Having seen that among the new words included in the September list from the Oxford English Dictionary was YOLO, meaning ‘you only live once’, when a friend referred to Yola, I got a little confused and thought it was some variation; is yola what you might say to a cat with only one life left, ‘you only live again’, or to a fussy eater, ‘you only like apples’, or to someone with a particular preference for a certain jewels, ‘you obviously like amethysts’… and then I remembered… We had been chatting about Yola last time I was at my Saxish group. We meet to talk about the sort of Saxon language which was spoken here in the west country, but we move on to talk about all sorts of other things too!

No, Yola is a language, a language which has died out part from some left over words, which still exist and are used in Ireland where Yola was spoken. It is also known Forth and Bargy dialect, and it’s an extinct variety of English once spoken in Forth and Bargy which are baronies in County Wexford. It is thought to have evolved from Middle English, which was brought to Ireland by the Normans who followed their invasion of England by heading into Ireland in 1169. It lasted for about seven hundred years but began to die away in the nineteenth century, until there were only odd words, phrases and sayings left. Although it began with the Normans, french speakers, there is also a strong English element as well as the words and language elements from the visitors/invaders/settlers, arriving on the east coast of Ireland.

This is a wonderful video, not just of a Yola singer, but a good explanation of the dialect:

My featured image by the way, is from Ireland but not from County Wexford… it’s County Antrim

6 thoughts on “Yolo? No, Yola

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