Newton Emerson lets rip on Ulster-Scots.

Irish News columnist Newton Emerson has launched a scathing attack on the Ulster-Scots agency and the Ulster-Scots ‘language’. Newton’s views on the subject are somewhat less charitable than my own.Wha’ A cannae unnerstaun at aw is but fur why tha magazine is screeved in tha Inglis leid an nae in guid oul braid scotch. Dae thems tha wurks fur tha bord nae knae tha thar nae daen nae favours for thems tha’ spake hamely at aw wi’ this way a’ wurkin?

A mane, cud they nae hae tryed fur t’ screev mure tha tha wan thang? Gie me a shoot yis boys yis an A’ll screeve yis up a thang nor twa!

  • slug

    Gael

    Seriously, that’s very good Ulster Scots.

    PS I see that ability to write in Ulster Scots is one of the questions in the next census so you will have to tick that one!

  • William

    Did any of you ever listen to the Oirsh programmes on BBC 2 or Radio Ulster….links in Oirsh and songs in English…also often a fair smattering of English in the links….??

    At least the BBC licence payers don’t have to pay for a full-time Ulster-Scots department within the broadcaster, like the Oirsh one !!

  • slug

    In the Census in relation to Ulster Scots you will be asked can you (tick all that apply):

    understand
    speak
    read
    write

    I think I can understand it, I can speak it (though my vocabulary is limited) and I can just about read it. But I don’t think I can write it.

  • Rory Carr

    Surely Emerson is underestimating the strength of the sly campaign being launched through Oot an Aboot? The clue may be found in the reference to Davy Crockett. Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier was, prior to the Beatles, Gary Glitter and Bob the Builder, the most successful cultural phenomenon to capture the hearts and minds of the young.

    It can only be both heartening and commendable that the Ulster-Scots Agency have recruited a figure of such stature and renown in the furtherance of their campaign to put Ballymena on the map, all the more particularly so when anyone who has ever had the misfortune of visiting the place inevitably winds up harbouring a secret dark wish that it might disappear off the map entirely.

    So let’s hear it for the great man ‘hisself’ (as they might have in Ulster-Scots). It can only serve to give us a flavour of what improvements might yet be possible to achieve in aiding our understanding of what the hell it is Ballymena folk are trying to say.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0nOF4cq6qNc

  • dunreavynomore

    Slug

    Aye, thon GGN is a fair haun at the hamely tongue. I maun gie him a platie o parritch nixt time ah see him dukin down oor loanin wi that scrawny limmer. he’s nae birkie, thon GGN, nae caird, nae nae gaberlunzie. A braw mon at the hamely and the Irisht forbye. Houd on, the kirks hap shackle is callin….

  • Driftwood

    Newtons’ articles are usually quite amusing, but the name of the magazine- Oot and Aboot is pure Oor Wullie/ The Broons from a bygone era. beyond satire.

    Rory, Theodore?????

  • Gael gan Náire

    I liked the Broons!

  • finches

    I think I would agree with the assertion that Ulster-Scots is a ‘DIY language for Orangemen’. Most of the spelling is fabricated and alien to most speakers of the dialect. It’s simply designed to look as different from English as possible, probably as a Unionist tool against Irish. What is essentially bad grammar is being elevated to the status of a seperate language.

    ‘This is my body’ is ’Hoc est corpus meum‘ in Latin; in Irish it’s ‘Is é seo mo chorp’; in Ulster-Scots it’s ’Hits mae bodie’.

    Are there any churches that hold their services in Ulster Scots? Are there any Ulster-Scots medium schools in existence?

  • cynic

    And the Irish taught today was also fabricated and reconstituted in the 1800’s. It was just there first.

    BY all means let those who want to keep and develop them both do so….but now with our money please and not for my children.

    For the futures of our children they are an irrelevance. Mandarin Hindi and English are much more important (in that order).

    {Lights blue touch paper and goes to bed}

  • cut the bull

    ach wully wut ails ye can ye no jaist untherstan ither yins tak yin leid Gaelige an yuz yins tak yer ain hamely tongue.Dinnae bi startin a argyin-match an hae yersel a gud tim gab’n an tak’n in whutiver leid ye lake

  • finches

    “And the Irish taught today was also fabricated and reconstituted in the 1800’s. It was just there first.”

    Tell me more about this. Or are you perhaps referring to the Caighdean in the 1950s? Because if you are, you are WAY off base. You have made this assertion so please provide some evidence.

  • GGN

    “the Irish taught today was also fabricated and reconstituted in the 1800’s”

    Funny enough it was really crazy statements like the above, which I can only conclude was simply made up on the spot, not to say that cynic doesnt believe it, that I was trying to allude to in my previous blog on Ulster-Scots, i.e. that some of it could be viewed as a reflection of unionist opinion on Irish.

