Wir Ain Leed

Ulster Scots

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Ulster Scots

An  incorrect use of Fair Faw Ye for Walcome.
Wrong use of 'fair faw ye' which is a blessing or greeting wishing good fortune upon the person one meets not meaning the same as 'walcome'.

Ulster is the only area outwith Scotland where Scots has survived as a spoken language. Scots in Ulster has been under the same linguistic pressure as Scots in Scotland. Wholescale Scots migration to Ulster started in the early seventeenth century. Scots settled in the northern half of the Ards Peninsula spreading at first through Newtonards and Comber and then across the northern half of Down. Scots also settled from Island Magee to Glenarm and in the west as far as Antrim town and in the North at Ballymoney. Ulster Scots is on the whole a variant of West Central Scots. Ulster Scots is spoken by both Protestants and Catholics.

Ulster Scots is subdivided into:

  • Western Ulster Scots in County Derry and Donegal
  • Central Ulster scots in County Antrim
  • Eastern Ulster scots in County Down and The Ards

Consonants

Consonants usually have the same phonetic values (pronunciation) in Scots, as in Standard English.

For more detail see Orthography.

In some areas an Irish substrate may lead to a /d/ <d> before <r> being pronounced interdentally, almost like 'dh'. A /t/ <t> may also be pronounced interdentally like 'tth'. In other areas it may be glottalised between vowels and finally in words like beast and juist etc. The pronunciation of /f/ may be a bilabial /ɸ/ and /v/ as /β/ like the <b> in Spanish habana.

Scots Spellings Pronunciation in words like:
    IPA  
<ch> medial and final /x/ bocht, loch, nicht
<ch> initial /ʧ/ chap, chield, chirl, chowk
<nch> usually /nʃ/ brainch, clinch, dunch, hainch, inch, French
<tch> usually /ʧ/ fleetch, wratch
<dge> usually /ʤ/ begrudge, cadge, cruldge, fadge
<g> occasionally /ʤ/ breinge, gigot
<ld> final /l/ auld, bield, cauld, fauld
<nd> usually /n/ baund, daunder, find, haund, sindry
<ng> usually /ŋ/ finger, hing, ingan, single
<nk> usually /ŋk/ bink, hank
<qu> usually /kw/ acquent, quair, queen
<sh> usually /ʃ/ creash, sheep
<sh> occasionally /ʒ/ fushion, pushion
<th> usually /θ/ graith, thole, thrawn
<th> usually /ð/1Medial <th> /ð/ may also be unpronounced. A <th> before <er> is often pronounced interdentally, almost like 'tth'. blether, thaim, thair
<wh> usually /ʍ/ wha, whan, wheech, wheel

Vowels and Diphthongs

vowels unstressed /ə/ aboot, the, oxter, duntit, bannock, smeddum
<a> initial in /ə/ ahint, awa etc.
<a> central and western
usually
/a/2The pronunciation /ɛ/ may also occur before or after /k/ and before /g/ and /ŋ/. aff, lang, mak, wash, watch
<a> eastern
usually
/ɑ/2The pronunciation /ɛ/ may also occur before or after /k/ and before /g/ and /ŋ/. aff, lang, mak, wash, watch
<a> western
final
/a:/ in awa, twa, wha
<a> eastern and central
final in
/ɔ:/
/ɑ/
awa, twa, wha
<au> usually /ɑ:/ haund, saund, slauchter
<au> before <ld> /ʌu/3To the west /ɑ:/ or /ɔ:/ also occur. auld, cauld, fauld, scauld
<aw> final
eastern and central
/ɔ:/
/ɑ:/
aw, blaw, caw, draw, faw, gaw, haw, gnaw, slaw, snaw, staw
<aw> occasional eastern and central /ɔ:/
/ɑ:/
awn, awfu, bawbee, bawsant
<aw>

