Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

“They speak English” they said, “You’ll be fine” they said….

Ok, so really it is not as terrible as I may have made it seem by the title, but there is still certainly a slight language barrier when it comes to the differences between American and Irish English. What is nice is that because it is slightly more Americanized here and they get the American TV shows and media, they will know what you are saying no problem, it is you understanding them that can be tricky. I threw together a list off the top of my head of all of the words that I have either: 1- encountered myself and had to ask for clarification on or 2- words I was given heads up about (as well as some Irishisms vs. Americanisms):


Craic (pronounced “crack”)- Fun, Entertainment, News

Session- Party, Music Performance

Rubbish- Trash/garbage

Banter- Fun/witty Conversation

Slagging- Teasing

Jumper- Sweater

Pants- Underwear

Trousers- Pants

Biscuit- Cookie (of any variety)

Cookie- Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chips- French Fries

Crisps- Chips

Shift- Kiss

Press- Cupboard

A Buzz- A Call

Module- Class/course

Course of Study- Major

Trackie/Tracksuit Bottoms- Sweatpants

Runners- Sneakers




“That’d be grand” – American version: “That’s awesome!”
No one says awesome here, at all. Why? I have no clue, but it is an instant way to let everyone know you are from the good ol’ USA.

“Lad” – American version: “Guy”
It’s almost stereotypically hilarious when you hear your Irish friends saying “I met this lad de other day….”

“For fock’s sake” – American version: “Oh my god”
Although the actual four letter eff word we were raised to avoid is used in more serious situations, “fock” or “feck” come up ALL the time and in everyday type conversation.

“What’s the craic?” – American version: “What’s up?” of “What fun is going on?”
Although at first it seems as though everyone and their mother are offering you drugs, people use this phrase to find out what’s happening and to get in on a good time. Similarly, they will say something was “great craic” if it was a lot of fun.

“Cheers” – American version: “Thanks”/”Goodbye”
This was a little harder to put into English because it is kind of just a statement on its own, but you will hear it all over the place whether it is because someone held the door for you, or you are walking away from the register after buying groceries.

“Would you like a cup?” – American version: “Do you want some tea?”
A cup almost automatically means tea.

“Tanks a mil” – American version: “Thanks so much”
Drop the ‘h’ and cut ‘million’ in half and you have it. One of the most popular phrases I’ve heard.


That’s all I can think of right now, but I will start a running list and I’m sure there will be more to come!



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