James Joyce is famous for the wonderful liberties he took with the English language but the longer I live in Ireland the more I believe it’s a national trait. Almost every exchange contains some delightful little quirk of syntax or grammar.
‘Will I give ye a refund?’ asks the lady at Customer Services. I don’t know. Will she? Or should she?
‘Just looking, is it?’ asked the disdainful salesgirl in Claire’s Accessories. Don’t they train them to know that grannies sometimes need to enter such hell-holes of teenagery in order to find gifts for granddaughters? I suppose the correct answer to her question was, ‘It is.’
And my favourite, recently overheard, was a perfect example of the Hanging Conjunction.
Student No. 1: How’s the new place, Gav?
Gav: Damp. Cold. And we’ve mice wearing concrete boots.’
Student No.1: Terrible, that.
Gav: Yeah, terrible. We’ve two lawnmowers, but.
Do they do this anywhere else in the English-speaking world?
James Joyce, by the way, was born in a little house just round the corner from here. I suppose he must have been pushed past my window in his pram. Imagine.