Irish star Saoirse Ronan attempted to give some guidance on how to speak with an Irish accent to American chat show host Stephen Colbert in a hilarious interview on US TV.
The Oscar nominated actress was appearing on The Late Show in 2016, when they got onto the subject of Irish accents. She also taught him how to pronounce some popular traditional Irish names.
Colbert began his interview by telling Ronan that Americans love Irish people. Ronan noticed that he said that with a hint of an Irish accent.
They then decided that Ronan would teach him how to speak with a proper Irish accent.
She warned Colbert of the usual pitfalls that non-Irish people tend to make when attempting an Irish accent – the most obvious being speaking in a high pitched voice.
She said: “When a lot of people try and do an Irish accent…” – she then raised the pitch of her voice and put on a stereotype accent saying: “They always, sort of, go up here like that.”
She added that when people speak in the high pitched accent that they eventually stop even using any coherent words.
Ronan then began to teach Colbert how to do a more convincing Irish accent. She told him to be bubbly but keep the pitch of his voice where it would normally be.
When he said: “How’s it going? I’m Stephen” Ronan seemed impressed and offered some encouragement.
She told him: “That’s not bad… It’s not great but it’s not bad.”
The converstation then moved on to traditional Irish names. Ronan’s name Saoirse is often pronounced incorrectly by strangers and she said to Colbert: “It’s the story of my life.”
Colbert told her: “You do look a little bit like a Suarez.”
She then taught him how to pronounce other Irish names such as Tadhg, Niamh, Oisín, Siobhan and Caoimhe – most of which would be impossible for anyone outside of Ireland to fathom!
Take a look at the video below.
To be fair Colbert isn’t the only person to struggle with Irish names.
British comedian Lee Mack has an extremely popular stand-up routine about the spelling and pronunciation of Irish names.
An Irish blogger also asked her British and Australian friends to try to pronounce some Irish names and they didn’t have much luck.
A group of Americans didn’t fair much better in this video.
There are also several YouTube videos that give advice on how to speak with an Irish accent.
Of course there isn’t just one ‘Irish accent’. There are several different accents all over the country. This video gives a region by region guide of different Irish accents.
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