Fada an the crack (craic)

Twa linguistic tales frae Ulster.

This reminds me of the Boord o Ulstèr Scotch, the cross-Border body set up following the Belfast Agreement to promote the Ulster Scots language and culture. Its name is so punctuated, although the accent has no effect in that case, as was once explained to me, with admirable candour, by a member of that body, when I asked her in all innocence what the reverse fada did to the “e” in Ulster. “Nothing,” she admitted: “We just thought it looked good.”

…on another minor but vexed linguistic issue. That was the Gaelicisation of the old Anglo-Scottish “crack” as “craic”, to which I too had objected in print a few times before realising that life was too short. Encouraged by my stance, Mr McCausland explained on his blog: “The Irish version was simply the result of borrowing of the word into a language without the letter K. [But] there is a K in English and in Scots, so why not use it? “There is nothing peculiarly Irish about crack. Ulsterfolk have enjoyed good crack for many a long year.” I couldn’t disagree with him on that, even though I thought craic was a small price to pay for the centuries of anglicisation of Irish words and placenames,..

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