That’s Irish language text (or SMS) speak for “Conas atá tú?” (“How are you?”). Dr Muiris Ó Laoire of the Tralee Institute of Technology (that’s in County Kerry, in the south west of Ireland) has drawn up a list of list of the commonly shortened phrases in Irish to promote the use of the language and speed up the use of the cúpla focal (literally “couple of words”. An Irish idiomatic expression used to convey the true depth of the average Irish person’s knowledge of their own language) on cell phones.

The good Dr dismisses fears that Irish language purists will be up in arms over this. Instead, he says:

“It’s quick and its creative. I would see this as having the effect of making the language more accessible. I would say that it’s making the language more vibrant, that it is a living language and that it can be used for more than just teaching. If we keep it in the classroom and text books it will die.”

(Source: Irish Daily Mail, 2-February-2009).

Here’s a few examples you can try out yourself the next time you text (SMS) an Irish person:

GRMA: Go Raibh Maith Agat (Thank you [singular])

CGL: Ceart Go Leor (OK)

MGL: Maith Go Leor (Great, good, right, and so on)

E va: Óiche Mhaith (Good night)

Fadhb r b: Fadhb ar bith (No problem)

Chor r b: Ar chor ar bith (At all, at any rate, and so on)

9L is am: Níl a fhios agam (I don’t know)

and here’s one I just made up:

SFL!: Is Feidir Linn! (Yes, we can!)

Coming after the launch of predictive text software as Gaeilge this is a great development

Irish speakers are being invited by trading card maker Panini to submit more suggestions for Irish txt spk online at the British-hosted web site

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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