“The Ulster Scots Language future”

Former chairperson of the Ulster-Scots Agency and blogger, Mark Thompson has blagged (in July) an interesting one on the future of the Ulster-Scots language on his blag ‘Bloggin fae the ‘Burn‘.

It is a frank account of his views of the future of the Ulster-Scots language. Many would forcefully object to that discription of Ulster-Scots, I do not not have any objection but I believe from my own research that the numbers of speakers of Ulster-Scots as a language is probably no more than a few thousand, not the hundreds of thousands sometimes claimed, equating a rural Antrim accent with Ulster-Scots. This has done more harm than good.

Back to Marks views … “Deep breath. Devil’s Advocate time. Is there a future for Ulster-Scots language? The heritage stuff, the historical stuff, the cultural stuff, the light entertainment fluff – these have appeal and plenty of people involved or interested. But the language? Nah … From what I’ve observed over the past few years, hardly anyone cares enough about the language to give it a future. The way the media froth about it as an issue you’d think that it was a huge public concern. Aye right.”

First of all, I find that statement somewhat extraordinary from a former chairperson of the board, surely this reflect badly on the performance of the board, secondly, I would put forward the view that all is not lost if things are tackled properly.

“Meaning that by the time “peace” arrived in the mid 1990s and Ulster-Scots was getting attention for the first time in a generation, the pool of genuine Ulster-Scots language speakers to draw upon was already at an all-time low. And those speakers didn’t recognise the importance and value of their own speech … 10 years ago there was an opportunity to capture the natural Ulster-Scots speech of this older, pre-mass media generation. But half of those people are now dead – and unrecorded. There are maybe ten years left until all of them are dead. And then naturally-spoken Ulster-Scots will be gone. Apart from a few words and the odd expression here and there which survive as part of general Ulster English, it’ll be finished. Sheughs and oxters will continue to raise a smile, or a smirk, but that’s about all.”

I agree that in ten years, almost all Ulster-Scots speech will be lost, with only a residual accent and some words remaining. Then surely what is needed is for the Ulster-Scots agency to spend much more of their resources on the language and less on cds of Orange Order music? What is needed is a linguistic atlas, a recording project, a corpus project, dialect studies etc. etc. These are the materials necessary to preserve Ulster-Scots for the future, sure there is nothing overly exciting about it, but it has to be done. Will it be done?

“Ulster-Scots language will dwindle and remain the interest of the dedicated few who genuinely love it. And it’ll provide intellectual cud for the anoraks and academics, nostalgia for the luddites and fuel for the identity zealots. And perhaps it’ll be exploited by those who see the current gravy train as a way of building personal empires – but which will be light years removed from general public interest. Public sector signage, job adverts in the papers that tick some equality box will ultimately attract further public disdain and scorn – and thereby damage the overall Ulster-Scots momentum. Because in reality, to 99% of the population, Ulster-Scots language will be a fossil, an extinct Dodo. Unheard, unspoken, and book-learnt if learned at all.”

Then surely the Ulster-Scots agency will have to look at themselves? Perhaps taking someone who can actually speak Ulster-Scots on to the board would be a help? Maybe even a discussion on it would do no harm?

“I wrote an article for the News Letter about this general issue back in March 2007. No-one batted an eyelid. Because hardly anybody cares.”

Let me make a cheeky little prediction here, I believe that the people who will take the most interest in Scots in Ulster in language terms, and who will try and get the necessary preservation work done with it will most likely not be ‘Ulster-Scots’.

  • jone

    “What is needed is a linguistic atlas, a recording project, a corpus project, dialect studies etc.”

    The Ulster Scots Academy Implemnetation Group (USAIG) were supposed to do this but made a mess of it.

    And still no sign of the Ulster Scots Academy – Deloitte have been ‘reviewing’ the awful USAIG business plan for the best part of two years.

    Gregory Campbell promised progress on the academy when he started as culture minster but bugger all had happened by the time he left.

  • Gael gan Náire
  • barnshee

    Consign this gibberish and it associate Irish to the dustbin of history

  • Seceder

    A very honest assessment from Mark Thompson.

    The issue remains that while some see Ulster Scots as a language, culture and heritage others see it as a political weapon – a claymore to the celtic broad sword.

    This attitude has depreciated Ulster Scots and made it a planter v’s gael initiative. Thus you have Nelson McCausland wearing a skirt (Kilt) at every opportunity and the DUP trying at every event to have some children dance a highland fling.

