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Mid Ulster English

Mid Ulster English

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Encyclopedia
Mid Ulster English is the dialect of Hiberno-English
Hiberno-English
Hiberno-English is the dialect of English written and spoken in Ireland .English was first brought to Ireland during the Norman invasion of the late 12th century. Initially it was mainly spoken in an area known as the Pale around Dublin, with Irish spoken throughout the rest of the country...

 spoken by most people in the province
Provinces of Ireland
Ireland has historically been divided into four provinces: Leinster, Ulster, Munster and Connacht. The Irish word for this territorial division, cúige, literally meaning "fifth part", indicates that there were once five; the fifth province, Meath, was incorporated into Leinster, with parts going to...

 of Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

 in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. The dialect has been greatly influenced by Ulster Irish
Ulster Irish
Ulster Irish is the dialect of the Irish language spoken in the Province of Ulster. The largest Gaeltacht region today is in County Donegal, so that the term Donegal Irish is often used synonymously. Nevertheless, records of the language as it was spoken in other counties do exist, and help provide...

, but also by the Scots language
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

, which was brought over by Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 settlers during the plantations
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

.

Mid Ulster English is the main subdivision of Ulster English (also called Northern Hiberno-English). The varieties spoken in south Armagh
County Armagh
-History:Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha near Armagh. The site, and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha...

, south Monaghan
County Monaghan
County Monaghan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Monaghan. Monaghan County Council is the local authority for the county...

, south Fermanagh
County Fermanagh
Fermanagh District Council is the only one of the 26 district councils in Northern Ireland that contains all of the county it is named after. The district council also contains a small section of County Tyrone in the Dromore and Kilskeery road areas....

, south Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

 and north Cavan
County Cavan
County Cavan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Cavan. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county...

 are termed South Ulster English by linguists. Conversely, the varieties spoken in much of north County Antrim
County Antrim
County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,844 km², with a population of approximately 616,000...

 are termed Ulster Scots. The Mid Ulster English dialect is used in the area between these.

Vowels

Phonetic notation
i feet
/əi/ fight
e fate
/əʉ/ shout
ɛ bet
/ɛ̈/ bit
a bat
/ɔ̈/ but
ɑ pot
ɔː bought
o boat
father
ʉ boot, foot
/ɔe/ boy


  • Vowels have phonemic vowel length, with one set of lexically long and one of lexically short phonemes. This may be variously influenced by the Scots system
    Scottish Vowel Length Rule
    The Scottish vowel length rule, also known as Aitken's law after Professor A.J. Aitken, who formulated it, describes how vowel length in Scots, Scottish English, and to some extent Mid Ulster English, is conditioned by environment.- Phonemes :...

    . It is considerably less phonemic than Received Pronunciation, and in vernacular Belfast speech vowel length may vary depending on stress. in after /w/, e.g. want, what, quality. and /ɔː/ distinction in cot, body and caught, bawdy. Some varieties neutralise the distinction in long environments, e.g. don = dawn and pod = pawed. may occur in such words as beat, decent, leave, Jesus, etc. This feature is recessive.
  • Lagan Valley /ɛ/ before /k/ in take and make, etc. before velars in sack, bag, and bang, etc.
  • Merger of /a/–/aː/ in all monosyllables, e.g. Sam and psalm [sɑːm]. may occur before palatalized consonants, e.g. king, fish , condition, brick and sick. may occur before /p/ and /t/ in tap and top, etc. before /r/ in floor, whore, door, board, etc.
  • Vowel oppositions before /r/, e.g. /ɛrn/ earn, /fɔr/ for and /for/ four.

Consonants

  • Rhoticity
    Rhotic and non-rhotic accents
    English pronunciation can be divided into two main accent groups: a rhotic speaker pronounces a rhotic consonant in words like hard; a non-rhotic speaker does not...

