Learn Ulster-Scots

Lesson 14 A closer look at Dialect (4)

In this lesson, you will learn:

  • similes
  • forms of ‘be’ and ‘do’
  • Match the meanings
  • Wordsearch
  • The Minister’s Cat
  • Call my Bluff



Do you know what a simile (said sim-i-lay) is? It is a way of comparing a thing, a person or an experience to something else that gives you a clearer picture of what it's like. Similes usually begin with the word like or are put together in the form as... as... . These are interesting because not only are they very descriptive, but they also give you an idea of how people lived at the time they became popular.

as able as a cart horse
able: physically strong

like a bag o weasels (‘noisily argumentative’)
weasel (Ulster-Scots wheasel): The animal known as a ‘weasel’ elsewhere is not found in Ireland. Here, the name is given to the stoat.

like a basket o cats (this also means ‘noisily argumentative’)

as neat as a bee's toe
This simile conforms to Standard English. The Ulster-Scots word for ‘neat’ is trig, while ‘toe’ is tae in Ulster-Scots.

like a bleeze o whins (‘quickly’)
bleeze is Ulster-Scots for ‘blaze’. whin is usually pronounced whun in Ulster-Scots, and refers to the scrubby bush with yellow blooms that is known as ‘gorse’ elsewhere.

as bose as a barrel
bose is Ulster-Scots for ‘hollow’ or ‘empty’.

like the last bap in the winda
bap: a baker’s bread roll, again of Scots origin. It’s also used as a term for the head, as in use yer bap (use your head). Loss the bap means ‘lose your temper’. winda (wunda, wundae) is Ulster-Scots for ‘window’. The phrase is expressive of the feeling of finding oneself forlorn, friendless and surplus to requirement.


THE VERB ‘TO BE’: FORMS

present indicative

present indicative (negative)

I

am, um, 'm

amnae, A’m no

you

are, er, 're

urnae, ’re no

he, she, it

is, iz, 's

isnae, ’s no

we, youse, they

are, er, 're; is, iz, 's*

urnae, ’re no

past indicative

past indicative (negative)

I

was, wuz

wuznae

you

were, war, wur; was, wuz

wurnae, wur no

he, she, it

was, wuz

wasnae, wuznae

we, youse, they

were, war, wur

warnae, wurnae, wur no, wuz no, etc.

habitual present

be; bees, beez, biz

beesnae, bisn't; disnae be

subjunctive present

subjunctive present (negative)

bees, beez, biz

beesnae, bisn't; beesna



* Is and was forms are used in the plural when the subject is a noun, e.g. the people is or was. They are not generally used with pronoun subjects, where the usual forms are they are or were. These rules are Scots and Northern English. It is, however, usual to say them is e.g. Them’s the words he used to me.


THE VERB ‘TO DO’: FORMS

present (affirmative)

present (negative)

I

div, duv; dae, dee

don'; dinna, dinny, dinnae, daeny; doannae; divnae, etc

you

div, duv; dae, dee

don'; dinna, dinny, dinnae, daeny; doannae; divnae, etc

he, she, it

diz

dizn't; disna, disnae, diznae

we, youse, they

div, duv; dae, dee

don'; dinna, dinny, dinnae, daeny; doannae; divnae, etc

past (affirmative)

past (negative)

did; daen, din, done*

deddin; didna, didnae

past participle

din, done



* The past tense form is always did when the verb is used as an auxiliary. Done or din is used only when the verb is a main verb, e.g. He done it, but He broke the window, so he did.


MATCH THE MEANINGS

Match the meanings in Part A with the Ulster-Scots equivalent in Part B by writing the letter reference of the Ulster-Scots word after the meaning. Answers at the end.

PART A - MEANINGS

Meaning

Letter

1.

a social gathering in the evening

2.

infection, contagion

3.

a glutton

4.

a small, cheeky person

5.

brittle, easily crumbled

6.

furniture and household goods

7.

a man's vest

8.

perverse, twisted in character

9.

a corner, an angle; specifically the corner of the mouth or eye

10.

clear, tidy up

11.

a griddle scone

12.

pant, puff

13.

a collection, a large number of things

14.

on good terms

15.

the armpit

16.

free gifts

17.

as much as you can hold in both hands cupped together

18.

a hedgehog

19.

an abundance, a profusion

20.

overturn, capsize

21.

escort, accompany

22.

worn out, broken down

23.

not a jot, nothing at all

24.

cover warmly with clothes or bedclothes

25.

a segment of orange

26.

use sparingly, conserve, economise on



PART B – ULSTER-SCOTS WORDS

(a) nyaff
(b) pegh
(c) thran
(d) goapen
(e) deil the haet
(f) week
(g) hain
(h) smit
(i) clatter
(j) prough
(k) gansey
(l) swarry
(m) great
(n) redd
(o) lith
(p) plenishin
(q) convoy
(r) rowth
(s) frush
(t) farl
(u) cowp
(v) oxter
(w) gorb
(x) banjaxed
(y) hap up
(z) urchin


