Who can have failed to notice the rapid rise in the profile of the Ulster-Scots language recently in the Press? Hopefully, during the next year, we will begin to have newspaper articles and radio programmes produced in Ulster-Scots, by Ulster-Scots.

Our language movement has been spectacularly successful in increasing the prestige and recognition of Ulster-Scots during the past year. In January 1997 the Northern Ireland Forum debated a lengthy submission from the Ulster-Scots Language Society and gained unanimous, cross-party support for a motion that called on Government to increase its support and recognition for the Ulster-Scots language.

One of our Committee, John McIntyre, has been elected Secretary of the Northern Ireland Committee of the European Bureau of Lesser-Used Languages. This was followed by a successful joint event at the Ulster Folk Museum on European Languages Day, when Ulster-Scots and Irish Gaelic readings and recitations were given in two of the thatched cottages. Recently Donal O’Regan, Secretary General of the European Bureau of Lesser-Used Languages, visited Belfast and met with some of our Committee to discuss other projects involving mutual support between minority languages. In a key speech to the European Commission in Belfast, Donal O’Regan called on Government to implement the European Charter on Regional and Minority languages for both Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Several Local District Councils in County Down have taken positive steps to raise the status of Ulster-Scots in their own areas. Ards Borough Council (Burgh Cooncil o Newton, Blathewick an the Airds) has introduced bilingual letterheads on some official papers, and Ulster-Scots events — seminars, lectures and concerts — have been organised by both Ards and Castlereagh Councils. Bilingual street names have also been erected, with Council support, in various parts of both Boroughs.

In the broader cultural sphere, our Ulster-Scots links with the local Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, the Presbyterian Historical Society, the Burns Societies, and others, have been strengthened in a very positive way through the Ulster-Scots Heritage Council. This Council has an Executive Committee under the Chairmanship of John Crozier, with sub-committees on History and Heritage, Performing Arts, and Language and Literature. Funding has been given for a number of full-time posts, and Nelson McCausland is now the Director of the Ulster-Scots Heritage Council, and Lee Reynolds the Community Outreach Officer. An Office Manager has also been appointed for the Council’s new offices at 218 York Street, Belfast BT15 1GY (Phone 746939, Fax 746980). The Heritage Council will now be better able to organise festivals, co-ordinate Ulster-Scots activities and organisations, ‘network’ among the Ulster-Scots community, and promote Ulster-Scots culture and language in a general way.

A number of new Ulster-Scots publications have appeared, or are just about to appear. Will McAvoy’s ‘Hairts o Greba’ tape has been followed up with a second — ‘Ye cannae tak Greba oot o tha Man’. A children’s story in Ulster-Scots (‘Esther, Quaen o tha Ulidian Pechts’, by Philip Robinson) is soon to appear with Arts Council support and ‘Ulster-Scots, a Grammar of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language’, should appear this summer.

In this issue, we continue our editorial policy of giving total freedom of expression to all contributors — without any insistence on the ‘broadness’ of the Ulster-Scots used. We wish to encourage all to contribute, and therefore have not imposed any ideas about ‘correct’ spelling either. In future years, when Ulster-Scots takes its rightful place in the education system, these issues will resolve themselves.



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)