    , that is, retention of /r/ in all positions.
  • Palatalisation of /k, ɡ, ŋ/ in the environment of front vowels. is not vocalised, except historically; usually "clear" as in Southern Hiberno-English, with some exceptions.
  • Unaspirated /p/, /k/ between vowels in words such as pepper and packet.
  • Voiced /d/ (or tapped /ɾ/) for /t/ between vowels in words such as butter and city. This is similar to North American
    North American English
    North American English is the variety of the English language of North America, including that of the United States and Canada. Because of their shared histories and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken languages...

     and Australian English
    Australian English
    Australian English is the name given to the group of dialects spoken in Australia that form a major variety of the English language....

    .
  • Dental /t̪/ and /d̪/ for /t/ and /d/ before /r/ in words such as butter or dry. This feature is shared by Southern Hiberno-English.–/w/ contrast in which–witch. This feature is recessive, particularly in vernacular Belfast speech.
  • Dental realisations of /t, d, n, l/ may occur through Irish
    Irish language
    Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

     influence before /r/, e.g. ladder, matter, dinner and pillar, etc.
  • Elision of /d/ in hand [hɑːn], candle /ˈkanl/ and old [əʉl], etc.
  • Elision of /b, ɡ/ in sing [sɪŋ], thimble, finger etc. and /ð/ for th. for gh is retained in proper names and a few dialect words or pronunciations, e.g. lough
    Lough
    A lough is a body of water and is either:* A lake* A sea lough, which may be a fjord, estuary, bay, or sea inlet.It can also be used as a surname, with various pronunciations: law, loch, low, lowe, loth, loff....

    , trough and sheugh.

Grammar derived from Irish


The morphology
Irish morphology
This article discusses the grammar of the Irish language.The morphology of Irish is in some respects typical of an Indo-European language. Nouns are declined for number and case, and verbs for person and number. Nouns are classified by masculine or feminine gender...

 and syntax
Irish syntax
Irish syntax is rather different from that of most Indo-European languages, notably because of its VSO word order.-Normal word order:The normal word order in an Irish sentence is:#Preverbal particle#Verb#Subject#Direct object or predicate adjective...

 of Irish is quite different from that of English, and it has influenced both Northern and Southern Hiberno-English to some degree.

Irish has separate forms for the second person singular () and the second person plural (sibh), like English used to have. Ulster English mirrors Irish in that the singular "you" is distinguished from the plural "you". This is normally done by using the words yous, yousuns or yis. For example:
  • "Are yous not finished yet?"
  • "Did yousuns all go to see it?"
  • " What are yis up to?"


Irish lacks words that directly translate as "yes" or "no", and instead repeats the verb in a question (positively or negatively) to answer. As such, Northern and Southern Hiberno-English use "yes" and "no" less frequently than other English dialects. For example:
  • "Are you coming home soon?" "I am"
  • "Is your computer working?" "It's not"


The absence of the verb "have" in Irish has influenced some grammar. The concept of "have" is expressed in Irish by the construction ag ("at") ("me") to create agam ("at me"). Hence, Ulster English speakers sometimes use the verb "have" followed by "with me/on me". For example:
  • "Do you have the book with you?"
  • "Have you money for the bus on you?"

Belfast and surroundings


The urban Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 dialect is not limited to the city itself but also takes in neighbouring urban areas in the local vicinity (such as Lisburn
Lisburn
DemographicsLisburn Urban Area is within Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area and is classified as a Large Town by the . On census day there were 71,465 people living in Lisburn...

, Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus , known locally and colloquially as "Carrick", is a large town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is located on the north shore of Belfast Lough, from Belfast. The town had a population of 27,201 at the 2001 Census and takes its name from Fergus Mór mac Eirc, the 6th century king...

 and Newtownards
Newtownards
Newtownards is a large town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies at the most northern tip of Strangford Lough, 10 miles east of Belfast, on the Ards Peninsula. Newtownards is the largest town in the Borough of Ards. According to the 2001 Census, it has a population of 27,821 people in...

), as well as towns whose inhabitants originally came from Belfast (such as Craigavon
Craigavon
Craigavon is a settlement in north County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It was a planned settlement that was begun in 1965 and named after Northern Ireland's first Prime Minister — James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon. It was intended to be a linear city incorporating Lurgan and Portadown, but this plan...