  • LURIG

    You could understand a sense of a shared North Antrim/South West Scotland kinship and geographical dialect of English stretching back centuries but the idea of Ulster Scots as a culture or even more ridiculous a language is hilarious. Hoots mon it’s pure keek. There most certainly is Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic and they are internationally recognised languages BUT WUD THESE CRETINS GIE IT A FOOKIN REST. As he says himself Newton is a fine Prod from Portadown but even he has had enough of being taken for a fool. The most embarrassing part of all this is Oor Wullie nonsense is that it gets official government funding. Where was Ulster Scots in the 50 years of Stormont rule or through the Troubles? I never heard mention of it. Face facts, it is a load of made up Unionist Brigadoon/Ballymena guff to counteract the Irish Language & Scots Gaelic which are some of the oldest languages in Europe. Lord Laird prancing about a float on the Twelfth with a big feather in his hat doesn’t constitute a culture or language but it seems that’s all it takes to get government funding for this ridiculous farce. The Emperor’s New Clothes it most certainly is so when will some responsisble journalist tell the Broons it isnae so.

  • Bruno Spiro

    headlined by didlee dee music, thugball and bloodlust irish culture seems every bit as foolish as ulster scots.

    i’d rather my tax pounds and public broadcasting space were not wasted on either.

  • cut the bull

    Finches I think I would agree with the assertion that Ulster-Scots is a ‘DIY language for Orangemen’. If thats the case then they’ll have to brush up and learn the Sash in the hamely tongue

    T’was oul an t’was bootiful an the colours they wer quare guid.
    They wer worn in Derry Augheraim Enniskillen an the Boyne
    Sure me Fether wor it in his raliachan in the gran oul days afore
    An tis on the 12th I luv tae wer the Sash me Fether wor

  • RG Cuan

    The magazine issue should be shocking but we are all now used to the ridiculous nature of the Ulster Scots brigade. Including a question aboot the hamely tongue in the next census is simpy a step too far with this crazy project.

    CYNIC

    And the Irish taught today was also fabricated and reconstituted in the 1800’s. It was just there first.

    Yes, of course that’s what happened 😉 Now just keep taking those pills…

    WILLIAM

    I listen to Blas on Raidió Uladh every night and the only time i hear any English is maybe on the Friday music show. You should tune into the other ones sometime…

  • Gael gan Náire

    RG,

    “Including a question aboot the hamely tongue in the next census”

    I would say the results would be very interesting.

    I would predict 100,000+ positive responses.

    It is an interesting tactic but the Boord will be under alot of pressure to produce a speaker or two, I predict that they will state that positive responses indicate positive views on Ulster-Scot identity.

    Like the question on Irish however, without measuring ability and levels of use, the question is useless.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>You could understand a sense of a shared North Antrim/South West Scotland kinship and geographical dialect of English<< Ach ye wur daen aw'right Lurig until the dialect ae English pish. Scots developed completely differently from English, in fact the poor Goerdies are stuck right in the middle. They use many words and phrases that are alien in England but the norm in Scotland. Gael gan Nire Using language in yir intro that is hundreds of years out of date is surely meant to strenghthen yir pisstake. Try reading ye olde English and it will be the same as the keek yuve pit above. It does not behove a proponent of one of our native languages to rip the pish out of another one of our shared languages. Scots, of which the Ulster variety is a dialect(take note Lurig) has been kept alive in the country and still used by most of the working classes despite being chided for generations tae "speak properly" We a'ready wure speakin properly in oor ain language. You will be glad to know that the use of Scots is on the rise in academia, and it is being recognised for what it is. Final part regarding written Scots. None of us were brought up reading or writing Scots, so to see it in the flesh requires some patience in deciphering it. Writing in standard English is as natuaral as speaking in standard Scots, if ye ken(uniquely we don't use this phrase in Glesca) whit a mean.

  • Gael gan Náire

    Prionsa,

    I assure you no pishtake was intended, I was merely making the point that the magazine should have been in written in Ulster-Scots in my view.

    In addition, I think my Ulster-Scots writting is quite authentic actually, certainely rooted in venacular speech. Feel feel to disagree.

    I used one archaic word – ‘leid’= language. Guilty, but I couldn’t help myself.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ach wully wut ails ye can ye no jaist untherstan ither yins tak yin leid Gaelige an yuz yins tak yer ain hamely tongue.Dinnae bi startin a argyin-match an hae yersel a gud tim gab’n an tak’n in whutiver leid ye lake

    I feel like I’ve been reading an Anthony Burgess novel. All righty-right, my droogs!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Gael gan Nire

    Intended pish take or no that is what it is.

    Now the outdated language serves no purpose, merely to deride. I’m sure the pockets of Scots that still survive in the north of Ireland would not speak like this. If anything those in Antrim sound very much like Stranraer. Not entirely sure about the Derrywans though.

  • yvaN ehT nioJ

    Invented language?
    Bowler hats?
    Violence?

    Anthony Burgess warned us this would happen.

  • michael

    anyone know of a particular location where Ulster-Scots is spoken in everyday use. I live in north Antrim and I’ve never heard anyone speak in the fashion that supposed Ulster-Scots speakers do, despite this, n Antrim is continually mentioned as it epicentre, and in particular Ballymena (though I’d contest that Ballymena isn’t n Antrim).

    Is there some isolated village about that I’ve never come across?

