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24th May 2020

Americans watching Normal People with subtitles to understand Irish accent

Sarah Finnan

Normal People subtitles

Americans have been having a little trouble with the accents in Normal People, ultimately having to turn on the subtitles to help them understand.

Normal People has become somewhat of a modern-day phenomenon since hitting telly boxes around the world in April this year.

Most people have binged the series by now, save for the disciplined few who have been watching it episode by episode, week by week on RTE (not so much a choice for me as a must thanks to slow internet and the inability to stream it elsewhere). But while fans have had nothing but praise for the series, it seems that the accents have proven to be a cause for concern for some. Especially American fans who have had a little trouble with the show’s Irishisms.

Try as they might, they just can’t seem to understand the characters’ Irish twang and so many have resorted to subtitles. No shame in that though, Connell tends to mumble a little bit – all part of his brooding mystery – but that calls for attentive listening at the best of times. And the minute you raise the volume is the very minute the dialogue stops and the pair are pictured doing something quite the opposite so do so at your own risk. According to Katy Perry, the show should have a very different name altogether. See below.

However, news that American fans needed to use the subtitles shouldn’t come as that big a surprise especially considering Kourtney Kardashian counts herself amongst the show’s biggest supporters. I highly doubt she’s come across a Centra anywhere in her travels.

Some claimed that it wasn’t so much the accent as the slang that was hard to comprehend and that while they could get the general gist, not knowing words like ‘craic’ does affect overall comprehension.

A fair point, perhaps Lenny Abrahamson should release an Irish slang 101 video to help fans better understand.

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