Ulster Dialect & Linguistic Diversity Archive

Unique assemblage of books, wordlists, research papers and notes etc relating to the study of Ulster Dialect and the process of dialect collection. This collection consists of material gathered together by a variety of interested individuals and institutions including Sir John Byers, Professor R.J. Gregg, R H Montgomery, T.G.F. Paterson and Brendan Adams. It comprises research notes and recordings of and relating to local proverbs, sayings, folklore, wordlists and poetry, dating mainly from the 20th century when this particular field of research gained currency. Also included is a growing list of dialect items, first initiated by the Belfast Naturalists Field Club in 1951, but continued by the Museum's late curator of language, Brendan Adams (1917-1981), which went on to form the basis of the hugely important 'Concise Ulster Dictionary' (Oxford University Press, 1996). The Dialect Archive is also taken to include rare published but out-of-print sources on dialect, such as the work by William Lutton (1923), J.J. Marshall (1904), W.H. Patterson (1880) and Michael Traynor (1953). Also associated with the Dialect Archive is a tape-recorded survey of Hiberno-English undertaken mainly by two academics, Michael Barry (QUB) and Philip Tilling (UU, Coleraine), 1989-90, the results of which can be found deposited in the Museum's Sound Archive.


Collection undoubtedly captures dialect items that may otherwise have been lost at a time when dialectal speech was actively discouraged in the education system. It also reflects ways of life and Ulster traditions that no longer obtain.

Physical characteristics

The collection consists of 18 archive boxes comprising research notes, transcriptions, newscuttings and hardback notebooks, in addition to 3 filing cabinets of research papers, 6 drawers of card catalogues, tape recordings, and numerous monographs and other publications.

Description or Catalogue

The main sources of information contained in this collection have been recorded electronically on to a dedicated database at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum. A card index covering earlier material is available for consultation in the UFTM Library.

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Added by Ulster Folk and Transport Museum | Last updated on: 09 February 2018