    Honest question!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Micheal

    As I have alluded to I doubt if the Scots spoken in the intro to this peace has been spoken anywhere in the past two hundred years, a bit like ye olde English. I am guessing that you come from places in Antrim that were still Gaelic speaking until the last century or so, if so like much of the Scottish highlands, Inverness etc they will have learned standard English rather than the fowk Scots.

    There is actually a few villages and Clachans to the east of Inverness where they speak Scots, yet in Inverness they speak clear standard English. Some landowner imported people from the lowlands to act as loyal supporters as opposed to the locals who might be loyal to the previos dispossesed landlord, thus the anomoly.

  • cut the bull

    If there are a few towns they would probably be called Ballyripaff near Ballygaesagrant close to Glengangaeyerheedashek and Ballyhaenagiggle.
    Thats what we’ll all be getting told soon.

  • Rory Carr

    “Is there some isolated village about that I’ve never come across?” asks Michael.

    Anything is possible in this magical land, Michael. If Gene Kelly found it in Bonnie Scotland perhaps you can find it somewhere outside Ballymena (which I must admit is infinitely preferable to being inside Ballymena.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sZVCWUbomlg&feature=related

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Rory, whether he realises it or not is highlighting a crucial flaw in our shared heritage. Hollywood and the ealing type films and stage have branded our culture as cringeworthy. In fact the most brainwashed(certainly in Scotland are the 50 plus brigade) It is upto us to in a way reclaim our culture. I don’t really know how to go about it. Perhaps get involved in language and dance. My partner and I have certainly have used names from our original language for our weans. My wee lassie is involved in Scottish and Irish dancing, I also encourage our children to be interested in our heritage.

    Point being is that I am proud of who I am, my children will inherit that. Unfortunately it is those that have inherited the anything but English is cringeworthy have the most to learn.

  • fair_deal

    Newton has annual rant against Ulster-Scots, always a sign it was a dull news week based on the dodgy claims e.g. the study visit and repetition of the arguments he employed last year, year before that etc etc.

    The coincidence of the prejudices of the ‘progressive’ and some of the Gaels creating an alliance to engender in both a sense of cultural superiority.

    At this stage anyone involved in Ulster-Scots should smile benignly rather than get annoyed. The self-same arguments and attitudes have been employed/shown repeatedly for well over 10-15 years. Meanwhile Ulster-Sots heritage and culture enjoys more participation and support than it every did and the recognition of US as a language is a policy fact that isn’t going to change.

    So carry on with the old lines, they seem to keep some of you suitable entertained, US proceeds regardless.

    I can’t remember his name but there was one Irish activist made an interesting comment when he saw the irish language movement line up to stick its boot into US, it translated something like “I didn’t get involved in the Irish language movement to deride other language movements”. For a while this seemed to become the predominant view or at least saying nothing until the last year or so. Why the change? Is trying to resurrect the old arguments retaliation for the ILA being spiked?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    What ever anyone says about the native Gaelic Irish language of this island but it is still one of the oldest languages of Europe and ‘the British Isles.’ An amalgamation of regional differences of the island or what ever in order for it to survive, the main vestiges of it still remains today! The language of our forefathers spoken before any political or religious divisions, predates the English language by thousands of years!
    The cultural ignorance and easy dismissal by some folk for a language as old as the pyramids and unique to these islands is astonishing!

    Mo teanga dhúchais abú!

  • Rory Carr

    Cut the Bull has omitted to mention the Ulster-Cockney settlement just outside Ballymena where male obesity is said to be causing health concerns as this recent press item shows:

    “Health officials in the Antrim town of Cantdomeballybottom buttonup are becoming alarmed…. (continues for 37 tdious paragraphs)

  • ggn

    F_d,

    “The coincidence of the prejudices of the ‘progressive’ and some of the Gaels creating an alliance to engender in both a sense of cultural superiority.”

    For example?

    I beleive my views for example are much more charitable than the majority of unionists frankly.

    In my post above I have not indicated any negative view whatsoever.

  • fair_deal

    ggn

    “For example?”

    Sorry do you not read the comments on your own threads?
    “I think I would agree with the assertion that Ulster-Scots is a ‘DIY language for Orangemen’.”
    “What is essentially bad grammar is being elevated to the status of a seperate language.”
    “BUT WUD THESE CRETINS GIE IT A FOOKIN REST”
    “the ridiculous nature of the Ulster Scots brigade”

    “In my post above I have not indicated any negative view whatsoever.”

    No you built the thread around a highly negative article. Where did I say my comments were directed towards you? Why so sensitive?

  • Ulster McNulty

    fair deal

    “Newton has annual rant against Ulster-Scots…”.

    Reading his article that seems a bit innacurate. He is criticising the Ulster Scotch Agency and he points out that their publication is 99% in English. What’s the point of having such an agency anyway if it doesn’t actually promote Ulster Scots?

    “The coincidence of the prejudices of the ‘progressive’ and some of the Gaels creating an alliance to engender in both a sense of cultural superiority.”

