Saturday, 26 December 2009

O Muirithe on Ulster-Scots

Diarmaid O Muirithe wrote the following about Ulster-Scots in his book A Word in Your Ear, which was published in 1997 and was a collection of articles from his Irish Times column:
Ulster Scots deserved to be cherished ...  You'll find the pockets it survives in, from Down right around to Donegal, and as far south as Monaghan, listed in an essay the late Brendan Adams contributed to The English Language in Ireland, a book of Thomas Davis Lectures which I edited for RTE some years ago.  The language is more archaic than any variety of Scots you'll hear in Scotland, and you should know that if you drive up into the glens above Cullybackey in west Antrim, for example,  those gentle people will address you in Ulster Hiberno-English for your own comofrt, and will speak braid Scots among themselves.
O Muirithe was severely critical of someone who had said that Ulster-Scots was simply 'a dialect of a dialect'. 
'A dialect of a dialect!' wrote one ass, who doesn't even know that Scots is a language, not a dialect of English.

1 comment:

  1. I note that Ó Muirithe's rejection of the "dialect of a dialect" tag rests on the relationship of Scots with English, not on that of Ulster Scots with Scots as a whole, which, one assumes, he does not believe to be in doubt. However, it is worth pointing out that Caroline Macafee, editor of the Concise Ulster Dictionary, has made comments similar to those to which Ó Murithe objects when referring to the relationship of Ulster Scots with Central Scots (the main dialect in Scotland).

    "Ulster Hiberno-English" is more commonly referred to as "Mid Ulster English" in linguistic circles, and its strongest affinity, particularly in Ulster-Scots areas, is not with Hiberno-English but with Scottish Standard English.