that the Irish used to wear).

As a long time Communication teacher and researcher, I have studied accents (and discussed them even, on this blog). I'm not going to give you a "perfect" Irish accent in which you make every dialectical change linguists have noted in the Irish accent. I'm just going to give you a quick course--sort of Irish 101--so you can sound a wee bit Irish to your friends on this very green Irish day!
Okay, for starters, the Irish dialect, unlike the British dialect is lilting and musical--no short or clipped sounds. Think of it as singing rather than speaking. Let's start with your vowel sounds. Make them MUCH longer than you normally would. Don't just say, "The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain." Say, "The raaaaaaain in Spaaaaaain staaays maaaaainly on the plaaaain." Don't say, "It's far, far away." Say, "It's faaaaar, faaaar awaaaaay." You get the idea.

One especially Irish vowel sound is the "i" sound in "like." The Irish say this vowel with a sort of "uh" right before it. It makes the word "like" sound somewhat like "luh-aik." Get some of those "i" sounds going for you and you will sound truly Irish.

Then, we have the Irish consonants. Oh, the consonants there are! The "f's" and the "th's" as well as some other consonants are all quite unusual in the Irish dialect. However, they're rather hard to master. Id' suggest you focus on one common consonant that truly discriminates the Irish dialect from the British AND the American--the "r." The Irish love their "r's"! They savor them in their mouths--unlike the British who either drop the "r" completely or change it to a "d," or the Americans who stomp on it. To sound Irish, when you have an "r" in the middle or at the end of a word, linger on it, let it roll around in your mouth, and finally pronounce it with passion and conviction.

Well, me darlin's, there you have it. A quickie lesson in Irish. Now go out and enjoy this lovely St. Patrick's Day! Let me know how it goes. Can you sound Irish?