    You must have ignored the bit where he says “Oot an Aboot has seven pages of advertising. Three are from the Ulster-Scots Agency itself. The remaining four are from other quangos, including (amusingly) a full-page Irish-language ad from Foras na Gaeilge.”.

  • ggn

    ggn,

    Apologies.

    “Sorry do you not read the comments on your own threads?”

    Do you?

    Ans: I do but I tend to try and say everthing I want to say in the blog and I probably only scan the comments, I am not trying to be disrespectful, but they aren’t always worth reading.

    Sorry to say that but people tend to revert to single transferable well worn arguements, a pity.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “What ever anyone says about the native Gaelic Irish language of this island but it is still one of the oldest languages of Europe and ‘the British Isles.’ An amalgamation of regional differences of the island or what ever in order for it to survive, the main vestiges of it still remains today! The language of our forefathers spoken before any political or religious divisions, predates the English language by thousands of years!”

    All true. The modern Irish is an amalgamation of regional differences- hence an artificial construct, necessary to provide a written foundation. I’m sure you enjoyed the interview with Paul Brady last week when he said he couldn’t be bothered with the irish language classes he had at university because the other students were all Munster wans, and he “couldn’t understand a word”
    My Gaelic playing friends say only hurling is the only genuine Irish sport, and football a much more recent invention.

    The fact is that Ulster Scots doesn’t have a large body of writing ( like irish); its usage was discouraged by the education system ( or in Gaelic’s case the RC church in the 19th century); and it has adapted/imported many words and by spelling them differently sought to differentiate from the parent language- like the nonsensical spelling of “craic”- as pure an Ulster Scots word as there is, but let’s make it more Irish

    Yup, there’s much to ridicule in Ulster Scots Agency work. I cringe at the spelling of Bilfawst. But in nearly every aspect of formulating or organising a culture from a low base the USA is only following the trail blazed by Irish, Scottish, and Welsh language activists. All had languages that predated English, and all were largely usurped.
    If Ulster Scots isn’t a proper language, complain to bodies such as the EU, which recognises it as such. But think through the implications of trying to declassify a language because it imports words or spells them phonetically- y’know like Radio,,Telefis, Lana Bus-

  • Ulster McNulty

    darth rumsfeld

    “..the nonsensical spelling of “craic”- as pure an Ulster Scots word as there is”

    I agree about the nonsensical and annoying spelling of “craic”. Crack is a Scots word which became part of the vernacular across Ireland like many other Scots words but in contrast to Scots words which are restricted to Ulster.

    “..in nearly every aspect of formulating or organising a culture from a low base the USA is only following the trail blazed by Irish, Scottish, and Welsh language activists.

    It definately isn’t, where are the Ulster Scots medium schools / radio stations / newspapers / periodicals etc.

  • Newton Emerson

    I’m intrigued by this oft-repeated line that Ulster-Scots is “recognised by the EU”. Is it? It is not an official language of the EU. No EU documents are translated into Ulster-Scots, nor can such translation be required or even in practice requested. The European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL) “recognised” Ulster-Scots only for the purposes of a survey which it then abandoned after failing to find a single native speaker – and in any case, the EBLUL is a state-level sponsored NGO and claims only an advisory role to the EU, among trans-national bodies. EU Peace III and other funding has gone to Ulster-Scots projects but this always appears to be on a “cultural” or “community” rather than a language recognition basis.

    There are countless examples of made-up languages and other linguistic funding scams across the EU. Whole cities on national and regional frontiers claim language status for their local dialect or accent. The EU has set up various systems and spun off various quangos to sideline these claims as diplomatically as possible. Frankly, anyone who falls for such treatment of Ulster-Scots is a fool twice over.

  • Charlie

    Personally, I find the Ulster-Scots thing infinitely preferable to the pseudo-British forelock-tugging “we’re just the same people as themmuns in Surrey, honest” crap that Unionists have rammed down our throats for years…at least it embraces a Gaelic/Celtic heritage (not to mention Scots-Irish culture in the U.S. and the United Irishmen of 1798) that so many Prods have been in denial about..

  • Ulster McNulty

    Newton Emerson

    Why not be positive and just consider Ulster Scots funding as part of the braoder “fiscal stimulus”, keeping kilt makers from going to the wall?

  • darth rumsfeld

    hey Newt I’m actually with you on this- the EU is a waste of space, but I’m merely pointing out that the scam has been seen to be the way forward for other languages that escape the sneering nationalists reserve for U-S. If language lobbyists see a shortcut to a cheque that has worked for others, of course they’ll try to copycat. And hats off to you for exposing them.

    But the nationalist scoffers on this thread will happily swallow all the same slurry for the Irish language with never a qubble. Indeed some of them think they’re making a point by having a go at d-i-y- ULster Scots in their posts. In so doing they’re only mocking themselves, because their knowledge of the phrases and idioms styled Ulster Scots proves that we all know and can use terms unknown outside the north east of Ireland- a terribly partitionist notion!