). It is generally perceived as being associated with economically disadvantaged areas, and with youth culture. This however is not the dialect used in the media (even those outlets which are based in Belfast). Features of the accent include several vowel shifts, including one from /æ/ to /ɛ/ before or after velars
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

 (/bɛɡ/ for bag). Nowadays, this shift largely only happens before /k/, so pack and peck are homophones as /pɛk/.

The Belfast dialect is now becoming more frequently heard in towns in the 'commuter belt' whose inhabitants would have traditionally spoken with a 'country' accent. Examples of such areas are Moira
Moira, County Down
Moira is a village in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is in the northwest of the county, near the borders with counties Antrim and Armagh. The M1 motorway and Dublin–Belfast railway line are nearby. The settlement has existed since time immemorial...

, Ballyclare
Ballyclare
Ballyclare is a small town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 8,770 people in the 2001 Census...

, Dromore
Dromore
- Places :* Dromore, Ontario, Canada* Dromore , a crater in the Lunae Palus quadrangle of Mars- Other :* Bishop of Dromore, named for the town in County Down; the pre-Reformation antecedent of:** Roman Catholic Diocese of Dromore...

 and Ballynahinch
Ballynahinch
Ballynahinch is the name of a number of towns in Ireland:*Ballynahinch, County Down, a town in Northern Ireland*Ballynahinch, County Armagh, a townland in County Armagh, Northern Ireland*Ballynahinch, County Galway in the Republic of Ireland...

. It could be said that many youths in these areas prefer to use the more cosmopolitan city accent, as opposed to the local variant that their parents or people in other areas would use.

Other phonological features include the following:
  • Two major realizations of /e/ are to be encountered: in open syllables a long monophthong near [ɛː], but in closed syllables an ingliding diphthong, perhaps most typically [eə], but ranging from [ɛə] to [iə]. Thus days [dɛːz] and daze [deəz] are not homophonous.
  • In Belfast, and in mid and south Ulster, the opposition between /ɔ/ and /ɒ/ is better maintained than in other parts of Ulster, though it is restricted to only a few environments, e.g., that of a following voiceless plosive. Thus stock [stɒk ~ stɑk ~ sta̠k] is distinct from stalk [stɔ(ː)k]. However, this is complicated by the fact that certain words belonging to the Standard Lexical Set THOUGHT have /ɒ/ rather than the expected /ɔ/. These typically include draw, fall, walk, and caught. Water often has /a/ (the TRAP vowel).
  • The /aʊ/ phoneme is pronounced [əʉ] in most of Ulster, but in Belfast it is extremely variable and is a sensitive social marker. Pronunciations with a relatively front first element, [ɛ̈] or fronter, are working class. Middle class speakers prefer back [ɑ] or even [ɔ]. The second element is [ʉ ~ y ~ ɨ], often with little or no rounding. How and now may receive special treatment in working-class Belfast speech, with an open first element [a ~ ɑ] and a second element ranging over [i ~ ʉ], a retroflex approximant [ɻ], and zero, i.e., there may be no second element.


Some of the vocabulary used among young people in Ulster, such as the word "spide
Spide
A spide , is a pejorative stereotype, in Northern Ireland, especially in Belfast, of a person who has a particular dress code and attitude. Spides are often young, unemployed, male adults...

", is of Belfast origin.

Ulster Scots areas


This region is heavily influenced by the historic presence of Ulster Scots and covers areas such as northern and eastern County Antrim
County Antrim
County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,844 km², with a population of approximately 616,000...

, the Ards Peninsula
Ards Peninsula
The Ards Peninsula is a peninsula in County Down, Northern Ireland which separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel of the Irish Sea, on Ireland's northeast coast. A number of towns and villages are located on the peninsula, such as the seaside town of Donaghadee, with the surrounding area...

 in County Down
County Down
-Cities:*Belfast *Newry -Large towns:*Dundonald*Newtownards*Bangor-Medium towns:...

, The Laggan district in County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

 and northeastern County Londonderry
County Londonderry
The place name Derry is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire meaning oak-grove or oak-wood. As with the city, its name is subject to the Derry/Londonderry name dispute, with the form Derry preferred by nationalists and Londonderry preferred by unionists...

