Ullans

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                             Ulster-Scots is now known as Ullans.  How can you tell the difference between somebody who is talking Ullans and somebody who is just using Ulster Dialect?  Easy.  Just use the guide below, made out by Philip Robinson, author of ‘Ulster-Scots: a Grammar of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language’. 

He advises:  ‘listen for a number of ‘markers’.  These are the most common words used by Ulster-Scots speakers and which are not used by other dialect speakers.  The Scots words thon, dander and wee [for that, stroll and small] have simply been borrowed into Ulster dialect.  But words like nicht, cannae and gye [for night, cannot and very] are very common markers for Ullans.  Almost all Ullans speakers will only use these markers at home or in each other’s company.  Outsiders may never hear it spoken because Ulster-Scots speakers also know English and use it with them. 

But it is a language spoken widely in four counties, Donegal, Londonderry, Antrim and Down, and has regional and social variations within these counties.  It is fully comprehensible only to native speakers.  It is distinct from English in many aspects of pronounciation, vocabulary and grammar.   

GUIDE

If you often hear – and sometimes use – less than 20 of the words below, your experience of Ullans is very limited and ‘ye cud dae wi a bit mair lairin’.  If you often hear – and sometimes use – more than half, you are already part of the Ulster-Scots speaking community.  More than that you are very familiar with current, everyday Ulster-Scots.’

ENGLISH

  • ULSTER DIALECT

ULLANS

of

o

o

yes

ay

ay

no

na

na

remember

min[d]

mind[d]

small

wee

wee

that

thon

thon

stroll

dander

danner

today

the day

the day

tomorrow

the morra

the morra

with

wi

wi

lane

loanen

loanen

path

pad

pad

there

thonder

thonner

to

til

til

ditch

sheuch

sheuch

brat

skitter

skitter

shout

gulder

gulder

tip over

coup

coup

sly

sleekit

sleekit

than

nor

nor

endure

thole

thole

awkward

thran

thran

have

have

hae

give

give

gie

not

nat

no

from

from

frae/fae

any

any

onie

several

lock

wheen

stone

stone

stane

more

more

mair

most

most

maist

home

home

hame

sore

sore

sair

head

head

heid

round

roun’

roon

house

house

hoose

town

town

toon

foot

fut

fit

none

noan

nane

over

over

owre

couldn’t

cud’n

cudnae

wouldn’t

wud’n

wudnae

won’t

won’t

winnae

one

wan

yin

bright

bright

bricht

light

light

licht

 

Originally posted 2004-03-26 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Street Rhymes

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We had street chants for most occasions and most circumstances.  I can remember only a few.  When you wanted to vex someone, or to distract your mate from something else, you would point determinately until she/he looked in that direction.  Then you would chant:
 
I made you look
I made you stare
I made the barber cut your hair!
He cut it long
He cut it short
He cut it with a knife and fork!
 
If you remember others, please post them on Guestbook!

Originally posted 2004-10-08 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Blackmen or not?

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There was a programme on Radio Ulster recently about the Bessbrook Mill.  It reminded me of a story told to me by Billie McCaigue who was, at the time, a Unionist Councillor for Newry Town. 

During the Second World War some Divisions of the American Army were stationed in Bessbrook prior to their departure to France.  One afternoon one of the soldiers came into a shop in the village and the young lady asked,

‘ Sir, what can I get you?’

Read moreBlackmen or not?

Originally posted 2005-08-03 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Place Names/Irish: Latt etc

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Tullyhappy Tulach Apaidh  – the ripe mound
Sturgan      – the peak
Skegatillida  Sceach a’tSeilide – the snail’s thorn bush
Maytown Maigh Tamhain – plain of the herds
Maghernahely Machire na’chilin – plain of the little church
Lissummon  (actually Lissemor) – great fort
Goragh      – goat-grazing place
Latt     – cattle-grazing place
Killybodagh  coil na mBodach – churl’s wood
Keggal cagal   – cockle or tare’s land
Drumbanagher  druimbeanchair – peaked ridge
Duvernagh Dubh Bhearnach – black gap
Cloughreagh  cloch riach  – grey stones
Carrickcruppen carraig chropain – outcrop rocks
Carricknagalliagh [na gCailleach]- rock of the veils
Ballynaleck  baile na leac  – townland of flagstones
Carrickbracken [bhreacain] – speckled rock

Originally posted 2004-05-25 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Oxymorons 2

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Oxymoron (sharp-stupid) is just one of many epigrammatical devices one of whose functions is to draw attention to the meaning of words.  A term is an oxymoron only when its two elements can be seen as opposites.
Some people use it to humorous effect, some for political gain.  I have just heard a news announcement [biased verdict] that the Afghan presidential election was ‘fairly democratic’.  These two terms are never opposites so the expression is not an oxymoron (contrasted, for example, with ‘benign dictator’).  Yet most intelligent observers will reflect on the deliberate misuse of the term ‘fair’ to convey the connotation of ‘not quite..’.  It is this covert exploitation of the vagueness of language by self-seekers that we wish to highlight here so please do not hesitate to post your favourites on Guestbook, whether they are oxymorons or not. 
Overall we have come to demand more meaning from oxymorons, as they become a useful device of the satirist and a means of unveiling the deficiencies of language.  The cleverest ones include words that can have different meanings in various contexts.  Humour is now an important element.  Keeping all this in mind, the following are a few of my favourites.  Thanks to Dearest Carmel for her contribution.  What about you?
Strangely familiar:  stationary orbit:  small fortune:  peace offensive:  parallel connection:  random order:  relative truth:  real magic:  timeless moment:  virtual reality: genuine reproduction … etc
More oxymorons later!