    I actually think it’s limiting to try to shoehorn our culture into a language framework. Plus a lot of people claiming to be Ulster Scots..er..aren’t. If an espiscopalian from Tandragee speaks of sheughes and clabber til the knee, it probably doesn’t mean he’s an Ulster Scot, any more than a few words or inflections of irish in his dialect make him Gaelic.

    If the few sane voices in the Irish Language movement who see it as having nothing to do with anti-Britishness or politics generally could only win the argument then I’m sure the same would happen with U-S.And then perhaps the offical nonsense of havinf greeting s i courts ans copshops in Ulster Scots and irish- to name but one example- would end. I mean, I know more of the hamely tongue than most, and I’ve never heard anyone say “Fair faa ye”, but it’s on the wall in my local copshop!!!!!

  • GGN

    It is interesting that the Conservatives (NI) take a dim view of Ulster-Scots.

    http://www.conservativesni.org/

    I wonder if the policies of the UUP will be affected by this? Probably not.

    DR,

    I have never heard ‘fair faa ye’ ever, and I have made great efforts in the field to explore Ulster-Scots speech.

  • Driftwood

    So when Microsoft mention ‘English(US)’on their software is that Ulster scots?

  • jone

    Newton is correct that the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is nothing to do with the EU; it’s a creature of the Council of Europe.

    The charter has two levels – confusingly referred to as Part 2 or Part 3.

    Ulster Scots is at Part 2 (the basic level) which means the government accepts some general principles which provide a framework for preserving a language. Ulster Scots is at this level. As Newton sugggests it’s a piece of piss to get Part 2 status if there’s the political will to get it eg. the Kven dialect of Finnish has Part 2 status in Norway for mainly political reasons.

    However it’s a bit tougher to get the rather more credible Part 3 eg. the language needs to be sufficiently codified that you can teach a recognised qualification in it.

    Ulster Scots proponents would love to get Part 3 but the group of civil servants which advise on language matters (ICIG) have told the executive not to waste their time trying.

    The ICIG commissioned a piece of work from the language consultant Donall O’Riagain who basically told the Ulster Scots to stop kidding themselves:

    “Rather than trying to stretch the interpretation of the Charter to the limits of credibility I believe that proponents of Ulster Scots should focus their energies on really getting the necessary measures put in place…the substance is much more important than appearance.”

    And he stuck the boot into the Ulster Scots Agency for good measure:

    “”The playing of bagpipes, wearing of kilts, haggis eating or Scottish dancing are fine in themselves but have little to do with the Ulster-Scots language. It would appear to me that the Agency must revamp its priorities or have another body charged with working on language.”

  • fair_deal

    Ulster McNulty

    “What’s the point of having such an agency anyway if it doesn’t actually promote Ulster Scots?”

    Despite the perception the role of the agency is not restricted to language. It is not a mirror image of Foras. Although at the same time as it produced this it distributed a booklet of old Ulster-Scots writings delivered to 60,000 homes.

    As regards Oot and Aboot it was not a publication that was going to set the world alight but it is no different in that respect than what is produced by any other government agency.

    “a full-page Irish-language ad from Foras na Gaeilge.”

    Hence why I said “some of the Gaels”.

    Newton Emerson

    “I’m intrigued by this oft-repeated line that Ulster-Scots is “recognised by the EU”. Is it?

    It is recognised by EBLUL, the relevant EU body (although you should know EBLUL got downgraded by the EU so it now has a more arms length relationship than it held previously) In fact a US activist is EBLUL’s vice-chair.

    However, the key recognition is under the Council of Europe Charter of which the UK government is a signatory and US is afforded Part II status but when many people hear the word Europe they think EU.

    Even as you seem to wish that the EU was to declare it doesn’t consider US a language it wouldn’t effect the Charter recognition or policy. In terms of language recognition the EU largely falls in line with the decisions of the nations.

    “The European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL) “recognised” Ulster-Scots only for the purposes of a survey which it then abandoned after failing to find a single native speaker”

    None of that sentence is factually correct.

    EBLUL did not only recognise it for the purposes of a survey. EBLUL has national and regional sub-committees, the recognition by EBLUL of Ulster-Scots was when it was granted membership of the Northern Ireland and UK wide committees. US reps continue to work on both.
    http://www.eblul.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=39

    EBLUL have never commissioned or conducted a linguistic survey for Ulster-Scots speakers.

    The oft mentioned study visit was not a survey or investigation of US (academic or otherwise). It was an EBLUL visit of language activists from elsewhere in Europe to Northern ireland. It was principly facilitated by the Irish language group, the Ultach Trust. It was not to investigate the existence or usage of US but for activists to talk to one another about their work.

    The visit spent most of its time with Irish language groups and spent one day with US groups. They were given a civic reception at Ards town hall at which they were given a presentation on US and some US readings. They then had a couple hours shopping in Ards and then on to an Ulster-Scots dance group on the Ards peninsula. That was the extent of the study visit’s interaction/reserach/hunt for Ulster-Scots speakers.

  • Newton Emerson

    I’d understand that response better if it was written in English. The Council of Europe is not the EU, although the EBLUL has an advisory role to both. The survey of Ulster Scots (undertaken before the bureau’s ‘downgrade’) commenced with an initial contact in 1992, began in earnest in 1995 and gave up in 1996 after failing to find a single “native speaker” in the whole of counties Antrim and Down.
    You appear to be referring to something much more recent.