final western

/a:/ aw, blaw, caw, draw, faw, gaw, gnaw, haw, slaw, snaw, staw
<aw> occasional western /a:/ awn, awfu, bawbee, bawsant
<ai> initial and medial /e/4The pronunciation /ɛ:/ may occur before <r>. aik, aiple, aith, ait, braid, craitur, fain, gaither, graith, haimer, laim
<aCe> C=consonant /e/4The pronunciation /ɛ:/ may occur before <r>. face, gate, hame, Pace
<ai,
aCe>
except in /jɪ/5In Antrim also /jɪ̞/. /e/ also occurs in Donegal. ane, ance
<ae> usually  /e/ brae, f(r)ae, gae, sae, tae n., wae
<ae> except /je/6/e/ also occurs in Donegal. ae
<ae> final A, B in /e:/ adae, dae, shae, tae v.
<ae> final C in /i:/ adae, dae, shae, tae v.
<ae> medial A in /ɪ/ daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna)
<ae> medial B in /e:/ daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna)
<ae> medial C in /i:/ daes (dis), daesna (disna), daena (dinna)
<ay> usually /e/ day, gray, lay
<ea> usually /e/7In a few words /i/ occurs e.g. deave. /ɛ:/ may occur before <r>. beast, cheap, deave, east, heap, hear, meat, ream, sea, tea
<ee> usually /i/ dee, dree, eetem, freet, jeely, keep, meet, teeth, weel, weet
<ei> usually /i/8Note the following with /e:/, bleize, eleiven, screich and seiven. beir, deid, heid, meidae, peir, spreid, teir, threid
<ie, ei> usually /i/ bield, chield, eild, scrieve, shielin
<ei> before /x/ /i/8Note the following with /e:/ screich. dreich, heich, skeich
<e> usually /ɛ:/ bed, ebb, esh, fecht, gled, gless, seck, wecht
<i> usually /ɪ/9In Antrim also /ɪ̞/. The pronunciation /ɛ̈/ also occurs, especially in Donegal. drink, in, inch, lift, licht, pit, rin simmer, sin, stibble
<i> after /w/ and /ʍ/ often /ʌ/ whin, whisper, whit, wid, wind, wir, wird, wirm, wittins
<o(a)> usually /o/10In words spelled with <o> the pronunciation /ɔ/ also occurs, especially before <ch>. boat, boss, box, coal, cod, common, dochter, hoast, on, rock, thocht,
<oo> usually /u/11The pronunciation /y/ also occurs. aboot, coont, droop, hoose, moose, oot, scoor, soond
<ou> usually /u/11The pronunciation /y/ also occurs. allou, bouk, broun, cour, coum, doun, dout, poupit, thoum
<uCe> usually /u/11The pronunciation /y/ also occurs. dule, hure
<u> usually /ʌ/ bund, burn, drunken, fund, grund, truff, unce, wund
<ui> initial /ju/ in uise, uiss
<ui> medial short A /ɪ/ abuin, bluid, bruit, duin, fruit, luif, luim, muin, spuin, Yuil
<ui> medial long A /e:/4The pronunciation /ɛ:/ may occur before <r>. abuise, buird, fluir, fuird, muir, muisic, ruise, shuir
<ui> B usually /e:/4The pronunciation /ɛ:/ may occur before <r>. abuin, abuise, bluid, bruit, buird, duin, fluir, fruit, fuird, luif, luim, muir, muisic, ruise, shuir
<ui> C usually /i:/ abuin, abuise, bluid, bruit, buird, duin, fluir, fruit, fuird, luif, luim, muir, muisic, ruise, shuir
<eu> usually /(j)ʌ/
beuch, beuk, eneuch, leuch, leuk, heuk, neuk, sheuch, teuch, teug
<ew> usually /ju/ dew, few, new, spew
<iCe,
yCe>
C=consonant /ɛi/12The pronunciations /ɑe/ and /ɛi/ may also occur. advice, bide, byle, fire, fine, ile, rive, tyne
<iCe,
yCe>
after /w/ and /ʍ/ /aɪ/13The pronunciations /ɑe/ may also occur. wice, wine, while, white, wyte
<ey> usually /əi/12The pronunciations /ɑe/ and /ɛi/ may also occur. eyntment, eyster, fley,
<(e)y> after /w/ and /ʍ/ /aɪ/13The pronunciations /ɑe/ may also occur. wey, whey, why
<y(e)> final in /əi/12The pronunciations /ɑe/ and /ɛi/ may also occur. cry, kye etc.
<oi> usually /oi/ Boid, noise
<oy> usually /oi/ foy, ploy
<ow> initial and medial /ʌu/14The diphthong <ow> has also become vocalised to /o:/, especially before /k/ e.g. bowk, gowpen and howk. bowt, cowp, cowt, gowd, gowf, lowp, owsen
<owe> final /ʌu/ flowe, glowe, growe, howe, knowe, lowe, rowe, towe

