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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886363611


From: Martha Mason <>
Subject: RE: Ulster Scot-bonics (Language)
Date: 01 Feb 98 14:06:51 -0600


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Full title is "The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way" by
Bill Bryson, pub. by Morrow 1990. ISBN 0-888-07895-8

Robert T. Hilliard wrote:
3For an excellent and entertaining treatment on dialects and the English
language
3I recommend "The Mother Tongue", published about 1990. I can't recall
the
3author's name...Bill B----, maybe? Anyway, good book on this topic.
3Rob
3
3----------
3From: Jean Ohai
3Sent: Saturday, January 31, 1998 4:08 AM
3To:
3Subject: Re: Ulster Scot-bonics (Language)
3
3I must be feeling foolhardy this evening.
3
3Dialects of English have a common written form. The greatest variation
3in pronunciation will be in the vowels and native speakers of English
3will read the same texts in their own dialects.
3
3Of course, some people are bi-dialectal as in Hawaii where many people
3speak both standard English and pidgin (technically Hawaiian Creole
3English which does have slightly different syntax and verb forms).
3Pidgin is used to emphasize solidarity. I would hear my husband talking
3on the phone about fishing with his father--always in pidgin. But he
3was a college-educated engineer and spoke standard English.
3
3Non-standard or phonetic spellings suggest humor as well as solidarity.
3When used for pointed humor, pidgin deflates pomposity on contact. Then
3it is the response of the common people to the unfathomable doings of
3the high muck-a-mucks.
3
3Jean Ohai