  • Nic

    Etymology question: Any serious record of anyone trying to write Ultser Scots before Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting” was published?

  • Divine Mercy

    Is it true the Ulster Scots for Special Needs is “Wee dafties”? Bizarre or what?

  • Danny

    “The modern Irish is an amalgamation of regional differences- hence an artificial construct”

    What does this mean? The “modern” Irish? Like many languages, Irish has an official WRITTEN standard.

    The regional dialects remain. So what’s your point?

  • Danny

    Whether you consider Ulster Scots a disinct language, a dialect of Scots or just mangled English, BBC Voices is fairly interesting.

    Sally Young is featured. She’s from Greyabbey, Co. Down and is currently translation the Bible into Ulster Scots. (Jokes, anyone?)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/learning/voices/ulsterscots/sally_young.shtml

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0508/1210195981913.html

  • sevenmagpies

    Nic,

    Some of “Trainspotting” is written in Standard English, and some of it is written in Scottish English, which is not the same thing as Scots.

  • Continental Drifter

    What’s interesting about this isn’t the typical attack on Ulster Scots, but the very well-made comments about the public sector (ab)using buildings in prime business locations.

    If we must subsidise buildings on Gt Victoria St as rate/tax payers, it would be better to do so on behalf of businesses in the services sector, not daft quangos which exist only to justify their own existence.

    Besides, why is the Ulster-Scots Agency not in Ballymena? Seriously.

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    An honest question so don’t take my head off. Can someone tell me what is the the differnce between say, Cockney or Geordie and Ulster Scots in terms of their linguitic relationship with English?

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    Linguistic.

  • Continental Drifter

    TOCHAIS

    Yes, Ulster Scots derives from Scots, the language of medieval Scotland; whereas Geordie and Cockney derive from the language of medieval England (although actually Geordie is part of the Old Northumbrian dialect from which Scots also derives, so it’s very similar).

    As such, Scots and English were separate administrative languages, and have separate literary heritages. Unfortunately, proponents of modern Ulster Scots have abandoned that heritage, hence the ridicule rightly heaped upon them.

    The thing is as well, in recent decades/centuries Scots and English have merged, to the extent most people would see them as the same language, leaving the distinction you refer to all but meaningless.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Is it true the Ulster Scots for Special Needs is “Wee dafties”? Bizarre or what?

    Posted by Divine Mercy on Jan 12, 2009 @ 11:42 PM”

    No it isn’t, though that hasn’t stopped the slur being repeated for several years now. We’ve long ago established this on slugger. Do keep up

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    Thanks, CD.

  • jone

    It could be ‘wee dafties’ if you want it to be as Ulster Scots is full of neologisms and lacks a truly definitive dictionary on the lines of either the 12-volume Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue or the 10-volume Scottish National Dictionary.

  • Republic of Connaught

    What’s sad about Ulster Scots is the insecure desire of the people who speak, or rather spiel it, to try and distinguish themselves from their catholic neighbour with their unique “language”.

    Irish, or the gaelic language, would be promoted and used across many parts of Ireland even if Ireland was a unified country and there wasn’t a Unionist about the place. The same is true in Wales. They do not promote Welsh to annoy anyone, they do it because it’s been a living part of their culture for so long. Some Republicans in the north seem to use the Irish language as a cultural tool to bat Unionusts with. But the language should not be blamed for this.

    Any sane person sees Ulster Scots for what it is. Unfortunately sanity in the political melting pot of NI is a slippery thing to keep hold of.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “What’s sad about Ulster Scots is the insecure desire of the people who speak, or rather spiel it, to try and distinguish themselves from their catholic neighbour with their unique “language”.”

    …er- you won’t have read the history of the language movements of the British Isles then? How many Unionists were involved in the Gaelic league? Irish is on a life support mechanism in many parts of your country because its no longer relevant. I think that is actually very sad

    People don’t need to identify themselves as non-British any more, especially if it meant they’d have to give up the foreign games. In fact of the old FF aims, Ireland isn’t Catholic, isn’t Gaelic, and isn’t free ( at least up here), and most people seem happy enough with that- makes me think most of them would really have been happy with Home Rule

    “Some Republicans in the north seem to use the Irish language as a cultural tool to bat Unionusts with. But the language should not be blamed for this.”
    Of course not. But the language activists most certainly can, if their response to a different culture is to deride it. All of the growing pains of the Ulster Scots movement, and many of its mistakes, are simply reruns of the Irish language movement in NI or the Welsh language movement in Wales- but noone seems to condemn them

    Incidentally the U-S movement is proof that for every action there is an opposite reaction. Perhaps the strident demands of some Irish speakers is to blame for your preception iof insecurity? If irish had been left to the linguists and not ther politicians, who knows where it may have flourished

  • RG Cuan

    DARTH

    Irish is on a life support mechanism in many parts of your country because its no longer relevant.