. These districts are strongly Ulster Scots-influenced, and Scots pronunciation
Modern Scots
Modern Scots describes the varieties of Scots traditionally spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster from 1700.Throughout its history, Modern Scots has been undergoing a process of language attrition, whereby successive generations of speakers have adopted more and more features from...

 of words is often heard. People from here are often mistaken by outsiders as Scottish. This area includes the Glens of Antrim
Glens of Antrim
The Glens of Antrim , known locally as simply The Glens, is a region of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It comprises nine glens , that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. The Glens are an area of outstanding natural beauty and are a major tourist attraction in north Antrim...

, where the last native Irish speakers of a dialect native to what is now Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 were to be found. It has been stated that, whilst in the written form, Gaelic of this area continued to use standardised Irish forms, the spoken dialect continued to the Scottish variant, and was in effect no different to the Gaelic of Argyll
Argyll
Argyll , archaically Argyle , is a region of western Scotland corresponding with most of the part of ancient Dál Riata that was located on the island of Great Britain, and in a historical context can be used to mean the entire western coast between the Mull of Kintyre and Cape Wrath...

, or Galloway
Galwegian Gaelic
Galwegian Gaelic is an extinct dialect of Scottish Gaelic formerly spoken in southwest Scotland. It was spoken by the independent kings of Galloway in their time, and by the people of Galloway and Carrick until the early modern period. It was once spoken in Annandale and Strathnith...

 (both in Scotland).

In the 1830s, Ordnance Survey memoirs came to the following conclusion about the dialect of the inhabitants of Carnmoney
Carnmoney
Carnmoney is the name of a townland and electoral ward in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Carnmoney is within the urban area called Newtownabbey and the wider Newtownabbey Borough. It lies 7 miles from Belfast city centre....

, east Antrim:
The results of a BBC sociolinguistic survey can be found here. East Donegal also has a strong Ulster Scots dialect (see below).

Derry City and surroundings


The accent of Derry
Derry
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

 City is actually that of western County Londonderry
County Londonderry
The place name Derry is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire meaning oak-grove or oak-wood. As with the city, its name is subject to the Derry/Londonderry name dispute, with the form Derry preferred by nationalists and Londonderry preferred by unionists...

 (including Dungiven
Dungiven
Dungiven is a small town and townland in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is on the main A6 Belfast to Derry road. It lies where the rivers Roe, Owenreagh and Owenbeg meet at the foot of the Benbradagh. Nearby is the Glenshane Pass, where the road rises to over...

 and Limavady
Limavady
Limavady is a market town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with Binevenagh as a backdrop. It lies east of Derry and south west of Coleraine. It had a population of 12,135 people in the 2001 Census, an increase of some 17% compared to 1991...

), northeastern County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

 (including Inishowen
Inishowen
Inishowen is a peninsula in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in the north of Ireland. It is also the largest peninsula in all of Ireland. Inishowen is a picturesque location with a rich history...

), and northern and western County Tyrone
County Tyrone
Historically Tyrone stretched as far north as Lough Foyle, and comprised part of modern day County Londonderry east of the River Foyle. The majority of County Londonderry was carved out of Tyrone between 1610-1620 when that land went to the Guilds of London to set up profit making schemes based on...

 (including Strabane
Strabane
Strabane , historically spelt Straban,is a town in west County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It contains the headquarters of Strabane District Council....

). There is a higher incidence of palatalisation after /k/ and its voiced equivalent /ɡ/(eg. /kʲɑɹ/ "kyar" for "car"), perhaps through influence from Southern Hiberno-English. However, the most noticeable difference is perhaps the intonation, which is unique to the Derry
Derry
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

, Letterkenny
Letterkenny
Letterkenny , with a population of 17,568, is the largest town in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in Ireland. The town is located on the River Swilly...

 and Strabane
Strabane
Strabane , historically spelt Straban,is a town in west County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It contains the headquarters of Strabane District Council....

 area. The accent of the Finn Valley and especially The Laggan district (centered on the town of Raphoe
Raphoe
Raphoe is a town in County Donegal, part of the province of Ulster in Ireland. It is the main town in the fertile district of East Donegal known as the Laggan, as well as giving its name to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raphoe and the Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe.-Name:Raphoe,...

