Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ulster dialect is not Ulster-Scots

"...The great majority of persons writing on this subject seem to think that by Ulster dialect is meant that form of speech prevalent in County Antrim and the Ards district of Down, and that a story, say, unless written in the Lowland Scottish prevalent in these districts is merely Irish, not Ulster dialect. This mistake, arising from either ignorance or want of thought, upon examination of the question, becomes quickly apparent..."

It's a very convoluted bit of writing, but what he's saying is that general Ulster dialect, and Ulster-Scots, are not the same thing. There is evidence everywhere of people who still need to grasp this simple fact.

(from The Dialect of Ulster by John J Marshall, UJA, 1904. His predictions of the decline of rural speech because of "newspapers and an ever-increasing volume of cheap literature" will mean that "in another hundred years, dialect stories... will be read with the aid of a glossary...")