    Coming from Nth Antrim I remember the language being spoken personally I understood it but never really spoke it, 30 years ago it was rare but strangely quaint but it was neither political/Orange/protestant or anything else. Now Undoubtedly presbyterianism is probably the most obvious example of ulster Scots heritage and culture but even then it depends on where you are.

    Unless and until Ulster Scots is wrestled away from the politicians it is finished. If the Ulster Scots communty continue to allow the DUP in particular to transform their heritage into a political weapon then the language will fail and be replaced with genuine Ulster Scot theme pubs.

    Enthusiasts must take control otherwise it will only last as long as it is politically expedient and that won’t be very long

  • Gael gan Náire

    Seceder,

    “a claymore to the celtic broad sword”

    Claymore < Gaelic. Claoidheamh / Claíomh mór, it is a 'celtic' sword.Kilts are gaelic, so is highland dancing. Highland is translated in Scots Gaelic as Gaidhealtachd / Gaidhealach.That is the bizarre thing about some of the things the Boord promote, i.e. it is not Scottish Lowland culture as their ancestors would have recongnised at all.

  • ardmajell55

    gael gan nire… it is richly ironic is it not, that the ‘language’ that these dup freeloaders, use to deny their own irish heritage, is itself dependent for it’s ‘existence’ on the irish language itself,
    This metamorphosis took place via the derivative Scots Gaelic speaker’s collision with the English language while still in scotland, and then post plantation, over here. You couldn’t make it up.

  • Brit

    Two words:

    speak english

  • Scots Anorak

    “This metamorphosis took place via the derivative Scots Gaelic speaker’s collision with the English language while still in scotland, and then post plantation, over here. You couldn’t make it up.”

    A common misconception. According to McClure (1995) and Macafee (1997), the Scottish Gaelic contribution to Lowland Scots lexis is c. 0.8%. Lowland Scots is in the main the product of separate development facilitated by the existence of a Scottish state pre-1603, not of Goidelic influence. The contributions of Norse, Latin, French and Dutch are all much greater than that of Scottish Gaelic. Words of Irish origin in the Ulster dialect are more common, but by no stretch of the imagination the main source of non-standard vocabulary.

  • Neil

    The Ulster Scots Agency says it’s not a language:

    In a leaked document, the agency said that Ulster-Scots is a variation of the Scots language spoken by people in Northern Ireland.

    It accused the academy of wrongly promoting Ulster-Scots as a language distinct from Scots.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7535681.stm

  • Renny

    The weapon of choice of the celt was neither claymore or broadsword but rather a knife in the back.

  • Seceder

    Thanks for all the militaria definitons and clarification but the point remains; that the majority of Ulster Scots proponents aren’t interested in Ulster Scots per se they just want to have something as an equal and opposite force to irish.

    As long as this remains their reason for supporting Ulster Scots, then the language etc is in the words of frazer “dooommed, its all dooommed”

  • ardmajell55

    ‘they want to have something as an equal and opposite force to irish’

    seceder. Got it in one. the fact fact that no such entity exists is immaterial to campbell, laird nerd, etc, as long as they can get money out of brussels to waste on it fine. i take you’re not referring to willie frazer, as i think he’d be for it for the spite value alone.

  • Scots Anorak

    “the fact fact that no such entity exists is immaterial to campbell, laird nerd, etc, as long as they can get money out of brussels to waste on it fine.”

    I am not aware of any money coming from Brussels. The European Charter, if that is what you meant, is administered by the Council of Europe, not an EU body, and the Charter is in any case a list of commitments for signatory states, which are expected to provide funds to meet them.

    The attraction of Ulster Scots to the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure is surely rather that it is currently funded from the same pot of DCAL money as Irish, which allows him to reduce the funding for the latter in line with a recent DUP election commitment to oppose the language.

    Linguistic considerations seem hardly to have figured in his decision to fund the Ulster-Scots Academy. The Ulster-Scots Agency was set up to promote a traditional dialect of Scots, but the Academy plans envisage the creation of a new independent language cannibalised from that dialect.

    If the Minister accepted the overwhelming academic consensus that Ulster Scots is a form of Scots, it would be apparent that, with 98% of Scots-speakers in Scotland, 98% of funding to develop Scots as a language should come from the Scottish Government. However, that would not allow Mr. McCausland to cut funding for Irish …

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    “Consign this gibberish and it associate Irish to the dustbin of history”

    Why?

