Quirks of Language

Travelling to another country can be challenging if you don’t speak the local language but I recently found that even English can have its quirks. While visiting in Ireland I saw a confused look on the face of a clerk when I enquired if they had a washroom. I countered with bathroom and then it dawned on my; I should ask for a toilet. Immediately he directed me to the nearest ‘toilet’.

Checking out prices where different categories receive a discount I observed that OAP and students were a class by themselves. After checking I found that OAP stands for Old Age Pensioners; something my son-in-law thought was hilarious. I did find seniors on some price lists.

Police are called Garda and do not carry guns but were very much in public view.

We travelled to Tallaght by a light rail transit system known locally as the LUAS; not unlike our GO train in Toronto. The Prawn Festival in Howth was accessed using DART; Dublin Area Rapid Transit; likely corresponding to our VIA.

I also learned that it takes 119.5 seconds to pour and serve a perfect Guinness draught; a skill I conquered and then got to enjoy my beer.

At the Jameson Distillery the tour guide pointed out that whiskey is spelled with an ‘e’ in Ireland and it Scotland they spell is ‘wrong’.(without the ‘e’)

We were eager to locate the Temple Bar and after many different directions we found that while there is a Temple Bar, it is located in Temple Bar Area; two different things. Good to know the lingo.


The GPO is the General Post Office. Disabled Access is the equivalent of our Handicapped Access. Lifts are elevators.

These are but a few of the anomalies I learned and I am sure that there are many more.


2 thoughts on “Quirks of Language

  1. Lillie, there are indeed many anomalies in the English language, and each culture has its own. You did very well to learn some of these basic ones–especially ones that would take care of basic needs like bathrooms and beer. I look forward to reading more stories.

  2. Fascinating. I have yet to travel away from our country and look forward to that day. Stories like these will prepare me and others. Love the photo and the “quirks” of language. Hug B

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