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  5. "I like the word "IRN BRU"."

"I like the word "IRN BRU"."

Translation:Is toil leam am facal "IRN BRU".

March 23, 2020



Edited 14/8/20: when I wrote this their website said Irn Bru. Now it says IRN-BRU.

It isn't the standard spelling. The spelling used on their own website is IRN-BRU. So Duolingo should change to IRN-BRU.

There is also confusion because on their packaging the hyphen is always replaced with some graphic that people do not realize is a hyphen.

The generic term is iron brew (two words).


You're so right! However you spell it, Irn Bru is two words, there's a space in the middle!


Or add an 's' to the English text.... oh, but that would of course also change the Gaelic translation!


That would really be fun, as there is then room for an argument about what the plural of facal is. Some people say faclan and some facail.


What kind of carbonated drink is it?


Consensus opinion on this site is that it has a very chemical taste, similar to gummy bears, and a distinct note of rust as well, caused by the addition of ammonium ferric citrate, so presumably it was this that was made from girders.

According to Wikipedia

Irn-Bru is known for its bright orange colour and unique flavour. As of 1999 it contained 0.002% of ammonium ferric citrate, sugar, 32 flavouring agents including caffeine and quinine (but not in Australia), and two controversial colourings (Sunset Yellow FCF and Ponceau 4R). On 27 January 2010, A.G. Barr agreed to a Food Standards Agency voluntary ban on these two colourings although no date was set for their replacement. However, after lobbying by First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, a proposed restriction of Sunset Yellow to 10 mg/litre was eased to 20 mg/litre in 2011 — the same amount present in Irn-Bru. As of May 2017, Irn-Bru still contains these colourings.

Any type of soft drink, including Irn-Bru, is called juice in Scotland. Clearly juice and fruit juice are not the same thing.


Sorry to disagree DaibhidhR but in the west and central Scotland where the majority of people live a carbonated drink is a "bottle of ginger" . Juice can refer to fruit juice or to concentrates sold for dilution ..... or can be an odd word that Edinburgh folk use when they mean "ginger".


I'm sure this is a very regional and/or generational thing. My experience having moved to Central Scotland about 20 years ago (near Stirling) is that I heard and read about the word ginger but I have only heard it used very rarely, usually when people are using an exaggerated form of Scots. I also used to work in a pizza carry-out and the customers and staff always used the word juice. And at my neighbours it if always juice that is served for the weans (and note that word that shows we speak West Central Scots rather than anything from the East).

It is of course difficult to know why I don't hear a particular word - is it where or when I stay - but I suspect that it is a combination. I suspect it is more common if you go west but also that it is being replaced. I would also guess that the Beano had a lot to do with it. I postulate that the word is widely used by people who read that particular journal and is little known by the post-Beano generation. According to Wikipedia sales are down 98% from the peak and I guess that these young people who don't read the Beano don't drink ginger either, at least round here. I would be interested if you have recent experience of what weans do now in the West of Scotland.


Thanks DaibhidhR. I think it is a matter of cultural rather than physical geography. You mention The Beano which of course came from Dundee, and interestingly enough in Cloutie City I’ve sometimes heard it called a “bottle o’ skoosh”. Ian Banks, a Dunfermline man sadly no longer with us, uses that in The Crow Road in a specific reference to Irn-Bru. I hail originally from Lanarkshire myself, as now does Irn-Bru, where the “bottle o’ ginger” is still linguistically safe. You may recall that, with an intended pun on the colour, AG Barr’s advertising slogan for Irn-Bru was at one time “ IT’S FIZZY, IT’S GINGER, IT’S PHENOMENAL” Now, wouldn’t that be a great Duolingo sentence?


Interesting, and I agree. A couple of comments.

Skoosh is presumably a variant of squash meaning 'diluting juice', made originally from squashed fruit, rather than the more usual skoosh 'v. tr. and intr. Of liquids: to (make to) gush in spurts or splashes, to squirt' although the latter would make more sense when you add a skoosh of soda to your whisky (Heaven forefend).

Scots is a continuum, so maybe everyone stays on a boundary, but I actually stay 6 miles east of Stirling. I often feel that there is a linguistic boundary between here and Stirling and that we are really quite close to Dunfermline here. It is difficult to tell as I do not know anyone from Dunfermline.

I have never been clear where the language in the Beano comes from. I suspect it is bit of a mish-mash, even if it is published in Dundee. Some of it seems quite hard to pin down? But I was really referring to it culturally and temporally, rather than geographically.