), both in East Donegal, together with the accent of neighbouring West Tyrone and the accent of the westernmost parts of County Londonderry
County Londonderry
The place name Derry is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire meaning oak-grove or oak-wood. As with the city, its name is subject to the Derry/Londonderry name dispute, with the form Derry preferred by nationalists and Londonderry preferred by unionists...

 (not including Derry City), are also quite Scottish
Scottish English
Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not be considered distinct from the Scots language. It is always considered distinct from Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language....

 sounding. A variety of Ulster Scots
Ulster Scots language
Ulster Scots or Ulster-Scots generally refers to the dialects of Scots spoken in parts of Ulster in Ireland. Some definitions of Ulster Scots may also include Standard English spoken with an Ulster Scots accent...

 is spoken in these areas. This West Ulster variety of Ulster Scots is considered to be quite similar to the Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

 spoken in Ayrshire
Ayrshire
Ayrshire is a registration county, and former administrative county in south-west Scotland, United Kingdom, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine. The town of Troon on the coast has hosted the British Open Golf Championship twice in the...

 in south-west Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

.

Mid Ulster


The speech in southern and western County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

, southern County Tyrone
County Tyrone
Historically Tyrone stretched as far north as Lough Foyle, and comprised part of modern day County Londonderry east of the River Foyle. The majority of County Londonderry was carved out of Tyrone between 1610-1620 when that land went to the Guilds of London to set up profit making schemes based on...

 (known as South Tyrone), southern County Londonderry
County Londonderry
The place name Derry is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire meaning oak-grove or oak-wood. As with the city, its name is subject to the Derry/Londonderry name dispute, with the form Derry preferred by nationalists and Londonderry preferred by unionists...

 (often known as South Derry), northern County Fermanagh
County Fermanagh
Fermanagh District Council is the only one of the 26 district councils in Northern Ireland that contains all of the county it is named after. The district council also contains a small section of County Tyrone in the Dromore and Kilskeery road areas....

, north County Armagh
County Armagh
-History:Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha near Armagh. The site, and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha...

, southwestern County Antrim
County Antrim
County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,844 km², with a population of approximately 616,000...

 and most of County Down
County Down
-Cities:*Belfast *Newry -Large towns:*Dundonald*Newtownards*Bangor-Medium towns:...

 form a geographical band across the province from east to west. On the whole, these areas have much more in common with the Derry accent in the west than inner-city Belfast except in the east. This accent is often claimed as being the "standard" Northern Irish dialect as it is the most widely used, and it is the dialect of famous Irish writer
Irish literature
For a comparatively small island, Ireland has made a disproportionately large contribution to world literature. Irish literature encompasses the Irish and English languages.-The beginning of writing in Irish:...

 Séamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet, writer and lecturer. He lives in Dublin. Heaney has received the Nobel Prize in Literature , the Golden Wreath of Poetry , T. S. Eliot Prize and two Whitbread prizes...

. Parts of the north of County Monaghan
County Monaghan
County Monaghan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Monaghan. Monaghan County Council is the local authority for the county...

 (an area centered on Monaghan Town and known as North Monaghan) would roughly fall into this category, but only to a certain extent. Bundoran
Bundoran
Bundoran is a town in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in the north of Ireland. The town is located on the N15 road near Ballyshannon, 3 hours drive from Dublin and around two and a quarter hours drive from Belfast...

, a town at the southern extremity of County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

, also has quite a western Ireland accent, as do parts of the south-west extremity of County Fermanagh
County Fermanagh
Fermanagh District Council is the only one of the 26 district councils in Northern Ireland that contains all of the county it is named after. The district council also contains a small section of County Tyrone in the Dromore and Kilskeery road areas....

.

South Ulster


Areas such as southern and western County Armagh
County Armagh
-History:Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha near Armagh. The site, and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha...

