HOW THE IRISH INVENTED SLANG: THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF THE CROSSROADS
By Daniel Cassidy
How The Irish Invented Slang won the twenty-eighth annual American Book Awards in 2007.
How the Irish Invented Slang is one swell (sóúil, joyful, happy, grand) snazzy (snasach, pron. snasah, polished, stylish, classy) doozer (duasóir, prize-winner) of a book!
In How the Irish Invented Slang: the Secret Language of the Crossroads, Daniel Cassidy, former co-director of the Irish Studies program at New College of California and late co-founder of the Crossroads Irish-American Festival, cuts through two hundred years of Anglo-American academic "baloney" and reveals the massive, hidden influence of the Irish language on American vernacular and slang. Irish-derived words and phrases – like snazzy, swell, dude, scam, slum, say "uncle", sucker, knickknack, twerp, nincompoop, moolah, racketeer, rookie, ballyhoo, dork, freak, hoodoo, Dead Rabbit, and jazz – are scattered across the American language, in the same way Irish-Americans have been scattered across the crossroads of North America for four hundred years.
See what these renowned authors and scholars have said about How the Irish Invented Slang:
"What Cassidy has done is nothing short of miraculous: he has brought back to life that which was considered dead and settled. Roll over, Webster and Murray!" Peter Quinn, author, Banished Children of Eve, Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish America
"Among artists, scribes, and scholars who have probed the Irish-American past, only Daniel Cassidy has delved into the essence of Irish American culture and character: our inherited gift of language. Cassidy has explored and explained the origins and endurance of the blunt, evocative, sordid and exquisite Irish words and phrases that have given verve to American vernacular." Maureen Dezell, author, Irish America: Coming into Clover
"Irish Americans especially will be delighted to know, they have been speaking Irish all along in their slang and American English, while believing and bemoaning that they had lost their native tongue many years ago. With imagination and scholarship, Cassidy has restored this hidden treasure to us in a book that is filled with revelations, wit and humor."
Bob Scally, Professor Emeritus, New York University, author, The End of Hidden Ireland
"Daniel Cassidy flings down the gauntlet to all those compilers of dictionaries who fled to the safe haven of ‘origin unknown’ when confronted with the challenge of American slang. The originality and importance of the argument makes this an exciting contribution to both American and Irish Studies. This is a landmark book, at once learned and lively and quite enthralling as to how American English acquired so vibrant a popular vocabulary." J. Joseph Lee, Director, Glucksman Ireland House, Professor of History and Irish Studies, New York University; Professor of History, University College Cork
"Imagine old, sunken roads re-surfaced on our maps. Imagine an x-ray of the American language, its sinews and its muscles. This is what Dan Cassidy gives us in his thrilling investigation. Here are the words, fresh off the boat, and here's what happened to those words and the people who spoke them. He lays out what the Irish in their revels, their loves and their hates, their exuberant, often desperate battle with the New World, have given America in the way we all speak and read and write." Alexander Cockburn, CounterhPunch
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