Lesson 1 Meeting and Greeting
In this lesson, you will learn to:
- greet people in Ulster-Scots
- introduce yourself
- talk about where you come from
- count in Ulster-Scots
Read the following brief dialogue, showing people greeting each other:
- Mornin, Fiona
- Guid to see ye, Bob
- Hi ye, Sarah
- Fair faa ye tae Ulster!
- ‘Mornin’ means ‘good morning’
- ‘Evenin’ means ‘good evening’
- ‘Guid nicht’ means ‘good night’
Ulster-Scots greetings can be formal or informal.
- You should say ‘mornin’ or ‘evenin’ to be formal.
- You can use ‘Ay’ or ‘Hi ye’ with friends.
- ‘Fair faa ye’ can be used as a formal welcome or hello.
Fair faa ye’/ ‘
fair faw ye’:
In recent years this expression has been adopted by Ulster-Scots enthusiasts as a form of greeting or welcome. It has been characterised by some academics as a ‘revivalist’ rather than a traditional Ulster-Scots expression. It does appear, however, in poetry, both Scots and Ulster-Scots.
The poet James Orr (1770-1816) employed it in his poem about the 1798 Rebellion, ‘Donegore Hill’. When one of the would-be rebels who has fled the battlefield returns home, his wife expresses her relief at seeing him again thus:
Whit joy at hame our entrance gave:
Guid God! is’t you? fair fa’ ye!’
Robert Burns also used this expression in his famous ‘Address to the Haggis’, recited at Burns Suppers. These are held on January 25th, to celebrate Burns’s birthday with traditional Scottish food and drink, including haggis, turnip, potatoes and whisky. Burns began the ‘Address’ with:
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face
Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!
- Hi ye.
- Hi ye.
- Guid to see ye.
- Guid to see ye. Hoo ur ye daein?
When we want to ask how someone is we can say:
'Hoo ur ye daein?', 'Hoo's things?' or 'Whit wye ur ye?'
Replies can vary:
- 'No that guid' – 'not great'
- 'Mair nor middlin' – 'average'
- 'Brave an guid' – 'I’m fine/pretty well'
Read how some friends use these and some further expressions when they meet:
- Hi ye, Linda! Hoo's things?
- Mair nor middlin. Whit wye ur ye, Julie?
- Brave an guid.
- Ay, Bob. Guid to see ye! Hoo ur ye daein?
- Guid to see ye Jack! A’m gran. Ye'r lukkin pooerfu weel yersel.
- Whut aboot ye, Tammie? Ye keepin weel?
- A'm brave an guid, Sam. An yersel?
- Mair nor middlin. A cud be waur.
- ‘A’m gran’ – ‘I’m very well’.
- ‘Ye'r lukkin pooerfu weel yersel’ – ‘You look very well indeed!’
- ‘A cud be waur’ – ‘I could be worse’.
If we are meeting people for the first time we may wish to ask them their name and find out something about them. Read the following dialogues.
- Guid to meet ye. Whit dae the' caa ye?
- The’ caa me Tammie.
- Pleased to meet you. What's your name?
- I'm called Tommy (or I'm Tommy).
Here is a slight variation.
- Guid meetin ye. Whit dae the' caa ye?
- The' caa me Linda.
Or you may wish to ask someone else’s name.
- Whit dae the' caa him?
- The' caa him Tammie.
- What is his name or What is he called?
- He’s called Tommy.
Carrying the conversation on, you may wish to ask where someone is from – where they live.
- An whaur dae ye leeve?
- A'm leevin in Greba.
- Where do you live?
- I live in Greyabbey.
In order to give your address or telephone number, you need to be able to count in Ulster-Scots:
- yin or ane*
- fower (Co. Down – fivver)
- six or sax
- a hunner
* One is the only numeral which has two completely different forms. When it is being used as a noun it is ‘yin’ or ‘ane’ but there is an older literary usage of ‘ae’ or ‘yae’ when it is being used as an adjective - eg Burns’ song “Ae fond kiss”.
Read the following dialogues:
- Whaur dae ye leeve?
- A leeve at saxteen Newtown Brae. Whaur dae ye leeve?
- Twuntie-yin Rid Brae.
- Where do you live?
- I live at sixteen Newtown Brae. Where do you live?
- Twenty-one Red Brae.
Try translating these addresses into Ulster-Scots (answers below):
- 20 The Loanen
- 11 Bradshaw’s Brae
- 8 Ardnavilly Road
Here are some more dialogues to read:
- Guid tae see ye, Doreen. Whit wye ur ye?
- A’m brave an guid the day.
- Good to see you, Doreen. How are you?
- I’m fine - or I’m not so bad today.
- Hello, Mike. Guid to see ye. Hoo’s it gaun?
- Ach A’m bravely. An yersel?
- A’m rightly.
- Hello. Mike. Good to see you. How are you - or how are things with you?
- I’m not so bad. How are you?
- I’m fine.
When we finish our conversation, of course we need to say goodbye.
There are several ways to do this. If is it evening we might say ‘Guid nicht’; or at any time of day we could say ‘Sae lang noo’. ‘Tak tent’, meaning ‘take care’, is another way of taking your leave. A more archaic and literary leave-taking is to use ‘Sonse faa ye’.
- Sae lang noo, Doreen.
- Guid nicht, Michelle. Tak tent noo.
- So long now, Doreen.
- Good night, Michelle. Take care now.
- A’m aff tae the shaps. Tak tent, Mike.
- Sae lang noo, Sam. Be seein ye.
- I’m off to the shops. Take care Mike.
- So long, Sam - or cheerio, Sam. Be seeing you.
Answers to Addresses:
- twuntie Tha Loanen
- leiven Bradshaa’s Brae
- echt Ardnavilly Road