Ulster Scots

ulster scots

It’s claimed that Ulster Scots is a language in the same way as Irish or English, or Serbo-Croat. Well, here’s the introduction to the web site of the Ulster Scots Agency.

Aboot Worsels

Tha Noarth-Sooth Boord  Leid is cum aboot frae tha Bilfawst Greeance as yin o tha Noarth-Sooth boords. Tha Boord o Leid taks in twa faicteries, Tha Boord o Ulster-Scotch an Tha Boord o Gaelick (Foras na Gaeilge). Ilka yin o thir twa faicteries haes its ain boord quhilk thegither maks tha Noarth-Sooth Boord o Leid. The preses o ilka Boord is baith Claucht-Preses o tha Boord o Leid.

Tha Boord o Ulster-Scotch bis gart unner tha laa guide tha “forderin o mair forstannin an uise o tha Ulster-Scotch leid an o Ulster-Scotch fowkgate daeins, baith ben Norlin Airlann an athort tha islann”.

Tha Boord maun gie answer til tha Noarth-Sooth Cooncil o Minnysters, an maist o aa tae tha twa Minnystrrs, baith in tha Norlin Airlann Semmlie an Dáil Eireann, as taks adae wi tha leid an tha heirskip o Ulstèr-Scotch fowkgates.

Tha Boord is ootbye govermenn minnystries, but haes laa-makkin pooers in baith kintras on tha islann o Airlann.

Tha Boord wull hae its heich offis in Bilfawst, an an unner-offis in Dunnygal.

Got that?

Ok. Here’s my glossary of the Ulster Scots words in that introduction.

Aa : All
Aboot : about
Ain : Own
Airlinn : Ireland
Athort : Athwart (?)
Baith : Both
Bilfawst : Belfast
Boord : Board
Claucht : (?)
Cooncil : Council
Cum : Come
Daeins : Doings
Dunnygal : Donegal
Faictories :
Forderin : Furthering
Forstannin : (?)
Fowkgate : (?)
Frae : From
Gie : Give
Govermenn : Government
Greeance : Agreement
Haes : Has
Heich : High
Heirskip : (?)
Ilka : Each
Islann : Island
Kintras : Countries
Laa : Law
Laa-makkin : Law-making
Leid : Language
Mair : More
Maist : Most
Maks : Makes
Minnysters : Ministers
Minnystries : Ministries
Maun : Must
Noarth : North
Norlin : Northern
O : Of
Offis : Office
Pooers : Powers
Preses :
Quhilk : Which
Semmlie : Assembly
Sooth : South
Taks : Takes
Tha : The
Thegither : Together
Til : To
Twa : Two
Uise : Use
Unner-offis : Under-office
Unner : Under
Worsels : Ourselves
Wull : Will
Yin : One

Ah, lads. Come on now. At the absolute outside, that’s a dialect of English, no? And I’m being kind there. It’s an accent, not a language! It’s a phonetic representation of the way people pronounce English. I know there are some words I haven’t been able to explain, but on the basis of this, I could make a case for Limerick Knacker, or Dublin Gurrier, or even Portmarnock Golf! In fact, one of these days, I’ll make up a glossary of Roadwatch Rand-Abangt, and let’s see if we can get it accepted by the European Commission.

Hould on there, boys. Wid youse ever ketch on til yersels? Some-yin’s takkin a haund at youse!


More St Patrick’s Day Shite

Here we go again.

After a long hibernation, we’ve built up sufficient reserves of smugness to begin patronising the planet once more. On Friday, we’ll witness the annual Festival of the Freaks in every town and village in the country. Here in Limerick, we’ll thrill as the local Fat Knacker Marching Bands take to the streets. Hundreds of frozen-blue little girls with goosebumps and double chins wobbling down O’Connell Street. After the Fat Knacker Marching Bands, we’ll have five-year-olds on quad bikes with a coordinated display of pedestrian-knocking, followed by the Throwing-a-Black-Bag-From-a-Moving-Vehicle competition.

If you don’t like any of that, you can have the (dwindling) bunch of ancient Americans staggering down the middle of our main street and waving at the locals for no obvious fucking reason. I always liked that one.  Always.

Dad, who are those old people and why are they waving at us?

Shut up, son, they’re our American ancestors.

Or you could have the endless line of trucks with advertisements and nothing else stuck on the side of them.  Buy Hegarty’s Windows, and win a night with a Hungarian Hooker!!

I love the car with the couple of balloons tied to the wipers. Look, Dad. A car!  With a strange orange-skinned person sitting on the roof, waving to us. Could it possibly be Gavin Henson? No, it’s even better than that. Please, Miss Limerick, wave at me!

Don’t knock it: it’s the only culture we have left these days, and you can believe that all the other Patrick’s Day shit is a whole load of guff.

Some years ago, I reached an agreement with my son, then 10 years old. Standing in the freezing cold and pissing rain, he looked up at me, and we exchanged that glance that only father-son pairs understand. The look that says This Is Crap. And we’ve never been back.

Nobody ever says “shitting rain”. Isn’t that strange?


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