Reminder: Ulster Scots

Michael Everson everson at
Fri Apr 2 10:33:11 CEST 2010

On 2 Apr 2010, at 02:39, Peter Constable wrote:

>>> The key issue is that we know that the 1606 and 1694 have a pretty high level of stability; it's rather less clear what the stability of something published just recently will be.
>> Sorry, Peter; you are still crystal-ball gazing. We cannot predict whether the present orthography will be stable for decades or generations, or whether it will be modified next year.
>> I think the latter is unlikely.
> No, I'm saying we can't prophesy. It seems to me that, in your last statement, you are crystal-ball gazing.

Well, I've been talking to the Ulster Scots agencies in Northern Ireland, and you haven't. 

> Is anyone going to write Ulster Scots in any other orthography?

Anybody doing serious publishing is sticking to the norms these days. Of course in every Scots dialect there is variation in orthography, and as I said older Ulster Scots (pre-20th century; little was really written in mot of the 20th) makes use of more traditional Scots orthography or is ad-hoc (where no literary tradition was known). 

> Assuming yes to the previous question, is anyone going to want to request Ulster Scots content, regardless of which orthography is used?

Anyone making a website today would be using the current norms, I should think. In principle one might want web pages with 18th century poetry in 18th-century orthography, but no one 

What do you mean "request Ulster Scots content" anyway? "Content" is a very big barn. 

>> Nevertheless, for good or for ill, in Ulster they are standardizing to a set of different conventions from those used in mainstream Scots writing. 
> Just orthographic conventions? Or in practice are there also correlate lexical differences?

There are lexical differences between all of the Scots dialects.

>> Mark's and Doug's arguments seemed best to me. Both sides had merit. "ulster" it is.
> ...
>> Accordingly as the two weeks is up and no change is made to the proposal, I declare it approved as per Doug's minor revision of 17 March.
> This is administrative fiat I'm uncomfortable with.

Eh? The two weeks were up; I looked at the arguments, went back and forth, and decided. I'm supposed to do that, amn't I?

Are you requesting a two week extension?

> I couldn't have suggested a change to the proposal because I'm still trying to understand what relevant distinctions need to be made. Randy raised very good questions, and your response to him was "BZZZZZT!" This is not how I think this process should be managed.

Randy did not ask very good questions. Randy didn't read the documentation, because Randy though that "the Hamely Tongue and the one under consideration" were two different orthographies, when they are not. And then he got all in a huff about it because I attempted levity to defuse his error.

New material is being written using the orthography defined in Fenton 2006, Robinson 2007, and so on. Children's books are using that. It's in Ulster Scots. The tag "sco" is not sufficient. "ulster" defines the dialect correctly, and as Mark Davis said if we need to be more precise (later, when and if someone needs to make finer distinctions) additional subtags could be added. 

I don't see a need for a two-week extension; I agree with Mark and Doug that the originally-proposed "ulster" does the job required. 

Michael Everson *

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