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6 - Northern Irish English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2010

Kevin McCafferty
Affiliation:
Department of English, University of Bergen, Norway
David Britain
Affiliation:
University of Essex
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Summary

English was established in the north of Ireland by the British colonisation of Ulster from the late sixteenth century onwards. This ‘Plantation’ brought large numbers of settlers from Great Britain – especially central and southern Scotland and the north, north-west Midlands and south-west of England – but never achieved its goal of replacing the Irish with a British population. This left Ulster with three major vernacular language varieties, Irish Gaelic, Scots and English, with Scottish Gaelic in some areas. Northern Irish English is the outcome of contact between these. Most of its phonology, syntax, morphology and lexicon are shared with other varieties of English, particularly Southern Irish English, but like Southern Irish English, Northern Irish English retains Early Modern English features now defunct or marginal in Great Britain. There is a broad distinction between the more English-influenced dialects of Mid and South Ulster and the more Scottish varieties of eastern and northern coastal areas, but the predominance of Scottish settlers in the Plantation era is seen in Scots influence beyond the core Ulster Scots dialect areas. And the effects of the Gaelic substrate can still be traced, especially where Irish remains an everyday vernacular or has gone out of use relatively recently.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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  • Northern Irish English
  • Edited by David Britain, University of Essex
  • Book: Language in the British Isles
  • Online publication: 16 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620782.008
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  • Northern Irish English
  • Edited by David Britain, University of Essex
  • Book: Language in the British Isles
  • Online publication: 16 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620782.008
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Northern Irish English
  • Edited by David Britain, University of Essex
  • Book: Language in the British Isles
  • Online publication: 16 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620782.008
Available formats
×