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    …..and for that matter why not include Shakespeare too……for who indeed speaks such antiquated Englishe today!

  • IJP

    Scots Anorak is well named! Spot on on every count.

    The actual linguistic status of Ulster Scots is a technicality. However, it so happens that it is an important one. Ultimately, the promotion of Ulster Scots as utterly distinct from Scots is futile, as it deprives the tongue of a proud literary and cultural heritage of which it is genuinely part.

    It is frankly astounding to see so-called “Unionists” seek to create a divide between NI and Scotland in this way, where (for once genuinely) none really exists!

  • Turgon

    Gael gan Nire,
    Kilts are gaelic, so is highland dancing. Highland is translated in Scots Gaelic as Gaidhealtachd / Gaidhealach.

    That is the bizarre thing about some of the things the Boord promote, i.e. it is not Scottish Lowland culture as their ancestors would have recognised at all.

    Yes I have always wondered about that myself. I always remember the sign in the entrance to the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe saying: “No Campbells” (I wonder if it is still there). There seems to be a failure to appreciate the difference between lowland and highland Scots (not that I pretend to be an expert). Incidentally am I correct in saying that a lot of the kilt s and clan tartans are actually a Victorian invention?

    On the subject of the language itself I think Seceder makes very valid points.

    I would also like to see a bit more about Mid Ulster (and South Ulster, I think that is right) English which is of course not a language but an interesting and important dialect.

  • HeadTheBall

    “..why not include Shakespeare too..”

    Interesting point, Gragoir. I don’t really wish to go off topic but many of my church-going friends fear that in a couple of decades the King James Bible will be impenetrable to most young people. What a loss that would be, no? I think we should view all these linguistic matters in that light.

  • OC

    All of what comprises modern Scotland spoke Irish at one time or another, except for maybe the Orkneys, which went from Pictish to Old Norse to Scots.

    The proof is the Irish place names all over what is sometimes called “Lowland Scotland”.

    Over course, for this to happen required both Pictish and Cumbric to be marginalised and finally excised.

    My understanding is that the Ulster Scots mostly came from the southwestern Scottish Borders areas and Galloway.

    Lowland Scotland, and its Braid Scots tongue had its centre in the Edinburg area, iirc, and extended quite far north up the eastern Scottish shore.

    Manx at least had the good fortune of being recorded for posterity before the last native speaker died in the 1970s iirc.

    According to the Celtic League, Cornish became extinct in maybe the early 19th Century. The current attempts to revive it obviously don’t have such recordings as Manx.

  • Dewi

    “19.All of what comprises modern Scotland spoke Irish at one time or another”

    Maybe not Strathclyde? Probably went straight from Welsh to a form of Saxon?

  • Dewi

    “7.Two words:

    speak english ”

    Two words

    Enjoy life

  • Danny

    The language now generally referred to as Scottish Gaelic was commonly known as ‘Irishe’ or ‘Erse’ in the Middle Ages, and even later. It was always associated with Ireland, and the inhabitants of the regions where it was strongest (western highlands and the western isles) were often referred to as Irish too.

    It was never spoken in the Orkneys, Shetland and parts of the southern and eastern lowlands. IIRC, the language reached its highpoint in the 12th or 13th century, when it was spoken natively over the vast majority of present-day Scotland.

  • Briso

    “The contributions of Norse, Latin, French and Dutch

    As a Dutch speaker, I can confirm this. When I went to live there, I was amazed by the number of “Derry” words (as I understood it then, though it’s clearly there by being passed through Ulster Scots), I heard in Dutch.

    “Jij bent en jammerer” – You’re a ‘nyammer’.
    “oksel” – oxter
    “bezem” – ‘bizzum’, broom for the hearth

    and more I can’t think of now.

  • Scots Anorak

    All of what comprises modern Scotland spoke Irish at one time or another, except for maybe the Orkneys, which went from Pictish to Old Norse to Scots.

    “The proof is the Irish place names all over what is sometimes called “Lowland Scotland”.

    Over course, for this to happen required both Pictish and Cumbric to be marginalised and finally excised.

    My understanding is that the Ulster Scots mostly came from the southwestern Scottish Borders areas and Galloway.”

    It is perhaps a fine point, but Modern Irish is not the same language as the Irish that was brought to Scotland any more than Modern English is the same language as Middle English. Irish and Scottish Gaelic are derived from a common ancestor.

