The Ulster Dialect of Southwest Tyrone
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Introduction

This website provides information on the Ulster dialect of southwest Tyrone, which I term 'Southwest Tyrone English' (SwTE). It is hoped that it will be of use to linguists and non-linguists alike.

Geography

This website describes the rural dialect of English spoken in the area south of Omagh in County Tyrone, particularly around the 'towns' of Dromore, Fintona and Seskinore. It is not possible (or desirable) to be precise about the geographical limits of SwTE, lying as it does within the larger Mid-Ulster English dialect area (see Harris (1985)), which stretches across Ulster, from Belfast to Donegal. My description of SwTE does not imply that it is a distinct or sharply defined entity within this area.

It is, however, possible to say something about the rough geographical limits of SwTE, particularly in the northwest and southwest. Beyond Omagh, the kind of English spoken is noticeably different, most obviously in the direction of Drumquin, where a definite 'Scottish' accent is evident. Similarly, a Fermanagh accent becomes noticeable at Lack, Irvinestown, Kilskeery and Clabby. The boundary of SwTE to the northeast and southeast is more difficult to determine; the English spoken around Beragh and Sixmilecross and perhaps in the Clogher Valley is similar to SwTE. To the east, there appears to be a gradual change in accent, which becomes noticeable beyond Ballygawley.

 

 

 

Sources

This description of SwTE has two sources. These are:

Audio recordings: These have been, and continue to be collected as time (and money) allow.  At present, there are some 12-13 hours of audio material, involving over 15 speakers. The audio recordings, mostly informal interviews, form the core of my corpus of SwTE. Where possible, descriptions of SwTE are based on these.

Native speaker knowledge: I am a native speaker of SwTE, having grown up in a community where the traditional rural dialect is/was spoken by many, including my parents and grandparents. As a result, a large number of my observations on SwTE consist of notes (or even memories) which are not ‘verified’ by recordings.

Samples Dialect Words Pronunciation
 

All information on this site is © Warren Maguire, 2004, except for the maps, which are taken from Multimap.com