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From: Paul Moynagh <>
Subject: Re: What is the meaning of the term "Scot-Irish"
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 03:01:17 GMT
References: <> <2wKaa.10721$> <92Laa.18306$> <EJLaa.10831$> <NMLaa.10838$>

In article <NMLaa.10838$>,
"Shawna Reynolds" <> wrote:
> > > Scotch is a drink...Scots is correct NOT Scotch
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > That is the term that uses. . .
> >
> Also, the authors of the following books:
> Scotch-Irish Family Research Made Simple, by R.G. Campbell
> a.. The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania, by Wayland F. Dunaway
> a.. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research, by Margaret D. Falley
> a.. etc etc

and In article <b4g4la$1vdrt5$>, "Peter Norman"
<> wrote:
> No, it is a term used by the ignorant or sloppy. If used in addressing a
> Scot it causes extreme offence and, could be deemed extreme provocation by
> some Scots.

'Scotch' is both correct and incorrect, depending on the reader or listener.

As a noun or adjective to describe natives of Scotland it was a widely used
variant of 'Scottish' or 'Scots' up to mid 19C; Burns and Scott (Sir Walter)
used it this way. From about then some Scottish people tended to deplore
'Scotch' to descibe themselves, though it is OK as S.whisky, S.egg, S.broth,
S.terrier, S.tweed etc. Fowler (Modern English Usage, 1996 edition) suggests
that this was / is mainly a Scottish lowland / 'educated' / middle class /
English affectation, and that many Scottish working class are still happy to
be described as 'Scotch'. I've no idea what the modern 'Scotch-Irish'
inhabitant of the six counties now call themselves: probably not that, but
on the other hand I would guess they would not be offended by it either.

That even educated Americans, whose use of our common tongue derives from
its centuries long export there, still say 'Scotch' is therefore not
surprising, and they are of course 'correct'. But if they are keen not to
upset us natives they left behind, they will offend none by calling us
'Scottish', or the slightly less preferred 'Scots'. So if a modern Scotsman
might read or hear you it is usually diplomatic and wise to scotch 'Scotch'
from your vocabulary - except when describing whisky (NEVER whiskEy), broth,
tweed etc. 'Scotch-Irish' is probably OK provided you and your listener both
understand its narrow definition.

[My mother would go bananas if anyone called her 'Scotch'. Me - I couldn't
care less. I have Scottish / Scotch, Irish ('Anglo-' and celtic), and
'Scotch-Irish' descent; my wife also contributes traceable Dalriadic 'Scots'
ancestry to our childrens' genes].

Paul Moynagh

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