Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Anither guid Ulster-Scotch word.

This week Diarmaid O Muirithe in the Irish Times highlighted the word brace or brace-piece, which means a chimney-piece or a mantlepiece.  He says that the word can still be heard in parts of Ulster and across the Sea of Moyle, in Scotland, as well.

The Dictionary of the Scots Language gives an Ulster example of its use in W H Patterson's Glossary of Antrim and Down, which was published in 1880.  Patterson defined a brace as 'a screen, made of stakes interwoven with twigs, and covered inside and outside with prepared clay used to conduct the smoke from a fire on the hearth to an aperture in the roof.'

It is important that these old Ulster-Scots words are preserved.  Without them the vocabulary of Ulster-Scots is seriously diminished.

Aye an there's mair forbye:

Diarmaid also looked at an English dialect word, brank, which was a kind of bridle, and he compared it to the Dutch prange, a horse muzzle, and the German, pranger, a pillory.  Finally he noted that the Scottish Gaelic word brang, which has the same meaning, comes from the English word.  All languages borrow from other languages and there are examples to be found in both Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic.


  1. Very interesting stuff Nelson, do you know if there is there any Ulster-Scots speaking classes somewhere in Ulster? I'm not that good with other languages but I'd be willing to give it a go!

  2. Whereabouts do you live? If you contact me directly on Facebook or send me an e-mail to nmccausland@dup-belfast.co.uk I can perhaps help you.