    There are few or no Goidelic place names in the extreme south-east and the extreme north-east of Scotland, but your general point is valid, i.e. Gaelic has been a community language over a much wider area of Scotland than Scots, and all Scots people and by extension all Ulster Protestants have ancestors who spoke a form of Gaelic. Nelson McCausland’s recent article on the subject in The Ulster-Scot failed to acknowledge that obvious point, focusing instead on the very narrow issue of the language that the Planters used in 1610.

    Most Scots Planters came from Ayrshire, with a few from Galloway and the Borders, hence the point in the Scottish National Dictionary that Ulster Scots is in the main a variant of West-Mid Scots.

  • Seimi

    “7.Two words:

    speak english “

    Two words

    Enjoy life

    Or another two:

    Get life

    🙂

  • Brit

    My ‘speak english’ which I was imagining said loudly in a clearly enunciated upper class accent was obviously meant tongue in cheek. If people want to speak, write or promote gaelic, uslter-scots, manx, welsh, catalan or whatever that is fine by me – they certainly should not be prevented from doing so.

    That said English (spoken fluently by both tribes in Northern Ireland) is a wonderful language with such a wide vocubulary there there is no practical need for using the other languages to communicate. The Americans, Canadians, Aussies, etc, etc maintain a strong non-English and non-British national identity without having to speak mickey mouse languages.

    I am always suspicious of political nationalism and in many cases the promotion of an ancient national/regional language is tainted by the irrational mysticism and romanticism, the myths of oppression and feelings of superiority over, or hatred towards the other. Accordingly concerted campaigns to promote unncessary languages are not a source of joy for me.

    I can speak some gaelic however. The Aras na Gael was the nearest boozer to me whilst growing up

  • Scots Anorak

    “That said English (spoken fluently by both tribes in Northern Ireland) is a wonderful language with such a wide vocubulary there there is no practical need for using the other languages to communicate. The Americans, Canadians, Aussies, etc, etc maintain a strong non-English and non-British national identity without having to speak mickey mouse languages.”

    I should have thought that support for languages other than English was one of the most defining characteristics of that strong Canadian identity that you describe. There is, of course, no practical need for art, music, literature, religion, stately homes or corn crakes. However, life would be rather dull without them.

    In the case of Scots in Northern Ireland, a support framework that stresses the communicative elements of language over all others has done great damage through the promotion of public-sector translations given specious justification a) by the positing of a non-existent group of people who understand written Scots better than written English and b) by the use of a maximally differentiated cant to “prove” how different that group’s language is.

    Communication is only one element of language, and the only people who make arguments based exclusively on utility are those who fail to appreciate the others.

  • Brit

    “There is, of course, no practical need for art, music, literature, religion, stately homes or corn crakes. However, life would be rather dull without them.”

    Yes this is quite right (though I would scrub the religion perhaps). A good language thrives and devlops organically without special campaigns and state subsidy. I cant help thinking that harking back to ancient languages that hardly anyone speaks is not in some way a retrograd, reactionary and artificial thing to do.

  • Scots Anorak

    “A good language thrives and devlops organically without special campaigns and state subsidy.”

    I was not aware that there was such a thing as a good or bad language. Are you suggesting that the size of a language’s speech community is dictated by its structural merits?

    Perhaps you might support continued spending on language (an infinitessimal sliver of the budgetary pie) if you could be persuaded that cultural fulfilment might make a young person less likely to become a heroin addict or, to use a local example, participate in a riot. Those things have their costs, too, and one would not need to change too many destinies to recoup what one had spent.

    “I cant help thinking that harking back to ancient languages that hardly anyone speaks is not in some way a retrograd, reactionary and artificial thing to do.”

    A minor point, but all languages are the same age, as they all have the same origins (Esperanto and maximally differentiated Ullans may be exceptions).

    I look forward to your campaign to remove state funding from university Classics and English Literature departments. Or would that be perceived as cultural vandalism? Like I said, the only people who make arguments based exclusively on utility are those who fail to appreciate the others, and though you call yourself Brit, I for one associate the most rigid and dogmatic adherence to such arguments with Irish Unionists rather than with British people.

  • Dewi

    “A good language thrives and devlops organically without special campaigns and state subsidy”

    Interesting theory – where?

  • Dewi

    “A minor point, but all languages are the same age, as they all have the same origins”

    Now that is an interesting observation. The hypothesis being that from one language emerged the rest. Would you like to elaborate?