, central and southern County Monaghan
County Monaghan
County Monaghan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Monaghan. Monaghan County Council is the local authority for the county...

 (known locally as South Monaghan), northern County Cavan
County Cavan
County Cavan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Cavan. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county...

 and the southern 'strip' of County Fermanagh
County Fermanagh
Fermanagh District Council is the only one of the 26 district councils in Northern Ireland that contains all of the county it is named after. The district council also contains a small section of County Tyrone in the Dromore and Kilskeery road areas....

 are the hinterland of the larger Mid-Ulster dialect. The accent gradually shifts from village to village, forming part of the dialect continuum between areas to the North and Midlands (as it once did in Gaelic). This accent is also used in north County Louth
County Louth
County Louth is a county of Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Louth. Louth County Council is the local authority for the county...

 (located in Leinster
Leinster
Leinster is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the east of Ireland. It comprises the ancient Kingdoms of Mide, Osraige and Leinster. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the historic fifths of Leinster and Mide gradually merged, mainly due to the impact of the Pale, which straddled...

) and in part of the northern 'strip' of County Leitrim
County Leitrim
County Leitrim is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the village of Leitrim. Leitrim County Council is the local authority for the county...

 (in Connacht
Connacht
Connacht , formerly anglicised as Connaught, is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the west of Ireland. In Ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for...

).

Vocabulary


Much non-standard vocabulary found in Ulster English and many meanings of Standard English words peculiar to the dialect come from Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

 and Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

. Some examples are shown in the table below. Many of these are also used in Southern Hiberno-English, especially in the northern half of the island.
Ulster English Standard English Type Notes
ach!, och!, ack! annoyance, regret, etc. interjection Pronounced or . Usually used to replace "ah!" and "oh!". Ach is Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 for "but", and can be used in the same context. Och is Irish and Scottish Gaelic for "alas", and again can be used in the same context. Cf. German, Dutch, Frisian ach and English agh.
aul, oul old adjective Pronounced . From auld, an archaic form of old that is still used in Scots and Northern English dialects.
aye, auy yes adverb Used throughout Ireland, Scotland and parts of northern England.
General Scots and dialect/archaic English, first attested 1575.
bake mouth noun A different pronunciation and extended meaning of beak.
banjax to break/ruin/destroy,
a mess
verb
noun
Used throughout Ireland; origin unknown.
blade girl noun Mainly used in Tyrone with different meanings depending on usage, but always refers to a female. "Look at thon blade" – "Look at that girl"; "Our blade" – "My sister/cousin" (Can also be used as a term of endearment in this form)
boak, boke to retch/vomit,
vomit
verb
noun
From Scots bowk.
bog wetland/toilet noun From Irish bogach meaning "wetland".
boreen a narrow road/lane/track noun From Irish bóithrín meaning "small road".
bout ye? how are you? greeting From the longer version "What about ye?" ("What about you?"), which is also used.
bru unemployment benefits noun Pronounced . Shortened from welfare bureau.
cat-melodeon awful adjective Probably a combination of cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

and melodeon
Melodeon (organ)
A melodeon is a type of 19th century reed organ with a foot-operated vacuum bellows, and a piano keyboard. It differs from the related harmonium, which uses a pressure bellows. Melodeons were manufactured in the United States sometime after 1812 until the Civil War era...

, referencing the sound of a screeching cat and badly-played melodeon tunes.
The second part is pronounced .
caul, coul cold adjective Pronounced . From Scots cauld meaning "cold".
carlin' old woman noun From Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 kerling meaning "woman" (especially an old woman).
carnaptious quarrelsome/irritable adjective From Scots.
claggerd covered with something adhesive (usually dirt) adjective From Scots claggert meaning "besmeared".
cowp to tip over/to fall over verb From Scots.
crack, craic banter/fun/gossip/news
(eg. "What's the crack?)
noun From Scots or Northern English. Originally spelt crack but the Gaelicized spelling craic is now common.
craitur, craytur a term of endearment
(eg. "The poor craitur")
noun From the Hiberno-English pronunciation of creature where ea is realised /e/ (see above) and -ture as archaic /tər/ rather than the standard affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

