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CHAT EU and accents

From:Barbara Barrett <barbarabarrett@...>
Date:Monday, May 3, 2004, 9:55
> Joe Jotted; > ...... However, I'd really prefer to keep > the European Union's multilingualism. It entertains me.
Barbara Babbles; Indeed, and the habit of declaring dialects "languages" which means member authorities *must* produce duplicate versions of their legislation in the dialect (although oddly the EU itself isn't obliged to do so). The EU officially recognized the dialect I used in school, Ulster-Scots, as a language, and now everything done by the government in Northern Ireland has to have an Ulster-Scots version too. This has spawned Ulster-Scots/English dictionaries, an Ulster-Scots Society, and even an official "translator" (a legal obligation under EU law) at Stormont. Hilarity ensues because Ulster-Scots advocates and promoters are not generally Ulster-Scots speakers, and not only get a bit tongue-tied but are *inventing* words or constructing awkward phrases for modern things (this is true of the official translator, the only applicant for the job, who admitted that to "translate" he just imagined everything in a Ballymeana accent!) whereas the speaker who grew up with Ulster-Scots sees nothing wrong with using English words for things Ulster-Scots doesn't cover (which is basically everything invented after 1850). Ulster-Scots speakers are on the whole rather bewildered by it all because we can all code-switch between Ulster-Scots and English, and it is truly weird to see Ulster-Scots in written form, or to hear it spoken by someone with a "Queens" accent (as in Queens University Belfast accent ;-)). Besides, Ulster-Scots is mutually intelligible with standard English, well for the most part unless the accent is very "thick", and more so with Hibernian English. Which brings me to a question about accents; does anyone else find they switch accents when they switch dialects of the same language? In my own case I spent most of the first 11 years of my life in North America and consequently now speak English with an accent the Brits call "Transatlantic", but I speak Ulster-Scots with an Armagh accent. Barbara


Joe <joe@...>
Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>