Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and its largest city. It’s a very old city and a busy port city. It has been at the center of the country’s long and troubled history with England and has had ongoing linguistic interactions with that nation. In fact, English has been spoken in Dublin since the 12th Century and the Dublin version of English has been and continues to be influenced by the speech of England, and particularly London.
The linguist Raymond Hickey has described three main varieties of Dublin Accent: Local, Mainstream, and Fashionable. Our characters will tend to exemplify the first two. The Local accent is more strongly associated with the North Side and with working class toughness. Here’s an example of the Local variety:
The Mainstream variety is a bit less localized. It’s more prevalent in the South Side, but it also identifies a person with a larger Irish identity.
Here’s an example of a blend of Mainstream and local:
By “Oral Posture” I mean the general shape of the vocal tract, its pattern of tensions and tendencies that make the sounds of an accent comfortable and natural to perform. The Dublin oral posture involves a comparatively open jaw, and a high, spread tongue position. This accent like all Irish accents is rhotic, meaning that /r/ is pronounced after vowels. This makes it similar to American oral posture, but while there is certainly a braced tongue position and retroflex tongue tip, but it differs from American rhoticity which can involve tongue root retraction. This feels like more of a lateral motion.
It’s important though, to look for ways that these shapes form a useful, but nearly unconscious behavioral feedback loop rather than a rigid and immoveable tension pattern. In other words, be easy with it.
Irish melody is generally more varied than in the US, but Dublin participates less in this tendency. It’s often useful to experiment with increased pitch variety, including a strong upward inflection at the ends of phrases, and then relax away from this tendency to find the more monotone, falling, and clumped pattern of Dublin speech.
Here are couple of examples to give a sense of this pattern:
MOUTH → ɛ̈ʊ̜̆
The starting point of this diphthong is much more closed, and there is some unrounding of the second sound. This makes MOUTH one of the most striking features of the accent.
STRUT → ʊ
The STRUT vowel that we might realize as /ʌ/ is quite rounded in Dublin