So . . .


Sir, –Sometimes the word “so” has its place. The first word and sentence in Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf is “So”. Here’s some of what Heaney says in the introduction, “Conventional renderings of hwaet, the first word of the poem, tend towards the archaic literary, with “lo” and “hark” and “behold” and “attend” and – more colloquially – “listen” being some of the solutions offered previously. But in Hiberno-English Scullionspeak, the particle ‘so’ came naturally to the rescue, because in that idiom ‘so’ operates as an expression which obliterates all previous discourse and narrative, and at the same time functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention. So, ‘so’ it was.” – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – What about a large portion of our songs that begin with “Oh”? Like “Oh, there was an old woman . . . ” and, of course, “Oh Danny Boy”. – Yours, etc,


Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.