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Ulster Scots Language

Ulster-Scots Language

The Scots language came to Northern Ireland with the Scottish settlers of the Plantation of Ulster. Ulster-Scots (or ‘Ullans’ or even the ‘Braid Scotch’) is a variant of Scots, the language used by Robert Burns in many of his poems. New words were introduced like - thon…that, danner…walk and wee…small. You might even be familiar with cannae, can’t, oxter and armpit.

Scottish place names are also found throughout Northern Ireland – Evidence of the huge impact of Scottish settlers here since the Plantation. Scots names in County Antrim include Milkyknowes, Mistyburn, Clatteryknowes, Hurtletoot and Whistlebare. The word knowe means ‘small hill, knoll’, while clattery probably comes from Scots clarty meaning ‘muddy, dungy’. The Scots term ‘whin’ for the yellow flowering hedging found all over Northern Ireland is used here, instead of the term ‘gorse’ – there are several Whinney hills across the region.

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Find out more with the Ulster Scots Visitor Experience App.

Click here to find out about the Irish Language.

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Ancestry Links

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland