Friday, 9 October 2015

Inis Mumhan?

The American academic Dr. Séamus Ó Direáin has been mapping the dialects of the Aran Islands for a quarter of a century. One of the interesting tidbits about the linguistic map of the archipelago is that the speech of one island, Inis Oírr, is closer to Munster than Conamara Irish.

Of course, that's no surprise, given its historically better connections with the south — boiling down to the fact that for much of human history, water, rather than being a barrier, has been a linking medium.

Nor is the phenomenon limited to the west. J. A. H. Murray, later to become founding editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, was able to quote his correspondent Robert Shipboy MacAdam in support of the "absolute identity" of the vernacular of eastern Ulster and Arran (the Scottish island) in his seminal work The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland

Indeed, aficionados of Ulster Scots will be equally well acquainted with the like, to which the fact that Scots is spoken on both sides of the Sheuch testifies so eloquently.

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