Friday, 22 June 2012

Anither wee Ulster-Scotch wurd

Recently in the Irish Times, Diarmaid O Muirithe highlighed the word hallan.  The word was sent in by a reader from Cushendall and is found in both Scots and Ulster-Scots.  It was mentioned in 1942 as an Ulster word by Professor Estyn Evans and has a variety of meanings. 

Throughout Scotland from Galloway to Caithness the word is used to denote a partition of stone or clay in a byre or stable or between the living room and the byre.  In The Cottar's Saturday Night Robert Burns says that the cow 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood.'

The earliest Ulster example that Diarmaid could identify was in a poem by Robert Huddleston from county Down, which was published in 1844. 'The aul' cly hallun shook wi' la'ghin'.'

The Dictionary of the Scots Language says that the word is from the Old Scots halland, hallen and means a partition.  It can also mean a perch for hens, presumably because they sometimes perch on a partition.

1 comment:

  1. Nelson oul Han, ye dae a wile locth o hokin in thon Irish Times fer yin oor twa wurds o tha hamely tongue. Thurs dizins o thum in tha Newsletter ivery Saturday.