I'm working on a novel, set in the late 40s and early 50s, in which
most of my characters are second-generation Irish immigrants.
These character's parents, however, came to America from Ireland
around 1900. One family came from Dublin, the other from
Galway. Between them is a great deal of animosity, based largely
on the disdain the Dubliners feel for the others from the west.
Now, I'm interested in getting their language accurately, particularly
their Irish accent. With the children of the immigrants there isn't
much of it, because they've become quite Americanized, but of
course with the parents there is.
What I'm looking for is some help with a) coming up with the right
phonetics for the accent, and b) with the phrases and the words that
such people would likely use when they mean to be short and
Below is a small but important scene in my novel. The old woman,
Mrs. Quinn, should be speaking in the accents of Galway. I'd
appreciate any help anyone could give me.
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Right after I heard from Caroline that Mike had gone into the
service I went back to the house. Brown and red leaves covered
the front lawn and sidewalk. The air was cold, the sky a dull gray.
I went up the steps and onto the porch. Old mother Quinn
answered the door. She looked at me through those rimless glasses
of hers, which reflected the light so it made it hard to see her eyes.
"And what might you want?" she asked.
"I want to see Tommy," I told her. "And I want to talk."
"There's nothing to talk about," Mrs. Quinn said, adjusting
her knit shawl.
"All right, I made a terrible mistake," I said. "But Tommy is
still my son and I want to see him."
"Oh, do you now?" she said. "You should have thought of
that before you went off whoring."
"I didn't go off whoring."
"Why do you hate me so much?" I asked her. "You've
hated me from the minute you met me."
She paused for a second, looking at me up and down, and
pulled her shawl more tightly around her thin body. "You want to
know what I think of you, Elizabeth Callan?" she said. "You're a
disgusting whore, that's what you are at heart. A common slut.
And yet you parade about with airs, thinking you're so much better
than anyone else. You and your arrogant family, looking down
your nose at the rest of us. You're an unfit mother, that's the long
and the short of it."
"I want to see my son."
"Get yourself a court order. Go see what they tell you
about a mother who abandons her only child. Go on."
"Please..." I said.
"Leave my property or so help me Jaysus I'll call the police."
She slammed the door.