    You might want to check out this modern Irish magazine…. based in Newry – http://www.nosmag.com The language seems very relevant to these guys.

    All of the growing pains of the Ulster Scots movement, and many of its mistakes, are simply reruns of the Irish language movement in NI or the Welsh language movement in Wales- but noone seems to condemn them.

    Totally incorrect. There a number of massive differences between the Gaelic/Welsh language movements and the Ulster Scots ‘movement’.

    The glaringly obvious one is that Irish and Welsh have actual language communities – thousands of people who speak their own language on a daily basis. Ulster Scots does not.

    Another difference is that Irish and English are actually languages… Ulster Scots is quite interesting but it is certainly only a dialect and 98% of it can be understood by any native English speaker.

  • Ulster McNulty

    “..if their response to a different culture is to deride it..”

    This reminds me that one of the problems in NI is that everybody, whether they consider themselves Irish or British or both, or whatever, share exactly the same linguistic culture – there is no “different culture” in Northern Ireland..

    We all share the same culture and here’s the facts:

    1. Everybody, whether catholic and protestant, speaks English.

    2. Nobody, whether catholic or protestant, speaks Irish as a language continuously handed down from parent to child.

    3. In parts of Northern Ireland there is a strong Scots influence on speech, in other parts there is relatively little Scots influence. Areas of strong Scots influence are as likey to be predominantly nationalist, and areas of little Scots influence are as likely to be prdominantly unionist.

    There are two kinds of “language” people:

    1. Those people who use Irish and Ulster Scots as a political football – USA, ILA, blah, blah, and blah. These people are concerned with politics and identity, both of which have no bearing on language as language is simply spoken communication between human beings – it can’t of it’s nature be nationalist or unionist. That’s why the fact we all speak English doesn’t define our identity or politics, or mark us out as being typical English people.

    2. Those people who are genuinely interested in our unique linguistic diversity and are doing their bit to preserve or cultivate it. These people are all about language – I take my hat of to them.

    Unfortunately onlookers can get confused and conclude that their is “different culture” going on here. There isn’t, it’s different politics.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Welsh is no more “relevant” in the 21st century than Irish, so what’s your point exactly? It’s very sad because English has such lingustic dominance in the world? Or rather, American English has such predominance in the world.

    The Gaelic League didn’t INVENT the Irish language; it tried to promote its widespread RE-USE which had been in decline for so long. The Irish language was THE language of this island for the majority of its inhabitants for generations. A native language, not a dialect of English.

    To compare Ulster Scots, which is nothing but an Ulster dialect of English, to the Irish or Welsh languages is delusional. Now you can defend it simply because Ulster Prods are the ones promoting it, or you can acknowledge the obvious truth of Newton Emerson’s article.

    Whatever misuse of the Irish language Republican politicans have engaged in doesn’t detract from the sheer lunacy of any individuals trying to invent a new language from a dialect of English.

  • It’ll be very interesting to see, if and when the accounts for the Ulster Scots Agency and Foras na Gaeilge are published [they haven’t been published now for several years – the accounts for 2004-7 have yet to be made public – how much money is being spent on the ENGLISH language publication, Oot an Aboot. My guess is that a print run of 20,000 on heavy glossy paper with full colour could cost the guts of £100,000. That’s a lot of money – more than a third of the annual budget of Lá Nua, an Irish language daily newspaper whose plug was pulled by Foras na Gaeilge before Christmas. Now we know where the money saved by the Foras is going – on expensive and wasteful ads in Ulster Scots magazines with little or no Ulster Scots content and translators to translate little read documents in English to little read documents to Irish.

    Someone has to shout stop! I don’t normally heap praise on Newton Emerson but I think his column on this occasion hit the nail on the head. The way money is being spent on Ulster Scots and misspent on bureaucracy and waste in Irish is a scandal – yet no politician or no newspaper is willing to say the Emperors are wearing no clothes….

  • jone

    Surely someone can stick in an FOI request to get both sets of accounts?

  • No they can’t – apparently the Ulster Scots Agency and Foras na Gaeilge aren’t bound by the Freedom of Information Acts – north or south -as they are north south institutions. There is a code which they say they adhere to – but try getting the accounts from either and see how far it gets you. No other cross border body has delayed so long in publishing accounts.

    One wonders why the delay in the case of the Language Body….

  • Divine Mercy

    No it isn’t, though that hasn’t stopped the slur being repeated for several years now. We’ve long ago established this on slugger. Do keep up
    Posted by darth rumsfeld on Jan 13, 2009 @ 11:35 AM

    Why don’t you post in both English and Ulster Scots? By the way slugger is a proper noun. That means you use a capital letter.

  • fair_deal

    Newton Emerson

    “The survey of Ulster Scots (undertaken before the bureau’s ‘downgrade’) commenced with an initial contact in 1992, began in earnest in 1995 and gave up in 1996 after failing to find a single “native speaker” in the whole of counties Antrim and Down.”

    No such “survey” was ever conducted by EBLUL. The no native speaker claim came about from a report written by a person who was on the study visit.

    Your argument is based on a non-existent survey. Please substantiate that this EBLUL survey and its results exists.

