Over several decades the BBC broadcast a series of talks on dialect
by Rev WF Marshall.
Before one series, broadcast in 1935, he said: "Dialect is the
museum in which students of English can check and trace the progress
"How much of the fine speech of Shakespeare and Sydney and Milton
which fills the Ulster dialects of today has been forgotten by the townsman,
or is mysterious to him, and also the colourful and expressive words
that were immortalised by Rabbie Burns?
"The history of our province is dripping with Gaelic. Columba
speaks it as the 'dewy red' grounds on Iona and it echoes on the ship
that bears away the great O'Neill.
"I know we can't keep this forever, but to my mind it's not nearly
ready for the pension yet, and as long as we have it, let's give it
You can listen to two of his talks, from 1954, here:
1. In this talk he discusses 'good' English and looks at Ulster dialects
2. The influence of the Planters on Ulster speech and the enrichment
of the language through the mix of Gaelic and Scots speech.
More about WF Marshall
Rev William Forbes Marshall, also known as the Bard of Tyrone, was
born near Omagh in 1888 and died in 1959.
A poet and a novelist, as well as a Presbyterian minister who spent
his main ministry at Castlerock, Co Derry, he was an authority on dialect
and once produced a version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
in the Ulster idiom.
His poems have been republished several times, by Blackstaff Press,
and remain well-loved, especially Me An' Me Da.
Here's an extract:
I', livin in Drumlister,
An' I'm gettin' very oul'
I have to wear an Indian bag
To save me from the coul'.
The deil man in this townlan'
Wos claner raired nor me,
But I'm livin' in Drumlister
In clabber to the knee.