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Mind your p's and q's

Posted by James De'Ath on November 30, 2008 at 17:54

I recently met a student of the Irish language who told me of two distinct types of Gaelic (Gallic)dialects spoken in Ireland, which are colloqially referred to as "P" and "Q". When we think about language use as a social marker, it struck me that there would be a fair amount of importance attached to the choice of one's use of a dialect. Has anyone else considered that this might be the origin of the English phrase "Mind your p's and q's"?