The Ulster-Scots Language Society continued to make enormous progress in 1995. New members are still coming to the Society, and public awareness of the language grows at an increasing rate. In December 1995 a delegation representing the Ulster-Scots Language movement met with Michael Ancram, Minister of State for Education and the Arts in Northern Ireland, to press the case for funding for our Ulster-Scots Academy. This proved to be a lively and extended meeting, and one positive outcome was that the Minister volunteered to enquire if Ulster-Scots was being treated on the same basis as the Scots Language in Scotland. On 21 March 1996, the Minister stated in the House of Commons that it was now “Government policy” that the “Ulster Scots language” should receive “the same treatment as the Scots language in Scotland”, and that he was taking steps to ensure this. On the same occasion Michael Ancram described the “Scots language” as the “parent language of Ulster Scots”. We warmly welcome this as a definitive answer to those who continue to put Ulster-Scots down as “only a dialect” — especially those who are public servants, and obliged to take policy direction from Westminster.

The past year has seen a number of other notable events as far as the Ulster-Scots language is concerned. James Fenton’s dictionary of County Antrim Ulster-Scots; “The Hamely Tongue”, was published, and a tape (“Hairts o Greba”) produced by Will M‘Avoy from Greyabbey in County Down as well. Both the dictionary and the tape have proved enormously successful — our special thanks are due to James Fenton and Will M‘Avoy.

In February 1996 the Cultural Traditions Group held a conference on “Varieties of Scottishness”. This was the fourth in a series dealing with identity in Ulster. The keynote speaker was Billy Kay, the Scottish broadcaster, and he gave prominence to the Scots and Ulster-Scots sister languages in his paper.

Shortly after the CTG conference, our Society hosted a delegation from the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages for one day during their week-long stay. This was an opportunity to exchange experiences with other European minority language groups, and by having organised a series of talks, visits and civic receptions in Belfast City Hall and Newtownards, we were able to demonstrate to our Public Representatives that there is international interest in our native tongue.

We welcome in ULLANS 4 a number of new contributors, and of course we continue to be indebted to those who are helping once again with their offerings. Although it should be fairly obvious by now, it is worth repeating that we have no editorial policy on spelling — or on how “broad” the Ulster-Scots writings should be. The Society wants to encourage anyone to try their hand — and not to feel that when they “do their own thing” there are rules to follow. In fact, there are no “rules” for writing in Ulster-Scots, just a wheen o notions ithers hae used in the past. However, we would like to see greater numbers of ordinary Ulster-Scots folk being more familiar with our rich traditional literature.



The Ulster-Scots Academy has been an integral part of the Ulster-Scots Language Society since 1993. The name "Ulster-Scots Academy" is registered to the USLS with the Intellectual Property Office.

Ulster Scots Academy


A new edition of Michael Montgomery’s From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish Heritage of American English recounts the lasting impact that at least 150,000 settlers from Ulster in the 18th century made on the development of the English language of the United States. This new edition published by the Ulster-Scots Language Society documents over 500 ‘shared’ vocabulary items which are authenticated by quotations from both sides of the Atlantic. A searchable online version of this dictionary is now also available here.


The Ulster-Scots Academy is currently working on the digitisation of Dr Philip Robinson's seminal Ulster-Scots Grammar and the English/Ulster-Scots part (with circa 10,000 entries) of a two-way historical dictionary of Ulster-Scots. These projects are planned to be completed and available on the site in 2016.



This site is being developed on a purely voluntary basis by the Ulster-Scots Language Society at no cost to the taxpayer. USLS volunteers have been involved in preserving and promoting Ulster-Scots for more than 20 years. All donations, however small, will be most gratefully received and contribute towards the expansion of the project. Thank you!

This site is being developed by the Ulster-Scots Language Society (Charity No. XN89678) without external financial assistance. USLS volunteers have been involved in preserving and promoting Ulster-Scots for more than 20 years. All donations, however small, will be most gratefully received and contribute towards the expansion of the project. Thank you!

(Friends of the Ulster-Scots Academy group)