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Irish Slang – How’s things?

old Irish man laughingBegorrah! Top of the morning!

Yes, two phrases you may have heard on Darby O’Gill and the Little People but that you will never actually hear spoken in Ireland. Most people have heard the Irish speak, but there are a lot of little things about their slang and turns of phrase that are often misunderstood by visitors.

Irish slang is definitely the thing that tickled our ears the most when we first moved here and that frequently tends to confuse our stateside guests. Below is the twenty-sixth in a series I’m publishing of some common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

How’s things? – One of the most common Irish greetings.

While not so confusing as some of the other slang terms posted here, this one gets used with such frequency in Ireland, is such a part of the vernacular, that I felt a need to give it a posting. In California you’d say “What’s up?”; in Australia, “How ya going?”; In England, “Ya all right?”; here in Ireland, “How’s things?”.

The proper response to which would any sort of creative commentary on the general or your personal state of affairs, but frequently, “I can’t complain.”

To which the first person replies,

“Sure, who would listen if you did?”