YOLA.

OP Tipping made a post on Wordorigins.org about the Yola language, “an extinct West Germanic language formerly spoken in Ireland.” As I wrote in the thread there, I was going to say I’d never heard of it either until I saw the footnote citing T. F. O’Rahilly, “The Accent in the English of South-east Wexford,” Irish Dialects Past and Present (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1932), pp. 94–98:

As it happens, I bought that book in 1975 in Dublin, where I was studying Irish at the Institute for Advanced Studies, so I pulled my copy off the shelf and found the article, which I’d never read, presumably because it was about English rather than Irish. It’s very interesting indeed; he writes about the Wexford dialect because it shows the same generalized end-stress (e.g., dineare [di-NAIR] ‘dinner,’ shilleen ‘shilling’) that you get in the southern dialects of Irish (e.g., dinneur [di-NAIR] ‘dinner,’ sicín ‘chicken’):
In either case its starting point was a nucleus of end-stressed words of Norman French origin. In Southern Irish it was doubtless in the mouths of bilingual (or trilingual) speakers of Anglo-Norman descent that the stress was first advanced in Irish words of native, or quasi-native, origin. The similar phenomenon which occurred in the English of S. Wexford was later in date, and resulted from “ the daily intercourse of the English and Irish inhabitants ” (to borrow a phrase of Stanyhurst’s), when the progress of Irish as a spoken language brought it more and more into contact with a population group which spoke a somewhat archaic variety of English. Already familiar with end-stressed words from their own dialect, these Wexford English-speakers were so influenced by the Irish spoken in their neighbourhood, and to some extent acquired by themselves, that they greatly extended the use of long stressed endings, especially by imitating Irish -ér (-eur) and -ín.

He has a great quote from Stanyhurst (1577):

In our days they have so acquainted themselves with the Irish as they have made a mingle-mangle or gallamaulfrey of both the languages, and have in such medley or checkerwise so crabbedly jumbled both togyther as commonly the inhabitants of the meaner sort speak neyther good English nor good Irishe.

The Wikipedia article has some long passages in the dialect; “A Yola Song” begins “Fade teil thee zo lournagh, co Joane, zo knaggee?”

Comments

  1. In the rather different Ireland of Ill Bethisad, which was colonized mostly by the Romano-Britons rather than the English, Yola is still hanging on, having little or no competition from standard English:
    Languages
    Gaelic (Gaeilg) is understood by all the population, but is not the only language spoken.
    In Osraighe and An Déise, there are populations that speak an highly archaic dialect of English known as Yola. Under threat up until the 1970s, a movement to preserve the language began to gather momentum in the 1960s. Osraighe also has a small but strong Kerno-speaking community.
    In Laighean, which has a large number of people of Kemrese descent, Brithenig is widely spoken. Indeed, the Kemrese population there is so great that it was one of the factors that lead to the rise of federalism during the latter part of the Civil War. The territory also has numbers of Kerno and Manoeg speakers.
    Uladh an Oirthir has a substantial Breathanach-speaking population.
    Under the articles of Bunreachd na hÉireann, the languages with recognition as official languages are Gaeilg, Breathanach and Brithenig. Yola and Manoeg are recognised as protected languages.

  2. John, I think you intended to link “rather different Ireland of Ill Bethisad” to some other page – it now points only to this comment page.

  3. mollymooly says:

    Ireland#Languages at the Ill Bethisad Wiki.

  4. There is mention at that site of “strip colour”, something having to do with sports. After searching around the net, I haven’t been able to find out what exactly this “strip” is, of a Scottish football team for instance. I thought it might be a shawl, but there is an “away strip” and a “home strip”. As far as I know – where is no far, since I am ignorant of sports – in Germany there is no “away shawl” and “home shawl”.

  5. I haven’t been able to find out what exactly this “strip” is
    The “strip” is the whole outfit, considered as distinguishing the team. The “home strip” is the first choice of kit, worn when playing at home; the “away strip” is what is worn when playing away from home if the “home strip” is insufficiently distinctive relative to the team at whose ground you are playing or just for the sake of variety (and revenue generation).