    I was actively involved at that stage with US issues and would have been regularly in touch with EBLUL. EBLUL never mentioned or published such a survey. Check out the EBLUL web-site no mention of it there.

    If EBLUL had conducted such work why does it continue to allow Ulster-Scots to be part of its structures?

    The only survey conducted in Northern Ireland about US was a question included in the NILT survey in 1999. In it 2% of people said they spoke Ulster-Scots.
    http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/1999/Community_Relations/USPKULST.html
    6% of respondents said they knew people who did speak it
    http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/1999/Community_Relations/KNSPKULS.html

    (The corresponding figures for Irish were 14% and 33%)

    The noteworthy part of those who say they are speakers is the age profile. It is significantly skewed to older age groups which is what you’d expect to find for a lesser used language. 1% of respondents in the 18-34 age bracket, 2% of respondents in the 35-64 age bracket and 4% of repsondents in 65%. Although such surveys are of limited value as they are self-certifying.

  • Oot ah Munny

    The Hansard of the Dail is written in English, not in Irish. The main RTE channels are in English. TG4, the Gaelic channel, is watched by a tiny band of language enthusiasts who enjoy Westerns with subtitles.

    So much for the thriving Irish culture of the South.

    Here in the North we have public money being squandered on language gimmicks, both Irish and Ulster-Scots, when the working language of the country is English. If people want to preserve ancient languages, fine, let them form cultural Societies for the purpose. But public money should not be wasted on such past-times. Public money should be spent on necessities like health, education, pensions, etc.

    Newton Emerson should have criticised both camps. The folly of Bearbra de Broon squandering half a million pounds of the health budget on translation services should not be forgotten.

  • Seimi

    2. Nobody, whether catholic or protestant, speaks Irish as a language continuously handed down from parent to child.

    Ummmm….I do. So do my siblings. And my daughters. And my neighbours. And a lot of my friends and their friends.

    I have absolutely no problem with the Ulster Scots movement. Not the Lord Laird/Nelson McCausland types, but the genuine activists/enthusiasts in the north. People like Jim Fenton, who has worked quietly for years to preserve the old words and phrases from (mainly) Antrim (It took him 30 years and 3 editions of his book, the Hamely Tongue, before he was satisfied that he had recorded all that was left of the language in Antrim)
    Sally Young, who I met last year. I was struck by how seriously she and her colleagues take the translation of the Bible, constantly checking and re-checking their sources and phrases. And all of it in Sally’s house, all done on a voluntary basis.
    Willie McAvoy and Wille Cromie, from Ards, have been compiling taped interviews in ‘Greba’, or ‘Grey Abbey’ Scots for years. Willie McAvoy, as far as I know, was one of the founders of the US Agency.

    These people remind me of Irish language enthusiasts from years ago. People who worked on the language for the love of it, not for any pay cheque, or even for thanks. It’s the people who are most vocal on the subject, McCausland etc, who don’t even claim to speak it, who should be silenced here.

    As for Oot ‘n Aboot – I don’t think it does the US movement many favours having a magazine, which is supposedly about Ulster Scots, but written mainly in English, however it should be pointed out that, unlike Irish, there is no standardised form of written US, so it’s difficult to write anything without someone pointing out that it’s spelled incorrectly (according to them), or that the terms used are not the ones used, for example, in Ards, or Rathboe, or north Antrim.

  • Ulster McNulty

    “Ummmm….I do. So do my siblings. And my daughters. And my neighbours. And a lot of my friends and their friends.”

    You misunderstood what I said, which is that no Irish speaker in Northern Ireland, or maybe more accurately, no Irish speaker whose family originates in the geographical area of Northern Ireland speaks Irish as result of a language continuosly handed down, over generations, in an unbroken fashion from parent to child.

    There have always been Irish speakers in northern Ireland, both Catholic and some Protestants. But “native” speakers died out some time last century, by which time their offspring were monoglot English speakers – there are no exceptions to this in Northern Ireland.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Why don’t you post in both English and Ulster Scots? By the way slugger is a proper noun. That means you use a capital letter.”

    Er.. dear pedant
    Either “you should use” or ” one uses”. “You use” is the resort of the illiterate.

    I don’t post in Ulster Scots because I don’t write it, though I am a capable speaker. I can speak Italian too, but I can’t write in that language. If that’s your best point, best hurry back to the kindergarten and resume your place at the bottom of the sandpit. Ulster McNulty is one example of how to debate rigorously but courteously, if you need a role model.

  • Seimi

    I do see your point Ulster McNulty, however, does the fact that my parents learned Irish, then raised us speaking Irish as our first language, not make me a native speaker? My children even more so, as they are, technically, third generation Irish speakers? How many generations does it take to count as a native Irish speaker, or is it an impossibility for me or my children, or their children, because the line is broken before my parents?
    I’m not trying to be pedantic, it’s just that a lecturer I had once told me more or less the same thing – I wasn’t a native speaker because I didn’t come from a long line of speakers, though, his final argument – that I didn’t come from Donegal, was a bit lame.