3
3- - - - - - - - - - - -
3The greatest living authority on Ulster Scots is
3Professor R. J. Gregg, of the University of British
3Columbia. A native speaker himself, Professor Gregg has
3written to Belfast City Council to definitively state
3that Ulster-Scots is a distinct language and in no way a
3garbled dialect of English.
3> >
3> >
3I don't agree with Professor Gregg. While I understand spoken Ulster
3Scots as well as Standard Enlish, indeed I'd consider myself a native
3listener if not speaker, I find examples of "written Ulster Scots"
3incomprehensible, as they always seem to be no more than an
3inconsistent attempt at phonetic spelling, or if the word is still
3recognisable, simply a non-standard (&therefore difficlt to recognise)
3spelling. I don't understand how writing the word "of"as "av" makes it
3a different language. I recognise the written form "porter" as being
3what I say, in my Ulster accent. A speaker of the educated dialect of
3the south of england (know as "RP", or "Received Pronunciation") will
3pronounce the same word quite differently, without any trace of the two
3"r"s in the written word. We're both speaking the same language, and we
3both spell it the same way, but we pronounce it differently.
3> >
3In fact it's striking that there are so few variations in vocabulary
3between standard English and Ulster Scots. There are a number of
3dialect words, but not all that many. On examination, an awful lot of
3the contents of any supposed dictionary turn out to be simply
3non-standard, supposedly phonetic, spellings, or colourful turns of
3phrase.
3> >
3 It's certainly not a *garbled* dialect. There's nothing inferior about
3it. It's simply one dialect, different from standard american,
3different from RP English but none the worse for that.
3> >
3Admittedly, the point where a dialect develops into a patois and then
3another language is a debatable point: it's hard to draw an exact line.
3But in the case of Ulster Scots I can't see the argument. It doesn't
3seem to meto be any more a "language" than is, say, Yorkshire English.
3> >
3 Remarkably, there are those in
3Donegal who are tri-lingual in Gaelic, Ulster-Scots and
3English.
3> >
3
3
3
3
3RFC822 header
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3From: "Robert T. Hilliard" <>
3To: "'Jean Ohai'" <>
3Cc: "'Scotch-Irish'" <>
3Subject: RE: Ulster Scot-bonics (Language)
3Date: Sun, 1 Feb 1998 12:30:29 -0500
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<HTML><HEAD></HEAD><BODY><FONT FACE="Geneva" SIZE=3 COLOR="#000000">Full title
is "The Mother Tongue: English and
How it Got That Way" by Bill Bryson,
pub. by Morrow 1990. ISBN 0-888-07895-8<BR>
<BR>
Robert
T. Hilliard wrote:</FONT><FONT FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#000000"><BR>
3For
an excellent and entertaining treatment
on dialects and the English language<BR>
3I
recommend "The Mother Tongue",
published about 1990. I can't recall the
<BR>
3author's name...Bill B----, maybe?
Anyway, good book on this topic.<BR>
3Rob<BR>
3<BR>
3----------<BR>
3From:
Jean Ohai<BR>
3Sent: Saturday, January 31,
1998 4:08 AM<BR>
3To: </FONT><FONT FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#0000FF"><U></U></FONT><FONT
FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#000000"><BR>
3Subject: Re: Ulster
Scot-bonics (Language)<BR>
3<BR>
3I must be
feeling foolhardy this evening.<BR>
3<BR>
3Dialects
of English have a common written form. The
greatest variation <BR>
3in pronunciation
will be in the vowels and native speakers
of English <BR>
3will read the same texts
in their own dialects. <BR>
3<BR>
3Of course,
some people are bi-dialectal as in Hawaii
where many people <BR>
3speak both standard
English and pidgin (technically Hawaiian
Creole <BR>
3English which does have slightly
different syntax and verb forms). <BR>
3Pidgin
is used to emphasize solidarity. I would
hear my husband talking <BR>
3on the phone
about fishing with his father--always in
pidgin. But he <BR>
3was a college-educated
engineer and spoke standard English.<BR>
3<BR>
3Non-standard
or phonetic spellings suggest humor as well
as solidarity. <BR>
3When used for pointed
humor, pidgin deflates pomposity on contact.
Then <BR>
3it is the response of the common
people to the unfathomable doings of <BR>
3the
high muck-a-mucks.<BR>
3<BR>
3Jean Ohai<BR>
3</FONT><FONT
FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#0000FF"><U></U></FONT><FONT
FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#000000"><BR>
3<BR>
3- - - - - - -
- - - - - <BR>
3The greatest living authority
on Ulster Scots is<BR>
3Professor R. J. Gregg,
of the University of British<BR>
3Columbia.
A native speaker himself, Professor Gregg
has<BR>
3written to Belfast City Council to
definitively state<BR>
3that Ulster-Scots
is a distinct language and in no way a<BR>
3garbled
dialect of English.<BR>
3> ><BR>
3>
> <BR>
3I don't agree with Professor Gregg.
While I understand spoken Ulster <BR>
3Scots
as well as Standard Enlish, indeed I'd consider
myself a native <BR>
3listener if not speaker,
I find examples of "written Ulster
Scots" <BR>
3incomprehensible, as they
always seem to be no more than an <BR>
3inconsistent
attempt at phonetic spelling, or if the
word is still <BR>
3recognisable, simply a
non-standard (&therefore difficlt to
recognise) <BR>
3spelling. I don't understand
how writing the word "of"as "av"
makes it <BR>
3a different language. I recognise
the written form "porter" as being
<BR>
3what I say, in my Ulster accent. A speaker
of the educated dialect of <BR>
3the south
of england (know as "RP", or "Received
Pronunciation") will <BR>
3pronounce
the same word quite differently, without
any trace of the two <BR>
3"r"s
in the written word. We're both speaking
the same language, and we <BR>
3both spell
it the same way, but we pronounce it differently.<BR>
3>
><BR>
3In fact it's striking that there
are so few variations in vocabulary<BR>
3between
standard English and Ulster Scots. There
are a number of <BR>
3dialect words, but not
all that many. On examination, an awful
lot of <BR>
3the contents of any supposed dictionary
turn out to be simply <BR>
3non-standard,
supposedly phonetic, spellings, or colourful
turns of <BR>
3phrase.<BR>
3> ><BR>
3 It's
certainly not a *garbled* dialect. There's
nothing inferior about <BR>
3it. It's simply
one dialect, different from standard american,
<BR>
3different from RP English but none the
worse for that.<BR>
3> ><BR>
3Admittedly,
the point where a dialect develops into
a patois and then<BR>
3another language is
a debatable point: it's hard to draw an
exact line. <BR>
3But in the case of Ulster
Scots I can't see the argument. It doesn't
<BR>
3seem to meto be any more a "language"
than is, say, Yorkshire English.<BR>
3>
><BR>
3 Remarkably, there are those in<BR>
3Donegal
who are tri-lingual in Gaelic, Ulster-Scots
and<BR>
3English.<BR>
3> ><BR>
3<BR>
3<BR>
3<BR>
3<BR>
3RFC822
header<BR>
3-----------------------------------<BR>
3<BR>
3Return-Path:
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3Sun, 1 Feb
1998 11:46:36 -0800 (PST)<BR>
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3From: "Robert
T. Hilliard" <</FONT><FONT FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#0000FF"><U></U></FONT><FONT
FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#000000">><BR>
3To: "'Jean
Ohai'" <</FONT><FONT FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#0000FF"><U></U></FONT><FONT
FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#000000">><BR>
3Cc: "'Scotch-Irish'"
<</FONT><FONT FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#0000FF"><U></U></FONT><FONT
FACE="Geneva" SIZE=1 COLOR="#000000">><BR>
3Subject: RE: Ulster
Scot-bonics (Language)<BR>
3Date: Sun, 1 Feb
1998 12:30:29 -0500<BR>
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