 /tʃər/.
culchie
Culchie
In Irish-English culchie is a term sometimes used to describe a person from rural Ireland. In Dublin, it is often used to describe someone from without the bounds of the 'M50' motorway. It usually has a pejorative meaning, but is also reclaimed by some proud of their rural origin, and may be used...

farmer/rural dweller noun Origin uncertain—either from Irish coillte meaning "woods"; from Irish cúl a' tí meaning "back of the house" (for it was common practise for country people to go in the back door of the house they were visiting); or from the -culture in "agriculture".
dander walk noun/verb From Scots or Northern English.
dead-on okay/no problem interjection
adjective
Origin uncertain.
drawk,
drawky
to soak/drench,
wet/showery
verb
adjective
From Irish droch-aimsir meaning "bad weather" or "wet weather" or the less likely Scots draik/drawk.
eejit idiot noun From the Hiberno-English pronunciation of idiot.
feck a mild form of fuck
Fuck
"Fuck" is an English word that is generally considered obscene which, in its most literal meaning, refers to the act of sexual intercourse. By extension it may be used to negatively characterize anything that can be dismissed, disdained, defiled, or destroyed."Fuck" can be used as a verb, adverb,...

interjection Gained popularity following its frequent use in the 1990s comedy TV series Father Ted
Father Ted
Father Ted is a comedy series set in Ireland that was produced by Hat Trick Productions for British broadcaster Channel 4. Written jointly by Irish writers Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan and starring a predominantly Irish cast, it originally aired over three series from 21 April 1995 until 1 May...

.
feg cigarette noun Pronounced . From the English slang term fag.
fella man noun From English fellow; ultimately from Norse felagi.
footer,
futer
fidget/waste time verb Via Scots fouter from Old French foutre.Perhaps from Irish fútar.
fornenst in front of/facing adverb From Scots or Northern English.
founder,
founderd
cold,
to be cold
noun
adjective
From Scots foundert/foondert/fundert which can mean "(to be) chilled".
geg, geggin' joke, joking noun/verb From English gag.
glen
Glen
A glen is a valley, typically one that is long, deep, and often glacially U-shaped; or one with a watercourse running through such a valley. Whittow defines it as a "Scottish term for a deep valley in the Highlands" that is "narrower than a strath."...

valley noun From Irish gleann.
gob, gub mouth noun From Irish gob, which can mean "mouth".
gutties, guddies running shoes noun From Scots, in which it is used to mean anything made of rubber. Note also the phrase "Give her the guttie" meaning "Step on it (accelerate)".
hallion a good-for-nothing noun From Scots hallion meaning "rascal".
hesp a scolding old woman noun Perhaps from Irish easpan. Cf. Scots hesper: a hard thing to do; a difficult person to get on with.
hoak, hoke to search for/to forage
(eg. "Have a hoak for it")
verb From Scots howk.
hooley party noun Origin unknown; perhaps a variant of Irish céilí
Céilidh
In modern usage, a céilidh or ceilidh is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. It originated in Ireland, but is now common throughout the Irish and Scottish diasporas...

.
houl hold verb Pronounced . From Scots/Northern English.
jap to splatter; to splash; (of a frying pan) emit tiny 'sparks' of hot fat verb From Scots jaup.
jouk, juke to dodge/to go verb From Scots jouk meaning "to dodge".
keen,
keenin',
keenin'
to lament/to wail,
lamenting/wailing,
shrill (in terms of sound)
verb
noun
adjective
From Irish caoin meaning "lament". Keening
Keening
Keening is a form of vocal lament associated with mourning that is traditional in Scotland and Ireland.-Etymology:"Keen" as a noun or verb comes from the Irish/Scots Gaelic term "caoineadh" and references to it from the seventh, eighth and twelfth centuries are extensive.-History:Written sources...

 was a traditional practice done by woman at Irish funerals.
lock'a an unspecified amount
(eg. "In a lock'a minutes")
determiner From Irish loca meaning "a pile of" or "a wad of", or simply an extended meaning of "lock" as in "a lock of hair".
loch
Loch
Loch is the Irish and Scottish Gaelic word for a lake or a sea inlet. It has been anglicised as lough, although this is pronounced the same way as loch. Some lochs could also be called a firth, fjord, estuary, strait or bay...

