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ULSTER SCOTS

ULSTER SCOTS. A variety of SCOTS spoken in the north of Ireland, mainly in parts of Antrim, Derry, Donegal, and Down, but influencing all varieties of speech in Northern Ireland and adjacent parts of the Irish Republic. The extent of Ulster Scots in a person's speech is related to region, education, and social position. The lower down the social ladder, the more likely is the speaker to roll the /r/ in words such as war and work; lose the postvocalic /l/ in words like fall and full (fa, fu); rhyme die with me (‘dee’), dead with bead (‘deed’), home with name (‘hame’), now with who (‘noo’); and use the voiceless velar fricative in the pronunciation of Clogher, laugh, trough (like ScoE loch). The phonological similarity between Ulster and Lowland Scots is reinforced by vocabulary, although many traditional words are in decline. Words shared by the two communities include ava at all, bairn a baby, child, brae a hill, steep slope, firnenst in front of, greet to cry, ken to know, lum a chimney, message an errand, nor than, oxther an armpit (Scots oxter), peerie a spinning-top, tae to. Two distinctive grammatical features are the negatives no (We'll no be able to come; Do ye no ken who A mean?) and -nae/ny added to auxiliary verbs (A didnae think he would do it; Ye canny mean it), and the demonstratives thon yon, thonder yonder (Thon wee lassie's aye bonny; Thonder he is). Ulster Scots has had a literary tradition since the 18c. See BELFAST, IRISH ENGLISH, NORTHERN IRISH ENGLISH, SCOTCH-IRISH.

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