The Crack : The Bible in Ulster-Scots; (the Editor Will Be Glad to Hear Readers' Views, and to Consider Items for Inclusion in Our Ulster-Scots Column)

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), May 12, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Crack : The Bible in Ulster-Scots; (the Editor Will Be Glad to Hear Readers' Views, and to Consider Items for Inclusion in Our Ulster-Scots Column)


FOR the status of any language, one important milestone is the production of a Bible translation in that language. In Holland, the Fresians only managed to complete their translation in the 1970s.

Although most of Friesland, in the north of the country, is Calvinist, the exercise was undertaken by a committee representing all of the denominations, including Catholic. But even in the most Friesian speaking parts of the country, there is a great resistance to using Friesian in church, as it has been denigrated for centuries as "slang" or "dialect". Not too different from here, perhaps.

One of the main reasons why the use of Scots declined in formal situations in Scotland was the absence of a Bible translation in Scots. Following the Union of the Crowns in 1603 (when James VI of Scotland became James I of England and Scotland), two important things happened in this respect.

First, we had James's Plantation of Ulster from 1610 on, involving some English but mostly Scots settlers. Then, in 1611, we had the King James transation of the Bible. Its universal use in Protestant churches throughout the three kingdoms has led most people here and in Scotland to think it disrespectful to address God in Scots.

There are, however, some translations of parts of the Bible into Scots, some of them going back as far as the 16th century. More recently, in 1871, P H Waddell translated The Psalms: Frae Hebrew intil Scots, and in the 1970s Lorimer's masterpiece of Scots prose, The New Testament in Scots, was first published. A few other books of the Old Testament have appeared in translation into Scots over the years, but only a few chapters here and there from the Old and New Testaments have appeared in Ulster-Scots.The New Project - An Ulster-Scots Bible.

The massive task of translating the Bible into Ulster-Scots has to begin some time, and a group has decided that the time is now. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Ulster-Scots Bible Committee. The ad hoc committee can be contacted by writing to:

Ulster-Scots Bible Committee

c/o Tha Boord o Ulster-Scotch

Franklin House, 10-12 Brunswick Street

Belfast BT2 7GE It doesn't matter if you have never been involved with the Ulster-Scots language movement before, but if you are genuinely interested in this project from both the religious and linguistic perspective, please get in touch. …

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