Category Archives: Language

Notification of amendment to Recommendations for Written (Ulster) Scots

Since 2012, Ultonia Language Services has maintained a grammatical and orthographical standard for writing (Ulster) Scots based absolutely on the conventions used in Ulster Scots – A Short Reference Grammar (published by Ultonia Publishing).

This is a notification of some minor amendments to formation of past forms.

1. For regular verbs ending in a vowel cluster but not -e, the recommended suffix is now -ed (replacing -d, which is now rejected) – therefore poued not poud.

2. The strong verb frys ‘freeze’ is now considered to be Class I (not Class IV fruis, which is now rejected), past form fris.

3. The strong verb leak ‘leak’ is now considered to be Class IV (not Class II lek, which is now rejected), recommended past form lak.

4. The strong verbs break and speak now take the recommended past forms brak and spak (replacing braek and spaek, which are now rejected).

5. The strong verb present form shuit ‘shoot’ is now recommended to be so written (replacing shoot, which remains optional); this effectively places it in Class II, but it remains listed separately.

The presence of a velar consonant after the root vowel is now taken to explain the anomalies in Class II (e.g. fecht-focht versus get-gat) and Class IVb (e.g. break-brak versus beat-baet).

Key words and phrases in any language

A basic corpus of fewer than 90 key words and phrases can really get you going in any language.

Here is a basic vocabulary list.

Here are some key prepositions, interrogatives and negatives.

It is more essential than ever to note that it is exceedingly rare for any single words or phrase to mean precisely the same thing in all contexts in any two given languages. The range within which a particular word is used varies from language to language (and even dialect to dialect).

Clearly, in addition to these words and phrases, a basic understanding of the grammar (word order, plural formation, tenses and so on) is necessary from the outset. Ultonia Communications will look at this over the coming months.

Language Learning Kit

We offer innovative routes to quick language learning success, based on an entirely different approach to language learning.

One area of focus is core vocabulary – a file of which covering major Western European languages and some minority languages is downloadable free here.

Even with this file, we urge caution. Traditional learning methods emphasize like-for-like correspondences between words – for example “to ask” is usually given as “demander” in French and “fragen” in German. But what when it is “prier” in French and “bitten” in German? We move away from vocabulary building of that type, emphasizing instead that words must be learned in context.

Nevertheless, some core words – typically short and in frequent use – are essential to fluent use of any language. The file attached will be particularly useful to people who have any of:

  • passive competence in the target language;
  • competence in a language close to the target language (e.g. Spanish speakers heading on holiday to Italy); or
  • former competence in the target language.

Take a look, and feel free to comment on the left!

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Ultonia publishes Ulster-Scots grammar

Ulster Scots: A Short Reference Grammar

Ulster Scots SRG: Cover
“This book comprehensively shifts the Ulster-Scots debate on to new, more positive ground.” – Ian Adamson

Available in/from the United Kingdom here

Available in/from the United States here

Available elsewhere via Amazon (in EUR, in USD)

Accessible to everyone – from novice language learner to professional translator – it is an indispensable guide for writers of the authentic modern and literary tongue, and an exhaustive exposition of its grammar and syntax.

The text also serves as a fascinating reminder of Ulster’s position at a linguistic crossroads. It provides not just a detailed description of points of grammar and recommendations for use in writing, but also a commentary on the interrelationship between Scots, Gaelic and other Germanic dialects and languages, including as they have travelled to the New World.

This book is designed as the first compact reference grammar of any variety of Scots, focusing on Ulster usage but also covering other varieties. With its clear layout and concise explanations, it will become an invaluable reference for everyone who takes an interest in Ulster-Scots/Scotch-Irish heritage and in the languages of Scotland and Ireland.

For further information, simply leave a comment!

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