Dictionary Title

Welcome to the Ulster-Scots Word List.

The problem with Ulster-Scots!
Why are there so many different ways of spelling the same words? Why are some words so like English but others are so different? Why bother with Ulster-Scots?

Many Scots people moved to Ulster in the 17th century and brought their language with them. We now call this language Ulster-Scots. Some of the words are very close to English because both Scots and English are based on the Anglo-Saxon language, which was spoken in the UK hundreds of years ago. Both Scots and English were sister languages in the way that Gaelic in Ireland and Gaelic in Scotland are closely related.

People today are beginning to realise that it is important not to lose some of these really interesting words. People also think that although it is important to learn English, we can also listen to Ulster-Scots poems and enjoy Ulster-Scots words when they are appropriate.

Vocabulary and dialect
There are different Ulster-Scots words used in different parts of the country. A person from one area might not always know the words used in another area. This word list contains a few of the most common Ulster-Scots words, regardless of where they came from.

There is no strongly agreed method of spelling for many Ulster-Scots words. Some people think it is best to look to the way words were spelled in the past, others think we should spell them the way they sound. This word list usually gives a variety of spellings so that you can choose which ones seem appropriate for your part of the country.

Words of today and words of yesterday!

Some of the words listed here are still used frequently in Ulster. Others might be words which are beginning to die out. Most people think it is very important that Ulster-Scots words are not lost. So, in this word list you will find words you know and probably words that you don't know.

If you would like to know more about these words, look in the Concise Scots Dictionary, which is available in all good bookshops.

For further information regarding words used in Co. Antrim refer to ‘The Hamely Tongue’ by James Fenton, again available in all good bookshops.