Although the Irish and Americans both speak English, there are times when the use of the language is noticeably different. Most of the differences are easily translatable, but not all. In light of this, we are adding a recurring post called: Watch your phraseology. In these posts we will share some of the differences and miscommunications we have encountered while here in Ireland.

“How long are you here?

When chatting with locals, we often get asked this question. As Americans we took it to mean, “How long do you plan to stay?” or “How long are you here for?” Not so in Ireland. They want to know when you arrived. The first few times we were asked this, we got some baffled looks when we replied, “About two years.” Clearly we were fresh off the boat, so to speak, and there was no way that we had been in Ireland for two years. After hearing the question for the umpteenth time, the Irish meaning started registering with me part way through my response. My answer morphed into, “About two years, but we arrived here in December.”

Just as the Irish translation of this phrase was starting to click and my response was getting more accurate, I was thrown a curve ball. I was talking to another American who was in Ireland as a tourist. As we chatted, she asked me, “How long are you here?” My response was, “Since December . . . but we will be here for two years.”