Wordsearch

Wordsearch

CLUES

  1. n _ _: the human nose
  2. r _ _ _ _ _ _: useless rubbish
  3. l _ _ _: a crease, a wrinkle, a fold
  4. m _ _ _ _: play truant from school
  5. f _ _ _: annoy, trouble
  6. n _ _ _: "nick", steal
  7. l _ _ _: the palm of the hand
  8. h _ _ _: a cough
  9. e _ _ _ _: an ant
  10. p _ _ _ _ _: a policeman
  11. s _ _: related by blood
  12. a _ _ _ _: a plate
  13. g _ _ _ _ _ _: a gooseberry
  14. b _ _ _ _ _: belong
  15. s _ _ _ _: a splinter
  16. p _ _ _ _: rain blows on
  17. p _ _ _ _: of liquid boil vigorously
  18. d _ _: do
  19. c _ _ _ _: a tell-tale
  20. s _ _ _ _: shell, pod (peas, etc.)
  21. e _ _ _ _ _: equals in age
  22. s _ _ _ _ _: sure, certain
  23. b _ _ _: purplish-blue, blue-black
  24. e _ _ _ _: intend, aim, have in mind (to do)
  25. l _ _: a leap
  26. e _ _ _ _: a shoemaker’s awl, a bradawl
  27. l _ _ _ _ _: a lane, a track, a by-road
  28. n _ _ _ _: the fist
  29. p _ _ _ _ _: a spinning top
  30. m _ _ _ _ _: a small dog, a cur
  31. s _ _ _ _ _ _: thin and sickly-looking

THE MINISTER'S CAT

‘The Minister's Cat’ is an old-fashioned game in which each player in turn completes the sentence, ‘The minister's cat is a --------- cat’, supplying a describing word in alphabetical order. So the first player might say, ‘The minister's cat is an awesome cat’, followed by the second player with ‘The minister's cat is an awesome, bold cat’, and so on until a player ‘dries up’. The game should be played using Ulster-Scots words, and the players may look at a dictionary to provide ‘prompts’.

An example:
The minister's cat is an aumlach, baukey, caleery, doldered, elegant, feerdy, girny, horrid, ident, janty, kilrickit, laith, marled, nebby, odious, pawky, quim, ratterbrash, scundersome, tapselteery, unco, vaigish, wanchancy, yewky cat.

A simplified version can, of course, be played in which the player substitutes his/her word for the word used by the previous player, instead of adding it.


CALL MY BLUFF

Some of you may remember the television panel game of this name. A word appeared on the screen, and then each of the three members of one team gave his/her own definition of this word. All were equally plausible, but only one was correct. The other team had to guess which was the genuine meaning.

The original format can be adapted with one participant providing the definitions, and the rest voting on which they think is the right one. Dictionaries can then be consulted to find out whether they were correct.

However, the more crafty players may enjoy making up their own definitions and ‘spoofing’ the others, and a worthwhile variant of the game will permit this, either as individuals or groups.

Examples:

Jaw-boax - Is it:

(a) a kitchen sink, e.g. ‘Ah teemed the prittas oot in the jaw-boax’.

(b) a lunchbox, e.g. ‘Ma mither gien me ma piece in the jaw-boax’.

(c) the container that grannie puts her false teeth in at night, e.g. ‘Ah’m awa tae ma bed. Reach me the jaw-boax’.

Puddock - Is it:

(a) an enclosed place for keeping farm animals, e.g. ‘Sammy, did ye hird the kye intae the puddock?’

(b) an abusive name for a short, thick-set person, e.g. ‘Ah’m no fur gaun oot wi thon wee puddock. Ma freens wud aa lauch at me’.

(c) a frog, e.g. ‘Ye darnae lay doon on the wat gress fur the puddocks lowpin owre ye’.

Stoon - Is it:

(a) a particular type of stone that is very difficult to cut into, e.g. ‘This stoon’s that hard the chisel’s stoatin aff it’.

(b) a violent, throbbing pain, e.g. ‘Ah cudnae stan fur tha stoon in ma heid’.

(c) a dismissive name for someone who is easily fooled, e.g. ‘Ach, he’s a richt stoon – he’s aye lossin his pye tae some fly boy’.


LESSON 14 ANSWERS: MATCH THE MEANINGS

Meaning

Letter

1.

a social gathering in the evening

(l) – swarry

2.

infection, contagion

(h) – smit

3.

a glutton

(w) – gorb

4.

a small, cheeky person

(a) – nyaff

5.

brittle, easily crumbled

(s) – frush

6.

furniture and household goods

(p) – plenishin

7.

a man’s vest

(k) – gansey

8.

perverse, twisted in character

(c) – thran

9.

a corner, an angle; specifically the corner of the mouth or eye

(f) – week

10.

clear, tidy up

(n) – redd

11.

a griddle scone

(t) – farl

12.

pant, puff

(b) – pegh

13.

a collection, a large number of things

(i) – clatter

14.

on good terms

(m) – great

15.

the armpit

(v) – oxter

16.

free gifts

(j) – prough

17.

as much as you can hold in both hands cupped together

(d) – goapen

18.

a hedgehog

(z) – urchin

19.

an abundance, a profusion

(r) – rowth

20.

overturn, capsize

(u) – cowp

21.

escort, accompany

(q) – convoy

22.

worn out, broken down

(x) – banjaxed

23.

not a jot, nothing at all

(e) – deil the haet

24.

wrap around warmly with clothes or bedclothes

(y) – hap up

25.

a segment of orange

(o) – lith

26.

use sparingly, conserve, economise on

(g) – hain



WORDSEARCH

Clue no.