  • OC

    “A minor point, but all languages are the same age, as they all have the same origins”

    I have heard this asserted before by language experts.

  • Dewi

    THere are curious cases of language isolates which can’t be matched to the Indo- European roots of many of the world’s languages. Basque, Zuni, Japanese examples. You can usually tell in an amateurish way by looking at thw words for numbers (in theory “one” who be one of the first words invented?)
    For instance:
    Gaulish oino
    Breton unan
    Cornish onan (m) unn (f)
    Welsh un
    Irish aon
    Manx nane
    Scottish Gaelic aon
    Proto-Germanic *ainaz
    Gothic ains
    Gothic, Crimean ene
    English, Old an
    Kentish Old English án
    Northumbrian Old English án
    English, Middle ón
    English, Chaucerian (Middle) oon
    Yola oane
    Scots ane
    English one
    Frisian, Old en
    Frisian, West ien
    Frisian, Saterland aan
    Afrikaans een
    Dutch één
    West Flemish ièn
    Limburgish ein
    Low German een
    Plautdietsch een
    Saxon, Northern Low een
    German (listen) eins
    Yiddish אeyns
    German, Pennsylvania eens
    Luxembourgish eent
    Pfaelzisch oans
    Silesian, Lower ans
    Austro-Bavarian language oàns
    Cimbrian òan
    Swabian oes
    Alemannic ei (m/f) eis (n)
    Norse, Old einn
    Icelandic, Old einn
    Icelandic einn (m) ein (f) eitt (n)
    Faroese ein (m & f) eitt (n)
    Norn en
    Dalecarlian ienn
    Norwegian, Bokmål en (ei/ett)
    Norwegian, Nynorsk ein (ei/eitt)
    Danish en (et)
    Jamska ein
    Scanian ein
    Swedish en (ett)
    Oscan VINVS
    Umbrian (Italic) VNS
    Faliscan
    Latin, Old OENVS, OINOS
    Latin, Classical VNVS
    ūnus
    Latin, Vulgar *uno
    Sardinian unu
    Sardinian, Logudorese unu
    Romanian unu, una
    Istro-Romanian ur
    Aromanian unu
    Megleno-Romanian unu
    Italo-Dalmatian languages (Romance) 1
    Dalmatian join
    Italian uno
    Corsican unu, una
    Umbrian (Romance) unu
    Neapolitan unë
    Sicilian unu
    Gallo-Italian languages (Romance) 1
    Emilio-Romagnolo vón
    Genoese ün, ün-a
    Ligurian un
    Lombard vun
    Milanese vun, voeuna
    Piedmontese ün
    Venetian on
    Rhaeto-Romance languages 1
    Friulian un, une
    Ladin un
    Romansh:
    Sursilvan in, ina
    Sutsilvan egn, egna
    Surmiran egn, egna
    Vallader ün, üna
    Putèr ün, üna
    Rumantsch Grischun in, ina
    Franco-Provençal languages (Romance) 1
    Franco-Provençal yon, yena
    Langues d’oïl (Romance) 1
    French un (m)
    une (f)
    Norman eun
    Jèrriais un, eune
    iun, ieune
    Picard in
    Walloon onk / one
    Occitano-Romance languages 1
    Aranese un,ua
    Auvergnat vun
    Catalan u/un, una
    Gascon un, ua
    Languedocien un, una
    Limousin un
    Provençal un, una

    On the other hand in Basque it’s “bat” – different? Different enough to imply a separate root from other Indo European languages?

  • Dewi

    I suppose it depends on at what stage of human evolution did people start to talk. Thinking about it I reckon per-talking humans would have been fairly well dispersed through natural evolving barriers leading to multiple origins of language development?

  • Scots Anorak

    “Now that is an interesting observation. The hypothesis being that from one language emerged the rest. Would you like to elaborate?”

    There have been attempts to reconstruct common ancestors older than Indo-European. It is a speculative pastime, but in the context of these islands we are in any case dealing with Indo-European languages, from which all the relevant varieties are derived.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostratic

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Human_language

  • Dewi

    Fascinating links Mr Anorak – thanks

  • On the other hand in Basque it’s “bat” – different? Different enough to imply a separate root from other Indo European languages?

    Perhaps, perhaps not. Animals and plants are pretty different, but it’s generally accepted that they came from a common ancestor. Human beings almost certainly had language before they left Africa, so Basque must trace its lineage back to an African ancestor at the very least.

