Scots on the Ulster front

5th December 2003 at 00:00
David Henderson reports from the educational researchers' annual conference in Perth

Pupils in 12 primaries are to tackle Scottish phrases like "yin braw broon bear" and words such as "claes" - in Ulster.

Fans of the Scots language are struggling to make headway in Scottish schools but advocates of Ulster Scots face an even tougher task to convince teachers to spend time developing what has been deemed a native language across the Irish Sea.

Hilary Avery, of Queens University, Belfast, said as many as 15,000 spoke Ulster Scots every day and some 100,000 in three parts of the country were familiar with it. "It is not just a dialect but a language. It has been classed as a language under the European Charter for regional and minority languages," she said.

A university curriculum development unit is about to test new materials but will avoid writing, to avoid confusion among pupils.

The language crosses the religious divide and recognises the long association between Scotland and Ulster, Mrs Avery said.

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