Originally posted 2004-10-28 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Submitted poems : reflections

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Of these three submitted poems, two (namely ‘McParland’s Elder’ and ‘McGinn’) are character based poetic fictionalisations of various characters in and around the town (McParland and McGinn being two distinctly local surnames). ‘McParland’s Elder’ is an ode to the elderly of the city whilst ‘McGinn’ is the story of a man observing his own wake and funeral (not very cheery, granted, but very Irish in it’s outlook nonetheless).

The other poem ‘Going to my Hometown’, is a sonnet written in dedication to the city and was inspired by many of the landmarks dotted around the place (namely, the old red-brick of the Hibernian Club on the Mall and the medieval church up on High St.)

Going to my Hometown

Parading a musty clop along the mall;

Redbrick and granite should glimmer in their boast.

Razing a glint in bier-garten toast,

I’m jealous – their sip, lip-locked – I’m enthralled.

The chivalrous sweat in musical droves,

Saluting the weather with world-weary wink.

The steeples, serene, without rain to drink:

A clan wry, a-flowing – a city of mauve.

Borderline bubble I love you so well.

I source you for boredom, ‘tis true, ‘tis true,

For dryness can seem here the hottest of hells

But I would be dead if ‘twas not for you –

A cynic. A liar. A lover. A son –

A soul wracked to bone mass from valley-sought glue.

McGinn

I
Thespian legion of repute and rogue
Wherefore to season my home with your lease?
Cast without shadow and latent in vogue
Celestial yearnings burn without cease.

For human endeavour seems that of beast
When repertoire years are draping the squelch;
No requiem breast nor angel nor priest
In scant distillation can prove what I felt.

And though there were eve’nings in spite of myself,
Where lingered my spoils ‘pon high in the din,
I sired the void, alive and in health,
To slump down, a coward, and die with my sins.

“What friends, indeed, can be said of McGinn?”
Seized up from the swell then through shuffling slits.
‘twas one from my past, though not of my kin,
Who’d shamble my bygones in idler twist.

“Well, let my retort reveal to you this”
Responded my sibling, eye on my corpse,
“He was my brother and though he be missed,
They’ll ravage his ghost with sulphur and scorch;

They’ll send for his passions, singed like a torch,
Drink them to blackness and pluck him from thought.
Heathen of helix and harlequin sport,
Hath thou no inkling, the havoc you wrought?

A bold moment-muse of what we all sought?
Wanting our brother, or what for the word
Could heal you of stealing the years we had brought.
For all that was owed us: a man of the world.”


Only ‘twas then that time, stuck, unfurled
And eve’ning careered t’ward morning, t’ward fate.
When bones hold to dust by death, that old churl, 
My years be reduced to scripture and slate.

For I have been poisoned by seasons in wait –
Weights worth the farthings they stuck to my eyes;
Sliding through epochs that harboured the great
And mock the mere mortals of meaning deprived.

‘tis that, as I laboured ‘mong mirrors they hide,
Residing in pine with beads in their coil,
That creased up and burned my thoughts ‘fore the guide
Of sinner McGinn to a patch in the soil.

II
My screed reads no softer after such toil,
No smoother a tale to be taught at your teat.
That my soul had not descended to boil,
Nor had I with saints or skivvies to speak.

‘twas in my cortege ‘midst eyes without weep
And great sweeping haloes of droves in their drear
Where I’d come to shamble in rambling grief;
My infinite seal – a death without peer.

The chapel then, ceding in vaulted veneer,
Seemed placid, indiff’rent; a tomb without taste,
And I, of the asinine angular weird,
Sat nursing my years in debt and disgrace;

Though steadfast my legion not to make haste –
Not for the glibness nor gallons nor grime;
Nor e’en for wallowing Whitsuns of waste
Which, woven, made whimsical dust of my time.

No, friends! My kin were not even inclined
To whisper a shudder in lieu of myself;
Their benches, distended in line upon line
Had last term to conjuring sobs where they knelt.

And I, a poor reckoner, dumbfound and welt,
Who picked at his scars with bottle and beak,
Have culled from my friv’lous happ’nings health
And smile that my bygones weren’t utterly bleak.

The service, now ended, spilled out to the street;
The heat of the noon scald shapes and disrobe.
Of courage without, I slunk in the speak
And pictured my corpse garrulous and in globe.

With words said and skies pulled the hollow was lowed,
And dignified drops of a soil were dispensed,
And after the shapes had shuffled their shoad,
I stood for awhile to invite forth the hence.

I stood for a decade in sin recompense,
And pleaded with weathering debris and silt;
I stood for my penance, for death to commence,
Though condemned am I to be held by the hilt.

I cornered my prayers then, my flowers in wilt;
I threatened the heavens with nothing to stake –
But, reader, my anguish is always my guilt.
Is this script appendage enough for my sake?

Originally posted 2019-07-11 10:08:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Newry Journal