  • OC

    Amoungst the first linguists was one of the Brothers Grimm, Jacob, who gave us Grimm’s Law.

    Europe is also the home of several members of the Finno-Ugric language group, which includes Estonian, Finnish, Lapp, and Hungarian, which are not Indo-Aryan.

    Pictish is still an enigma.

    In many languages, even non-IA ones, the word for “mother” all have the initial “m” sound, eg “emma” in Estonian. My theory for this is that a baby suckling starts humming on the teat, and produces an “mmmmm” sound that is then associated with the woman providing the milk.

  • OC
  • Gael gan Náire

    “Pictish is still an enigma.”

    Actually, it isnt really, the enigma is a political one.

    Linguistics has pretty much settled on the language of the Picts being a p-celtic language, albeit a distinct one from Brythonnic.

  • Dewi

    “Human beings almost certainly had language before they left Africa, so Basque must trace its lineage back to an African ancestor at the very least.”

    No dispute with that but in Africa pre talkng humans would have been geographically dispersed – say like Apes today? Language development would certainly have giving a “tribe” or “group” competitive advantage in organising conquests etc but surely insurmountable geographical physical barriers would have existed between groups of humans even then?

    Fascinating subject.

  • Dewi

    Yep GGN – Pictish fairly clearly P-celtic – Brythons never got as far North as Aberdeen – clearly a P Celtic placename as are many others.

  • Brit

    “A good language thrives and devlops organically without special campaigns and state subsidy” Where

    England

  • OC

    “Linguistics has pretty much settled on the language of the Picts being a p-celtic language, albeit a distinct one from Brythonnic.”

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictish_language

    It goes back and forth. It will change again, hence an enigma.

  • Brit

    “I was not aware that there was such a thing as a good or bad language”

    Probably a bad choice of words (excuse the pun). What I meant to say was that if a language needs to be artificially promoted and enforced (like the French banning English and American words) to artifically engineer behaviour then it is mickey mouse. Catalan FFS is just a way of irritating the Castillians. Yes I know Franco banned it but this is the 21st Century get over yourselves. The funny thing is that in Barcelona much of the working class are internal immigrants from Castillian Spain so when the middle class Catalan nationalist lawyer gets his taxi home he needs to speak a proper global language.

  • Sam Thompson

    Back to the earlier posts, and as someone with Ulster-Scotch heritage, it greatly disappoints me that the identity has been taken over and artificially adapted to suit the political agenda of the DUP. Genuine Ulster-Scotch traditions include poetry, songwriting, story-telling and dark humour, not to mention a liking for strong alcohol. That is not the message being promoted by the Agency – it now claims we are all church-going, highland dancing, prim-prods with connections to the military and steeped in hardline unionism. Its a great shame, because i like the dialect, as spoken by my granda, and i like the stories and music and crack and banter of genuine Ulster-Scots discourse. Its been hijacked for political purposes and we are effectively witnessing the creation of an artificial ethno-political culture, to the detriment of our real heritage.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Excellent point, Sam Thompson!

  • Seimi

    Well put, Sam.

  • Dewi

    “18.“A good language thrives and devlops organically without special campaigns and state subsidy” Where

    England”

    Interesting – might want to study Henry the Eighth’s stuff – I admit I’m not an expert – when and how did English become the court language?

  • Dewi

    “Probably a bad choice of words (excuse the pun). What I meant to say was that if a language needs to be artificially promoted and enforced”

    Some artificial promotion:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treachery_of_the_Blue_Books

  • OC
  • Observer

    .“A good language thrives and devlops organically without special campaigns and state subsidy” Where

    England”

    Isn’t the OED getting smaller year by year?
    Lots of lesser used words being scrubbed in favour of text speak, or something.
    Give it another generation and it’ll be no more than a series of grunts with a few gestures thrown in.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Ah sure the beauty of it is that the great English language is ever evolving, from it’s origins in old German and French; peaking with Shakespeare and the heavyweights of 19th century literature, who knows what we’ll be talking like in 200 or 300 years time.

    Knaw wha I mane!

    Gréagóir O Frainclín

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Indeed, sure as all good Ulster folk who are well versed in the spoken/written English language know that.

    BTW, the Irish contribution to the English language is immense from the likes of Shaw, Wilde, Yeats, Beckett, Joyce, O’ Casey, Kavanagh, Behan etc….The list is endless.

    Gréagóir O Frainclín

  • leader of the pack

    “as someone with Ulster-Scotch heritage”

    What is this?