Non-Fiction Books:

From Ulster to America

The Scotch-Irish Heritage of American English


Paperback / softback

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From Ulster to America by Michael Montgomery
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Over the last 350 years, Ireland has sent a stream of countless emigrants to North America. Estimates range from six to ten million. Each emigrant spoke English, Irish, or Ulster Scots, and many indeed used two or all three of these tongues. One of the most formative chapters in this fascinating story is the often-overlooked arrival of at least 150,000 from Ulster in the colonial era, specifically in the sixty years before the American Revolution. This book recounts the lasting impact they made on the development of the English language of the United States from the eighteenth century to the present day. It documents nearly four hundred terms and meanings, each with quotations from both sides of the Atlantic, that were contributed to American English by these eighteenth-century settlers from Ulster. It draws on letters they sent back to their homeland, other archival documents associated with their settlement, and local fiction and poetry; it shows that Ulster emigrants and their children, who settled mainly in the American interior, gave as much to regional American English as any other group from the Old World. Its pages contain many pleasant surprises: readers will find terms both instantly recognisable and ones that are unfamiliar. The numerous quotations not only bring alive the speech of earlier days on both sides of the Atlantic, but also extend our understanding of the culture, mannerisms and life of those pioneering times, while through their words, poignantly link the past with the present.

Author Biography

Michael Montgomery is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Linguistics at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he taught English linguistics for nearly twenty years before retiring in 1999. Previously he was on the faculty for brief periods at Memphis State University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Release date NZ
April 11th, 2017
Illustrations, black and white
Ullans Press
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