, lough
Lough
A lough is a body of water and is either:* A lake* A sea lough, which may be a fjord, estuary, bay, or sea inlet.It can also be used as a surname, with various pronunciations: law, loch, low, lowe, loth, loff....

lake/sea inlet noun Pronounced . From Irish loch.
lug ear noun From Norse. Originally used to mean "an appendage" (cf. Norwegian lugg meaning "a tuft of hair").
Used throughout Ireland.
malarky, malarkey nonsense noun Probably from Irish.
munya great/lovely/attractive adjective Origin unknown.
oxter armpit/under-arm noun From Scots.
poke ice-cream noun From Scots poke meaning "bag" or "pouch".
potcheen
Poitín
Poitín , anglicised as poteen, is a traditional Irish distilled, highly alcoholic beverage . Poitín was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and the term is a diminutive of the Irish word pota, meaning "pot"...

hooch/bootleg alcohol noun From Irish poitín.
quare, kwer very/considerable
(eg. "A quare distance")
adjective
adverb
A different pronunciation and extended meaning of "queer".
Used throughout Ireland.
scrab,
scrawb
scratch/scrape noun/verb From Irish scráib. Cf. Northern English scrab and Dutch schrabben (to scrape).
scunner/scunder,
scunnerd/scunderd
to annoy/embarrass,
annoyed/embarrassed
verb
adjective
From Scots scunner/scunnert meaning "offended" or "fed up".
sheuch,
sheugh
a small shallow ditch
noun From Scots sheuch.
skite,
skitter,
scoot
to move quickly verb From Norse skjuta meaning "to shoot" (cf. Norwegian skutla meaning "to glide quickly").
skite to splatter with force verb From Norse skjuta.
slew a great amount noun From Irish slua meaning "a crowd/multitude".
smidgen a very small piece noun From Irish smidean.
snig to snap-off/lop-off verb Origin unknown. Cf. Scots sneg < sneck.
stoor dust noun From Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 estour.
tae tea noun Pronounced , this is the Irish word for "tea".
til to preposition From Norse til.
the-day,
the-night,
the-marra
today,
tonight,
tomorrow
noun/adverb From Scots the day, the nicht, the morra.
thon that adjective From Scots; originally yon in archaic English, the th by analogy with this and that.
thonder there (something distant but within sight) adjective From Scots; originally yonder in archaic English.
throughother untidy adjective Probably from Irish. However, it has parallels in both Goidelic (eg. Irish trína chéile) and Germanic (eg. Scots throuither, German durcheinander).
wee little, but also used as a generic diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

adjective From Middle English.
Used throughout the north of Ireland and in Scotland.
weean, wean child noun From Scots wee (small) + ane (one).
wheeker excellent adjective From Scots wheech meaning "to snatch". Onomatopoeic.
wheen a few/several determiner From Scots. Usually used in the phrase "a wheen of..."
whisht be quiet (a command) interjection The Irish huist, meaning "be quiet", is an unlikely source since the word is known throughout England and Scotland where it derives from early Middle English whist (cf. Middle English hust and Scots wheesht).
wojus awful adjective Probably a variation of odious.
Used throughout Ireland.
ye you (singular) pronoun From Middle English ye, but pronounced with a short e sound.
yous, yousuns you (plural) pronoun See grammar derived from Irish.


Furthermore, speakers of the dialect conjugate many verbs according to how they are formed in the most vernacular forms of Ulster Scots, e.g. driv instead of drove and driven as the past tense of drive, etc. (literary Scots druive, driven). Verbal syncretism is extremely widespread, as is the Northern subject rule
Northern subject rule
The Northern Subject Rule is a grammatical pattern inherited from Northern Middle English. Present tense verbs may take the verbal ‑s suffix, except when they are directly adjacent to one of the personal pronouns I, you, we, or they as their subject...

.

External links