A Word of Ulster Scots

A Word of Ulster Scots

Liam Logan

From Liam Logan’s Foreword

This collection began life as a series of columns in the Belfast News Letter’s Ulster Scots supplement. There is no narrative thread, each piece stands alone but there is a link nonetheless. My aim was to try and show that many Ulster Scots words and phrases are a part of everyday speech for many people in Northern Ireland or if you prefer the northern parts of Ireland.

Perhaps you have never met a slabber or a gansh, never footered with something, never had a wee toaty drap o milk in your tay. Many people have and I am grateful for all the kind words from readers who got enjoyment from the columns.

Most of us are only one or two generations from the land and while many Ulster Scots words are incorporated into everyday urban speech, there is a rich linguistic tradition associated with rural life which lives on in the minds and the mouths of country dwellers and in the memories of their friends and relatives.

People often ask me if I know this word or that term; “my granny/father/uncle/aunt used that all the time” they’ll say. And sometimes I do, many times I don’t.

I have a standard piece of advice when the gaps in my knowledge are cruelly exposed; read James Fenton’s “The Hamely Tongue”, a constant source of pleasure, a work of scholarship and a labour of love by someone who has a love of Ulster Scots. I hope this book similarly pleases its readers.

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