Throughout Culture Night, the Dublin Language Garden will host several different language related activities and talks to inspire you in your submission to the Garden.  We will be updating this list as we add more to the garden over the coming weeks, but here are some of the activities we have in store for you…


Our accent says much about who we are, where we come from and communicates a large part of our identity to others. Have you a keen ear for accents? WhatsAccent is a fun, interactive language guessing game which will help you find out. Using a continuous WhatsApp thread, WhatsAccent will allow you to enjoy guessing the accents of others while you can record your own accent for others to try and identify.  Peter Sheekey will get you connected….


Get your dolly old nellies (ears) around the Sound Garden to hear some of the more unusual dialects, cryptolanguages and exotic languages out in the world today!  We will have examples of Te Reo Maori from New Zealand (an official language), and lesser known ‘underground’ cryptolanguages like Polari  (made famous by the BBC’s Round the Horne radio show in the 1960s) and Nadsat (as devised for the novel The Clockwork Orange).  You can also learn some of the history of these languages while you’re there!

It’ll be he whāki i mo te taringa! (a treat for the ears!)

My First Words

IMG_2681Do you know what your first word was?  Can you remember your child’s first word?  Sometimes they can be something heart-warming like ‘dadda’, or something downright hilarious!  Why not share it with the Dublin Language Garden!

Abair and the Talking Chimp!

Come along to the ABAIR area of the language garden and experience the only Irish text-to-speech synthesis system. Learn how the ABAIR synthetic voices are created, and see if you can recognise each of the three major dialects of Irish available at  Converse with our prototype Irish-speaking digital chimp, Taidhgín, and brush up on your cúpla focal with the ABAIR team of researchers from the Phonetics and Speech Lab.  Emily Barnes and a team of phoneticians will make the introductions…

International Phonetic Alphabet cubes that will be on display at this activity are kindly provided by Elsevier Linguistics

Language Change Board Game

img_2663Back once again for another rendition, our popular Language Change Board Game is always a hit with the kids!

Why does Shakespearean English sound so odd to us?  Why do we have so many words in English in common with French, or Norwegian?  Why do some of the words we use today have a completely different meaning from 100 years ago?  The Language Change Board game will try to explain some of the reasons that languages change.  Through playing the game, you will see what different influences can help a language to either change and grow in use, or suffer linguistic extinction.  Vicky Garnett will be your games-master…


Morphemes are the building-blocks of words.  In English, they generally make up three groups, the ‘stem’ of a word (usually a verb or a noun), prefixes and suffixes.  These can be added to change the meanings of words, or even change them from one type of word into another (for example, a noun into an adjective or a verb into an adverb).

Morphemes-Boggle will give you a set of stems, prefixes and suffixes, and challenge you to come up with as many different words using those morphemes in 30 seconds!  The more you get, the higher you’ll score, and if you beat the top score you can win a prize!  Conor Pyle and Aoife Finn will be there to help you put it all together!

Write Your Own Old Irish Poem!


Image taken from the Corpus of Electronic Texts website, University College Cork

Not all languages use the same way of ‘rhyming’ in poems, and Old Irish is quite different to English in that respect.  Find out HOW Old Irish poetry differs from English poetry, and have a go at creating an Old Irish poem of your own!  Nicole Volmering will be on hand to help you, even if you don’t have your cúpla focal!

The Cryptolect Trail!

Cryptolects are slang languages deliberately designed to hide what the speaker is talking about to everyone other than the people they are talking with.  However, many words from crytpolects end up in wider use.  Follow the Cryptolect Trail around the Dublin Language Garden and see how many words you can understand!

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