Ulster-Scots word

Meaning

1.

neb

the human nose

2.

roitery

useless rubbish

3.

lirk

a crease, wrinkle or fold

4.

mitch

play truant from school

5.

fash

annoy, trouble

6.

neuk

‘nick’, steal

7.

loof

the palm of the hand

8.

host

a cough

9.

emmet

an ant

10.

peeler

a policeman

11.

sib

related by blood

12.

ashet

a plate

13.

grosset

a gooseberry

14.

belang

belong

15.

skelf

a splinter

16.

pevel

rain blows on

17.

plout

of liquid boil vigorously

18.

dae

do

19.

clipe

a tell-tale

20.

shill

shell, pod (peas, etc.)

21.

eelins

equals in age

22.

siccar

sure, certain

23.

blae

purplish-blue, blue-black

24.

ettle

intend, aim, have in mind (to do something)

25.

lep

a leap

26.

elsin

a shoemaker’s awl; a bradawl

27.

loaney

a lane, a track, a by-road

28.

nieve

the fist

29.

peerie

a spinning top

30.

messan

a small dog, a cur

31.

shilpit

thin and sickly-looking



Call My Bluff Answers

Correct answers for the three examples are:
Jaw-boax – (a)
Puddock – (c)
Stoon – (b)


BBC Northern Ireland gratefully acknowledges that this lesson was provided by the Ulster-Scots Language Society - and copyright belongs to Philip Robinson and Anne Smyth.

Other Lessons

Lesson 1

Meeting and Greeting

Meeting and Greeting
  • greet people in Ulster-Scots
  • introduce yourself
  • talk about where you come from
  • count in Ulster-Scots

Go to this lesson: Meeting and Greeting


Lesson 2

Self, Family and Friends

Self, Family and Friends
  • nouns for family members
  • nouns for parts of the body
  • describing appearance
  • describing yourself, family & friends

Go to this lesson: Self, Family and Friends


Lesson 3

Moods, Feelings and Clothes

Moods, Feelings and Clothes
  • moods, feelings & characteristics
  • words for items of clothing
  • talking about appearance
  • traditional Ulster & Scots dress
  • clothing & characteristics in Scots & Ulster-Scots poetry

Go to this lesson: Moods, Feelings and Clothes


Lesson 4

Hobbies, Interests and Work

Hobbies, Interests and Work
  • describing hobbies & interests
  • words for some jobs
  • working life & leisure time
  • traditional Ulster-Scots pastimes
  • traditional pastimes and jobs in Ulster & Scots poetry

Go to this lesson: Hobbies, Interests and Work


Lesson 5

Food and Drink

Food and Drink
  • examples of food and drink
  • ordering food in a restaurant
  • discussing eating habits
  • food and drink in Ulster & Scots poetry
  • finding Ulster-Scots recipes

Go to this lesson: Food and Drink


Lesson 6

Weather and Seasons

Weather and Seasons
  • words for types of weather
  • weather conditions
  • words for different seasons
  • seasonal activities
  • the weather in Scots & Ulster literature

Go to this lesson: Weather and Seasons


Lesson 7

Nouns and Names

Nouns and Names
  • buildings
  • parts of the face and head
  • The Coortin’ o Miss Norris

Go to this lesson: Nouns and Names


Lesson 8

Meeting and Greeting (2)

Meeting and Greeting (2)
  • Meeting and Greeting (2)
  • The Coortin’ o Miss Norris - Practice Reading and Dialogue
  • Markers of Ulster-Scots

Go to this lesson: Meeting and Greeting (2)


Lesson 9

Grammar and Pronunciation

Grammar and Pronunciation
  • the Definite Article before a Noun
  • spelling and pronunciation
  • saying, doing and being

Go to this lesson: Grammar and Pronunciation


Lesson 10

Pronouns - and Linen-Making

Pronouns - and Linen-Making
  • Pronouns
  • A Byre o a Hoose
  • Tha makkin o tha lïnen

Go to this lesson: Pronouns - and Linen-Making


Lesson 11

A closer look at Dialect (1)

A closer look at Dialect (1)
  • what is dialect
  • when to use dialect speech
  • dialects in Ulster?
  • dialect spelling
  • ‘language versus dialect’

Go to this lesson: A closer look at Dialect (1)


Lesson 12

A closer look at Dialect (2)

A closer look at Dialect (2)
  • what good is it learning about dialect?
  • country matters
  • farming vocabulary
  • farming practices of old

Go to this lesson: A closer look at Dialect (2)


Lesson 13

A closer look at Dialect (3)

A closer look at Dialect (3)
  • words with a story
  • what’s in a name?
  • Ulster ‘crack’
  • scunner, sheugh and black-mouth

Go to this lesson: A closer look at Dialect (3)


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