By our tongues united? Irish and Scots language contact in rural Ulster

Rachel Hanna

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue


    This article suggests that the impact of long-term language contact between the languages of Irish, Scots and English in the province of Ulster led to a hybridisation of accent which challenges traditional ethnolinguistic differentiations - namely, the myth that Catholics and Protestants can be differentiated by their accent. The digitisation of archive recordings from the Tape Recorded Survey of Hiberno-English (TRSHE) permitted a detailed phonetic analysis of two speakers from Atticall, a rural townland in the Mourne Mountains with a unique geographical and linguistic setting, due to the close proximity of Ulster Scots and Irish speakers in the area. Phonological features associated with Irish, Northern English and Lowland Scots were garnered from previous dialectological research in Irish, English and Scots phonologies, which aided with the interpretation of the data. Other contemporaneous recordings from the TRSHE allowed further comparison of phonological features with areas of Ulster in which linguistic interaction between Scots and Irish was expected to be less prevalent, such as Arranmore, Donegal (primarily Irish) and Glarryford, Antrim (primarily Scots). Accommodation theory and substrate/superstrate interaction illuminate patterns of phonological transfer in Mourne, Arranmore and Glarryford English, supporting the conclusion that accent in contemporary Northern Ireland is built upon a linguistic heritage of contact and exchange, rather than political or ethnolinguistic division
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-35
    Number of pages13
    JournalQueen's Political Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2015


    Dive into the research topics of 'By our tongues united? Irish and Scots language contact in rural Ulster'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this