Thank you DaibhidhR! I've been thinking of quinine, as it goes well with gin. Do not care much about color but the taste has some hints of strawberry and water melon. As a student, I had a lab project synthesizing a benzoic acid ester (forgot the details, it was 40+ years ago), and it smelled of strawberries, cherries, pineapples, and melons. My guess, it is that ester that may be used here.


I was assuming it was one or more esters from the smell but I don't have enough experience to distinguish a benzoic one from any other acid, so I will take your word for it. If only I still had that mass spec...


Its boggin, bowfin, hyperactivity & tooth rot in a bottle lol.. Reading all of the comments I have to say I'm in Ayrshire and in my town we generally say bottle o juice but literally next town along says bottle o ginger.. but they are glesga folks lol.. (Ayrshire towns more towards Glasgow) (my town is more towards Troon/Ayr/Girven etc hence 'juice') As for skoosh ive heard that too more east coast but skoosh here generally refers to mean a 'spray' as in gise a skoosh o yur hairspray..


I don't know what the situation used to be like, but I think the evidence is accumulating that these days ginger is only found fairly close to Glesga. And also that skoosh - in this sense, rather than the spray or squirt - is east coast. So presumable all the terms are regional.


Sorry DaibhidhR, I’ve never been comfortable with the notion of SKOOSH as a form of squash. I think dialect and urban slang are often a much richer tapestry than simple phonological variance. “Skoosh” for example in Glasgow and Lanarkshire refers to something being “easy”……. glè fhurasta in the Gàidhealtachd would be ..a pure skoosh in Motherwell….. Moreover where vowel phonological change does occur regionally, it more often than not has a degree of universality to it across the use of that sound. e.g. the “ …all” sound becomes, in Lanarkshire and Glasgow “…aw” where in parts of South Ayrshire and in Galloway it becomes “…a”. A “heid the baw” or “heid the ba’ ” in most of the South West is of course an eejit. One might be led to expect then something similar to pertain in Dundee. However I have never heard any doyen of Cloutie City speak of “..wooshing thir’ face”. Your notion of linguistic boundary has always interested me. For example the word “know” is by far the most prevalent in Lanarkshire however in a large and significant area it becomes, like in much of Scotland, “ken”. Those of us who have speculated on where that linguistic boundary might lie have tended to the view that it can be found roughly half way up Wishaw Main Street. Returning to the use of SKOOSH in describing drinks I would not be certain, but would argue that it more likely refers to its effervescence; since if ye rummel a’ bo’al o’ ginger up it’ll aw skoosh oot, whereas as if you shake a bottle of juice it will stay flat.



Well, what I have never been comfortable with is the idea that a word comes from just one place. We all have a rich knowledge of lots of words, and acceptance of a given word with a given meaning is the collective work of thousands of people, so it could be all of these possibilities all mixed together.

But I have come across a lot of apparent mixtures in one particular way. This is where a word comes in from a foreign language, usually with the meaning fairly precise, but not likely to catch on because it is foreign, and then it gets adapted to the local phonology, and, if there is a suitable word with an even vaguely suitable meaning, and a vaguely similar phonology, this takes over as the word. These secondary words, it seems to me, are often characterized by a meaning that matches only as a metaphor. So in this case I suggest as a hypothesis, that some Sassanach used the word squash once, and, once they had figured out what they were talking about - that it was something that skooshed out of the bottle and resembled juice to some extent (whether this meant 'juice' in the Scots sense or simple fruit juice), which is also phonologically similar - the term caught on.


Why does Irn Bru have to be capitalised? When I wrote it as "Irn Bru" it said I had typos (yet I've never been corrected on this before, in ALL the lessons with Irn Bru as an answer!)


I'm not quite sure what typos you are saying it said you had, and there is a lot of confusion on this site about the correct spelling.

However, if we ignore Duolingo and look at the real world, the correct spelling is iron brew. The main manufacturer, A. G. Barr uses the spelling IRN-BRU as a trade mark (thus there can be no dispute about the spelling), although a lot of people mistakenly leave out the hyphen, for reasons that are shown on this page.

Arguably Duolingo should use the non-trade-mark spelling, but that is not what people actually write. Most people in Scotland do spell it the Barr way, or something close to it.


I wrote "Irn Bru" and it said I should have put "IRN BRU" (all in caps - well, that's the only difference I could see between what I'd put and what was expected). I've never put it in all caps before and it's never been flagged up as a typo before. Just wondered why this lesson wanted all caps.


Ah. Sorry for the confusion. I did not realize that when you said 'capitalized' you meant 'all-capitalized'.

I was not aware that it ever got upset about capitals (although perhaps I have just ignored its complaints) but I do know that a new software version had been rolled out in the last few days, so may be it is being more fussy than it used to be. However, there is no doubt that the correct spelling of the trade name is IRN-BRU.

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