The Orthography of Ulster-Scots


(1) For the universality of this factor in 18th-century Ulster, see Adams, J. R. R., The Printed Word and the Common Man: Popular Culture in Ulster, 1700-1900 (Belfast, 1987).

(2) Montgomery, Michael, 'The Anglicization of Scots in Early Seventeenth Century Ulster', in Roy, Ross, and Patrick G. Scott (eds.), The Language and Literature of Early Scotland (Columbia, 1992), 50-64; Montgomery, Michael, 'Ulster Scots: Lost or Submerged?', in Kelly, William, and John R. Young (eds.), Ulster and Scotland 1600-2000: History, Language and Identity (Dublin, 2004), 121-132.

(3) Burns, Oliver, and John W. Ramsay (eds.), The Works of Allan Ramsay (Edinburgh, 1953), 70-71.

(4) 'Scotch Poems', The Ulster Miscellany ([Dublin?], 1753), 369-386.

(5) The standard treatment of this school is John Hewitt, Rhyming Weavers and Other Country Poets of Antrim and Down (Belfast, 1974).

(6) Carleton, William, Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, 2 Volumes (Dublin, 1843; reprint Savage, 1990).

(7) Not all forms that appear to be eye dialect do not have a precedent in older forms of Scots or English, and thus care must be taken not to assess some forms as inauthentic.

(8) In particular, see the work of Robinson, Philip S., 'Spelling and Pronunciation', Ulster-Scots: A Grammar of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language (Belfast, 1997), 19-48 (also at; and Fenton, James, The Hamely Tongue: A Personal Record of Ulster-Scots in County Antrim (Belfast, 2000), x-xiii (also at <>).

(9) Murray, James A. H., The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland: Its Pronunciation, Grammar, and Historical Relations (London. 1873).

(10) Wilson, James, The Dialects of Central Scotland (Oxford, 1926). In addition to laying out his own system, in his chapter 'The Spelling of Scotch', Wilson reviews in detail the spelling practices of Ramsay, Fergusson, Burns, Scott, and other writers.

(11) For a progress report on the first decade and a half of the dictionary, see Braidwood, John, 'Towards an Ulster Dialect Dictionary', Ulster Dialect Archive Bulletin 4 (1965), 3-14; Braidwood, John, The Ulster Dialect Lexicon (Belfast, 1969).

(12) For the BNFC survey, see Gregg, Robert J., 'The Ulster Dialect Survey' (published in the present volume).

(13) Adams used the term as early as 1952 in his essay 'Ulster Dialects', in Belfast in Its Regional Setting: A Scientific Survey (Belfast, 1952), 195; see also his essay 'A Brief Guide to Ulster-Scots' (cl967), published in the present volume.

(14) Adams, G. Brendan, 'Shakespeare in Cullybackey', Ulster Folklife 17 (1971), 97-98.

(15) For background on the Academy and a ten-year summary of its work, see Montgomery, Michael, and Anne Smyth, 'The Ulster-Scots Academy', Review of Scottish Culture 17 (2004/05), 106-110.

(16) Orr, James, 'Donegore Hill', Poems, on Various Subjects (Belfast, 1804), 33-37; reprinted in Philip Robinson (ed.), The Country Rhymes of James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry, Folk Poets of Ulster Series, Vol. 2 (Bangor, 1992), 115-119.

(17) 'McIlwham, Thomas', The McIlwham Papers: In Two Letters from Thomas McIlwham, Weaver, to His Friend, Mr. James McNeight (Belfast, 1838); Lyttle, Wesley Guard, Sons of the Sod: A Tale of County Down (Bangor, 1886); McIlroy, Archibald, When Lint was in the Bell (Belfast, 1897).

(18) Carleton, op. cit., 8-11, 22-23.

(19) Hume, Abraham ['Billy McCart'], Poor Rabbin's Ollminick for the Town o' Bilfawst: Containing Various Different Things Which Ivvery Parson Ought t'be Acquentit with (Belfast, 1861), 4-11.

(20) McFadyen, Dugald ['Cruck-a-Leaghan'] and David Hepburn ['Slieve Gallion'], Lays and Legends of the North of Ireland (London, 1884), 46-47.

(21) O'Neill, Moira, More Songs of the Glens of Antrim (Edinburgh, 1921), 32-33.

(22) McCallin, William, The Braes o' Killywhapple and Other Tales (Belfast, 1938), 60-61.

(23) Mulcaghey, Matt, 'John Harbison's Wake', Brave Crack! An Anthology of Ulster Wit and Humour (Belfast, 1950), 68.

(24) See Gregg, Robert J., 'The Feature "Dentality" in Ulster-Scots Dialects and Its Role as a Sociolinguistic Marker', published in the present volume; Quiggin, E. C., A Dialect of Donegal (Cambridge, 1906); Evans, Emrys, 'The Irish Dialect of Urris, Inishowen, Co. Donegal', Lochlann 4 (1970), 1-130.

(25) Fenton, James, Thonner and Thon: An Ulster-Scots Collection (Belfast, 2000). In his dictionary The Hamely Tongue, Fenton recognizes the interdental pronunciation of the stop consonants in all these words, as well as in tartles, dirt, etc.

(26) Robinson, op. cit., 35-36.

(27) Gregg, Robert J., 'The Scotch-Irish Dialect Boundaries of Ulster', in Martyn F. Wakelin (ed.), Patterns in the Folk Speech of the British Isles (London, 1972), 109-139.

(28) Robinson, op. cit., 32.

(29) Adams, op. cit. (1971), 97-99.

(30) For example, 'In Ulster-Scots, the English vowel "i" is sometimes written by enthusiasts as a-umlaut, which they feel more fully expresses the Ulster pronunciation', in <>, consulted 16 July 2005.

(31) Robinson, op. cit.; Fenton, Thonner and Thon.

(32) The reference is to G. Brendan Adams, Richard Hayward and others who in 1951 initiated the Ulster Dialect Survey under the auspices of the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club. They did not pursue their initial objective, the publication of a dictionary incorporating the material thus obtained, but instead deposited it in 1959 in the newly-established Ulster Folk Museum where Adams became Curator of Language and where it formed the basis of the Ulster Dialect Archive. The idea of a dictionary was revived and work was carried out to this end by Professor John Braidwood on a one-year sabbatical at the museum in 1964, but it was not until 1996, with the publication of the Concise Ulster Dictionary, that the aim was realised.

(33) Wilson, James, Lowland Scotch as Spoken in the Lower Strathearn District of Perthshire (London, 1915); Wilson, James, The Dialect of Robert Burns as Spoken in Central Ayrshire (London, 1923).

Editorial Preface | Orthography | Transcriptions | Notes