  6. A minor nitpick: Munster Irish doesn’t have generalized final stress. It does have a weight-sensitive stress system, unlike other dialects where stress is initial and (especially in Ulster) long vowels outside initial syllables have been shortened (though, unlike many short vowels, have not reduced to schwa). The Munster Irish stress system is interesting: it is _mostly_ unremarkable (the basic rule is “stress the leftmost heavy syllable within a three-syllable window, otherwise stress the initial syllable”, which is fine typologically), but if a word starts with two heavy syllables, stress falls on the second of them (but not in heavy-heavy sequences that do not start a word).
    Metrical typology is hard: the stress system space is so dominated by a few common patterns that many crucial counterexamples crop up in very few languages (e.g. some time ago ternary rhythm was assumed not to exist, until it was found; initial extrametricality was assumed not to exist until Kashaya was found to have it; quantity-insensitive iambs were assumed not to exist until they were found very recently…). Munster Irish stress is one of those weird patterns too.

  7. Eimear Ní Mhéalóid says:

    Yola is also often referred to as the dialect of Forth and Bargy. Diarmaid Ó Muirithe often refers to it in his newspaper columns and he is one of the co-authors of a book on it:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dialect-Forth-Bargy-S-Dolan/dp/1851822003/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309522876&sr=1-11

  8. David Marjanović says:

    Wikipedia also says Yola didn’t participate in the Great Vowel Shift.

    Metrical typology is hard: the stress system space is so dominated by a few common patterns that many crucial counterexamples crop up in very few languages (e.g. some time ago ternary rhythm was assumed not to exist, until it was found; initial extrametricality was assumed not to exist until Kashaya was found to have it; quantity-insensitive iambs were assumed not to exist until they were found very recently…). Munster Irish stress is one of those weird patterns too.

    Have you got sources or examples available?

  9. Further to Ian Preston’s definition of ‘strip’, in Victoria B. C. in the fifties, in junior high school we wore ‘gym strip’.

  10. Wedding stamps says:

    I would love to hear that language spoken. “Fade teil thee zo lournagh, co Joane, zo knaggee?” Almost seem like old middle english or something

  11. Have you got sources or examples available?

    For my metrical examples or for Munster Irish? For Munster Irish, any dialect description will do, they’re similar enough in this respect. The most detailed that I know is Diarmuid Ó Sé’s Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne (Dublin, 2000), but you find the same pattern, for instance, in West Muskerry (for which there is Brian Ó Cuív’s study from 1944, The Irish of West Muskerry: a phonetic study). For a concise description, see also Diarmuid Ó Sé’s paper Word stress in Munster Irish (Éigse vol. 36, 2008). For online examples, I’d send you to Antony Green’s dissertation on the prosodic structure of the Goidelic languages, but it’s on ROA, which is down, so I am forced to humbly suggest a handout of mine, where there is a set of examples on p. 2.
    For my metrical examples:
    * For ternary stress, there’s Curt Rice’s thesis, or his chapter in the new Blackwell Companion to Phonology
    * For initial extrametricality in Kashaya, see Gene Buckley’s work, again starting from his thesis (published 1994 as Theoretical aspects of Kashaya morphology and phonology); there’s lots of good stuff on his webpage
    * For QI iambs, see this paper by Daniel Altshuler (a longer and free version is/was on ROA… but see above)

  12. Breffni says:
  13. Bathrobe says:

    A nice broadcast, but while sitting there counting to ten in Welsh and Irish is a comforting reminder of their common Celticness, it doesn’t have much to do with the Yoles.

  14. caffeind says:

    yola.com was founded in Ireland, although the FAQ states it was named after a Hindi word.

  15. David Marjanović says:

    For my metrical examples:

    Thanks, I’ll download them ASAP.

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