Suffixes

<ae> usually /e/15Depending on stress /ɪ/ and /ɛ/ also occur. Americae, airae, barrae, nairae, swallae, windae
<ie> diminutive /e/ grannie, laddie, lassie, shappie, wifie
<fu> usually /fu/ awfu, carefu, mensefu
<na> negative /ne/ daena (dinna), haesna, maunna, winna, wisna
<y, ie> adverbial and adjectival /e/ reekie, sairy, stany, stourie
<ly> adverbial /le/ brawly, feckly, fully, geyly, likely, uncoly

Footnotes

  1. Mid Antrim, North Ards and parts of Co. Down
  2. North Antrim and points in north east Londonderry
  3. Co. Donegal, Mid Ards and west of Strangford Lough Co. Down
  1. Medial <th> /ð/ may also be unpronounced. A <th> before <er> is often pronounced interdentally, almost like 'tth'.
  2. The pronunciation /ɛ/ also occurs before or after /k/ and before /g/ and /ŋ/.
  3. To the west /ɑ:/ or /ɔ:/ also occur.
  4. The pronunciation /ɛ:/ may occur before <r>.
  5. In Antrim also /jɪ̞/. /e/ also occurs in Donegal.
  6. /e/ also occurs in Donegal.
  7. In a few words /i/ occurs e.g. deave. /ɛ:/ may occur before <r>.
  8. Note the following with /e:/, bleize, eleiven, screich and seiven.
  9. In Antrim also /ɪ̞/. The pronunciation /ɛ̈/ also occurs, especially in Donegal.
  10. In words spelled with <o> the pronunciation /ɔ/ also occurs, especially before <ch>.
  11. The pronunciation /y/ also occurs.
  12. The pronunciations /ɑe/ and /ɛi/ may also occur.
  13. The pronunciations /ɑe/ may also occur.
  14. The diphthong <ow> has also become vocalised to /o:/, especially before /k/ e.g. bowk, gowpen and howk.
  15. Depending on stress /ɪ/ and /ɛ/ also occur.

Literature:

Milroy, James (1982) "Some connections between Galloway and Ulster speech", Scottish Language 1, 23-29.
Fenton, James (1995, 2000) The Hamely Tongue. A Personal Record of Ulster-Scots in County Antrim, 2nd edn. Ullans Press.
Gregg, Robert (1958,1959) "Notes on the phonology of a County Antrim Scotch-Irish dialect", Orbis 7:2, 392-406; 8:2, 400-424.
Gregg, Robert (1972) "The Scotch-Irish dialect boundaries in Ulster" in Martyn Wakelin ed. Patterns in the Folk Speech of the British Isles, London: Athlone, 109-139.
Macafee, Caroline ed. (1996) A Concise Ulster Dictionary, Oxford University Press.
Patterson, William (1880) A Glossary of Words in Use in the Counties of Antrim and Down, London: English Dialect Society.
Traynor, Michael (1953) The English Dialect of Donegal. A Glossary, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.
Mather, James Y. and H. H. Speitel (1986) The Linguistic Atlas of Scotland volume 3, London: Croom Helm.
Johnston, Paul (1997) "Regional variation" in Charles Jones ed. The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, Edinburgh University Press, 443-513.

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