Monday, March 09, 2009


Thanks to Jim McDonald, a character in the long running ITV soap, Coronation Street, the Ulster phrase of the day will be common to most Brits.  Well at least those who watched the show when he was in it !

What about ye ? :  How are you ?  How have you been ?  What are you doing these days ?

This is an Ulster greeting and for some reason has always driven me mad.  I hated when Jim said it on the show and as it was mostly used by people from Belfast, I hated it on the few occasions it was said to me when I was growing up.  Maybe it offended my gramatical sensibilities or something but there 'ye' go !  I didn't like it.  It wasn't said much by the locals in my part of Ulster which just shows how there can be different words and phrases even within a small area like N. Ireland.

Now that's it's back in my mind again, I may try it out here in the park to see what reaction I get.  Probably confusion.

"What about what ? ", I'll be asked.  Understandably.

You see it makes perfect sence to me as I've grown up with it but for anyone else, it's a phrase that baffles.

Ohhhh now I can't wait to try it out !! 

Have a nice day.


CLS said...

I'm thinking that we might just have to raise the "being" limit to 60 years of age in this park if we're to have 'cheeky' youngsters running about bothering us with extinct language from afar ... bad enough we have the occasional New Yorker - and those folk from Mass. - won't bother to spell it all out since they only have 25 letters in their alphabet anyway. So we will thank 'thee' to stick your 'ye' where the sun don't shine - - tease us will you??? ;)

besides most of us don't hear that well anyway . . so you'll probably get some very strange replies anyway...

rhymeswithplague said...

The southern U.S. equivalent of your Ulster WOTD is "How's your mamanem?" which can be translated but breaks the rule of grammar wherein the subject and verb should agree in person and number (and if there isn't such a rule, I just made it up). The translation, roughly, is: "How are your mother and other members of your family?"

Jay said...

Hahaha! Let us know how you get along with that one!

One of my favourite ungrammatical phrases from my childhood was 'I'll get wrong!'

As in 'No, I can't stay out till midnight/ride the dog/eat all the chocolate in the house etc because if I do, I will surely get into a whole heap of trouble'

Daphne said...

A male nurse from Belfast whom I've been helping to train greeted me with this very phrase last Wednesday and I understood what he meant, so I did, simply because of Jim McDonald. Otherwise I might well have replied "What about me what?"

ruth said...

What's with the changing of the rules? I thought it was supposed to be word of the day not phrase of the day - you're cheating now!

Silverback said...

Ok just for you, Ruth, I'll call it Ulster Words Of The Day and guess what, it still remains as UWOTD.

Now we're all happy. ;-)

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