Tag Archives: Ulster English

Quiz: Do You Know These Ulster English Words?

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Hint: We’ve Been Posting Them Recently

If you follow BritWordaDay on social media, chances are you’ve seen these Ulster English posts. It was part of our March Madness social media campaign. Also, to honour of our Irish friends of Northern Ireland, from which this dialect hails.

So, I was curious how much our followers were actually seeing these posts. Also, I thought a quiz might be a good way to assess our teaching progress as well as the absorption of our supporters. In other words, is BritWordaDay adding value? Are you learning this British dialect?

Do You Know These Ulster English Words?

Below is our quiz on this particular dialect. I’ve used common British words to give you hints as to the meaning of these Ulster English words. Best of British to you, mates!

Banjax

When something is ready for the knackered yard, one would say it is banjaxed, as well.

Blade

Blokes, if you’re chatting up a bird, then you are also chatting up a blade.

Carlin

A general term for a more mature bird, but don’t call your gran a carlin, ok?

Carnaptious

Caught in an argy-bargy or a row? Then you might be feeling carnaptious.

Drawky

Drawky would often describe Old Blighty which would require a brolly.

Foundered

When you’re feeling parky or it is quite Baltic, then you’ll be foundered, too, I’d expect.

Keenin’

Something wee bairns often do, keenin’ for their mummies to wipe those bums of poo.

Munya

The opposite of a boiler would be a munya bird, a top totty.

Poke

Take a holiday to the seaside where you buy a poke for 99p, perhaps for a bit more.

Whisht

Whisht would be the same as simply saying oi! or belt up!

Where to Find the Answers

BritWordaDay has Facebook albums, many of British words. If you’re curious as to the answers, for our quiz,  view our Facebook albums and see if you can find which album contains these Ulster English words. Email us at britwordaday@gmail.com with your answers.

If you answer all 10 of these quiz questions correctly, we will send you a special prize for the winners!


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Have You Heard About Ulster English?

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It’s a UK Dialect of Northern Ireland

Ulster is a province in Northern Ireland and made up of people groups which include Ulster Scots, Mid Ulster, and South Ulster speakers. The counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone are part of the United Kingdom, while Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan are part of the Republic of Ireland. The Ulster English dialect from this region of Ireland has been developing for centuries.

This Northern Ireland language began during the early seventeenth-century colonization of English settlers. However, Ulster English has not only been influenced by British English and Hiberno-English (language spoken in the Republic of Ireland) but also the Scots language and Irish Gaelic.

How I Learned About This Dialect

I never even knew about this language until I started writing my book for BritWordaDay. I began researching dialects of Northern Ireland and discovered Ulster English is the predominate language spoken there. The two major divisions of Ulster English is Mid Ulster and Ulster Scots.

My high school best friend, Jeff, often referred to his mother’s statements as her “speaking Irish” because they had an interrogative tone to them. Come to find out, Ulster English speakers have a noticeable tendency to raise the pitch towards the end of declarative sentences. Perhaps Jeff’s mum has Ulster in her blood.

Distinguishing Words of Ulster English

Irish speakers, as a whole, do not use the words “yes” and “no” very often but instead, repeat the verb in a question as a response. For example:

Question: Are you going to work soon?
Answer: I am (instead of saying “yes”)

Sometimes Ulster speakers use the verb “have” followed by “with me” or “on me” in this way:

Have you money for the train on you?

Ulster English mirrors Irish with the word “you” in its singular and plural form. Instead of “you guys” the Ulster English speakers would say “yous” like certain parts of Pennsylvania. Two other forms of “you guys” would be “yis” or “yousuns” which, again, the Pennsylvania natives would say “you-uns” to a group. It’s funny how particular Ulster English words or close variations have endured centuries after the colonization of America.

Examples and Usage of Ulster English

As a British word specialist, I will not only teach you these Ulster English words but how to properly use them in context. Here are some examples of these Northern Ireland words and their usage.

Using Ulster English

Blade – girl

Look at thon blade. (Look at that girl.)

Bout ye? – How are you?

Bout ye, fella? (How are you, man?)

Craitur/Craytur – creature

Aye, the poor craitur. (Yes, the poor creature.)

Foundered – to be cold

Are ye foundered? (Are you cold?)

Hallion – a good-for-nothing

Shut your gob, ye hallion! (Shut your mouth, you good-for-nothing!)

Munya – great, lovely, attractive

The grub is quite munya. (The food is quite lovely.)

Poke – ice cream

Yous want some poke? (You guys want some ice cream?)

Whisht – to be quiet (a command)

Whisht, ye aul eejit! (Be quiet, you old idiot!)

Ways to Learn More Ulster English

During the month of March, BritWordaDay is running a March Madness campaign for Anglophiles “mad” about British words. The focus is Ulster English, including all things Irish. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to learn more of this amazing Northern Ireland dialect.


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