Home to a Ghost: Ulster-Scots Language and Vernacular in Northern Irish Culture Since the Good Friday Agreement

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Abstract

The Good Friday Agreement (1998) stated: “All participants recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic communities, all of which are part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland.” However, since that time the development of the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic communities has often been fraught. Despite much good will, investment and initiatives much work remains to be done to generate the state of linguistic and cultural respect, understanding and tolerance that the Belfast Agreement envisaged.

In this article I shall explore the history and development of the Ulster-Scots language and writing from the time of the Good Friday Agreement to the present day. I will examine the various models of literary and linguistic development that have occurred since. I will argue that the focus on developing Ulster-Scots predominately as a lesser used language has at times led to an impasse in generating widespread acceptance and created barriers to the mainstreaming of Ulster-Scots. The article will suggest that as a major component of Ulster English dialect, Ulster-Scots is a major element of the vernacular and literary tradition and experience of the great majority of individuals in Northern Ireland. Indeed, given the significance of Ulster-Scots dialect in the work of Seamus Heaney, I will suggest that opportunities have been lost in the promotion of Ulster-Scots to audiences in Ireland and abroad. By the adoption of new, inclusive approaches to the comprehension and propagation of Ulster-Scots, I will suggest a methodology through which accommodation and understanding might be effected for the dissemination of Ulster-Scots language, culture and literature for the various linguistic and cultural communities in Northern Ireland and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)335-347
Number of pages13
JournalPrzegląd Kulturoznawczy
Volume3
Issue number37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019

Fingerprint

Ulster
Language
Irish Culture
Ghost
Northern Ireland
Ireland
Irish Language
Tolerance
Linguistic Development
Wealth
Dissemination
Cultural Communities
Accommodation
Acceptance
Belfast
Impasse
Literary Tradition
Dialects of English
Seamus Heaney
Good Will

Keywords

  • Good Friday Agreement
  • Minority Languages
  • culture war
  • Ulster-Scots
  • Northern Irish Literature
  • Vernacular Literature

Cite this

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abstract = "The Good Friday Agreement (1998) stated: “All participants recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic communities, all of which are part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland.” However, since that time the development of the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic communities has often been fraught. Despite much good will, investment and initiatives much work remains to be done to generate the state of linguistic and cultural respect, understanding and tolerance that the Belfast Agreement envisaged.In this article I shall explore the history and development of the Ulster-Scots language and writing from the time of the Good Friday Agreement to the present day. I will examine the various models of literary and linguistic development that have occurred since. I will argue that the focus on developing Ulster-Scots predominately as a lesser used language has at times led to an impasse in generating widespread acceptance and created barriers to the mainstreaming of Ulster-Scots. The article will suggest that as a major component of Ulster English dialect, Ulster-Scots is a major element of the vernacular and literary tradition and experience of the great majority of individuals in Northern Ireland. Indeed, given the significance of Ulster-Scots dialect in the work of Seamus Heaney, I will suggest that opportunities have been lost in the promotion of Ulster-Scots to audiences in Ireland and abroad. By the adoption of new, inclusive approaches to the comprehension and propagation of Ulster-Scots, I will suggest a methodology through which accommodation and understanding might be effected for the dissemination of Ulster-Scots language, culture and literature for the various linguistic and cultural communities in Northern Ireland and beyond.",
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Home to a Ghost: Ulster-Scots Language and Vernacular in Northern Irish Culture Since the Good Friday Agreement. / Ferguson, Frank.

In: Przegląd Kulturoznawczy , Vol. 3, No. 37, 1, 25.03.2019, p. 335-347.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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